Adobe® Lightroom® CC Photo Editing: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Organizing Your Images and Managing Projects

Alright, we're back with Lightroom CC Photo Editing. We're in our second week now, and let's just take a quick look back at what we've done thus far 'cause not everybody has been here for the entire time. So during the first week, we pretty much were trying to set up a firm foundation of how to think about Lightroom 'cause Lightroom working in ways that are considerably different than other programs you might be used to, especially if you're used to working with Photoshop. And so, we talked about Lightroom's catalogs 'cause that's how it keeps track of all your files and so you work with a single catalog or multiple catalogs. We also talked about developing some systems, like standard ways of naming folders. And that sounds pretty simple but it helps us do automation later on in Lightroom. We also talked about things like printing. But today, what we're gonna do is we're going to get into organizing our images in managing projects. There's a whole bunch of features built into Lightroom...

for doing that, and so, let's jump in and figure out what's available. Gonna pop on over to Lightroom, and let's just think about a project we might wanna manage. I'm just gonna think about a personal project in my case. I travel quite a bit, and I travel with my wife, my wife is a yoga enthusiast, as am I, but she's really good at it. And so, one of the things I enjoy doing is when we're traveling around, we'll find an interesting location and just taking a picture of that location all by itself isn't all that special because anybody else could walk up and take the exact same picture. But if I get my wife to do a yoga pose within there, and I can think about what yoga pose should she use, how would I insert her into the scene, how would I frame it up and all that kind of stuff, I find I can create some really interesting images. And here is one example of that. So, I wanna organize a project. I've shot pictures of Karen, I think on at least five different continents of her doing yoga and I wanna have it where I can put those together and show somebody a portfolio of all of the images from that project. So in order to do that, I could end up using folders like you do in Photoshop and other programs where you might duplicate some files and move them into a folder called, Portfolio. But that's not how Lightroom works. With Lightroom, we wanna leave our files wherever we originally decided to store them. And we don't need to mess with where they are in our hard drive. Instead, we're gonna use something known as a collection. A collection I think of is like a playlist in your music software. If you think about how a playlist works, you end up dragging songs onto a playlist and it doesn't move them on your hard drive, it just remembers what songs you dragged on the playlist. And you can change the order of the songs in your playlist, doesn't change what's on your hard drive, it's just changing the contents of that particular playlist. There are two different kinds of playlists you could have in music software. One is that you can have a manual playlist where you manually drag songs in, and some software will give you what might be called a smart playlist, which is really a search. You can say, "Give me all my country music "from the 1980s that I've rated five stars." That type of thing. And we have the same equivalence here in Lightroom. We have a normal collection where you manually drag your pictures into it and we also have a smart collection, which is really a search. I could say, "Give me all my five-star images "that were shot in the last 10 years "that are horizontals," that type of thing. So, let's take a look at how I might use that to organize various projects. I already have a bunch of collections in mind. But when you first launch Lightroom you might not have all that many collections in this list so you can create some new ones. I'm gonna go to this area called collections. There's a little plus sign on the right side. I'll click there and I'm just gonna tell it to create a collection. And I'm gonna call this, The World-- Whoops, I accidentally pressed the Return key. If you accidentally press the Return key like me and you find your half-named collection here, you can right-click on it and there's a choice called, Rename. Bumped the Return key. But the series we do, we call, The World Is My Yoga Mat. And if you look that up on Instagram you'll find the series. So, I'll rename that, here is then my... Collection, we can see part of the name. If I expanded this you might be able to see the rest and you can see that there are zero images within the collection. Now let's go start putting images into that collection. I'm gonna come up here to my folder list and I'm just gonna randomly look at places where I think I might have taken some yoga shots 'cause I don't know where they are right now and I'm gonna see if I can find some yoga pictures. And so in here, I think I might have taken one here at Bok Tower. And I see that I actually took two of them, I see them right there. So, I'm gonna grab those two images, I'll scroll down here to my collection list and I'm just gonna drag them on top and as I do, if you look at the number to the right of the collection, you'll find it just goes up to say I've dragged two images in there. I'll see if I can check a few others. Here is Florida Southern College, it looks like I have two images there. I'll grab those two and I'll also come down here and put them into that collection. So now, it should say I have four. And I'm just gonna keep looking and see if, well, look at this, more yoga. You can tell we take a lot of yoga pictures. Put that on there. And I can just continuously go through here looking for things but why don't we look for more interesting places. Osaka, Japan, ooh that's sounds more interesting, how about Kochi, yeah, there we go. Got some yoga. But you can drag as many as you would like into there, it'll simply keep track of where they are and when you're done, if you click on the name of that collection, all you're gonna do is see the pictures that you've dragged on top of it. Those pictures have not been moved in your hard drive at all. It's simply remembering where they reside. You could also have the same picture in more than one collection just like you can have the same song in more than one playlist in your music software. So, that means I could drag this picture and put it in this other collection that's called, Images. So, if I click on the Images collection, there it is, click on The World Is My Yoga Mat, it's the same picture. You can put it in as many collections as you'd like. Now once I've done that and I've gotten enough yoga shots into that collection, let's say I wanna find the original pictures. 