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Manage Wedding Images in Lightroom

Lesson 28 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Manage Wedding Images in Lightroom

Lesson 28 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

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Lesson Info

28. Manage Wedding Images in Lightroom


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Define the Goals of Wedding Photographers


The Importance of Wedding Photographers


Shooting Philosophy


How to Build a Shot List - Bride, Groom & Formals


Tye the Wedding Story Together


Capture Stories in Wedding Pictures


Get the Right Exposure


Lesson Info

Manage Wedding Images in Lightroom

Just opened up a catalog that I've created. Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, and look at our import side of things, so essentially what we do, I don't use Lightroom to import files from the card, I just find it a little bit slow, so what we do is, we get the card, card folder, create the master folder, we copy it across, then verify, I'm very very fussy about when it comes to verifying. I make sure that in the camera folder if there's 791 images, what I've downloaded is exactly 791 images. And I do that for each card and verify it again, and then combine everything together in one master folder called the raw folder. At that point then I'm ready to import everything into Lightroom. So I'm running these checks all the time to be able to see what's been downloaded, if it's the right number of files, and so on and so on, extremely, extremely important. When we create the catalog, okay, now what we wanna do is add files to the catalog. We're not moving them, we're not copying...

them, I don't copy as DNG, that's not part of my workflow, but we're adding the files to the catalog. So you want your original files to stay exactly where they are. You do not wanna move those, okay? They will always stay there. Now with build previews, I start with this, minimal, but I also build smart previews. And the advantage of that is that once those smart previews have been built, I don't need to have the roll files connected to the computer. I can take, you know, my Lightroom catalog and put it on my laptop, and go and edit, you know, at the beach. Not that you would do that, but you know, sand would get everywhere. You know, but at a cafe or I can do it at home, as I said, so it gives you that that ability now with smart previews to be a little bit more malleable. But also if you're outsourcing your color correcting, you know, and this company's out there where you just send them a Lightroom catalog, with your smart previews, the you know, the catalog is then corrected for you, shipped back or emailed back to you, and then you just link your old files and then you've got all your files nicely, beautifully color corrected. So you're not actually shipping, you know, 35 gig worth of information through the Internet each and every time, cause it's very slow, very cumbersome, and it's not really a good way to work. I was just about to say, cause that's in fact what we do with Rocco's company, Capture to Print, is we build the smart previews, that catalog ends up being on average probably, yeah, I was gonna One gig, 900 meg say 900 meg, which is reasonable to upload, so that gets uploaded to them, they color correct it, send it back, we download it, relink it, and export or whatever other process we're going to, so it's usually an export first approving purposes. Now also on import with Lightroom, we can have a preset, okay. We can have a predetermined preset that will allow us, you know, to apply you know, highlighting shadow correction little bit of contrast, which is what I do, so I don't have to manually fix those, and then all I really do is play around with the exposure, and you know color and things like that. So my highlights, I'll show you in a minute how it works, my highlights, a little bit of shadow detail, I apply medium contrast curve, okay, and I have that as a preset, and I apply that preset upon import. It just cuts down on the number of steps that you're actually doing. Okay, and then of course you navigate on your hard drive to where those images lie and then of course we import the files. So, the other good thing also with apply during import, you can apply you know, keywording, which is very important, okay, so you can type in your keyword for that particular wedding, where it's John and Mary, and the name of the florist, the name of their venue and of the reception, and this gets embedded in the file, which is really good I guess for SEO later on. So there's all these little things that, you know, make your life so much easier. Now another thing to note here is that, when we shoot, we shoot with two bodies most of the time. One really simple way to not have a mental breakdown is to have those two cameras synced to the exact time. So that when you're shooting and you're downloading it becomes seamless and all those images, when you sort by capture time, will follow exactly where they need to be, yeah. I think I've given my wife many mental breakdowns by not syncing my cameras. She's probably out the back now nodding her head going, yes you have, Ryan, you're killing me, so. You're killing your own. So yes, sync your cameras up. Absolutely. Okay, so let's have a look at a wedding here. This is a wedding I've already edited, but I'll just show you like what it looks like as far as you know, the files and so on. So essentially, you know, we need to first, you know, edit what we wanna keep, and what we don't wanna keep. Now when I say we don't wanna keep, I don't mean we delete it. I never delete any files. Even my trash folder does not get deleted. Because if you have one of those, you know, moments of confusion and accidentally delete a file that you shouldn't have, because the bride might have of the most beautiful images on the planet, but you know what, because you've missed the shot of her and Auntie Mary, she will not pay you. You've got this amazing memory of being able to do that bride's, okay. So we don't throw away anything. So we can always have that trash folder to verify when the bride thinks or the groom thinks that you've taken a shot, which actually, at the end of the day might not even exist, but without you having a trash folder, that has images in it, well then you're opening yourself up to was it there or wasn't it there, did you delete it? So the policy in our studio is