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Workflow Refinement And Final Summary

Lesson 20 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Workflow Refinement And Final Summary

Lesson 20 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

20. Workflow Refinement And Final Summary

In the final lesson of this workshop, put the final pieces together with Ben's tips to refine your workflow, from ways to easily share photos to a friend's computer or smartphone, to syncing with Lightroom Mobile to using web galleries. Then, wrap up with a recap before leaving the class as a fully-fledged Lightroom guru.

Lesson Info

Workflow Refinement And Final Summary

Well, we have one last installment of Lightroom Classic, the Complete Guide, and here comes. We're going to, first, in this session look at a few features that we just didn't have a chance to cover in other sessions. Then we're gonna give you a bit of a summary of how to think about Lightroom and some suggestions on how to think going forward. So, let's jump right in. If we look back at what we've done over 20 sessions, this one being the 20th, the first week you got a good mindset about Lightroom, the second week we organized and adjusted things, the third we looked at the special features, and this week we started off with some start-to-finish images, so you got to see how I use all the features together. The second day we showed you how to get things to Photoshop and back again, and go as many times around that as you want to to round trip your images to Photoshop and back to Lightroom, making changes on both sides. On the third day we talked about troubleshooting, 'cause it doesn't...

always go as you expect so I try to think of everything I can think of that can go wrong, and they mentioned in that class if there's something they didn't cover to go on the Facebook group and let us know about it, because even if I don't know the solution one of the other members there of that group will most likely know. And then we got into some tips and tricks, so we've covered a lot of ground. Today, though, we're gonna talk about workflow refinement and a summary, after we get into just a few features we didn't have a chance to cover in the other sessions. So, let's do it. So far we've used only this copy of Lightroom on my, it happens to be a laptop that's hooked up down below, but on my laptop machine, you could say. But that's not always where I wanna see my images, sometimes I wanna be able to show my pictures to somebody else, and I don't have my computer around. Instead, I'm just walking into somebody's house and they're talking about some photograph I took and I wanna be able to go on their computer where they've never worked with my images before and I wanna be able to get them to be able to see my pictures, I want them to possibly even be able to adjust the images or comment on the images, and I also wanna be able to get it on my phone or my tablet. Well, how can we do that? Well, we can easily do it here with Lightroom. Now, with Lightroom there's an area where you can turn syncing with the online servers that Adobe uses on or off. What you do is you go up here to your identity plate, and if you actually click on that you're gonna have some choices, and right here it says sync with Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC in this particular case simply means Adobe's online servers, where it could store your images, a copy of them, there, and usually it's not gonna store the full resolution images because we're using the version of Lightroom that stores things on the desktop, that's Lightroom Classic, but here we can say let's sync it with Lightroom CC, CC stands for Creative Clouds, and if you see a little pause button here, you're all set. If, on the other hand, you see a play button, you just need to click there to turn this on. Now, once you've turned on the ability for Lightroom to sync with Adobe servers online, which is what that option was for, then you need to organize your images into collections. We can't do this with folders, we need to have it in collections. So that means if you don't already have a collection you're gonna click the plus sign that's over here and choose create collection. You're gonna give it a name. This can't be done with smart collections. Smart collections are what you could consider to be saved searches, and it just doesn't work with that, we need a normal kind of collection. Once you've created a collection then you can drag as many images as you'd like on top of that collection so that then we could sit here and view our images. Well, if I have a particular collection that I would like to be able to be viewed online, all I need to do is populate it with however many images I want, and then there's just one little thing I need to do. Let's say I wanna go here and choose this collection called architecture. Well, if I go to the left of the collection there's a little icon that looks like a square and when I hover over it it almost looks like a lightning bolt. If I click that, that means sync this particular collection with Adobe servers online. When you turn that on, it first looks at all your images and it creates smart previews for each one. A smart preview is a lower resolution image, I think it's 2,560 pixels in the width or height, whatever the longest dimension is, and that is similar to a raw file, in fact, it's what's known as a lossy DNG file. It creates those for all these pictures, and then that's what it's sending up to Adobe's servers online. And when I choose that up here, you'll see it's telling me it's syncing, right here, it's counting down, and it counted all the way down, it started at 14, counted all the way down to one. So I can tell when it's done. It's created those smart previews, and now it's uploaded it to Adobe's servers, and I can do that for as many collections as I'd like. So in here maybe I have some pictures of the bus I live on. I'm gonna click that little icon on the left, and will again see syncing 27 photos and all I have to do is wait for it to count down. You could also right click on a collection and you'll find the choice of sync with Lightroom CC, and that does the same thing, it's the same thing as just clicking the icon on the left. So, now if I look over here on my list of collections you'll see that I already have that turned on for some of them, I had it turned on before we started this lesson, and if I wanna see all of them that are currently syncing I can go up to this area, which is where you can filter what folders you're looking at, and if I click on the magnifying glass there's a choice called synced collections, and if I choose that, now I'm only gonna see a list of those collections that are going up to Adobe's servers. It's not uploading the original pictures, it's only uploading smart previews, and I can see it's got 19 images left but I don't have to wait for that to finish because that was only the very last collection I started to upload. So now let's say I wanna view these, and I wanna see it on maybe a friend's machine, or just let's view it on my machine in a web browser. Well, I'm gonna right click on any one of these collections and then I'm gonna find the choice right there, it tells me it's syncing it with Lightroom CC, and then below