'Cause here we're looking at 'em, and if I go to the Develop module, I can process them, I can print them, I can do anything else as if I'm working with the original picture. But what I'm not doing is looking at the other pictures that are in the same folder as the original. So, if I wanna see that, what I can do is go here and just right-click on the image and one of the choices in here is called, Go To Folder in Library. And that means right now we're not viewing the original folder full of images, we're viewing this particular collection. If I choose Go To Folder in Library suddenly, it's gonna navigate me in my folder list, back to the original location where that original is stored. And that can be useful if I wanted to find other images that were taken the same day or maybe I have other versions of that same picture. So, I can continue going through it here as many times as I'd like and continue adding my images. Now, if you do that for a lot of different projects, maybe you have your portfolio as one of those things and you have a landscape portfolio, you have a portrait portfolio, you have a travel portfolio, you have your, whatever it is you shoot. You're gonna have all sorts of different collections to do that with, you might need to organize your collections. To organize your collections, you can go again to the word, Collections on the left side of my screen when I'm in the Library module. We got the plus sign on the right side and there's a choice called, Create Collection Set. A collection set is similar to a folder but folders are usually things that actually reside on your hard drive. And since these don't change what's on your hard drive, they don't call them folders. Instead they call them a collection set. If I choose that, I'm gonna name it, and I'll click Create. Now within that list of collections, I'm gonna find something that is supposed to resemble a shoebox in its icon, but it acts like a folder. It itself cannot contain pictures. I can't drag a picture on top of that. Instead, it's a container for collections. So, that means I can come up here to the collection I created earlier that was called The World Is My Yoga Mat and I could drag it on top of this and it's gonna move it. So now, it's in a different area in my organizational structure. And there, I can have as many of these collections within it as I'd like. Now, it's not very often that I actually go to the word, Collections and I right-click like this to create these things, because that just puts it on the base level of these and oftentimes I need to really organize things and so what I'll do is come in here and let's say within my Portfolio for projector, I want another collection set, another shoebox to put collections in. I just right-click on this, and if I right-click on it then I can either create a collection, or a collection set. And if I do, it's gonna say, "Hey, do you wanna put that inside of," whatever it is I right-clicked on. So instead of getting on the base level that was sitting there and I have to manually move it around, I just right-click wherever I wanted to go. If I wanted to go inside this collection set called Work Me, that's what I'll right-click on. And then this little checkbox here allows me to force it in there. So, maybe I'll call this one Square Shots, click Create, and you see that put it right inside of the one that I right-clicked on. So, there's a bunch of things we can do with these but before we really get into what we're gonna use them for, let's look at one other type of collection. So far, the type of collection we've created is if I right-click and just choose Create Collection. But there's another kind called, Create A Smart Collection. And a smart collection is similar to a smart playlist in your music software where you can say, "Give me all the music "from the 1970s that I've rated two stars "'cause I'm having a party," you know, something like that. If I choose Create Smart Collection, this comes up. At the very top, I can name it. And it asks me where I'd like to put it, I'm putting it in the area that I right-clicked on that, that's the default. And then down here, I create some rules and I'm gonna tell it that the rating on a photograph must be greater than or equal to five stars, these have to be within Lightroom, we'll talk about how to rate images in a few minutes. This is only gonna look for images that are rated five stars. Then on the right side, there's a little plus sign, I'll hit plus, and on the far left, I can pick from any of these kind of criteria. Let's say that I wanted to go in here and say that my capture date, that actual date I took the photograph, is before and then I put in maybe last year. Is January 1st last year, I want to ignore all the shots that I took this year is what this is saying. The capture date I actually took the photo has to be before 2015, January. Let's make that 2016 'cause I might not have that many results if I do that. We started the yoga series not that long ago. I can put in another plus sign on the right side and I can say in here that... Maybe it's the size, if I wanna make sure they're long width, maybe they're panoramas, that kind of stuff. Develop settings, I can say is it using a particular preset? There's all sorts of things that I can come in here and choose, and I'll just go through a few of these menus so you get an idea of the type of information you could do. I'm gonna come in here and say the source is a folder and the name of that folder is In Progress. And I don't know if we'll find any images that are in a folder called In Progress. If you were tuned in when we talked about naming folders and using a consistent set of folder names, then you'd know that In Progress means images that aren't quite done yet in my system. Anyway, I can set this up and I can add as many of these search terms as I'd like. If I hit the Create button down here, it's going to suddenly start searching my entire collection of images, looking for images that conform to that and it'll tell you down here that it found 252 images. One of the reasons why it found 252 images is I didn't put any search criteria in there that was specific to yoga. It's generically looking at every folder called In Progress for images at are five stars and that's where I can find great images like this one. (laughing) But let's take a look at what kind of collections you might wanna create and how useful they can become. I'm actually gonna get rid of the ones that I've made thus far 'cause I was just using those to demonstrate the features available for creating them. And let's take a look at how we can organize projects with them and how we can create very useful smart collections. First off, I'm organizing this particular class using collections. I need to to figure out what images would I use for each one of the sessions that we do here. So, let's see what I ended up creating. Well here, I have a collection set called CL, that stands for Creative Live, Lightroom Bootcamp. That's the project I wanted to work with. And then, it was four weeks long so I created a separate collection set for each week. If I open each week, you'll assign that there's further one for each day of the week. And if I come in here and go into any particular one of those and open it up, these were the various subject matters I needed to cover during that particular session. And so, this allowed me to be able to browse through all my pictures and decide which images might I use when I wanna demonstrate fixing brightness, for instance. And so, what I did when I created the outline for this particular class is after I was done with the outline, I just said, "Well, how could I structure that "where I could organize all my files?" And I decided to organize it by week, then day, and inside each day is a lesson in the individual topic that I was planning on covering. Notice my naming with some of these, I put numbers at the beginning because it usually sourced them alphabetically. And by putting the numbers, I can control what order they're in. You can also use letters at the beginning if you'd like. But then I was able to quickly be able to go and find these files and organize them, dragging them over there each time. Once I've organized my images like that, if I ever am working in here, let's say I'm demonstrating how to add contrast to this particular picture, and I just remember that I took another image very similar to it that I really wish I