Organize, rate, and cull
So we're going to start with assuming that you have taken the cards out of your camera and you have put them onto an external hard drive or your laptop itself or your desktop or wherever they're going to be stored. You've taken them at your camera into the computer and you've exported them just as files, you've highlighted them all and drag them over to the folder and the organization that you want. Now, I've already preemptively done this with this wedding. I'm going to show you an example of a bigger wedding that I've shot. So we can really see the power of organization in file structures before we get into lightroom. This is going to be a huge help later on. I'm a big believer in organizing early on. So that when you're exporting and delivering or if you ever need to go back or you need to get stuff for your portfolio, everything is there and it's consistent. So try to stay consistent if you can. So let's go to my desktop here really quick. I'll show you basically here's the hard dr...
ive that I'm using. I title the main folder, the name of the groom and the bride or the bride and bride, groom and groom Rachel plus Michael. That way, I just always know when you start to build a relationship with those names. So you can remember, I've created a raw photos folder and that's where each one of my SD card drops goes. So you can see 123456 SD cards I used uh and actually I think it probably my camera built other folders as we were going on throughout the day. But I shot a lot at this wedding. I was using two cameras both around me. I was the only photographer. It was an all day thing. I also did a rehearsal dinner the night before. So we'll talk about that. I've separated that a little bit. But again, the main thing is folder, raw photos I've uploaded, I've downloaded all the photos to all these folders. It doesn't necessarily matter what these are titled just that they're all there. Again, my camera made folders and I just dumped them in there with the SD cards. Now, I've also made already preemptively before the class. Now you can make it a folder that's titled Lightroom. I just title it that so that I know where all my lightroom extras are going to go. This may seem a little redundant. You can change your file structure. This is just the way I do it because sometimes I'll start to have multiple lightroom classic projects within one wedding in case I need to go back, I'll create another one. It's just or organizationally. It's good for me. So I've titled it when I opened Lightroom, I hit new catalog and I titled it Rachel and Michael and I called this one actually culling and organizing because that's what we're going to be going through on this. So Rachel and Michael culling and organizing and you can see it has not made the project file yet because I just came over from a different catalog. I use different catalogs for every single project. Let me repeat that again. I use different catalogs for every different wedding project. So one couple has their own catalog. Another couple has their own catalog. Again, it just keeps me organized and able to archive things if I need to without affecting other weddings. I think lightroom runs faster when it's only one project at a time. Lightroom Classic we're using, of course. Um It just keeps everything organized for me. So let's go ahead and open up Lightroom Classic and it should open this new catalog that we had started here. We are now this is a blank canvas lightroom. And what we're going to do is making sure we're in the library setting. We're going to go down to import and you know, there's always a million ways of doing this. We're going to go to our drive where we have stored this and I've put this on the T seven working photography, Wedding Rachel and Michael. And I'm going to click on raw photos. And here all are the photos you need to remember to click include sub folders in the upper left because you know, it may not do that. If it doesn't click as uh include sub folders, it's actually going to just show you um photos within a folder. So if your file structure, you have multiple SD cards or you've created uh multiple folders within your single SD card, you're gonna have to click include sub folders. So they all show up, they will all be check marked. Now, there are a million ways to skin a cat, right? Like we can actually open this from our SD card and have lightroom, take them from the SD card and put them in drive and import them in the light room at the same time. I don't like doing that. That gets a little confusing. It is a wonderful workflow, I think for some people um especially if you have time if you're coming in and just like letting it run and go, get a cup of coffee or whatever. I like to physically take the files and find her from my SD card and drag them over to my hard drive lightroom will do that for you. You can totally do that. Um But I don't. So in this case, we're just adding them the catalog. If you were going to do that, we would click move where they would move the photos to new location and add them to the catalog. But we are just going to add them to the catalog because they're already um where we want them to be the physical photos, they're, they're good. Leave them there. So we just want to add them to the catalog. I always click. Don't import suspected duplicates. Sometimes in that process, there's an error where I may have actually dragged over a couple and you know, that's no