Skip to main content

Landscape Photography

Lesson 19 of 27

Post Processing: Importing into Lightroom

Marc Muench

Landscape Photography

Marc Muench

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

19. Post Processing: Importing into Lightroom
Start fine-tuning those landscape shots inside Adobe Lightroom. Learn how to add photos to Lightroom, how to organize images, and tips for adding images to make them easy to find later.

Lesson Info

Post Processing: Importing into Lightroom

Everything you've done up until this point is a lot of capture, and that's what I've been talking about, so we're gonna deviate from that, of course, and go into post. I guess all I have to intro this with is really some people like it, some don't. All right? So it depends on your personality, how much time you're gonna spend sitting behind the computer depends on your personality. And some of this stuff is going to require a lot of patience. So in the end, as I mentioned in the beginning of the course yesterday, you know, the patience that nature requires to get these pictures, unfortunately the computer and the software requires to process them. So you do have one alternative, and that is to ship them away and get them processed by somebody else. But, I don't really think that's the way I wanted to go, so I ended up learning all this stuff just kind of through trial and error, honestly. Because when I went to school there was no school on digital photography. So, Photoshop came out a...

nd a lot of the first, I guess, conferences where Photoshop was taught, speakers would get up and the next speaker would come up after them and say, "Disregard everything they said. Here's the reality." So there was a lot of smoke and mirrors when I first started this whole process. And fortunately now things have settled down. The software has become much more efficient, and because of that the software that I like to use is Adobe Lightroom, and that's what I'm gonna be teaching with in this class. And I also recommend it. A couple things. Some of you might have just Adobe Bridge that came with Photoshop, and that program does everything. The things are in a different position. Okay, so, Adobe Lightroom, everything I'm gonna show you with the filters and the sliders and the masks, all that, is in Adobe Bridge, but it's in a different place, and so without going crazy showing you both, I'm gonna show you in Lightroom. Because I really think Lightroom has the advantage, and that is that it gives you this ability to find your images outside of folders. Adobe Bridge is folder-based database, and you have to look in a folder to find a picture. Sometimes you can do a search, but essentially, Lightroom is gonna give you the ability to use collections. So I'm gonna give you tips on how to mark your folders, mark your pictures, flag em, and then eventually find them through collections. So, to start, I think the first thing about Lightroom is it offers you the opportunity to create as many catalogs as you want. And the only time I deviate from creating a different catalog is when I come to Creative Live or give a class. But otherwise, all of my catalogs, all of my pictures, are in one catalog, and I call it a master catalog, and that sits on a big hard drive in my office, which has a bunch of hard drives in it, and it's called a RAID. And so Lightroom is running on an iMac right now, and then it's hooked up to that RAID. All my pictures are stored on that RAID, including I think I have 280,000 pictures or files or something like that, all in one catalog. And the key is is then I can go in there and I can look through my collections, I can look through the folders, and I can find everything I've ever taken that I would ever want to see inside one catalog. Because if you don't do that, if you want to see pictures in another catalog, you hae to come up and say Open Catalog. And then it shuts down the current one you're in, and then it opens up the other one, and you can't search, cross reference those. Okay? So, I use one catalog most of the time. The best thing to know also is about where you store those pictures. And I always put them in what I call the tree of images, and so basically, Lightroom is set up to import pictures based on the day. Well what I do is I create a folder on the hard drive, and I call it Marc's images, and that's inside the pictures directory. And inside there I have the years, and inside the years I have the locations. And so this is able to address most of my shooting situations pretty much. I have one folder that I call personal on my computer at home, and that's where I put everything I take personally for the year, put it all in one folder. Because