could have available right now. Well, if I right-click on that image and I just use Go To Folder in Library, it'll go show me where that file is stored and I can see that right there, yes, there is another file just like it. If I wanted to use that as well in my collection, I just scroll down to that collection list and I say, "Okay, I want that one in there too." And the number just went up. So, that's one way that I do this and if you take a look at the rest of my list that's here, you'll see that I have Active Projects, those are ones that I'm working on that are coming up. And if I were to open that up, you'd see all my actives ones. Down here, I have Projects Archive. So, when this class is over, like the moment it's over, I'm just gonna click on this particular little shoebox and I'm just gonna drag it up here to put it in the archive and it will move it so that it becomes one of the sub projects of here. So, if I go to my projects archive, I can see here's Product Development where I'm developing products like video courses, or handbooks, or whatever, and the images needed for them. Here's Speaking Events that are upcoming, I'm doing some workshops coming up. And if I open all these up, here are various clients. I can go to Creative Live and oh, there's some various courses that I've done. But I have them all organized in these collection sets and it's a nice way to work. I also create... A collection set called, Portfolio. And I've been experimenting with getting Lightroom to automatically generate my portfolios. It's not perfect yet, so I still have them manually created, that's what's in here. But if I open it up, do you see the various subject matter that I have portfolios for? If I set all these up ahead of time whenever I think of it, then whenever I'm processing an image, and I like it, and it's done, and I'm like, "This is one I'd really like "to show people in the future," I pop to the left side of my screen where I see my collections, all I need to do is pull that image on top of whatever category's appropriate and I'll be able to get to it in the future. I also have it based on location. These ones are automatically generated. What I mean by automatically generated is these are smart collections. Do you remember how there are two kinds of collections? The manual kind and the smart kind, and if I were to click on some of these, I didn't have to do anything to drag these pictures in, they're automatically generated. If I double-click on one of them, you can see what the search is. This is searching for a keyword called Portfolio and a keyword called Africa. And therefore, any image that has those two keywords attached to it would appear in this particular collection. So therefore, we can kinda start combining features in Lightroom where if you've used any keywording, now you can start using that to your advantage with some automation. Well then, you're gonna find that some of these I have organized into a folder, I call them folders even though they're called collection sets, called Utility. And let's see what some of those are and see if you might wanna create similar ones. If we think back to what we've discussed in previous sessions and some of the things we haven't talked about yet but we will get into, I talked about creating a consistent system when you're working your images. And one part of that system was when I start working on a folder of images, I end up creating sub folders. And those sub folders have names, like In Progress and Outtakes. In Progress are images I'm still working on, they're not done yet. Outtakes are images that I shouldn't look at again. They're either out of focus or I've processed them and I just didn't like them. And then the images I'm done with and I'm ready to show the public, those are on the base level, and that's the only thing that's on the base level of a folder. So, if In Progress are all the images that I'm not yet done working on, then let's look at how that could be useful when it comes to these collections. This one is great. In Lightroom, there's a special kind of preview you can have that's called a smart preview. We talked about it at a different session, but if you're not familiar with it, when you click on an image, if you go to the Library menu, there's a choice down here called Previews. And if you choose Build Smart Previews, it will create a special preview for your image and what that special preview allows you to do is be able to adjust that picture when the hard drive that contains the original is not connected to your machine. That means when I'm traveling, I'm on a plane and I open my laptop, my big hard drive that contains my originals is sitting at home, I can still adjust my pictures. If, and only if, they have a smart preview. Well, why not create a smart collection that says, "Only show me pictures "that are in a folder called In Progress?" 'Cause that's where I put all the images that I'm not done with yet. In every single folder that I work with, I have those. And that have smart previews. And therefore when I'm traveling, if I click on this particular collection, it shows me every single picture that's not done yet that I could adjust when the hard drive that contains the original isn't connected. To me, that's awesome, that makes it so useful. So, let's look at what... The formula is for that. One of the choices you have over here is Has Smart Preview. True or False, so I can say, "Does it have a smart preview?" Yes, what folder is it in? It's in a folder that contains the words, In Progress. So, if I look in my folder list and I pick any folder that's here, you're gonna find, with me, I have In Progress and Outtakes folders in almost every folder that I have. If it doesn't have In Progress, it means I'm done processing everything that's there. There are non in progress, they're all done. But that means that if I'm going through here, now Lightroom is searching every single folder in here and if it finds any images that are in those in progress folders that are smart previews, I can get to them right away. Right down here with one click and it tells me I have over 13,000 images I could work on when I'm traveling. Well then, when I'm done processing an image or evaluating it and I decide it's just not worth primetime, it's just not very good, it's out of focus or something else, I drag that image into a folder called Outtakes and Outtakes means you don't have to look at this again except for an emergency or a weird instance. Well then, if there's a picture in a folder called Outtakes, and it happens to have a smart preview attached to it, that smart preview is allowing me to adjust that image when the drive's not attached, but if it's in the Outtakes folder, I should never need to look at it again, and those smart previews are simply making the file take up more space 'cause smart previews take up space. So, I have a smart collection called, Outtakes with Smart Previews. And that means anytime my hard drive's getting full and I'm annoyed by it, I click on this collection and it shows me all my outtakes. I just do a Command A for Select All and I can go to Library, Previews, Discard Smart Previews. And if I do that, it saves any normal previews that are there but it gets rid of the smart previews that are taking up extra space, it's gonna make it so I can no longer adjust these images when the hard drive's not attached, but since they're in the Outtakes folder, I don't think I'll ever need to adjust them 'cause that's what outtakes are, images I shouldn't need to look at again, and suddenly, I free up a lot of space on my hard drive. Does that make any sense? I have one here that searches