that it says Lightroom CC links, and I'm going to view it on the web. If I choose that, now it's gonna bring up my web browser, it's gonna go to, and if I've ever logged in before on Adobe's website it should remember that I'm logged in, and it will suddenly show me those images. Now, if I get on somebody else's machine, I go to a neighbor's house and I wanna show my images, I would need to get on a web browser and visit, and then I'd need to log in with my username and my password and then I would be able to see a list of all of the collections that I've told it to sync with Lightroom CC. So on the left side there's the name of all the collections, if I click between them you can see all the images that are in each, and I can get a huge number of these if I'd like, I could have all of my portfolios of all different subject matters in here if I'd like. But that's not all I can do, it's not just viewing these images. I mean, sure, in here I can make a slideshow right here, I just hit that and we can start up a slideshow, or I could limit the number of images that are showing up, that's what this eyeball does on the right, that's like filtering to only show certain things, but there's a lot more that can be done. I'm going to click on this image so therefore I can see a larger version of it, and below the image you'll see that I can mark this by flagging it, or marking it as a reject, and I can also add a rating. Originally this was a two star rating, I'm gonna make it a five star rating just so you can see when I get back to Lightroom that's gonna sync up, and it's going to change to the rating that I've put here. Then let's say over on the right side, here I see a little kinda speech bubble, I'm gonna click on that and let's come in here and see what I can do, I can give it a little, this album is not shared. If I do this as a public share I believe I'll be able to comment on it over here. Let me show you how that's done, let's go back over here to Lightroom. First off, remember that image had its rating changed, and if I go to Lightroom and I view the exact same image, you can see down here at the bottom the rating has changed, it went up to five stars, it used to be, I believe, only two. Now if I want to be able to share this with other people where I don't need to log in with my Adobe ID, instead I want them to be able to do it, I can right click on one of these collections and when I come down here to Lightroom CC links, I can make this collection public because right now it can only be viewed if you know my username and password for my Adobe ID. If I make it public, then I come back and right click on it one more time. It will take it a few minutes because it's changing the settings on Adobe's servers, but eventually these choices above will become available, and when it does, here I can copy a public link that I could email to somebody else, or I can view it on the web where it's in a public form where you don't need to log in to get to it. Let's see if that happens to have updated, yes. So let's view on web. Now instead of seeing all of the various collections this is showing only one, because I've only told it to have one particular one available, and if I click on an image I can again sit here and put a little heart on it, and over here we have our little commenting. There are no comments, but right down at the bottom I can write one, so I might say... And this is going to keep track of who made various comments. If they're signed in with their Adobe ID on the Adobe website, then their picture would be different and their name would be different depending on who ended up coming in here and commenting on it. Now, if I type in a comment like that and I head back to Lightroom, that comment should sync back over here, so if I can find that particular image here it might take it a moment to bring that information over, but on the right side of my screen, and I just saw it come over, I don't know if, you probably didn't notice it, but this little icon right there just appeared and that looks like the little comment bubble. So if I click on the image and go to the right side of my screen when I'm in the library module, one of the choices over there is comments, and there is the comment that was added, and so I can read all those comments. I can also click above and respond to it, say okay. And then I might actually change this image, I'll go to the develop module and I'm gonna come in here and brighten it up a little bit with my exposure, and maybe bring my contrast down a little, and go back to the library. Now, when I do that up here you see it says syncing one photo, that's 'cause I changed a photo and it needs to send that information back up to Adobe servers so it can update the website. Once that's done, and in fact you'll also see this little kinda lightning bolt, you see three periods under it? That means it's busy sending information relating to this particular picture. The lightning bolt means it's being synced to the Cloud and the three periods means it's sending something and it's not quite done yet. So once those three periods disappear, or the text in the upper left disappears, then that should be available online and if I switch to the browser I should see it, I'm just not sure how fast our Internet is on this particular machine, 'cause it usually goes relatively quickly. So let's switch back over there so we can talk about other features, though. So here I can see that it looks dark in this particular area, which tells me that it hasn't updated yet but it should eventually do so, and so I can share individual collections with a public link. Remember, I right clicked on the collection and when I right clicked on it I can say share as a public link, and then I can send that link to anybody I'd like. They're able to comment on it, and if I comment back to them within Lightroom they can revisit that image and see the additional comments that I've made and comment back. Close that up, and if I go back here to Lightroom it looks like it's done sending things so this should be updated in the browser. Now that's if we sent it on a public link. Let's instead go over here and say, let's not go to the public one, 'cause there you're limited in what you can do. Let's just view this on the Internet. If I choose view on web then it doesn't assume that other people can see it, and therefore I can see more information and do more. In this case I can see all of the collections I'm sharing with the Cloud, not just those that I've made public, and if I were to click on a picture, let's say it was this one, if I was at a friend's house, I could in the upper left actually choose edit this photograph, and maybe I decide I didn't like the changes that I made as much, maybe my neighbor decided to instruct me on what else to do to my image, all I need to do is to tell it I would like to edit the photo and now it's loading in that smart preview, and just like it was in Lightroom, here I can darken up the image if I'd like to, I can increase the contrast, again, and maybe adjust some of the color. As I do that, this information is being sent back to the Cloud and back down to Lightroom. What's nice is since Lightroom just saves the changes you make as text, then to send this information back to Lightroom is really simple, it