fun. Building smart previews is nice. If your computer can handle it, it'll help you call and go through things sooner than later. Um It's going to do this no matter what. Uh if you have it selected, if you unselected, it might be slower as you're moving through files. Um Sometimes a lot of cameras these days actually build the previews in camera and they will be pulled over. So you may not need to go through this depending on the camera that you're using. You can also add collections. I uh would do that. If I had already built a catalog, we could start building the collections, but right now we have zero. We're just getting them into the catalog right now. This is also a really great way if we were moving them to make a copy and have it go to a backup drive. Um Again, lightroom will do all this for you. It just depends on how you want your workflow to be simplest, put the photos on your drive, import them into light room. That is the easiest, most simple way uh to start and you're just adding them in the catalog. So what we would do now is you can see uh I don't know as if there's a count anywhere here, but you can see by thumbnails if I zoom all the way out, it's a lot of photos and we can go all the way down and these are like every single photo I took, right? The ones out of focus, the dark ones, the bright ones, the rehearsal dinner, the dancing. If we go all the way down here, sometimes there's a number that pops up but I don't see it anywhere. See sometimes I'm learning new lightroom things anyway, but it's a lot. So normally if they're all check marked, you can go here and add uh develop settings if you want already again, I wouldn't do that. Starting out. That's a little bit more advanced. Um Same with the metadata. You can include it or you can create your own like company metadata that you can plug in. Add keywords if you're gonna have a big lightroom catalog, but we're just simple, right. Add in the catalog, hit import and it will start importing. I'm gonna stop us right now because for my lightroom to do all this, you can see the progress in the upper left bar. It is going to take a while and I have already done this. So let's fast forward and I'm gonna pull up my lightroom catalog that I've already used in working with this couple. Ok. So we're back in my full light room for Rachel and Michael. And you can see at the top here, Rachel and Michael. Um I had to update my catalog since I've used this for a while. So it gave me a version uh 12, which is like a newer version of it. Now, all our photos are imported and you can see that I've already started rating, you can see some stars and things. Um And they're all in my system. Now, what we want to do to start with is there's two things I tend to do one or the other to start with and that is organization organizing and that is organizing and, or cataloging and rating culling if you will. Um Basically, we need to go through all the photos and we need to decide which ones are the best ones that we want to edit, which ones are the ones we don't want to edit and then we want to start organizing them into sections. Now, the way lightroom lets you do this, there's three different ways to do that. You can color code, you can rate them with stars or you can flag them as pics, you can develop your own way of doing it. I'm going to show you how I do it. I use star rating and then I use color rating. The star ratings is really great because you can go through them multiple times and you can also organize them by lower ratings or higher ratings. If you do that with flags, you can really only do either it is or it isn't. And in doing this, having the star rating, you really have a little bit more flexibility in deciding what level you are actually pulling out. So let's go in and I will go and show you um proofs. Basically, I've created two different types of things. In lightroom. There are collection sets and there are collections, the collections are groups of photos, think of them like albums, the collection sets are collections of those albums. So basically, it's like a folder and then a sub folder. This is the final light room. So you're seeing all my work already done and you can see in lightroom, the little icons here, a collection set is more of like a box and the collection is more of just photos. So in this box, I have different collections, different collections inside this bigger collection set. And eventually when you get through all these, I want you to be able to have a collection set that is titled Final Edits and then you can separate them however you see fit into different categories because that's I think the most efficient way to deliver your photos for different couples. I like delivering this way and separating them in the albums so that it's easier for them to share with guests. Um Some guests don't need to see the pre the pre photos, they only need to see the reception or they only need to see the formal photos. And this way you can also get to what you need to get to a lot faster. So you can see this folder has all my final edits of formal photos and these are just the posed photos. I don't have to cycle through all the dance photos or cycle through all the whatever photos. So I like to just go ahead and dive in and start rating. Now, if we were going to go to all photographs, which is what we had just done, we imported everything. That's a good place to start. You'd go into all photos and then let's say that