Organizing and Selecting Your Landscape Photos
Let's talk a little bit about workflow, okay? I wanna make this stuff as non-boring as possible. I think we all care about how we manage our photos. I think it's an important topic, but also, at the same time, nobody's like, oh yeah, teach me how to organize! So, I wanna make this stuff as easy as possible. What I'll tell you is, when it comes to organizing my photos, I'm gonna create a folder called My Photos. So, what I do, as a landscape photographer, remember, I'm coming at this landscape, outdoor photographer. I'm not coming at this from a wedding, portrait, or event perspective. As a landscape photographer, all I really care about is locations, right? I wanna know where I've been and I want a quick, easy way to find that. So, when I go to Yosemite, I've got my photos folder, I'll come back, I'll create a folder inside of there called Yosemite, okay? I'll plug in my card reader, I'll dump the photos from Yosemite into that folder. And if I'm there for four days, I just keep dumpin...
g 'em in, every day, just keep dumping 'em in. So let's say the next week I go to Seattle. I'll create a Seattle folder, go to my photo shoot, attach my card reader, dump 'em in. That is my workflow before I do anything. I know Lightroom will import for you. There's other programs that will ingest your photos and do all these things, but for me, and judging from the people that I've heard from that I've talked to, we're all really particular about where our photos go. Not that Lightroom's doing anything bad, but it gets a little bit confusing when you let Lightroom do the import, because when you're letting it copy photos from your card reader onto your computer, not only are you trying to tell it what to do with the photos in Lightroom, but you're also trying to tell it where to put the photos, and it's just, it's a little bit confusing when it comes down to it. Sometimes those photos go somewhere else. So, the way that I like to think about it is you're in charge of where you put your photos. You be in charge of that, so that way, they're always right where you thought you put 'em, okay? You're not letting Lightroom put 'em anywhere, you're not letting some other program bring 'em onto your computer and put 'em into a folder, you're always in charge of it. So now, once I get my photos onto my computer, I'm ready to bring 'em into Lightroom. I'm gonna tell you about, you can call it pre-flight, whatever you wanna call it, a quick browse. I get back from a photo shoot, and sometimes I'm in a rush, and I just wanna look at my photos really fast. So, is anybody else, like, you just wanna see them, you don't wanna import them into anything, you just wanna, just show me my photos. You're excited, especially, again, we're talking landscapes here. I get excited. I get back and I wanna see the photos. You know, maybe if my everyday job was shooting events, I might not be so excited, oh, god, I gotta get back and work. But I'm excited when I get back from a shoot. I wanna see the photos. I don't think anybody will argue with me that Lightroom might not be the fasted tool to show you your photos. Now, I think it's really one of the fastest raw editors that's out there, and it's the best raw editor that's out there, but it might not be the fastest tool to show you your photos. So, before now, I used to use a program called Photo Mechanic. The problem is, Photo Mechanic's $150, and to spend that just to look at your photos fast before you import them into Lightroom is a pain. So, Photo Mechanic will do this, so if you already own Photo Mechanic, great. On1 has one of their apps, which is called Browse. And so, what they've done is kind of keep Browse pretty simple. It's really fast. It's got one job in life, and that's to be a fast browser. Doesn't have to do 25 things well, it's just gotta be a fast browser. So, in the latest version, which is 9.5, and I can attest to this, the engineers used to send out builds of the latest version two or three times a day, and you know, me and a couple other guys, we'd just get in there and just beat on it. I'd just throw 2000, open up folders full of 2000 folders, and if in five seconds we couldn't start looking at thumbnails, then too slow, send it back, and they came through. I mean, it really kicked butt. So, let's go to my photo shoot, which is Yosemite. We're gonna work on the Yosemite one here. So here's my Yosemite folder. So, we're inside of Browse, all right? So remember, main job, show you your photos really, really fast, so there's gotta be, okay, we can see right up there, 1100 photos. I mean, I have thumbnails pretty much instantaneously, okay? Now, that's cool, but we also wanna make a couple of judgments on sharpness and get to see the photo. So, if I look at the photo a little bit larger, you'll see I'm not waiting for anything. You know, in Lightroom, you go to the next photo and you see a little spinning thing and the photo's blurry for a second, and then it snaps up, 'cause what it's doing is it's building a larger preview every time you go to that next photo. I mean, if I just hold my finger down on the right arrow key. And then, if you wanna take it a step further, if I zoom in, now I can see detail. Maybe that one's blurry. Maybe it's making me a liar. It's usually a little faster than that. Come on, wake up. Okay, don't zoom in, just go to fit view. It actually usually does better than that. I can usually go straight into this view and just crank through 'em, but maybe it's having a bad day or my computer's having a bad day. We'll go back to fit view, because honestly, when it comes to browsing, this is usually the view that I'm making the choice from. So, what I wanna do is I wanna get to my photo, I wanna get to a place where I can see my favorites, okay? So, as I'm going through, I'm hitting the right arrow key, you know, I'm starting to find photos. Here's where it gets cool is, when I find a photo that I like, you can see it's got color, rating, and likes. So, likes are like pick flags, ratings, star labels, color labels. Well, ratings are