doesn't need to send the photograph itself back to Lightroom, instead it only needs to change the text related to the adjustments I made. So when I increase contrast and I bring it up here to plus 50, then all it's gotta do is send the text contrast over to Lightroom, and then Lightroom will update. So just to show you that it's updated, I'm gonna come in here and make this black and white 'cause I think that will be a more obvious change to the image, and up here in the upper left I'll say save and exit so I no longer have to look at that image. Then once this updates I'll be looking at the end result, in the upper right I have a check box so I can stop, or an X box, I can stop viewing that image, and I see it changed here. I switch over to Lightroom and I find the image right there, it'll take it a few moments because it's sending that text up, I can see the three periods right by that lightning bolt, that tells me it's sending some information about this, and now I see that it's black and white. If I take that picture and I go to the develop module, if I go to the left side of my screen and I look at the history I can tell that that was sent from Lightroom Mobile, and if I don't like those changes I can go over here and back up in my history. I can always go back to the point where I originally was so that if somebody else makes a change to my image by chance when I'm on a web browser and I happen to not like it, you're not stuck with it, it is part of your history. So remember the way that you sync images is you first have to put them in a collection, and if you wanna view all your collections I go over here and choose all, and all I'm doing to get them to be online is I click on the little icon to the left, or I right click and say sync with Lightroom CC. Then if you wanna share it with other people you right click on it once again and you can make that link public. A few minutes later you'd be able to copy that link and email it to somebody else so they could view it and comment, but they won't be able to adjust it, they'll be able to do only a few things. Or if I view it on the Internet, then I'm gonna be able to see all the other collections that are syncing and I will be able to adjust them. So it can be a nice set up, just know that there are extra icons that will appear on your image if you get comments, and that will be an icon that looks like the one you see in the lower right of this image, that's the comment icon. Now, that's not just to send things to a web browser like that, it is going to the Cloud, Adobe's servers, but I can also go over here and get my phone or my tablet and on my phone or tablet I can download, for free, the Lightroom app from Adobe. I just need to go to the app store, I search for Lightroom, and I download the app, and if I log in with my Adobe ID then it knows that if that is the same Adobe ID I use on my desktop to download Lightroom, it knows I'm the same person and therefore here on my phone I can see all those same images. And if I click on one of those, it's gonna show me all the images that are inside. Now, it can take a little bit of time for these to show up as sharp images. If I were to click on one and then start just kinda flippin' through, you might find that they look kinda blurry to begin with, but then as it downloads them then they'll start looking crisp, so know that there can be a bit of a delay between that, it just depends on your Internet speed. When I'm done viewing the contents of a collection I go in the upper left corner, there's a little arrow there that I tap on to go back a level, and I can tap one more time on that arrow to go back to the list of collections. And in here it will let me know which images are raw files and which images are not, you can see that text on top of the image and that just gives me an idea that if I make any adjustments here in this app I'll probably get more fidelity out of the raw files than I will out of ones that are not raw files. What's nice is there's a camera icon in the lower right, you see those blue buttons that are there, and if you use that camera icon you can actually capture raw files from your phone if you have new enough hardware for that to function. So, that can be nice because most of the time when you capture from the normal built-in photos app you're not usually getting raw data, but you can here in Lightroom, and that means it'll be easier to adjust the white balance of an image, and you'll be able to get more shadow and highlight detail out of your pictures if you do capture in raw format. So I can then click on an image to view it and along the right side of my screen you'll find various icons for adjustment, and so if I want to adjust the white balance or things related to color, I can tap on one icon and any changes that I make here I can preview, and it's gonna update that exact same image when I get back to the desktop version of Lightroom, 'cause all it's doing is sending the equivalent to an XMP file, that means a text description of what I've done, sends that up to the Cloud and back down into Lightroom, which is rather nice. There's only one other thing I'd like to be able to show you here, and that is if I go back to my list of collections, the problem with trying to get your portfolio of images onto your phone in this way is this requires the Internet at the moment, and that means if I get on a plane or I'm on a cruise ship and there's no Internet, then I can't access these pictures necessarily, or at least not the high res versions of them. So if I go to the names of any of these collections and I look over to the right side, there are three periods. If I tap on the three periods you're gonna find some options for that particular album, and in here one of the choices is store locally. If I choose store locally, it will tell me how much space that would take up on my device in order to store it, and it also tells me how much space I have available on my device so I can see if I can fit that, and if I hit download it will take it a little bit of time to do so, but now it's actually downloading the full smart previews of each one of these images so that I'll be able to view these even when I'm not on the Internet. Therefore if I'm on a plane, cruise ship, or something else, I'll still be able to show my portfolios and I can see the little check box there indicating, or the down arrow there, indicating that it's bringing 'em down. The other thing we could do here is add photographs that were actually taken on my phone, so that if I get those photographs into Lightroom on my phone, they're also gonna sync back to my desktop. So I come down here, and near that camera icon, right to the left of it, I could add photos that are currently on my phone here. I'll scroll through, and here's a photo I took the other day, I'll tap on it. There's a little check box in the upper right, I tap on it, it says it's going to be adding that. And there's even settings where you could have it automatically import images as you capture them on your phone, and have them automatically uploaded. So it's a nice set up to use, it really depends on how you like to work, but I find it to be an okay way of getting my portfolio onto my phone. I'm gonna turn that off, and let's come back over here into Lightroom and just