I don't need separate day folders. And I'll go into showing you how to turn that feature off when you import. So, the digital workflow on a shoot is pretty much take the pictures, fill the cards, and then import those to the computer, and then save a third copy somewhere else on an external hard drive. So often times I'll come back, stick the card in, import it to the computer, and now I have two copies of the pictures, one on the camera card and one on the computer. If it's critical and I do have an external hard drive, like I said, I want to put it in a third spot, there's a place in Lightroom where you can make a third copy at the same time. I wanna show you some of the preferences that I use or that I recommend changing in your catalog. And if you go up to Lightroom and Preferences, the big one is, I'll just start with General. All right, these are just settings, you can show the splash screen at startup. Don't worry too much about that. Treat JPEG files next to the raw files as separate photos. That brings up a good point. I really don't photograph JPEG files, so if your photographing JPEGS plus raws, though, and you want to see them separately, this is kind of handy. But I think for most of the work and most of the people in landscape photography, all you want to care about is taking that raw file. You can create a beautiful JPEG by importing it, changing a couple things, and exporting to JPEG so fast it'll be better than most of the JPEGs coming out of the camera, or just about all of them. Apply auto tone adjustments. I really don't want to do that when I import. Apply auto mix when first converting to black and white. That's very helpful. That's an actual default that is set up the way it is, so I recommend leaving that on, and I'll talk about converting to a black and white and what that means. All right, so External Editing. This is where later in the day I'm gonna go into Photoshop, and I'm gonna show you how to not only stitch images, but then I'm gonna show you how to manually blend, and what matters here is making sure that, I usually use a TIFF file. Color Space I use is ProPhoto RGB. And then I keep it in 16 bits so that it doesn't lose all that information when I go from Lightroom over to Photoshop. Resolution, just leave it at 240, no compression. Okay? You can also do the same thing, if it's critical, if you have an application that's plugged in, or a plug in, like Silver Efex Pro, or there's a number of other ones that'll offer you the same thing. Okay, File Handling. Again, the question comes up often, should I convert to a DNG file or not? And really it just comes down to how much time you want to take when you're importing your pictures. Because I don't typically convert to a DNG when I'm importing. I'm out in the field. I just want to get the pictures in and look at them or just get them copied and saved. So converting to a DNG while you're importing takes typically almost twice as long. So, at least in my experience. So I don't bother converting it, but when you do want to convert it you don't need to embed the original raw file because then you'll have two files, same thing. So I'll give you just a little brief description. A DNG file is nothing other than a file that could be opened on another software program, potentially on Mars in 500 years. So, kidding aside, it's a nonproprietary raw format, so that other software can open it and hopefully in the future. Because remember, if you don't have some software to open and convert these raw files to TIFF or JPEg, the raw file is no good. It looks like a bunch of ones and zeros. And that actually becomes an issue with archives, especially at collections of images. You know, a lot of these publishers have large databases of images and they really have to make sure that they're gonna be able to get at those files. So, I'm just telling you guys you don't need to embed the original raw file because you're taking it from a raw to a DNG, that's all you need to know. All right, and the rest of these are interface stuff, nothing that's really going to apply to what we're doing now. At least what I want to talk about. So those are some of the preferences I want you to consider, except for one more which is Catalog Settings. It's actually in the preferences general tab, but I'm gonna go to it separately here. General, File Handling, and Metadata. In general, the catalog is going to back itself up, and the reason I bring this up is that a lot of times people think that this might back up your images files as well, but it really doesn't. This is backing up the catalog file only. So you have to back up your images separately. In this case, this catalog is called Creative