From zero to hero – amateur photography learning ( Lightroom workflow )

lightroomlogo.jpg Lately I’m enjoying my Nikon D40x a lot ! But using it, has several issues that need to be addressed…
I’m still at a low level of photography, so the input I’m getting is huge and sometimes hard to grasp. Sometimes, I even have several good solutions for a given problem that I don’t know what to use.

Let’s illustrate with a current example !
I’m a bit stuck on how I should ‘manage’ my photos and workflow.
Please feel free to give comments on my workflow and how you are currently managing it !!

First start with how I was working ( bare with me, because I know this has to improve 🙂 ).
When I find the time, I’ll put my SD card inside my laptop card reader and it will fire up Lightroom. Inside Ligthroom I’ll choose to import all files and let Lightroom do his work concerning the location and order of the hard disk folders.
After I’ve done my photo processing, I’ll do an export from RAW to jpeg of the collection. The export is also done in Lightroom and here I’ll select an appropriate location on the hard drive and I’ll also use the naming template feature to give a good name with sequence number.
And that’s it !! Everything done… but lately I’ve been using Lightroom more and I’m aware that it has more potential to facilitate my workflow and photo management !

So what are the things that got improved after I’ve been reading on how to use Lightroom and photo workflow in general…

  • During import select to convert the RAW files to DNG files !
  • Try to rename during the import ( not always possible because I tend to shoot several things before I import that are generally not group able )
  • Try to add keywords ( also not always possible because of the same problem as listed above )
  • Keep the base set of DNG files managed inside Lightroom, no more need for exporting sets to jpeg ! Only showpieces are exported to be shown on Flickr
  • Create collections inside Lightroom to keep an overview of events I’ve been photographing

So there you have it, my new workflow ! And I’m kinda happy with it… except for one detail ( remember the more solutions available thing I mentioned above ) !!
I’m a bit stuck on how I would be storing my photographs on my hard drive. So like I said I currently keep a base DNG set inside Lightroom and group them in collections, this means I don’t alter Lightrooms way to keep them ordered in folders base on the date taken.
But this has a big disadvantage, you can’t locate your pictures anymore by just looking at the folder structure of your hard drive ! Call me old fashioned, but that is actually something I still prefer ! So why didn’t I change this, well because I’m trying to bend/mend my mind not to use this old way of storing. All because of the fact that some pictures could possibly be categorised into several locations, depending on the subject. The other reason is because my heavy use of internet, I’m all in favoure for Tag/Keyword based systems, I’m just an addict of and Flickr tags, so why don’t I use the same system inside Lightroom !
And if I need to group things, I’ll just create a collection inside Lightroom.

So now I’m using this system and have done several imports… but I still see some problems with it that I hope will be solved soon :

  • Even though I now can create collections to group my pictures, I don’t really like the collections management inside Lightroom… It’s just a list of all collections inside the left hand bar. I’m not a heavy shooter, but I think that after a long time use of Lightroom this collection overview will actually not be maintainable nor oversee able anymore. So my suggestion will be to have a separate collection window where you can use filters on the collections.
  • Use of collections is just great to group pictures, but looking at the not yet grouped pictures is just a mess inside Lightroom !! I still can’t understand why there is no filter to filter out all pictures that are already inside a collection ! This would help my workflow, because I tend to do several imports before I’ll do any post processing… this means I have to use the All photographs overview ( with a date filter ) to get my pictures ( Previous import is no option ), but just one filter on ‘Not yet in collection’ would just do the trick !
  • Adding metadata and keywords just slows down the working process ! Even though I just love the use of it, it means I have to think longer ( about what keywords to use ) and I have to enter everything.

But even with these side effects of my current workflow, I still love Lightroom very much and I hope they keep improving it so that I can work faster in the future 🙂
Because I’ve not even talked on how and where to physically store your pictures ( local hard drive, external hard drive, network hard drive ) and how to maintain a good backup system !!

If you would like to change your workflow here are some links I find are mandatory reading for any serious Lightroom user :

And if you don’t like doing all the ‘importing’ stuff yourself, just use this beautiful tool I found here !

[tags]Lightroom, Adobe, Nikon, D40x, Workflow, Photography, ImageIngester[/tags]

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