remember in your Lightroom set up here that you can always filter your collections to only see the ones that are synced, and therefore to let you know which ones are being sent to the Cloud. Also, if you have it automatically add photos on your phone you'll find an extra collection in here that will relate to your device, and therefore you'd be able to see what it's captured. It will also show up in your folders list, right here you'll see Ben's iPhone X, and that's where just like it's acting like a hard drive, here's the photos that I've imported. If I click on that, there's that picture that I actually captured on my iPhone and I now have synced back here. And so that's contained both on my phone and here on my desktop. If I wanna see where it actually stores it if I right click I can say show in finder, and you'll find that there's a special folder. You like the name of the folder? It's this really long jumbled one, but it actually does have that JPEG file on my drive. If I wanted to get rid of that I could always click on this and hit delete, and I can right click on the folder that's here, and if I choose remove then that will no longer show up, so if you just tried it briefly and you don't want it to always be there you're welcome to be able to turn that off. Now let's talk about another way that we can get our pictures to go somewhere else. So far we've seen that we can put them on the Cloud on Adobe's servers, but also I might wanna just have an easy way to always get a picture to a particular folder, let's say I have a portfolio folder on my hard drive and I wanna very quickly be able to add images to it. Well, I could do that with an export preset, or I could do it with something special that is called publish services. Publish services will also allow me to post my images directly to certain websites. If I expand this you'll see that I haven't set up where I could automatically upload to Flickr directly here from Lightroom, I can do the same thing for Facebook, Adobe Stock, and you can add other services here. It is rather limited, the number of services you can add, but sometimes there are plugins that you can purchase to add to this, for instance, there is one for Instagram that I haven't extensively tested, but if you just search for Lightroom Instagram plugin I think you can use it for free, but they want you to contribute $10 if you use it regularly. So, let's look at publish services briefly. If I go to the little plus sign to the right of publish services, I can click, and here it says go to publishing manager, I'll choose that, and this looks just like Lightroom's export screen. The choices you find on the right side are generally the same choices you find when you create an export preset. So here we're simply specifying the settings we'd like to use when an image is sent to Facebook or my hard drive. On the left side are the various services that I could use. Leave as is, okay. But on the left side are the various services that I could publish to, and if I want to add one there's the choice of add down here at the bottom. If I click on add, it just wants to know which one of those types I'd like to do. Let's say I wanna do maybe Facebook, but I want it to go to a different Facebook page or a different album, I could give this the name of an album, when I hit create I'd be able to specify what to use, but in this case I'm just gonna export to our hard drive so I don't have to rely on our Internet connection, and it has the same general settings available for export. So here I'll click on add, I'm gonna say export to my hard drive, I'll give this a name, and I'll call this Portfolio for Projector, 'cause often times I need to show a portfolio of images and they're projected, so I'm gonna size them for that. I'll click create, and then up here we can specify the settings we'd like to use. Well, where should it export to? Well, I wanna have it always export to a specific folder, and so right down here it says folder, I'm gonna hit choose, and I'm gonna go make a folder somewhere on my hard drive. In this case it's gonna be something just temporary for me, but most of the time I'd really think through where it should go, and I could say new folder, and I'm just gonna call this Portfolio, hit create. There it is, and I'll hit choose. So now it knows to put it in a specific folder, I've created that folder, and over here I hit the choose button and it's pointed at it. Next down here we have file naming. Should it change the names of my files when it puts 'em in there? And that's up to you. Most of the time I just leave the file names alone, but sometimes I wanna change the file names just because I want the sorting order to be able to not be dictated by the original naming. For me I'm gonna leave that alone. With video, do I wanna include any files that have video in them, or do I want those to be skipped over, and if I do wanna include video files what file format and quality setting should I use? Here's our file settings, I want it to do JPEG files. The quality I'm gonna keep up real nice and high, and in here I'm gonna choose something called Display P 'cause that's what Apple products use for their displays, like if you have a iPhone or an iPad or you have, I think the new iMacs that's the range of colors it can reproduce. Here for image sizing, I'm gonna make this good for an HD TV, I'm gonna do 1920 by 1080, and yeah, that's set up nicely for HD. For sharpening I'm gonna say yeah, sharpen it, but only for on-screen use. Sharpening for printing usually over-sharpens images, where they look good when they're printed but they look overdone when viewed on screen. And then what information do I want to include with it, do I want my keywords and everything else included? I could choose all metadata, or in my case I'm gonna say only my copyright notice. Then finally at the bottom it says do I wanna watermark my images, and no I don't, but on occasion I might. What I might do is watermark them and just watermark my website address, so if I do show a slideshow on screen as they're looking at the pictures they're reminded of where they could go to see more. Now I'm gonna choose save, and I've made a publish service. Here it's gonna record on my hard drive, it's gonna be called Portfolio. Next I need to add images to that, so let's go in here and look at some portfolio images. I'm gonna come here, maybe grab some images from Iceland, and I'm just going to be dragging them to this area called publish services on top of that thing called Portfolio. So let's see. I like this one, so let's pop it over there, you'll see the number one. I like this one as well, maybe this one, and let's just get a good number of images to use. All right, good enough. Now let's click on that choice called Portfolio. When we click on it, it will say new photos to publish, and that means it hasn't actually saved 'em to that location yet, they're just kind of in staging area ready to be put there, and at the top right there's a button called publish and that's when it's gonna take these pictures, it's going to scale them down to the size I specified, it's gonna change 'em to whatever color mode I specified, sharpen them, and all that, and when I click publish we should end up with two areas in here. One area is called New Photos