Live, and I'm backing it up to a specific location, and that's what that's telling me right there. It asks me when do I want to do it? I typically don't choose never. I want to do it once a week. But the reality is, you want to do it once you've spent enough time in Lightroom on images. So if you go in there and you spend two or three hours working on images. the next time you leave Lightroom you might want to choose when exiting next. Because then it'll back it up right then. If you don't do that, there's a chance you could lose all of that two to three hours, four hours of work. Okay? So that file gets backed up somewhere else, and remember though, the image files get backed up separately, and so I like to point out to people that you have to make sure that you back up your computer. If all your images are on your computer, use some other method of backing up everything, or at least that folder of images. And that's another reason why I make one folder under the pictures directory called Marc's images, because I can just take that one folder and send it off to another hard drive or wherever it needs to go. All right, backing up just to double confirm everything. You're backing up the catalog file only, not the pictures. Something else to consider to make yourself look really cool is the Identity Plate. That's just up under Lightroom, and you can change the way it looks by the colors here or the type face, and also these titles over here on the right side. So that's just a personal preference that you might want to take advantage of. That's my name up there. I think you all know that now. Okay, so the next thing I want to talk about is importing. And so to do that I took a couple pictures, and take the camera out of the card, that's some good advice right there, and then you stick the camera card inside of the computer, and basically this is probably where most of the problems happen. Okay? Somebody gets in. They're excited about the pictures, and they click import. And, boom, they're sent off to Mars or somewhere else. So, because Lightroom is a database it controls not only what's in there but where it is. And so I just want to reiterate, it's very specific about getting the right pictures in the right place. Okay, so we have all the pictures here. Typically I go clockwise from the lower left all the way up and around to the right. This is actually a link of what is being imported, but typically the camera card shows up in the upper left hand corner, as in this case Untitled. You can check the box for eject after import. It's up to you if you want to do that. That's just a safe way out of Macintosh and a PC so that it is easy to get out of the computer. Copies of DNG, no. We're just gonna copy them. Remember, we don't want to take the time. Move and Add. Those are different and I don't recommend move at all because it's gonna take the pictures off the card and put them on the computer. Add comes in handy often because what you're doing is you're taking all these pictures that you've taken over the years of your life and you're adding them to the catalog. I always recommend to people that have all these other digital pictures before Lightroom was around, and organize them in the same tree of images. And then once you're done with that, just add that one folder called, your name and images. Lightroom will catalog everything based on the folder structure, and it'll all be nice and clean. okay, so that's what Add's for. Files on the computer. In this case, New Photos. One of the things I want to point out when you're out photographing in the field, when you're importing pictures, if you delete them in Lightroom and then put the card back in the camera and keep shooting and then import them again. It'll think that same deleted file is again a new photo. Okay? Okay. So I have a method of curing that problem, but I typically just hit the x key and don't delete it until the end of the trip. But, that's what New Photos is for. Then over here, there's this link up here, which will tell you where the pictures are going. But I just want to make it real clear and use this destination pulldown at the bottom. Before I do that I just want to start real quickly and go over this, File Handling, Build Previews, 90% of the time standard is just time. Don't import suspected duplicates, check that. Smart previews, what are those? Real quick Smart Preview is very handy. If you have 1000 images at home on your hard drive and you want to work on them. If that hard drive is not attached and you don't have a smart preview, you'll just have a thumbnail. And you can only look at it. You can't go into the develop module. But now they've gotten smart. If you build