we start at the beginning of the day and it looks like I started with the wedding dress. Um And that's great. That was my first shot. Now, what I'll sit here and do is I will turn on some good music, maybe get a cup of coffee and I will tediously press right on the arrow key and we will go through each photo. Now, I wonder if I can make this video. I'm making this bigger a little bit here for you. So you can see right now. I don't have any filter set so I can see all the photos. I don't have to like actually only see the rated ones or only see the green ones, whatever we're looking at all the photos and you can see in this bottom left corner. I gave this a number three rating with the stars and how I did that was I just hit the number three set rating to three. I could set a 212345 up to 55. That's it. Five is the highest rated photo in this in light room in this catalog, we set it to a rating of three because you know, I think I like it but it's not there. And I know in my head I probably took a better photo than this. And in fact, I can see down below in the right, I can see that there are some better photos coming up. So I'm going to give it a three because I may want to use it. I may not want to use it. And three is my base, my absolute base of editing of um sorry, it's my base of rating. So if we start at three, I tend to use my left hand upon the arrow so I can go quickly and my right hand is over my new number P I don't even use the mouse during this process. So we'll hit right. That's too dark. I'm gonna leave it at zero. I'm not gonna mark it. I'm gonna go again. Still too dark. Nice and close again. I think I took better photos. We'll go, we'll go, that's an even nicer and better one. I'll give that a rating four and it looks like I had already given it a rating four because that looks like that could be a good photo and I'll be able to edit it and it's gonna be awesome. I don't need these other photos. Now, if you look back, we've only gone through 123456 photos of the 4000 that we took and we're doing slow because I'm talking but of these six photos, only one was worth giving four stars, which means our ratio of photos that we've taken. The photos that we delivered is gonna be one out of six pretty wild to think about. But in a, in a wedding where you're taking 4000 photos like we had talked about earlier and you're not missing a shot, you're not gonna deliver that many photos. At least you're making more work for yourself. If you are, I'm probably only gonna end up delivering and we can look at the count around all these total on the left, close to 405 100 out of 4000. And this is how we get down to that number as you practice as you get good at this. Uh doing this, it will come practice, practice, practice, practice, know what you like, know what you're capable of editing, know what your customers like this will come faster. It just takes time and it's frustrating because there's a lot of photos but it will come. So let's just go on a little further again. You can see how I rate it in the bottom. This one's a four, that's a zero, that's a five and not only is that one, a five, but it looks like I may have done a little editing to it if we jump over to the develop. No, let's write at a camera that looks pretty good. But the next photo number 281 definitely a lot brighter, right? Five stars. It has a little icon that we have edited it, it, we have taken it under the editing and if we jump over to the develop, we can see we have made edits to this in the future. Um But we can see that I picked that one specifically. We're back in the library specifically um over all these other ones. I maybe gave that one a five star rating, but it didn't look like it made it to my proofs collection um which we'll talk about in a bit, but there's the edit. So if I hit the back uh slash under the delete tab on the keyboard, when we're in the develop tab, it will show us what it was before and after before and after you could see the before looks just like it looks just like the other photos but we brought that one out because I could tell that that was gonna be a good one. The photo next to it. 282. It looks like it was a uh a different version of it. And if you look very closely, let's look at the edit, we can see that there's more of a vignette in it as opposed to just it being plain. So you can see how culling is going to get us to that point. Now, I don't want to go through this entire wedding, but you can see another very quickly gave that 15 stars. That one had no stars very similar, but I took two photos very quickly. Um And this is how we would go through the entire wedding. Now maybe let's jump over. We'll go to the library and we'll jump over to uh let's zoom out so I can show you a lot of them and we'll look at this same process, pre wedding, pre wedding, pre wedding, everyone's getting ready. We'll look at the same process when we go into formal photos. Now look it down below. We have our little slider here and you can see this one's got four stars, this one's got four stars and it's edited, which means it's, it was our winner and the next one has no stars and it's not edited. So I may have taken 1234 photos, five photos, six photos of them just looking right at us, but I only chose two and of the two, it, and it ended up just being the one and that's because let's see what's wrong with this one. This one, I think I was a little bit too far. I also, they're a little bigger in