to Publish, and then there's Published Photos. And once it gets all the images published, there'll be only one heading called Published Photos. Now, if I ever come back and I decide I wanna add additional pictures to this, maybe I come in here and say, I don't want just pictures of Iceland from here, I wanna instead get some from Glacier National Park, and I'm just gonna pull this image, now I gotta get my publish service expanded. I'm just gonna pull this over there, add that as well, and let's add this picture of a bus over there too. Now if I revisit the publish service by clicking here on the word Portfolio, we'll have two sections. Here it says here are pictures that are already been published, meaning they're already in that particular folder, and here are additional ones that have been added since then, and if I hit publish it's going to save them out, put 'em in that location, and then they'll be moved to this section called Published Images. So if I actually look on my hard drive, I'll hide Lightroom, I'll hide the browser that's sitting behind it. Right here is that folder I told it to save to, it's called Portfolio. If I double click on it, there are all the pictures and if I wanted to view them, here I'll hit the spacebar on a Mac, that gives me a preview, I can see that each one has been resized so it fits within the confines of an HD TV size. Now, if I go back to Lightroom, though, what happens if later on I come in and I decide that, well, this picture that we have, I wanna adjust it. So I head to the develop module, and here I don't have to be viewing this within the publish service, this can just be viewing it from within the folder or anything else, just somehow I find that image and I decide that I really would like to go in here and make it black and white, so I hit black and white. Well, now this no longer matches the thing that we published so if I go back to my library and I go back to that publish service, you can see here, it says hey, that's a modified photo that it thinks it needs to republish, whereas down here are the ones it has published so far and this one it thinks it needs to redo. So, in here in the upper right we have that publish button, oops, didn't mean to click there. We have the publish button, and if I do that now it's gonna update that picture. So if I were to go and inspect that folder once again we'll no longer have the color version available, it will instead have this one, and all I ended up doing is I went to the develop module and I made a change to the image. I'm gonna change this back to color so the next time I view that image it's not black and white, and then here I can republish it. You can also do that republishing if you're posting to Facebook. There's no real visual difference when you're using one of your services, the only thing is when you set up a publish service for a thing like Facebook or Flickr, you're asked to log in with your username and password, and if that service offers various galleries, like where you can name a gallery, you can tell it which one you want it to be deposited in, but otherwise it's just like this. So those are publish services, they're not somethin' I use on a regular basis. I find just doing normal exporting is in most cases fine, but it can be nice if you wanna publish directly to Facebook and if you decide not to use this area called publish services, then just right click on its name and just turn off the check box, and it will disappear. It doesn't mean that it's no longer existing, it just means it won't be cluttering up the interface that you use in Lightroom. Now that we've finished talking about the features that just didn't fit into the other days, let's start turning our focus to the best practices you might wanna consider when working with Lightroom. That means just how do you wanna keep your mindset to be most ideal in your set up with Lightroom. Well first, consistency is the key, for me at least. Let's look at the various elements that I use to really amp up my Lightroom set up. First, I try to have unique and useful file names, that way if anybody ever communicates with me about a file and they give me the file name to refer to, there's only one picture that has that particular file name associated with it, and therefore, there can only be one picture that person's referring to. Also, the file name is useful in that it gives me a sense for when was it captured and where might it be stored. So therefore I put the year at the beginning of my file name, then the month, and then the shoot name, that's either the location I was capturing in if that's what's most important about it, like San Francisco, or the subject matter that I might have been capturing, and after that I have a number. That number might be the original number that my camera used because then if I happen to have taken any notes while I was shooting, and I wrote down the number of a picture to refer to, it will still match up with the image that I end up with. Then I try to use standardized folder naming, and so there's a few things to think about when doing that. First, if I use the year, the month, and the shoot name and that matches the images that are contained within it then it's very easy to figure out where can I find those things in my hard drive. A few other things that I do is I add two dashes at the end of a folder name if I'm not using my folder system for that particular shoot. Examples of that would be just random photographs that are not what I would consider to be fine art or just images I'm proud of, they're pictures of my car that I just sold, and I wanna remember what that car looked like, I don't even know if I'm ever gonna process the images but I wanna have 'em on hand. There are insurance photos of my house, just in case there's a forest fire and my house burns down. Well, I need to have those pictures somewhere but I don't think they're ever gonna be done and they're not really in progress, or there's no outtakes, so I just put two dashes at the end of the folder name and then whenever I create smart collections I can always say, is not in a folder that ends with dash dash, therefore I can have it exclude all those kind of random folders full of images that really have nothing to do with my main photography push and so instead I create a lot of sub folders, and that's where I use in progress, meaning for images that still need to be evaluated and worked on, I use outtakes for images that I've already looked at and I don't think they're very good, I don't think I'm ever gonna finish those, I don't think I need to look at 'em again, I throw 'em in the outtakes. I don't throw 'em away because you never know, you might need an element out of one of those images. Sometimes I'm working on a different photograph and I need to do some retouching on it, and I just need a little piece of sky that would look good in here, and I'm gonna go steal it out of one of my outtakes because those were captured on the same day with similar lighting, and so the skies in those pictures might be appropriate to retouch in, that kinda stuff, so I'd rather not throw away my support images. The only time I would do that is once my in progress folder gets to zero, where I'm done processing that entire project, then I can decide, is it worth keeping my