smart previews of all those pictures and you detach the hard drive, go on your trip, you can still work on them in the develop module. So that's what they're for. You don't need them, especially if the files are attached. Okay? Here's build a second copy to somewhere else. This is when you want to make a third copy. Not a second, in their mind, but for you guys, it's a third copy, okay? You're gonna keep it on the card, you're gonna have it on the computer, and you're gonna put it somewhere else. All right, so that's File Handling. File Renaming, I typically rename everything. I do change it to a shoot name and the original file number because sometimes I use different cameras and I've had times where the same camera number comes up with the other camera number and I have the same file name. So I always give it a shoot name, and usually with that it staggers the numbers enough. And then I give it a name. In this case I'm gonna give it Creative Live, because that's where I was when I took the pictures. And of course, leave the extensions on. Okay, Apply During Import. I'm gonna show you one specific way to make a development setting, and that has a predetermined recipe of things in the develop module that it will apply as you import. Okay? I need to show you that later though, but that's what that's for. This one, though, is extremely important, okay? So you're gonna do it once, and then you're going to forget about it until you go to some other place. So real quick, I'm gonna open the one that I have, and it's called Marc's Travel, and come up here and there it is, and really, the most important things that I want on every file that I take while I'm traveling is my name, and that it's copyrighted, it's not unknown or public domain. Real quick, I know we don't have a whole lot of time for this, but it is important. When you take a picture it's copywritten, but no lawyer will represent you. So that's a different story. So you can gamble with that if you want. Certify your images. If your concerned about this, send them to the Library of Congress and get the certificate so that you have a certificate of copyright for that image if it's important to you. If you don't care, that's a different story. At least, you do have some protection, but you want people to know that. Print your name there, and then in this case the copyright symbol and your name, or my name. The creator. I'm the creator. Put all that information in there. That's the important stuff. Your website, your email, your phone number, and then you come all the way to the bottom, and the only other information I'm adding to this right now is my name as a keyword because I want that on there also. Hit Done. Now when you apply that to everything that you import during your trip, all that's gonna be there and be done. Destination. This is where all the headache comes from. Okay? Typically Lightroom defaults to Organize, and it says, By Date. And what happens is it puts it in a year and then the days below it. Okay? Which is handy up until the point where you get to the day. So I don't really need all those folders for the day because not only do I kind of remember what I did, if I forget though, I have the date on the metadata in the camera. So I can always find it out there. There's ways of sorting a folder so that you can see things by date. So I recommend just changing that into one folder, and then you're gonna be able to find your folder, in this case Seattle, and then that is where your pictures are going to go. You've gotta make sure that you look at that destination almost every time you import because otherwise they end up all over. And on importing, the last thing I'll note is down here there is a preset. So if you want to do this multiple times throughout the day, throughout your trip, save the current settings as a new preset, and in this case I'll call it Seattle because I know that name's already in use, I think I already made one, I'm gonna call Seattle with one T, just for this preset. All right? And then hit Create. And now it's a recipe for everything in there, my whole import dialogue, it's all there. The next time I put a card in everything's gonna be the same. All right. So, now you get to the point where you can hit import. Yeah. Backing up files. I wanna give you a tip before I go on into the editing, is there's a company or website called Backblaze that I use, and it's five bucks a month, I think, last I checked. It'll back up everything on your computer and externally attached hard drives. So you could have 10 terabytes, I don't know, 20, for five bucks a month. So it's a really good peace of mind. It's another great way to store your images in the Cloud.