frame. These are the same photo. It's just showing the edit. This one, his eyes a little closed. This one, the framing is a little off because one arm's cut off and one's not so, you know, these, I didn't like them looking at each, so I just didn't think they were good. So I didn't select them. This one was like a really nice candid one. So I made it a three. But when I got farther along, I discovered it looks like it's not in focus. So dub trash, not rated again. Same thing. I didn't really like the framing in this one and his hand is just kind of hanging there also looks like there's something in the bottom right frame. Next one rated at three, but he's kind of looking in a weird direction. Next one was worse. He cut off on the left side because I was moving too quickly and probably talking to them at the same time. Here's a winner, four ratings and, uh, looks good. Let's look at the edit. Bam. I cropped in a little bit and, uh, brought up the brightness, you know, all the things that we're gonna get to very soon. But again, looking at all your photos, rating them, getting them to the four, the five stars. However many times you want to go through them, sometimes I'll go through them five times. Um Other times it's usually three starts with a rating of three, then goes to four, then goes to five. And then if I want to pull out specific ones, I'll make them colors. So if I wanna go, hey, you know what I know, I want to share that on photo and friends plus and get some comments on it. But I'm gonna come back to it later. I'm gonna find all the ones that I want to share. I'm gonna hit six, the number six on my keypad 78 or nine and it will color code them. So six is red, seven is yellow, eight is green, nine is blue and then we can select, let me see all the only blue photos. Let me see only the red photos and then we'll be able to isolate those and take those out and share them. However, we want to do that. Now for now, let's uh you hit the label again and it'll take away that label. So that being said, if we look at all our photographs and we have that selected and we apply the filter down here to three stars. Let's start with three stars. Now, here's that number I was talking about earlier. Here are all the photos that I selected at three stars for this wedding. If we go all the way down to the bottom, we look at 1970 photos. So I, I called or I went through the entire thing and rated them at three stars or above. I used the filter to tell me I only want to see what's three stars and above. And now it's showing me only three stars and above. Now I know over here that there's 495 proofs, which means that I probably went through it again again. So let's go to four stars. Let's see what I did. Boom. Now, here are the photos that I selected as four stars. We'll move down to the bottom. Let's just see 1398. Now that's 600 photos less that I nixed five stars. What do we think? Uh So these are the cream of the crop. These are the ones that I probably shared in a preview or I shared with you guys in class. Um And I pulled them out and they are, they are the exceptionally good ones uh at five stars. Um especially maybe for like the previews and stuff. This one's one of my favorite wedding photos I've taken like ever. Um So yeah, you can see how the rating system is. Something that's really awesome and will let you do a lot of organizing. So let's go back to three stars. Really quick. We'll go back to our thumbnails. So we're at uh well, four stars, we're at four stars and we're seeing them now, if I had gone through all of them, and I'm at four stars, no matter what number it is. 1398 this is how I start to organize them into collections. So I'll hit command a to select all of those photos are at four stars or above. And I can now go over and create a collection, create a collection. And I will say, OK, four stars above or I'll call them proofs or I'll call them selects or I'll call them my favorites or the full wedding, you know, whatever you want to do as far as your organization goes, I would usually probably call these proofs because these are gonna be and there's already a folder there. So it's not gonna let me, but these are going to be the ones that I am going to organize into the folders into the, you know, pre ceremony, ceremony, reception, portraits, formals uh and make them the edits. So now that they're proofs, I would hit, let's put them inside the inside the collection set which remembers the hierarchy level. There'll be final edits, which is where we would end up organizing them. And I would say include selected photos, making sure that it pulls the ones that I've selected. I don't make new virtual copies because I'm not gonna change editing. I'm just organizing right now and I would hit create, I'm not gonna do that right now because I've already done that. But that would then create this proofs folder, which I'd already done. And um, let's see, it looks like most of them are already selected from that last select, all we did. But you can see now, all my proofs that I had decided were the best ones, 44 are in this folder and it ended up being 495. Now, at this point, this is when I would have the time and the effort to put them into different sections within the collection set. And what I did for this wedding, it's different, right? Because not every wedding, you're shooting the pre ceremony for not every wedding you're doing um the reception, this one, I did a wedding rehearsal