actually a metadata field that are carried across photos in all different programs. It's actually like an official metadata field. The likes, and the picks, and the flags and all, that's not an official metadata build, which is why every program has a pick, but other programs can't ever read it, 'cause it's not official. So, if I use the star rating system, five, what'll happen is, is eventually, when I'm ready to bring these into Lightroom, it'll pick up on those, okay? So I'm just gonna hit the number five. That's okay, when I went to Yosemite, I took a trip to Mono Lake. This is what you're seeing here. There we go, we got a little bit of the sun. Hit number five. Again, super fast browsing. Hit number five. I'm not gonna go through the whole photo shoot that way, 'cause there's 1100 photos in there, so you get the idea. But that rating system, as I'm looking at these photos, now I can start to do something with it. So, there's a whole filter section over here on the left hand side so I can filter by all of my five star photos, so I'm seeing those. But here's where the cool part is is I can select all these photos and I can right click and I can send 'em right into Lightroom, right from in here. So you have two choices. One, you could send the entire folder in, or two, you could do what I just did and filter and just send the good ones in. So, I'll send the entire folder in. I'll turn the filter off and I'll send the entire folder, just command or control A, select all. And I installed this after I installed, or before I installed the latest version of Lightroom, so it's gonna send to Lightroom 5, which is fine, actually, because I already have 'em imported in Lightroom 6, so they wouldn't go in there. So I'll just send 'em into Lightroom. It's gonna open up the dialogue box here. The cool part about Lightroom is when you do your import, it'll let you create collections. We're gonna talk about collections in a second if you're not familiar with what they are, and I'll let you create 'em right on the import, which is kinda neat. But let's go back over here. So I'm gonna do my import. We can put our keywords, I can put Yosemite, put your metadata, all that fun stuff. So, let's go ahead and import. So it's bringing everything in, but the most important part is that, when I was doing my browse, so this was, and you know, imagine the workflow in this. I just get back from a photo shoot, I'm looking through these photos, you know, I find five or 10 photos I really like, you know, I double click, open 'em in Photoshop, do some quick edits, send off some emails, whatever. But as I'm doing that, I hit the number five, just to say I like the photo. Do it again, hit the number five. So remember, this is just us finding our photos fast. Now we're coming back and we're ready to sit down and do some work. Okay, so now everything's going into Lightroom. The nice part about it is all of my work is done. I've already found the photos. I already did that once when I was going through Browse, so I just filter to the five star photos, just click the little five star down here, I just filter to those photos, and now I don't have to do that all over again. So now I'm actually ready to start doing stuff to 'em. Okay, so once I find those five star photos, if I want a really quick Lightroom way to get to 'em, the last phase of my organization is I create a collection, just a fancy way of saying album. Over on the left hand side, you have a collections panel. Same thing inside of Lightroom 6 CC. You've got this collections panel. So, what I would do is, remember, stars are off, I'm looking at all the photos. I turn five star on, which is saying I just wanna see my favorites, so I select all, go to my collections panel, hit that little plus icon, create a collection called Yosemite, include selected photos, good. The reason why I did this is because, when I go and start to work on these photos, when I go to the develop module, take a look at what we have over on the left hand side. We have a collections panel. See what you don't have? You don't have a folders panel. So, there's no folders over here, so what would happen if I wanted to start to switch back and forth between things? I would have to go back to the library module, go find the folder, go back to the develop module. But with a collection, they follow you through Lightroom, so that's why they're such a good organizational tool inside of Lightroom, because they follow you through. You can get to the collections in any module here, and you can't do that with folders. So, I got my Yosemite collection. I'll show you one extra thing when it comes to creating your collections. Let me go delete that collection, and that is, what I did with Yosemite is I created a collection set, and I called it Yosemite, okay? Then, when I did my first photo shoot, so we went to, where did we go? Cathedral Beach. So what I did is, the collection set, think of it as just an empty folder, all right? You don't put photos into a set, you put other collections. So if I right click here and choose Create Collection, Cathedral Beach inside Yosemite. The next day, we went to a place called Valley View. Create Collection inside Yosemite. The next day, we went to the Tunnel View. Create Collection inside Yosemite. What this does is now, I can go over to my Yosemite folder, I'll filter by the five stars, so I'm only getting stuff that I like, and then, what I'll do is I'll start to take the photos from Cathedral Beach, and I'll just drop 'em into that collection. And then, I can go to Valley View, take those photos, drop 'em into collection, and then Tunnel View. Drag those, drop 'em into the collection. So what this does is this gives me a little bit of a better way to organize them. Now I have the Yosemite trip, and I got Cathedral Beach, Tunnel View, Valley View. If I wanna see either one of those photo shoots, I just click on it. If I wanna see the entire Yosemite trip, I click on that, so it kinda makes it a little bit easier to find everything. So, that's a little bit on the overall organizational part of this stuff.