for video files 'cause I can't remember when I shot video and when I didn't 'cause I rarely shoot video. But if I were to click on Video Files, double-click on it, all it is is File Type is Video is how it's set up. And so, now if I ever think, "Man, I took a video of," you know, maybe my wife doing yoga or something, I can probably quickly find it by narrowing down the images that I'm looking for. Here is a collection that I use in weird ways. This is called, Base Folder Images and it's not an easy collection to create. But the way I use my particular... Folder system is on the base level of any particular shoot folder, that's the only place where I put images that are done and ready to show the public. And therefore when I look at my folder list, the numbers that appear over on the right side tells me exactly how many images are done and ready to show the public as long as I'm looking at the base folder for that project. Well, in order to get it to give me a collection that shows me all of those images, it wasn't easy to do. Here's what I needed. I said, "Make sure the folder does not contain "the name, Outtakes." Meaning, "Ignore all the images "in a folder called, Outtakes." It doesn't contain personal images, meaning, "Ignore those folders too." Ignore folders called, Textures, Skies, Support Images, and all that. What these are are these are all the sub folder names that I use on a consistent basis. And I talked about it in a previous session, coming up with consistent folder names because if you do, you can set this up once, you don't have to remember all these choices that are here, but if you set it up once now, you can call this the Best of Ben. This would be all my base-level images from various folders and I can get it to search them which can be very useful. So you get the sense that we have a collection where you manually drag them over, those are great for managing projects, and then we have smart collections, which are kinda like little utility collections we can use for all sorts of things. Then we have our collection set to organize them within. There's a couple of things we can do. Sometimes I wanna create a collection temporarily. Let's say somebody called me on the phone and I'm actively on the phone with them right now and they're saying, "Hey, can you send me a couple pictures?" And these are pictures I'm gonna end up finding, maybe pick four or five images, I'm gonna end up emailing to them and then I'm gonna forget I ever did that. It's not a longterm project that I really wanna keep in my collections list. And if that's the case, if you go up to the section above called, Catalog, there's a special selection right here called, Quick Collection. Quick Collection is kinda like a temporary collection, it's kinda like having a Post-it note on your desk, temporary sheet of paper you wanna write on. Right now, there are nine images in it but if I right-click on it, I can say, "Clear it," so it no longer remembers what was in there. So, I'm gonna the phone with somebody, they say, "Hey, can you send me three images?" Or something, and I go start looking for the images that they might want. And I think, "Well, this is one "that I think they might want." I can drag it up onto that Quick Collection. And you notice next to that Quick Collection, there's a little plus sign, you see right there? That means that that's special. It means there's a keyboard shortcut that indicates that you can throw something in there with your keyboard. If I find another image I wanna put in there, all I do is I type the letter B and B puts it into the Quick Collection. Then I can continue browsing my images, find another image he might want, I hit the letter B, and it tells me, just added it to a Quick Collection. I continue going until I find all the images that I'd like, and I can also select more than one at a time, and I press the letter B, and it's adding them to the Quick Collection. When I'm all done, I can click up here on the word, Quick Collection, and I see all the pictures that I put within it. It's no different than a normal collection. It's just one that just happens to have a keyboard shortcut of the letter B and it's always sitting up there, just like a sheet of paper on your desk, you might grab a Post-it to write something down because you just need it quick. And that way, it's not gonna stay in your collection list, it's something here that you can quickly right-click on and when you're done with it, you just say, "Clear that." but let's say that this project you talked to somebody about on the phone, suddenly, they're like, "Yeah, I think this is something "we wanna do every month, "we'll probably wanna reuse these pictures too." Then I could right-click on the Quick Collection, what does it say? Save. Save means turn it into a normal collection, the kind that you made down below where it would stay in your collection list. And so, if this ends up being something where you do wanna keep it, Save Quick Collection, now you type in a name, and you can tell it to clear it after that. And now, if I end up scrolling down to my normal collection list down here, there it is, it just made a normal collection. So, Quick Collection is just a temporary collection you can use. Remember that little plus sign though? That indicated it had a keyboard shortcut that was special, the letter B? Well, the letter B doesn't always have to send things to the Quick Collection. You can have it send things to any collection. And that's really nice because when I was getting ready for this class, and I had already created my little collections and already organized them into various weeks, and then days, and then subject matter, I started to randomly kinda go through my images and decide what images might I wanna use for various things. And at the time I was thinking about doing a session on adjusting pictures, I wanted to target that particular collection I'd already made, so I had the keyboard shortcut of B to put things in it. And here's how you do that. If I right-click on a collection, there is a choice called Set As Target Collection. Set As Target Collection. It just happens to be if you've never used that feature before in your lifetime, the default target collection is called Quick Collection. But if I choose that, now do you see the plus sign at the end of this collection's name? Remember, we had seven images in it and if I go over and browse my images, and I start hitting the letter B, grab another one, hit B, another one, so I just added three more images by hitting B, I go back down there and list it and instead of having seven images, you notice now it has 10. Makes sense? So, the little plus sign indicates what collection things will go into when you press the letter B. Now, there's a problem though and this one really messes me up. Pressing the letter B a second time on the same image will remove it from that collection. And that can create a lot of issues because you might not realize that two hours ago, you added a particular image to a collection. And now, you're randomly browsing your images, you go, "Oh, yeah, I forgot this image!" And you hit the letter B to add it and you just don't realize that you removed it 'cause it was already in there to begin with. I've asked Adobe, "Please, make it Shift B "or Option B, or something else B to remove it." But they won't change it. So therefore, I'm very careful about using the letter B 'cause I could just as easily be removing an image that I don't realize is already in that collection and I really wish that wasn't the case. I wish I had to do Shift or Option B to manually remove it that way, so be careful. If I go back down to this collection and I right-click on it again, I can just turn off the choice called, Set As Target Collection, and what that will do is make it so none of these collections are targeted and therefore what does it do? It switches back up to being up here. 