folder. So I dump I selected all those and then I did a let's skip over the black white. I did a dinner and dancing photos. So that includes speeches. Um It includes, you know, the candids of speeches, the dinner, the eating a lot of this stuff, right? I did formal photos. So that's basically anytime anyone was standing in front of me posing for something and those are all in one in one section. And then I did M and R Michael and Rachel wedding edits. Now, the reason I did this was because I sort of married the pre ceremony and the ceremony as like the wedding. In one thing I figured that is kind of like the core of what they are going to need and want to look for and, and this includes them hanging out with their friends. Uh It includes them getting ready. The first, the first look is also included in here which remember we talked about the demo earlier. This is the same exact method that I used earlier and then a couple of just portraits while we were waiting around for people, while we were waiting for people to come and take the formal photos and then the candids of them waiting to go into the ceremony along with the actual ceremony stuff which I think we get to right in here. So that's one section right here. And then finally, I call them vineyard portraits because we were in Napa and it was a vineyard and these would just be like the portrait section and that's just the two of them where we went and did um photos of just the two of them really. And so I like this because I've now I've organized them into all these sections and I've organized them by rating. And once they're in these sections, I can now go in and I can edit them and often times all the formal photos are going to be very similar in editing. So I'm just going to be in that mindset for editing those photos or the wedding, the pre wedding and the ceremony are all going to be very similar edits, right. The lighting is going to be similar. You're going to have the same lenses generally. Um, again, with the portraits, I'm just focusing on the two of them, the people, I'm going to get used to the parts that I need to retouch on them specifically and I'll be able to move from photo to photo more easily. Um the dinner and dancing, you know, all that stuff is gonna be the same lighting situation, but it's gonna be different from, you know, the formal photos. So when you sit down to edit your brain can kind of wrap yourself around how to edit that specific group or that thing of photos and it will help you be a little bit more efficient. Um Something we'll touch on again later about efficiency. But keep that in mind, organizing and getting this stuff set before you dive deep into it is really important. Now, here's the other thing I do black and white photos and I love it, but it's a different editing set and I know it's going to be. So while I am editing all these photos, I will actually think, hey, you know, this photo would make a really great black and white, but I need to edit it in a black and white way. I'm going to go ahead and mark it as green and when I'm done, I'll go to the proofs after I've edited all of them, the big folder again and I'll mark, I want to see all the green ones. Uh It must be in all these dinner rehearsal. I wanna see all the green ones, all photographs. I wanna see all the green ones and those are the ones that I want to make black and white and I'll make my own section for those. But something different in this time is I will edit them first and then I will go back and select them as green. And then you can see there's two of them here. And then remember when we said, let's just take two. For example, when we wanted to create a collection, create a collection and make it black and white inside collection set. Yeah, we're gonna put it in the final edits. But this time we're gonna click make new virtual copies because I don't want to destroy my color edits that I've already done. I want to create a whole new black and white edit so that when I go through exporting everything I can export the colors and I can export the black and whites. And I don't have to worry about all those uh edits being destroyed. If I'm making them black and white all of a sudden or if I need to go back and pull stuff, I'll know. So the process would be for that organized edit, decide what you want is gonna be black and white or a special edit while you're editing because a lot of times you don't want to go back and retouch faces and stuff, you just want to change the color or change the look of it. We're going to then find those and then export them to another collection as a virtual copy. I know that's a lot right now, but that is sort of an advanced uh spot that we can talk about later. And the big thing to take away from this is calling through your photos, organizing them getting straight and set with what you're going to edit because as soon as you're done organizing and you got them rated and they're colored or however you're going to do it, you can focus on just editing and then when you're done editing, you can focus on exporting them correctly in a very organized manner that is pleasing to your client, which is in the end, the most important thing. Um There has been a lot of trial and error for me because I've been doing this for so long. But this has been the best method that I found for long term as well when you're trying to go back and find the best photos. So let's go on to the next lesson. Good job.