A Logical Editing Process in Lightroom®
Let's get into editing. And I think we... We took those pictures of Tony earlier, there's not too many there. Gonna go to full screen. I'm just gonna get rid of some of this stuff so we can see the images. And you know, I took a picture of the screen earlier. We have a white piece of paper that I took earlier. So there's a bunch of miscellaneous files in here. So, editing. Basically my editing process, and the reason I have editing before renaming and a few things I'll explain here is because I do have a few clients that will come back to me and say, "Image 353 looks great, what's 352 look like, or 356 look like?" Or 354, they want images around that one image. And if I go in and rename first, and then I go in and delete a bunch of those images of my foot, I don't want the client to come back and well I have to explain to them that there is no image because I deleted it, because it was a picture of my foot. I just don't wanna have that conversation. So I go through a first round of ed...
iting first, and then I rename after I've gone through and... Not that I get that many pictures of my foot, but we all get pictures that're out of focus, or an accident or whatever. Or they're just never gonna go anywhere. Things to note here is that my editing process is intentionally slow. If you are a photojournalist or, when I work for Red Bull occasionally I'll shoot an event for them, and you shoot the event, you go back to the hotel and two hours later you gotta have images uploaded to their server. I tweak my workflow for that, but for most of my work, I go shoot, I've got a week or two, or maybe a month before the client needs the image. So I've got time. So keep that in mind. It depends on what you've got going on as to how you edit. The other thing I realized over years and years is that the more time I spent in the editing process, the better the images were. The cream rose to the top so to speak. So here, I'll just dive in on my computer here, and we'll see... So what I usually do is just get, go to full frame mode here. I might even just hit the F key, so it's nothing but a full frame picture. And when I hit one star, you see it shows up with a star there at the bottom of the frame. I'll escape. That's definitely gonna not be a one star image. I'll hit zero. So I have it set up on the keyboard to just hit a number, and I think that's by default in Lightroom in the preferences to just hit the number. File handling. I don't know where it's at, but I'm pretty sure it's by default that you just hit the number one through 5, and I rank with stars, not with flags. Some people, everybody does it different. So it's up to you as to how you wanna to it. But you'll see why I rank with stars here pretty quickly when I go through this. I'm just gonna put 'em in the... I hit E on the keyboard shortcut to go to the standard size preview, and I'm just gonna go through 'em. That color's kinda fun, but it's not necessarily something I need. Pretty cool, I shot at F1.4. Lookin' good there, Tony. So I'll just go through and whatever grabs me, I'll just give it a one star. And you'll see I'm moving pretty fast here. And I'm just giving it a star and I keep going through. Out of focus, out of focus. So what I might do here is hit the X key, which is the reject in Lightroom. Keep going, out of focus. Out of focus. Oh, that's cool. And I just keep going through. And I'm gonna go a little faster now just to get through these. And just randomly hit... Oh that's kinda cool, I moved in close. Whoops, there's one that's out of focus. And sometimes maybe I'll have to zoom in to see if they're truly out of focus, but these are pretty far out of focus, so... Oh, nice smile. You know, okay, so there we go, that's our edit. Go through all of the images, and I just have one finger on the one star key, or the number one key for one star, and one finger on the right hand. It may be a thousand images, it might be 20 images, it might be 10 thousand images. It just depends on how long it takes. If it's a lot of images, then I will usually take a break between iterations. So say it's a thousand images, I'll go through all thousand, and bump those ones that kind of catch my eye to one star. And there I'm not being too picky, as you saw. I'm just like, anything that even remotely looks like, huh, that might be interesting, give it a one star. And as you'll see, the next thing I'm gonna do when I come back is I'm gonna go in here to metadata, not metadata, attributes, sorry. And my filter up here, and I'm gonna click, filter for one star images. And so now it's pared it down to just those one star images. And so now I'm going to do the exact same thing, except I'm gonna have one finger on the two key, and one finger on the right arrow key. I'm gonna go through, I give that one a two. Let's see, two... I like that one a lot, that one's good. Okay, so now I'm at two. So I'll go back, and now I'll filter for two stars. I'm basically coalescing it down to just what I think are the best of the best. And the cool thing is, once I start getting down here, I can also come in here, when it gets to three star mode, and do this compare mode over here, which is the X Y. And it allows me to zoom in to two images side by side at 100% and see if this one's sharper than that one, or compare them in all kinds of different ways. But basically I'll come in here, and... Let's get those big again. I'll probably check focus before I get to here, I haven't done that. Three. So, I'll bump those up to three stars, and you know what, basically I'm going for whatever number of images I'm willing to work up at that point. Which is usually somewhere between 30 and 100. And if it's 100, that's gonna take a while to work up. That's not gonna be quick, for me at least. Ideally, it's between 20 and 50. And it might be out a thousand, it might be out of 4000, it just depends on what it is. And I don't necessarily stop at three stars, it's pretty rare that I ever get to five stars. If I do get to five stars, it's probably going straight into my print portfolio or on my website pretty quickly. Three to four stars is kind of the sweet spot where I stop editing and figure out which ones I'm going to work up. I'll just editorialize on this a little bit. 'Cause I have a good friend, Nevada Weir, she's a very famous National Geographic photographer. Has been shooting for 30 years or more, 40 years maybe. We've taught workshops together, we've done shoots together. She's so certain of her editing, that she uses flags. It's either on or off. She doesn't use stars. Or if she does use stars, it's either zero stars or five stars. Anything that's not flagged gets deleted. So she'll go through 800 images, she'll flag 24 of 'em, everything else gets deleted. And I'm like, well that's one way to do it, but I'm not that certain. Kudos to her if she can recognize that. She knows, she's been doing it longer than I have. And she knows what her clients want. So it's up to you as to how you do it. The stars, this a very slow process as you see. But if I have, for me as a sports photographer, I'm often shooting nine frames a second, or whatever frame rate, 12 frames a second. It's like, they're here, then they're there, then they're there, then there're there. Is this one 10% better than that one? I'm comparing very small movements in the athletes positioning in the frame. So that's why the stars really works for me. I don't really use the flags, but it just depends on what you're doing. If I'm shooting portraits in a studio, and I shoot 60 pictures a day, it might just be flags are fine and I can use color codes or something. It's all up to you, however you wanna do it. This is just one option. If I'm a photojournalist, like my good friend Brian Bielmann who's a legendary surf photographer. When you shoot surfing and you're standing on the beach or you're in the water swimming, you might come back with 3000 images. He used to have to get those images up online onto Surfline, or whatever magazine's website for the surf world, because everybody in the world knows that it was a big day at pipeline and they want to see those images as fast as possible. So he's even tagging them on the back of his Canon camera. 'Cause you can tag, I think you can do it on the Nikons now too, the D850 has this feature where you can take it or flag it on the camera. Then you're editing while you're standing there waiting on the next set of waves. You get back, you have your 24 pictures or whatever you chose, already figured out, and you don't have to do any of this, you're just going straight to those flagged images out of the camera to start workin' up. So it depends on the speed you need. Scalable to everybody.