'Cause if you haven't targeted any particular collection, it defaults to there. So, Quick Collection is just a quick spot to gather images that you think you're only gonna use for a short time, and then you're gonna clear that out. Alright, so I think that's a good amount about collections, do we have general questions about collections? Anything, yes? Hi, Ben, I was curious, I like that idea of the Quick Collection and say you wanted to email some photos to a client and you put them in the Quick Collection and they're TIF files, but you wanna send them as JPEGs, what do you do then? You export them, one of the things we talked about in a previous session was there's a way to create export presets. And so, what you'd end up doing is let's say I did have a, doesn't matter if it ends up being a... Get it in here... The Quick Collection or if it ends up being in a normal kind of collection, doesn't matter, but let's say I wanted to email these as JPEGs, the originals or not, I can go to the File menu, there's a choice called Export With Preset and in previous session, we talked about how to set these up. But I would have some of these set up, like here, I can export a JPEG even with a little watermark on it to my desktop and if I choose that, right now it's generating one, two, three, four, five images right now and putting them on my desktop, they're even watermarked. So, you'd end up working a little bit ahead of time and creating export presets and it makes it very quick and easy to get those to other people. Is there another question or no? I just wanted to clarify that you can only have one target collection at a time, is that correct? That's correct, because otherwise if you hit B, it would think, "Well, am I supposed to put this "in two collections?" Right. Yeah, there's only one target at a time. Alright, well let's move on to other topics of organizing your pictures and your projects. So, I'm gonna come in and talk about how I... Narrow down a shoot. So, I got a bunch of new pictures we just took, I need to figure out where the good ones are, and once I'm done finding the good ones, how do I make it so when I have my collection of finished images, I don't have too many repeat images that look similar. You'll see as I go through this how useful this could be. So first, let's talk about as if we just finished a shoot. Here I have a folder of 63 images. And let's say we just came back in from shooting them and I wanna figure out which images should I adjust and how should I keep track of what I already adjusted, what I haven't adjusted yet, and which images are ready to show other people. Now, I talked a little bit about that on a previous session when it came to doing folders. So, the first thing I would do is if I just came in from a shoot, is I would go to my folder list on the left side, here's the folder for the images, I'd usually right-click and create sub folders. The sub folders I create are called In Progress and Outtakes. And to me, In Progress means images that aren't done yet. I haven't completely evaluated the images yet, I'm not sure if they're good or bad or anything yet. So, I'm gonna then take all these images, so I'd Command A and I'm gonna drag them into In Progress. And that's gonna move them on my hard drive into that folder called In Progress. Now when I do that, the next time I come back to any folder I have, I'm gonna have a sub folder called In Progress, that folder is gonna indicate all the images that I'm not quite done with yet. When I work on the images that are within that folder and I finish processing one, if I think it's a great image and it really is ready to show the public, I'm gonna end up dragging it onto the name of the base folder, in this case, Osaka Japan is the folder. So, the only thing that's left over within that particular folder are images that are ready to show the public. If I do that, then I know that whenever I look at my folder list, the number that is shown next to each folder is the number of images ready to show the public. And to me, that's amazing information to know. So, if anybody asks, "Have you ever been "to Victoria, British Columbia?" I can do a quick glance over here and say, "Yeah, I got six images ready to show you." And if I click on those, I can find the six images and I could start showing them right away. If I want to see the images from Santa Monica, there's only one of them. And if I click there, I can be right away ready to show you the image that I shot. But I can only do that that quickly because I work with these sub folders. So the first thing I would do is create those two sub folders, In Progress and Outtakes. As I work through my images, I'm moving the images either to the base-level folder folder they're good, ready to show the public, or I'm moving them to Outtakes if I never wanna see them again, like I think it's a lousy picture, lousy composition, or I processed it and it just didn't work out. Then, let's look at how I could go through this folder called In Progress, and decide which images I might wanna work with. Well, I can first go through this series of images and let me act as if I've never worked with them before. I can tell if a little bit of work had been done before. I'm gonna get rid of any flags and ratings 'cause that's what I'd like to talk about. There we go. What I'll usually do is first, I'll go through a general past where I hit the space bar, space bar will make an image fill most of the screen, and then I'm just gonna arrow through the images and any image that you could consider working on, that is even worth thinking about, I can flag. And the way you flag an image is you can go to the Photo menu, there's a choice here called Set Flag, and you can see that here's the word Flagged, and here's the word Rejected, Flagged and Rejected. They have keyboard shortcuts, P, you can think of that as a pick, that's just another word for a flag, and X to be thrown away, reject. So, I'm gonna have my fingers on the letters P and X. P for a pick, X to reject. If I'm not sure, I won't hit either key. So, this one I might want to adjust, so I'm gonna hit P. Now I can hit the arrow key to go to the next image, I don't like the guy crouching down as much. But I might still do it, so I hit P and I'm just gonna go through and anything that I might consider adjusting, I'm hitting P. And anything that I think is not a good image, like that one, I'll hit X to say, although, it could have been a panorama, so. And I'll just decide is it working out or not? I could hit X to say no, P to pick. If I'm not sure, I don't hit any key at all. If you're not sure, just keep going. You can use the arrow keys. Now what I'm doing at the moment is I'm just hitting P or X but to switch to the next photograph, I'm needing to use the arrow keys. So, if I hit the letter P and I decided I didn't want to do a P, I could hit X again or anything like that, but there's a special feature you can use. If you press the Caps Lock key, I just turned it on. Now watch what happens when I type P or X. If I hit P to mark that as a pick, it automatically switches to the next picture for me. That only happens if the Caps Lock key is pressed. So now, to go through this very quickly, I could hit P if I think I wanna adjust it, I can hit X if I don't wanna see it again, and if I'm not sure, I just hit the right arrow key to go on to the next picture. And I'm just going