Class Description


  • Capture great shots of landscapes and nature
  • Confidently shoot in manual mode
  • Fine-tune your eye for composition
  • Master light for landscape photography
  • Work with HDR and panoramas
  • Perfect your images with post-processing in Lightroom


Turn a spark of passion for the outdoors into beautiful landscape photography in this start-to-finish course. From gear and exposure to light and post-processing, master the landscape photography workflow with veteran artist Marc Muench. End the frustration of being unable to capture the raw beauty of nature and capture inspiring awe-inducing views on camera.

With both live instruction and on-site photography tutorials, you'll master both the technical and creative necessities for capturing better landscape images. After the adventure, learn to perfect the scene using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to crop, color and fine-tune those images. In addition, you'll tackle advanced techniques including HDR and panoramas.


  • Beginners ready to get off auto mode
  • Intermediate photographers looking to improve
  • Photographers ready to tackle landscape photography as a new genre

SOFTWARE USED: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


As a third-generation photographer, Marc Muench has spent nearly 30 years working as a landscape and sports photographer. His work has appeared on the cover of publications like Time, National Geographic, Traveler, Outside, Sierra Magazine and more. In addition to shooting, he leads photography workshops around the world. He teaches with a mix of technical and creative details and personal insight.


Jeff McPheeters

This was my first class with Creative Live and also my first exposure to landscape photographer Marc Meunch. I've been a photographer for many years, an educator in science and technical fields for more than two decades, and a lifelong learner of the craft of making photographs. I am pretty picky when it comes to educational resources and when it involves recommending something that I want to reflect my own standards of excellence. That said, I came with an open mind, with some expectation that I would learn a few tricks, but also with the understanding that after spending thousands of hours in books and online courses as well as direct workshop and tutorials from a range of photographer workshops, Adobe training, KelbyOne and other professional organizations, that some of what I'd hear would be stuff I'd already known. My first impression was positive, as I think Creative Live did a good job explaining the purpose, intent, and scope of the workshop, as well as giving me a good idea of the speaker's credentials. As the session begin on Day 1, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the technical aspects of the live feed. It was like I was there. The sound quality was outstanding. The video streamed effortlessly and I only have wireless access to the Internet. I'm not on high speed wired cable. The bandwidth can fluctuate, yet it worked extremely well. The speaker, Marc Meunch, was relaxed, engaging, professional, and possessed such a comprehensive and deep understanding of the topic that I felt extremely lucky to have been told about this workshop. I don't think I've ever been able to watch someone who was so masterful in their presentation, so thorough in their organization and outline, so enthusiastic about their work, so passionate about the craft of landscape portraiture, or so articulate and engaging with the audience; at least in the realm of Photography. I'd jump at any chance to listen to Marc Meunch again; and especially to attend one of his outdoor workshops. One of the unique aspects of this workshop was that Marc uses some video clips from his outdoor workshops to illustrate what he's talking about in the classroom. Very effective. And the slides he chooses to share are effective and easy to understand. It's very inspiring to watch Marc present ideas and illustrate them through his own work, showing before and after and alternate compositions to demonstrate the point he's making. Day 1 was so good that before it was over I'd already purchased the two day workshop. I was that certain it was worth the cost. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd find a class like this for under $100/day. This is a pretty good deal. Day 2 was equal in usefulness and inspiration as Day 1. The discussion of gear selection and scouting techniques along with the introduction to his Lightroom and Photoshop workflow was very helpful and would be especially apropos to someone getting more serious about their landscape work but not very experienced with Lightroom or Photoshop, even perhaps a little intimidated by the prospect of needing to learn those two software giants, because Marc shows the power and easy of learning them. I was pleased I was able to attend and even more pleased I can watch these over and over and study points I didn't quite grasp the first time through. I highly recommend this course. The viewer will be inspired and encouraged as a result. Marc doesn't make it look easy; rather he makes landscape photography look fun and exciting and worthy of the effort and time to find ones own style and vision, clearly imparting the practical how-to's to aid each person in their own journey to make it more enjoyable and satisfying.

a Creativelive Student

I don't like writing reviews. Seems like everyone just wants to hear that everything was... awesome. So, let me try to be specific about what I liked: I thought that the concept of the creative trinity was brilliant. I thought that Marc's presentation on composition was the best I've ever seen. His ideas on having a theme for shooting was inspiring because it was simple. He also had some great tips on light. The other thing I appreciated about Marc's presentation was the wide variety of locations shown and his knowledge of them. I also am always interested to learn more about the people that have inspired presenters. Sometimes, it feel like CL classes are aimed at the lowest experience levels. But, as someone else said in review... there is always a nugget or two and review is beneficial. I wish Marc was more animated. He's obviously very self contained and reflective -- gotta be who you are, right? I have purchased Marc's class, the Shive class, and Art Wolf's class. All have had different benefits. I wish they would do others and take complexity up a notch -- specifically, helping others understand the planning necessary... how they find reliable contacts to guide them and what those things cost. How they are transporting all the gear they carry. More specific information on permits, camping gear, dealing with adverse conditions, etc. And, more information on how they get different images of frequently photographed locations.


I happend to stumble upon the course by an email. I clicked on it and realized that Mark had come to my town (Sitka,Alaska) to do a trip with my good friend. So I thought I'd watch a bit. After awhile I realized this is good, way good. So I shot a lot of that day just eating it up. The director would come on every bit and say there was a show price. I thought well I'll just watch. Then on the second day he did some things that the announcer said he had never seen. I thought the same thing. So I bought. I have been shooting for 40 years and I still LOVE to learn. A noted psychologist said "We are happiest when we are learning" and I couldn't agree more. Thank you Creative Live for offering these courses. I live on an Island in Southeast Alaska with 14 miles of road. BUT I can be a front row student with some of the best teachers in the world. Thank You! Also a Huge thank you to Mark. It takes a ton of time to do this, and Im sure you get tired of the same questions again and again, but it truly changes the lives of us who love this type of life.