outtakes or not? It's up to you, personal choice. Then I have a folder called support images, that's where I put any images that are the base starting image that turned into a derivative file, meaning the original exposures that were merged into a panorama, or had some retouching done in Photoshop. Well, where does the original raw file go? Into the support images. I have folders for personal images, and then other common things that I collect, skies, backgrounds, textures. But if I standardize that, then I can use automation to help us. So then I'm gonna take advantage of as much automation within Lightroom as I can, because it's gonna speed me up and let me really concentrate on shooting and optimizing my images. That means I'm gonna use smart collections, and I can end up going in there and say, well let's find every single picture that is in the outtakes folder. And then I could do things like throw away all the smart previews that are attached to them, or delete the history and it's gonna save some space, but I'm gonna have that option because I've standardized on my naming and then I can use that automation. I also organize my keywords so they're apparent in child kinda relationships, therefore I can tag one keyword, I can type in Coit Tower, and suddenly that's searchable by not only Coit Tower but San Francisco, USA, North America, and possibly even other things. But by doing so, we really become efficient in Lightroom. Then it's really important for me to have redundant backups, and those backups need to be kept up to date. Now, I keep mine on a RAID system. A RAID system just means it has more than one hard drive built into it, and if one drive dies that is redundantly contained on the other drives, so that you don't lose anything, you just have to replace the drive that died with a fresh one, and it can reconstruct what was needed there. An alternative to that is something known as a Drobo. I used to use one of those, but now I use a straight up RAID system. I also maintain an offline, or offsite, I should say, backup, that means one away from whatever building my main Lightroom catalog and images are in, because if there's a fire or a flood I don't want it to affect both my main hard drive storage and my backup, so I keep one offsite, and I also keep one onsite. So it's two backups, one sitting right next to the drive that contains my main storage pool, just in case somethin' happens to that I got a backup, and one offsite. Then we need to think about Lightroom and really make sure it doesn't get out of sync with what's going on on your hard drive, so that means that after I end up importing, I wanna make sure that any changes to file names, folder names, or the location of my pictures are done from within Lightroom, because when I change a file name in Lightroom that same file name got changed on my hard drive. When I drag an image from one folder to another, it moves it on my hard drive. But if I do it outside of Lightroom, when Lightroom's not running and I go into my operating system and I change a name, Lightroom won't be aware that that happened, and the only way Lightroom is keeping track of your images is by remembering the path on your hard drive, that means the name of your hard drive and then the folder structure that it would need to use to get to that file. If you change that, Lightroom will be out of sync with it and suddenly you'll have a folder that has a question mark on it, saying it doesn't know where it is. That's 'cause you changed it without using Lightroom to start it. We're gonna move those files within Lightroom, it'll move 'em on your hard drive. We're gonna open images, if we need to get 'em into Photoshop we're gonna open 'em starting from Lightroom, then Lightroom will be aware that Photoshop has the image and when you save it from Photoshop, Lightroom will update, it will automatically add it and update Lightroom. If, on the other hand, you open it from Photoshop, Lightroom has no idea you're doin' anything, and therefore if you open that file, you make a change, and you save it, Lightroom will look the way it did previously, it won't know about those changes. If we do have it, though, where it gets out of sync, we can fix it. When we're in there and we are working in Photoshop we're gonna save our images in one of two file formats, either TIFF file format or Photoshop file format for any images that needed to be sent to Photoshop and had more work done. Now, when you end up saving, I think it's Photoshop file format, it's gonna ask you on occasion a weird setting. It says, do you wanna maximize the compatibility of your file? And you always wanna turn that on. That's required in order to have that file appear in Lightroom. Then if we ever need to re-edit a layered Photoshop file or TIFF file that's appearing in Lightroom, whenever you try to open it again in Photoshop it'll ask you for some options and the vast majority of the time you wanna choose the choice called edit original. If you choose edit original, then you always get the layers that were in that Photoshop file. If you don't choose edit original, it has to flatten the image and the layers will be all combined together, so most of the time we use that option. And if something gets out of sync, if you forget about it, you happen to add a file to a folder without using Lightroom to do it, or you go to Photoshop and you just made a brand new file, and you do save as and you put it in the same folder as some other images and you head over to Lightroom and you don't see it there, right click on that folder and choose synchronize folder, that'll get Lightroom to inspect that folder and compare it to what it's showing you on screen, and if there's any differences it will update them. Then with file formats, there's only certain file formats that I use. There's a really long list that you can use, especially if you're using Photoshop, but let me show you how I think about 'em. First, there's what I would consider to be working file formats. By working, that means that I might not be done with my picture yet, and the next thing I expect to do is maybe the next day reopen the file and do further work, so it's not a final image yet. And if so, I wanna make sure that file formats that I use, that I limit them to ones that will not degrade the quality of my picture at all. Otherwise, each time I open it, save it, close it, and repeat, the quality would go down, so I wanna limit myself to using generally TIFF and Photoshop file format if I ever open an image into Photoshop. Or I just wanna, if I'm doing everything just in Lightroom I'll just stick with my raw files, and it will save the changes that I've made to it as text, and therefore the quality will be maintained. Then there's another category of file formats that I consider to be delivery file formats. Those would primarily be, the most common would be JPEG and TIFF. Those are for finished images that I don't expect to need to have to open again and make further changes to, and I'm gonna give them to someone else. So I'll use JPEG if the convenience of a small file size is important, and most of the time it is, you wanna email somethin' to somebody else and you don't want it to bounce back saying that message was too big, or you need to fit enough images on a little USB