through my very first set, oh, that's bad. (chuckles) This is what we call faux yoga, everybody would ask, "Well, when are we gonna see Ben doing these things?" And I'd be like, "Fine, here's me doing fake yoga." I now actually do yoga about nine times a week. But there, legs aren't right, so I'm hitting X, I don't want to adjust that one, I don't want to adjust that one, that one's not too exciting, neither is that. So, I'm just going through my initial selections, hitting P if I would even consider adjusting them, X if I would not. If I'm not sure, I just hit the right arrow key. And by doing so, I can usually quickly go through this until I get to the end. If you've done that, whenever you hit the letter X, it put this little black flag in the corner that has an X on it, and it also slightly screened back, or grayed out those images, so they don't stick out as much as the rest. And so then, I could come in and move those particular images to my Outtakes folder. Now, there are a bunch of different ways of doing this. I can come over here and say I would like to filter based on my flags. I mainly do it up here at the top. If you go here to Attribute, I can say, "Show me all the images that are rejected." This little bar at the top is called the filter bar. There's various categories up here, but there's one called Attribute and that's where you can say, "Only show me the images that are flagged "with the little X." Or, "Only show me the images that have," the other one, the one called the pick. Or, if you happen to use ratings, you can say, "Only show me five star," that kind of thing. So I can do that and now, if I just do Command A for Select All, if those are all the images that I don't think I want to adjust, I can move them to Outtakes just to begin with. They'll slowly get moved over there and once they're all over there, I know I don't need to see those again and I'll concentrate on the images that are in the In Progress folder. Once I'm done doing that, in the filter bar at the top of my screen, I just choose None. None means don't limit the number of pictures that I'm looking at and therefore, I'm gonna be looking at everything that's in the folder. Once it's done moving those files, the images that are set up as flagged, I could unflag them now 'cause everything in the folder just about will be that way, and I could, as an alternative, now start to think about each sequence of images. If you look in here, I have a lot of subject matters that look similar. Here's one particular subject and I might wanna only process one of those pictures. If I process all of the pictures, then it's gonna take me a lot of time. I'd rather figure out what is the best of that particular composition. So, I might click on the first image of that, hold down Shift and click on the last, and then at the bottom of my screen are some icons. Come on. If this ever gets out of my way. One of them is this one. That one is gonna show me only the images that I currently have selected. I'll hide the panel on the left so I can take up more space and I can evaluate them comparing each one and decide if there's any particular one of these that I don't think is the best, like let's say this one. In the lower right corner will be an X and if I click it, it will take that one out of the sequence and I'll go through here and look some more, this one just doesn't do it for me and I can try to narrow this down further until I get down to where I'm not certain anymore. Out of these three images, it's hard to tell the difference. I'd probably need to zoom in to see it, but I'm gonna say that that's where I'm at, one of those is gonna be the one I'd like of that sequence. So, what do I do? I look and I say, "Well, there's these three images "that got deselected." Do you see how they're no longer selected? Those are the ones I hit the little X's on, so I'm gonna select those. And what am I gonna do to them? I'm gonna move them to the Outtakes because that tells me the status of those images. I shouldn't need to look in the Outtakes unless I come back to these images and they absolutely don't work. They're out of focus, or some other problem is with them that I don't realize. So now I can go through those three images and let's see how I might be able to reduce those down. I choose the three images, and if I go to the bottom of my screen, instead of using... This icon, which is the one that showed me all the images together, I'm gonna use the icon to the left of it and that's gonna show me just two images side by side. And the one on the left is known as the Select, the one on the right is known as the Candidate. And what it means is I'm trying to compare the image on the left to the image on the right, thinking that the image on the left is the one I currently think is the best. If I think the one on the right doesn't really match up, I hit a little X on the lower right and it gets rid of it and it brings in the next image that was selected so I could compare the two again. And if I don't like that one as much still, 'cause I think they have too much of the branches in there, I hit the X again and it brings in the next one, and I can continue to do that, and once I'm done, and I hit G to go back to the grid, you'll see the one that's the most selected here is the one that I ended up with. That's probably the one I want to concentrate on adjusting. I might leave those other images in there until I'm done with this one. And if I liked this one and I was done processing it, I think it's ready to show the public, what do I do? I drag it over here to my folder list and I put it in the base level so I know there's one image that's done being processed, ready to show public. And so, I think I have one in here that has been adjusted, this particular one here. It's actually ready to show the public, so I'll drag it over to my folder list, put it on the base level, and by using a system like that, anytime I return to any folder, even if that folder is five years old, I can come back and say, "Oh, I never finished working on those images, "I still have 28 images to work on." And I can say, "I only got two images "that are ready to show the public," and that gives me some incentive of what should I be working on because I glanced down my folder list and I was like, "Man, I was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, "and I don't even have a picture to show for it." Nothing to share with anybody yet. So, I pop open that and I say, "Well, how many pictures? "That's 250 to work on, I only got 15 minutes, "that's too much for me to think about." Well, let's see, I have Ketchikan, Alaska, still nothing to show for it for the public, I pop that one open, 99 pictures. That sounds easier to manage with my energy I have right now so I pop in to that and decide what images to start working on. And I could use those features of either rating, flagging, or using the comparison icons at the bottom to figure out what to work with. As I work the folder, I'm simply moving things either to Outtakes, as I decide they're not worth showing the public or working on any further, base level if they're done and ready to show, and so on. I'm not saying that that particular system is perfect for you though. So, it's just a matter of thinking through what's the best way for you to manage your projects where you can keep track of their status. The main problem I find with my system is I have to have a hard drive that contains the originals attached in order to move them between folders. You can't move things between folders if you can't access the actually folders. So, that can be a disadvantage, but there are ways to work around