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Implementing an Image Status System

Lesson 3 from: Organizing Your Images in Lightroom Classic

Ben Willmore

Implementing an Image Status System

Lesson 3 from: Organizing Your Images in Lightroom Classic

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

3. Implementing an Image Status System

Ben has 250,000 photos in his Lightroom catalog and can instantly determine which category any image falls into: 1) In Progress, 2) Outtakes, 3) Finished, 4) Support Image such as a model release or individual exposure used in an HDR or Panorama image. He’ll show you how to develop your own system so that revisiting a project and getting reacquainted is easy.

Lesson Info

Implementing an Image Status System

now let's take a look at how we can think differently about folders and actually use them to keep track the status of our images of our photo shoots in general. Just think about it. If you go back to your photo archives, let's say two of six years ago and you pick a random shoot that you made, how long would it take you to get re acquainted with all the photographs you took on a particular shoot? How long would it take you to know how many of those images are ready to show the public, Like instantly do a slide show kind of thing. Uh And how many of those images are ones that still need work? You never ended up finishing them, but they should get more attention. And then there's another group which would, I would call my out takes and those would be the images where I don't need to look at these again, they're out of focus or I think I have a better version of that same composition and therefore I really shouldn't waste time re evaluating this image. Well, I can do that in a matter of m...

illiseconds when I go back to my old shoots even 10, 15 years ago. Uh let me show you how and it has to do with how I use folders in lightroom. So here we have these boulders that we've imported our last session. Well, what I'd like to do is start to organize the images that are found within them. If I click on this folder, what I often do is I right click and there's a choice here called create folder inside and I'm gonna give the sub folder a name. I'll just call it in progress and I'll turn off the include selected photos because there's only one photo selected and there's nothing special about that photo then I'm going to also right click on the folder a second time and create a folder inside in this one. I'm gonna call out takes. So now if I expand the folder list you can see there's my sub folder of in progress in out takes and I might take it just a second to figure things out. But you'll find a number on the right. Tell me there are no images and either one of those sub folders. Now let's start to use those to keep track of the status of these images. What I'm gonna do is select all by typing command A that's controlling Windows. Then I'm gonna click on one of these images and drag it to the in progress folder. And what I do it'll take it just a moment but it's gonna move all the files to that folder and that's where I'm gonna work from. I'll click on the in progress folder and I'm just going to go through everything that's in here whenever I have time. So maybe I click the space bar and I look at this picture thinking it's not very good because here we have areas covering up these ducks. And I really don't think I'm gonna need to look at this image again. So what I'm gonna do then is I'm gonna type the letter G for grid and I'm just gonna grab that image and put it right here in my outtakes outtakes means you shouldn't need to look at that image again and I can just hit space bar here and do the same thing over and over again, looking at each one of these images. And if it's not that great, I'll just drag to my outtakes and I'm just gonna scroll through here with my arrow keys until I find an image. I think it's not an outtake because I wasn't doing too great a shooting on this day. It looks like this was the first one that I might want to spend time processing. So I'll type g to go back to the grid and I'm going to grab all the images before that and I'm going to drag them to my out takes and then I can continue working through this folder. But let's say I did take one of my images, that same one we looked at a moment ago and I went to the develop module and I started working on it and maybe I grabbed the crop tool and I decided to come in here and crop in nice and tight. And I did some sort of processing on it and I considered it eventually to be a finished image, let's just say that's all it needed. Well, if I go back to my grid, that's an image that I would put on the base level of this folder for that shoot. So the only thing that's ever on the base level folder are images that are done and ready to show the public. Then there's a little change we need to make and that is I need to go to the library menu and there's a choice right here called show photos and sub folders. And by default, I believe that's turned on when it is turned on. Then these numbers that appear to the right of each folder act differently than if it's turned off. If I come over here and go to my library menu and I turn off show photos and sub folders. Then it's only going to show me the images throwing the base level folder And in this case lightroom is being a little lazy with updating numbers. Usually it's just about instantaneous because there's only one picture on this base level folder and so the number one should appear here and the number 173 should appear right there and it will eventually, I bet you if I close this up and reopen it or something else, it will eventually update. But let me show you how I've implemented that on previous shoots here. Let's go back to 2,016 and see how long does it take me to get re acquainted with this shoot or any of my previous shoots. Well if I want to see which images are done and ready to show the public, all I need to do is click on that base folder and I know that every single picture in this folder is ready to show the public because that's the only thing that I put on the base level folder. And so I'm fine knowing that I can cycle through all those images without really having to think about it. And if I expand this folder and I look at the sub folders, well first off I don't see a sub folder called in progress. And what that means is I'm completely done processing this shoot and that there are no other images left that still need to be worked on. And I can tell you there's 114 out takes in here. There's a lot of images that were not that good. Or I took multiple versions of it and I had a better version. Let's look at some of the other uh sub folders that I use. I collect textures because I might want to overly lay these on my pictures in Photoshop. And so if I ever capture a texture, I'm not going to remember that. I got this texture in Uruguay but at some time when I want to add texture to an image, I want to somehow be able to find these textures regardless of where I captured them. And therefore I create a sub folder. Whenever I capture a texture I call it textures. And I put an image in there. And I do that for some other types of images, one of which would be personal images. Those are the images that I wouldn't usually want to include in just a generic slideshow. I might include those images if I have family members or just really close friends, but I'd want to have them ignored if I'm showing the general public. So I'm not even gonna click there because I don't know you and I don't know if I should show you my personal photos or not. Uh if I come in here and expand any other of these. All I need to do is look on the right side and you see the numbers that are there. That tells me how many images are done and ready to show the public. And so I know I can quickly find those images and if I open this up, I can tell that I need a lot of images to be processed here. 161 images are in progress. Only 26 got thrown to the out takes. I do have one personal image there. This time I'll show you. It's just my wife with their arms up and then I have what I call support images. Support images would be, let's say that you're going to stitch a panorama and it's six pictures that are going to be stitched together and in the end you're going to be showing the final stitched image. Well, where do those six pictures the originals go? They're not really an out take because they were good pictures. They ended up being used in your final end result. They're not really in progress because you're done working on them. You already stitched the panorama. Well, where I put them is in a special folder that I call support images. Those would be the individual exposures used to stitch a panorama or exposures used to uh, put together an HDR image or it could have just been the original raw file to something that I opened it in Photoshop and I added layers to maybe to do retouching and further adjustment. And so I have a layered tiff or Photoshop file and I got the original raw. Where does it go? Support images. Therefore, I know those are images that were important, but they're already been used for some other purpose. And so you don't usually need to go back and take a look at them, but they are important enough that you want to be sure you keep them. So let's take a look here. We have support images. These were images that I stitched together. If you look at this particular image, you see the top of the mountain has been cut off And this one over here at the top of the mountain is there. But my wife foot was cut off. I ended up merging those two together into a panorama, which was this image. But this image probably ended up into Photoshop and had some retouching done and therefore there's most likely a layered Photoshop tiff file. But these are all the images that it was created from. And so I can go back to any one of these shoots, doesn't matter how old and I just pop open the folder and I can tell you I got a lot of work to be done here. I have images that are in progress. I have 139 that are out takes I shouldn't need to look at again and I have eight of them that were used somehow uh, in the creation of some most likely finished images here. It looks like I had images that were merged together into an HDR file. And this image here, I know I retouched out a crane that was in there. So if I go and click on my top most folder here for that particular shoot, these are all the images done and ready to show the public and right here is the end result of merging multiple exposures into an HDR. And right here, is that other image where I ended up retouching out a crane that was in there. So the originals for those are in the support images sub folder. Now you don't have to use sub folders for this particular purpose. But I really like doing it that way because an image can only be in one sub folder and therefore it can only have one status and it's just a way that's really helped me. It's also made it. So my folder list really tells me how far along am I with a bunch of shoots and I can just glance down here. No venice italy I spent a lot of time on because there's 135 images ready to show the public and if I had popped that open I can see in progress is at zero. I'm done with that shoot. And if I really wanted to only when in progress hits zero. What I consider deleting my outtakes but I do a lot of teaching where I might end up using those for other purposes. So I'm going to keep them and then we have my Support images which are images that were used within those finalized pictures, Usually individual exposures that might have been turned into HDR files, that type of thing. Then there's a couple other things that I end up using when it comes to my folder list. If I scroll through my folders, you're going to find, especially if you go way back in time that some my folders will have two dashes at the end of it. And if I open up one of these sub folders and I look through again here are two dashes on the end of many of these particular folders. Those are things that are not in this particular organization system. An example of that would be I took pictures of my house for insurance purposes where if we ever had a fire or hurricane or something else and there's damage, I want to be able to prove what I owned. Well those aren't images that are going to be in progress and out takes and finished. So I just take the name of the folder and I put two dashes on the end and therefore when I glance at my folder list, I can say, oh that's a folder that's not in this system. I can also use that later on when we use something called a smart folder. And I could have it ignore all folders that contain two dashes after it and then I know it's gonna ignore all those ones that are not part of the system. So there you have it. You have an idea of how you could implement folders at a deeper level and you could do this organization also using other features such as collections labels or something else. It's a personal choice of yours, which feature you find best I happen to use folders and I've liked that particular process but that's just one step to getting organized. Using Lightroom. Classic