stick drive and you don't wanna wait a half hour for 'em to copy, you want 'em to go pretty quick. JPEG is fine for that. But if you want the utmost quality and you think that the person you're sending this image to, they might open it and make additional changes, you'd get higher quality if you use TIFF file format. TIFF file format, though, is gonna produce a much larger file, so you only use it on occasion when you need the absolute, utmost quality. Then another category of file formats is what I would call archive formats, and that means something for long term storage usually for things that are done, but it doesn't have to be, and the main thing about archive storage is you want it to be archival, which means you wanna make sure it lasts over a long period of time. And the problem with most file formats is there's nothing built into them that allows you to check the files and make sure nothing has been corrupted, like when you copy from one drive to another there's no guarantee that it absolutely perfectly copied and one file didn't get messed up in the process. Well, there is a special file format that would allow you to do that, it's called DNG, it's also known as the digital negative file format, it's from Adobe, and you could use it as your archival file format. What that means is when you're done with your images you could take your really good images and convert them to DNG, because in Lightroom there's a choice called validate DNG and that would actually look on your hard drive, inspect the file, and make sure that nothing's happened to that file to corrupt it, and we don't have that available for other file formats. Also, the DNG file format offers a lossy version that is going to make your files dramatically smaller in size, but will contain more information than a JPEG file would, and therefore when you are done with a project you could take your outtakes folder and convert those to lossy DNG. If you did, they'd probably go down to about a quarter of their normal size, you'd save a lot of space. Since the outtakes are images you don't expect to ever need to use in the future, well at least there you got a higher quality than a JPEG version, and it's a way of saving space, so that's an option. Those are the general file formats that I think of, I actually wanna add, though, one more. It's not so much used from Lightroom, it's mainly used from Photoshop, and that is as a delivery file format. If whatever it is you're working on looks like a graphic, it's more like large expanses of solid color, like text or a logo, then the one file format I would add here for a delivery file format would be PNG, or ping is how it's pronounced, because it does good with solid colored graphics. So if I remember in Photoshop, I wanna save my logo or my signature and I'm gonna use that within Lightroom maybe in my identity plate or in a watermark, then the file format I would use is PNG, it just happened to not be mentioned here. Now let's think about what do I do when I think I'm done with a particular shoot? That would mean that my in progress folder suddenly gets down to zero, there's no more images that need attention. My great looking images are sitting in the base level of the folder, and any images I never need to look at again are sitting in a folder called outtakes. Well, first you could optionally delete the folder that is called in progress. That would just be an indication that you just have no work left. For me, that doesn't matter so much because as long as the numbers next to the folders are there and I see the number zero next to in progress, that's another indication, but you could delete that folder. Your hero images, that means the images that are on your base folders, the one that are done, ready to show the public, and you're proud of, you like them, what I end up doing there is I look through that folder and I look for any similar shots, because I might have ended up with five pictures of a particular scene, all five of 'em look great when I'm done, but I wanna make sure there's only one primary photo for each scene that I capture, therefore if I ever need to show a slideshow no one ever sees five pictures of the exact same scene just slightly different, all good, but that for they could get bored, and so what I end up doing is I take any similar shots that are on the base level folder and I stack them so only the best of that particular composition is on top, therefore when I show a slideshow as long as my stacks are collapsed all those other extra images, that are still good, will be hidden. I also consider rating images, because if I end up with a folder that has more than maybe a dozen pictures in it, instead I get a folder with 95 images in it, then if I ever wanna show a slideshow I put my absolute best images, I give 'em five stars, and by absolute best I mean, if I were to create a portfolio called best of Ben that has nothing to do with any particular subject matter, they're just the best photos I think I've ever taken, that's what I assign five stars to. Not the best of one particular subject matter, but the best photographs I've ever taken get five stars. The hero of a shoot, meaning the best pictures of a particular shoot, I give four stars, and then I think of three stars as just being secondary level, so therefore if I ever go to a folder and I wanna show a slideshow to somebody and I look and I say, there's 95 shots in that folder, I'm just gonna narrow it down based on stars to say okay, what happens if I bring this only to five star images? Oh, I only got one. What if I add four star images? Well, now I got 10, and maybe that's just enough for a quick slideshow, so I try to use the ratings to help me so I never end up with a situation where I have just way too many images. I want it to be where I can make a slideshow and show somebody something within seconds, and doing so helps. I try to keyword all of my base level images, that means all the images that are done and ready to show the public, and those particular images I can usually find through a smart collection. What I do is I make a smart collection that says the image is not in a folder called outtakes, the image is not in a folder called in progress, it's not in backgrounds, it's not in textures, and all my standardized folder names I say it's not, it's not, it's not. I also say it's not in a folder with two dashes on the end, 'cause that means it's not in my folder system, and if I actually work through that, and it takes a little while to actually think through all the various sub folders you might have, I can relatively easily get Lightroom to collect those images, those are the ones I wanna keyword, 'cause remember that the ultimate goal is to find any memorable image in five seconds or less. The only way we can do that is to get our images keyworded, and so I try to get all what I might call my hero images, those are the base level images, keyworded. The outtakes I mentioned you could convert to lossy DNG. You're gonna end up saving about 3/4 of the amount of space, and also you could remove any smart previews that are attached to them, that's gonna also make your Lightroom catalog folder smaller. If you want to speed up Lightroom, you could take your outtakes and you could clear the history, and that's gonna make your