that. I can always either use collections to manage things, or when I'm done with things, I can add a keyword that says this is an outtake and when I get back, I search for all images marked with the keyword of outtake and I can quickly find those images. Let's say I've already gone through that process and I'm close to done working a folder. Well, here's one where I have, I haven't really finished a folder. I still have 975 images to go but do you notice that on the base level, there's quite a few images? Quite a few images ready to show the public. So, let me show you what I end up doing when that number starts getting relatively high. What I want to have is a I wanna make it so I'm only a few seconds away from being able to present images to anyone who asked. If I'm on a plane and the person next to me says, "Have you ever been to Africa?" I'm like, "Yeah!" How about, "Have you been "to this particular area in Africa?" "Sure," I can go over here and within seconds, be ready to show them a slideshow. And so, here's how I end up working through some of that. Once I get a good number of images in the base level folder, I'll start looking at what we have in that folder and what I really want is I don't want to have multiple images that look very similar. And if you look right now, I have this image, this image, this image, and that image. They're all really similar. By the way, that's the building you saw the HDR panorama of, we were inside that building. So, what I'd end up doing is once I get a good number of images in a folder, I start looking at the contents of the folder and I look for the images that are similar shots, like these three, or four. And I'll try to decide what's the best one. I just click the icon at the bottom that showed me them all at the same time. And if I only could pick one, which one would that be? I'd say this, everything looks too small in that one so it's not that. Just going for my personal tastes here. Same with this, little too much. I think it's one of those two. Since I was traveling on a cruise ship when I came here, the ship in the background I kinda like that 'cause it'd be part of my story so I'm gonna say it's that one. So, I hit G to go back to Grid, and now I'm gonna select all those images but I'm gonna make sure that that picture, the one I think is the best of the series, was selected to begin with. I'll hold Shift and I'll get the others, and when I do that, you notice that one image is more selected than the others? This one is brighter, the background, than the others. I could switch which one that is if I... Wanted to, just click between them. But as long as that is the most selected one, then I'll go to the photo menu, there's a choice called stacking and I'll say, Group Into A Stack. And I never actually go to the menu itself. I always use the keyboard shortcut, Command G for Group. And so, what I wanna do is group together all similar shots so that the best of that series of similar shots is on top. And so, I see that these shots right here... All look similar. So, I go down to the bottom of my screen where there's that icon that will show them all together, and I look at them side by side and I try to decide what's the best one. I think it's this one here, I like the panorama. If I just click on it, I think if I go out of this by hitting G, let me see if that one's going to be highlighted one, yes it is. So, whichever one is highlighted, whichever one you tapped on will have a white border, it'll be the most selected. If I type Command G, it's on the top now of the stack. And so, I wanna do that for each series of images. Here's a bunch of images of the same subject matter. 'Cause if I don't do this, and I try to show a slideshow to somebody, they're gonna get bored in seconds because they're gonna see like six images that are almost all the same. So, I would say all those are very similar, pop in here, see if I can easily come up with, and sometimes, there's more than one that I wanna show. Like, I kinda like that guy, kinda like that one. So, I'm just gonna get rid of the ones that are kinda second-class citizens in here. These are kinda busy, not as interesting to me. It's a personal preference. I know sometimes it's hard to tell but if you had to pick, these are the ones that I think are less interesting. These are too similar, so which of the two... Going for the vertical, just a personal taste thing. And I wanna get it down so if you saw these you wouldn't think that any two of them are too similar together. I'm thinking this and some of these are too similar. That's the actually centerpiece of this. That one's a little too basic. So, I think if I had a slideshow, get rid of that one, I could put up with seeing maybe that many of these, is just my assumption. I hit G to go to Grid, those are the ones that are left over. So, what I can do then is I might see if it'll let me drag them so that they're all in order, they're all together. I just drag them and it changed the sort order to a manual sort order. So, it's not sorted by date or sorted by file name, it's sorted by where I physically moved them, and so, it moved them altogether. Then, I'm gonna take all these others that were the ones that I don't think I'd want to include, and I'm gonna stack them with one of these. I just gotta choose one. I'll make that the most selected and I'll type Command G. So they're all hidden underneath those. And I would simply continue doing that, here's another two images that look pretty much identical. Pick whichever one you think is best. Command G, and do that until you've gone through the entire folder so that you don't have a bunch of repetitive images that are similar compositions, similar whatever. Only one image for each subject matter and such, yes? That went pretty quickly, when you reordered those, did you just drag them to the side? I just dragged them, yes. That's great, thank you. Sure. And just like I can drag this one over. So anyway, that's what I do. Now, after doing that, let's say I'd already done that, I haven't gone through this whole folder. Now, if I've already done that and I still see a good number of images, then there's something more that I do. I'll rate my images. By rating my images, what it allows me to do is if I have a large number of images in a folder, even though I've got it down so all the similar images are stacked so there's not a lot of repetition in subject matter, if I have somebody ask me if they want a slideshow, I'm gonna look here and it's gonna be like, there's 80 pictures, they're gonna get bored by the end of that. What I wanna do is be able to give them a short slideshow, a medium slideshow, or a long one. And so, here's how I personally thing about ratings. I would go through these images, and I would rate things five stars only if they're my absolute best pictures regardless of subject matter, meaning if the President of The United States walked up to me and said, "Show me your 10 best pictures," they'd only be five star pictures. It's not the best of this photo shoot, it's the best of me. If that makes any sense, I call them superheroes. That means that I don't care about the subject matter, these are my best pictures. And that's the only time I use five stars. And if I'm consistent with that, then couldn't I have a smart collection that said, "Show every five-star image," and suddenly, I have a portfolio of images I can show that's always ready? I use four stars for the best of this particular subject matter. Five stars means it's the best of me as a human, you know? Not just this project, four stars means best of this project. Three stars means the second level of, like a second