Ratings and Reviews

Deb Green
 

Brilliant in-depth, on-topic information well presented. Ben has forgotten more about LR than most people will ever know - his depth of knowledge is exceptional and he's also a polished presenter. Love the way each of Ben's words count, no chatter for the sake of it - straight to the point every time, but still engaging and friendly! I like the new office location, but do miss the excellent handouts that have come with Ben's earlier CreativeLive classes.

user-8a69fb
 

Ben is the best instructor! I have tried several different Lightroom organizational strategies from other instructors but find Ben's way is what works best for me. It is well thought out and makes working in Lightroom Classic a joy. Thank you Ben!

a Creativelive Student
 

Great ORGANIZATIONAL overview course for Lightroom Classic. Ben presents everything quite clearly. I've always been a "Collections/Sets" person and now considering working more within the Folders structure he presents. Which leads to a key concern - with Ben's "240,000" images in his Lightroom catalog - I wondered about discussing how to use Preview types (since they chew up space, and the discussion about local/internal image storage vs. external storage is an important one). Also with that type of quite detailed folder and photo naming structures, I wonder how often he runs into "character length restrictions" Overall, great organizational info and I picked up a few things, as always. Would recommend it for anyone new to Lightroom Classic or NOT new to Lightroom Classic. It's never too late to learn things or - in this case - move photos to another organization type! :)

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