Lightroom catalog file smaller, more streamlined, and therefore faster. And if you're really done, you could just remove the outtakes folder from Lightroom, just right click on it and say remove. I didn't say delete, just remove, meaning I don't need to see those pictures, therefore they won't show up when you do searches and that kinda thing, it's an optional step. I personally don't do that, but if I didn't teach and when I finalized a folder I can consider just, let's remove the outtakes from Lightroom but leave 'em on the hard drive just in case I ever need 'em. Then I mentioned publish services. When I'm done with a shoot, I might take my best images and say hey, do they belong in my portfolio? And if they do, I'm gonna drag them down to a publish service that is set up specifically to put 'em in my portfolio. We did that earlier in this lesson. One other thing you could do to finalize a project or a shoot is if you wanted to, you could select that folder and go up to the file menu and say export as catalog, and that would mean it's gonna make a miniature Lightroom catalog that only refers to those images that you had selected at the time you exported it, and you could put that along with your backup for those images. So if you ever, you know, 10 years from now needed to go look at that project, instead of having to go to your full Lightroom master catalog, and try to find those images, you could have one little catalog file that refers to every image that is in that particular project. You exported it as a catalog so it's separate, kinda self-contained, then you'd have something you could easily go to. That's really optional, not everybody needs it, but it's something to think about. So let's think about what we've done here. We've been going through Lightroom for a month, that was four weeks of time, 20 lessons, and if you think back to what we've done, at the beginning I wanted to give you a firm foundation because I find a lot of people use Lightroom but they don't understand it, and therefore they do a lot of things that can mess Lightroom up, like changing file names or moving things and not thinkin' about how that'll affect Lightroom. So we gave you that firm foundation and knowledge on the first time, therefore you know what's stored in your Lightroom catalog file, how can you rename it, what should I do for setting things up for folders. The second week we started getting into adjusting our images and we started organizing them, started to get 'em so you can search for them by typing command F and just start start typing the name of what you can think of that you wanna find in a photograph. In the third week we look at special features. We made books, we stitched panoramas, we converted images to black and white, we did all sorts of things, and then finally on the last week we tried to fine-tune everything. We looked at what kind of troubleshooting might you need to know about, what little tips would you need to know as well to become really good at using Lightroom, how do you get your images to Photoshop and back again as many times around that way that you want to, making changes on both sides, both Lightroom and Photoshop, then how could I get my images on the Internet, or get it in a portfolio very quickly. But know that the ultimate way to truly understand this stuff, if all you've been doing is watching these videos then things go by too fast. Ideally, you should be able to pause this video. You can pause it, get over to Lightroom, try it on your own images, and then come back. And if you didn't quite get it, rewind it, play it back again until you truly can do it yourself without having to refer to the videos. But I don't expect you to remember everything, so with this class if you purchase it you get a workbook, and the workbook is kinda your overall memory. You can refer to it any time you need to remember the general steps for a technique, and if there's not enough in the workbook, you really want the granular part of it, you could go back and watch that video. And for each lesson, you get homework if you purchase. Homework gets you to think about everything we covered on screen here, but actually start applying it so that you're good at it before you need to start doing it for the first time with your own images. You also get a lot of extras, develop presets, keyword starting set, those little end marks at the end of your panels that remind you of keyboard shortcuts, and the folder system that I use. So ultimately, purchasing the class is where you're gonna get the most out of Lightroom. But this, over 20 days worth of time, I really hope transforms your mindset about using Lightroom, because for me, I look forward to getting in front of Lightroom every single time that I do and if you make it over that little hump that you have to do to understand how to set up presets when you import, presets when you export, presets when you print, presets for all sorts of things, then suddenly your life becomes streamlined, and when it's streamlined then you can primarily think about shooting, which is what I really like to do, and optimizing my pictures, and everything else becomes either automated or streamlined, and that's what I hope you can do if you review all 20 days of this class and purchase if you really wanna get the most out of it. I hope to see you guys back here again one day, thanks for joining us.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Week 1 Workbook
Week 1 Homework
Week 2 Workbook
Week 2 Homework
Week 3 Workbook
Week 3 Homework
Week 4 Workbook
Week 4 Homework
Week 4 Catalog
Develop Presets
Develop Presets Pre 7.3
Lightroom Endmarks
Develop Presets Guide
Lightroom Keywords Guide
Lightroom Keywords Sampler
Lightroom Endmarks Guide
Ben's Smart Collections
Lightroom Classic Q&A (very large 3+ gb zip file)

Ratings and Reviews

fbuser 199e5619

Just wow! Ben is such an amazing instructor - he is able to explain everything very succinctly and in just enough detail that your eyes don't start glazing over. I've used Photoshop for over 20 years and have been afraid (and didn't really want to learn yet another program) of using Lightroom, until I've heard how awesome it is from my fellow photographer friends. This course is extremely comprehensive and if you're a more experienced user, you can skip some of the lessons and just watch the ones you want - but even experienced users might get at least a few nuggets of information that they didn't know in every lesson. Highly recommend! And thank you, Ben. P.S. You're wife and her yoga poses are amazing. I just got into yoga a few months ago and can only hope to be half as good as she is! :o)


I was taking a lightroom course from another provider and decided to give Creative live a shot as I wasn't happy with the other class. This class blows that one out of the water! I love the detailed instructions, he goes at a good pace and I love the transcription (I didn't even know that was there until I scrolled down). I would definitely recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn lightroom. Thank you Ben for giving this great class!


I have been searching for something to help me with my images. I am fairly confident with my ability to take nice photos but sometimes they need help. I might actually enjoy editing now!

Student Work