class, second level, not the absolute best of the subject, just the second selection. And I only show images to the public that are rated three stars or above. That means you're seeing my absolute best of me, absolute best of this project, and my second-level selects. If anything's not rated, or they're lower than three stars, I don't usually show them to the public without spending time to look and show them things. So what that means is if I use that as my mindset, and I'm consistent, then anytime I go to a folder over here and I see a number on the right side, I know there's 26 images ready to show people here. Now when I click there, I might not see actually 26 pictures to show people 'cause of them will be stacked. And that number is including those stacked images. Then if when I get there, I say that's too many images to show this particular person who's asking for images, I go to the top of this area, and I choose Attribute and I say, "Let's see if there's any five-star ones in there." And there aren't, there's none in here that's the best of me, I just didn't make it that day. Then I can narrow this down to four stars. Oh, and these have Reject turned on, let me turn off Reject, okay. There's a four-star image in there. I'm gonna bring it down that three stars and I'll just keep bringing it down until I have the number of images I need to show somebody. But knowing that if I'm below three stars, I better look at them first because that's like lower work. So, if I do that and I'm consistent with how I think about my ratings, then at anytime, I know how many images are ready to show the public. Once I get into those images, I can very quickly come up here and say, "Hey, let's only look at five stars, "oh, none were that good, "four stars, only one," and I can narrow it down and just keep expanding the numbers that are shown. And for me, I find that to be liberating when I can know the status of all my images, I can narrow down my shoots very quickly, then it's very useful. Are all of my folders that well organized? No, they folders that are getting close to done, where the In Progress folder's getting close to zero, I spend a good amount of time doing that. And the more time I spend, the better it is. So, you need to come up with your own system for all of this because my system's only good for me. And you have different needs, maybe you shoot weddings all day, all week, every month, whatever it is. Maybe you only shoot your kids and that's your use. But it's a matter of thinking through exactly what would be best for you, thinking how does my system help me, but what's unique about what you shoot? And so, homework is to go through the PDF that we have for your homework, which gets you to kind of brainstorm about what's unique about your way of shooting. What's unique about what you have to provide the clients. So that you can come up with your own folder system, and you can come up with your own star rating system, and you can think through what kind of collections would you need to use to really streamline the way you work. And it's not easy to just kinda pop into that and really know it. It's nice to be able to brainstorm through it where you're kinda guided, and that's what the homework for today will help you do. So, we've got 14 days to go, two whole weeks. If you think about what we've done thus far, if you just go through using the folder system that I talked about, and going through using some collections, you can get much more organized. But we have two whole weeks left and if you wanna find me on the internet, all over the place. But this has been another day of Lightroom CC Photo Editing, I hope you found it to be useful.

Welcome to CreativeLive’s comprehensive Lightroom® workshop! Join one of our best software instructors, Ben Willmore, to learn how to process and organize your images more efficiently - and have more time to spend doing the stuff that matters. In this series of lessons, you’ll learn how to:

  • Import and organize your images
  • Optimize your photos and workflow
  • Make your images searchable within the program
  • Exporting, printing, and troubleshooting

When you purchase this course you’ll gain access to both an enduring resource to build your skills and a community with which to share the fruits of your work. Ben will provide a workbook that acts as a reference guide.

Don't have Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.2 - 2015.3



  • Creative Live is a godsend and, in my opinion, Ben Willmore is one of their best instructors - if not the best. He is as natural and thoughtful a teacher as he must be a learner. He knows a lot! He is clear about what his students want and need to know, from basic to advanced concepts, and he is constantly aware that he has students watching who are of different knowledge levels. He never takes off, leaving the less experienced behind - instead he moves forward at a good pace while referring back to create mental links during the progression; good for all levels. I work with Lightroom already and so have both experience and questions about how to work more efficiently and creatively. This bootcamp is definitely helping me. I've watched others of Ben's classes, and they always help. Thank you, Ben and Creative Live.
  • Thanks again Ben, for your fabulous teaching and your ability to actually teach and not just show and tell...As other people have commented you have a gift to teach in the way that you do. I have purchased many of your courses and was not going to purchase this, thinking I have all your prior courses...alas, you are just too good!!! I had to buy it in the end and thanks again for all the goodies, so worth the money: Really looking forward to June for your Photoshop class. Once again, I have taken many of your photoshop courses but you keep adding such great info that I cannot resist...see you in June!! Keep up the fabulous work, byw, I love all the yoga poses, what fun you both have with this idea...
  • I have had the privilege of participating in this excellent class from the front row seat in the Creative Live San Francisco studios. After only a few of the 20 sessions, I quickly appreciated the many features and benefits of using LightRoom to organize and edit all of my images. If you're like me, you've had access to LR for a while, and have opened it and fumbled through the myriad of complex menus a few times, then have gone back to using Photoshop. After these classes with Ben Willmore, (and they're not even done yet), I have tackled the job of re-organizing and keywording tens of thousands of images that reside on various backup drives, many of which I've never even had time to look at. I now have a path forward to enjoying what is in my archives rather than letting them gather dust. I have made HDR images, panoramas, slide shows and Blurb books with ease based on the techniques learned in class. Throughout the class, we lobbed many questions at Ben, and every single time he knew the answer in an instant, or could give us a work-around or several ways to do what we're trying to accomplish in LR. His deep knowledge of LR (and PS) simply cannot be matched, and he's a natural trainer. The days have flown by, and after each day I can't wait to get home and start working on my images. Regardless of your type of photography - professional, avid amateur, or hobbyist - if you shoot and edit a lot of images, LR can be a huge benefit in your workflow. Even if you think you already sort of know how LR works, there is still plenty of useful info in this course that will help you to extract maximum benefit from Lightroom. For me it has been nothing short of transformative!