that we do not delete. We keep the trash folder. In fact, yes? How long you hold on to those backups? We've got a question here about that. Those backups there, and we keep, the old ones being picked up, okay, and everything's wonderfully done, and then we wait usually 12 months from that date, and then we can delete the trash. Yeah, but the other files, you know, I keep for as long as I possibly can, yeah. I always relate back to it as my dad is a wedding photographer as well, and been so for 40 years, he still had his first wedding that he shot 40 years ago on film. So, I just, I don't know, there's just something in my brain that says, you know what? Hard drives are really cheap now, and I can keep replacing them every four or five years if I feel that they're gonna break down, for the sake of having a few hard drives in a storage cage, I think it's not a big deal. Now, that's right, and also now with solid-state drives, you know, it increases the longevity, and also you know, their ability to not defile I guess. Not cheap, solid-state drives, but they're coming down in price, so I think storage-- I was gonna say you're not a cheap photographer. No we're not cheap photographers. We're serious about what we do and how we do it. So the first thing you need to do, obviously, is go through your wedding and tag if you like, what you're gonna keep in your main raw edit folder, and what you're not gonna keep, and there's a couple of different ways of doing that. Okay, essentially, you know, by running through the actual images, okay, you know, we can apply either a rating or a flag or a color to differentiate, you know, one collection from another collection. So, some people like to edit in, and some people like to edit out. There's no correct way of doing it, it's just the way you feel. I like to edit in. If I like something I'll like it, and then I'll go through that again cause sometimes I like way too many photos which are really the same, but I just give this you know emotional connection with the file, I need to keep it, but there's three files, you know, and just not good. Yeah, I think that's a really important part for what we're looking at in terms of caving in the collection, looking for variety, I don't wanna confuse my clients either. So if I have a particular moment shot, let's take this moment of the groom here sort of getting ready. I'm looking for different expressions. If the expression's exactly the same, I'll keep one, not three. Because if you give them three, they're just confused, the confused mind does not buy. So make it less confusing. I want them to look at every image in their collection, and want to have it, want to have it printed, want to have it in the album. So that's the way in your mind, you've got to edit through a wedding. Think about it as, will they buy it? I mean, I like shooting things like this cause, you know, it gives you essence of place, of you know, where the things happened, so, you know, usually I like to rate what I keep as yellow, which is the shortcut on the keyboard is the number seven. So, as I go through I will, you know, click on the number seven and it will rate it as yellow. So here I've got two expressions of the groom, which are very different, so I'll keep both, and then of course, you gotta respect tradition. This was a Greek Orthodox wedding, and these are all things that are sentimental and mean, have religious significance, so we don't wanna delete those, so we keep those. We keep it, okay, so that's different. Maybe I got, probably, you know, even though see we have two here, they're only gonna get one. It is so similar, why would I keep both? Okay, so don't keep both. Okay, that one is different, no, it's actually the same, so, and we'll keep one and not the other. Okay, that's kind of a cute moment. That's lovely socks, you know. Probably I'll go for the second shot and not the first one. So I start to you know, go through, and just ask yourself the question, you know, is it the same, do we need to keep it? And so on and so on, so as you can see through here. Like here there's a section of, this is a really funny story because the groom decided it would be really really cool to get one of those bow ties you tie yourself. Never had one before, never practiced. On the wedding day, 45 minutes to work how to do a bow tie, awesome. But they were great. They were an awesome couple, and you know we did, eventually worked it out because the Internet's a wonderful place, and they had all these videos, and it was a really funny story. But as you go through it this is obviously I can see this on an album spread how these images, cause this was a really really significant moment of the morning when they were getting ready. You know this whole sequence had purpose. So I'm gonna leave it in because I could see it maybe as six to nine images beautifully tiled up and him with his bow tie, which is hey, yeah, we've done it. Okay, so, we keep on, you know, and the priest came to the house. There he is, so we keep these things. So, if anything significant like that happens you need to be able to keep it. So only you can tell because you shot the wedding. Okay, and I think you need to get personal with editing as well, you know. At the end of the day, you know, sending files to color correct is one thing, but actually working out what to keep and what not to keep, I still strongly believe it's the role of the photographer, because only you know how that story unfolded and what is relevant. Do you agree, Ryan? Totally, yeah, absolutely. And this is part my workflow because my workflow used to outsource the color editing and retouching of these files so, but I'm still a big believer in that I need to be through this to get through all this culling, because I was there, I know what happened and, I know what's important to the day. I know the important people, so it's all relevant. And then from here, then yes, I can outsource as much as I want to, so. But, if, the trick to this all is if you're shooting this correctly and you've got, you know, exposures now, then you're not there spraying and praying per se, this should be a pretty simple process. It shouldn't take you that long, so. What are they, what are they doing? This is a beautiful sequence of the kids. This was just totally unrehearsed, just decided to do this, you know, but it's good, now we have such an amazing job capturing, with all privilege, capturing moments like this. I could just imagine an image like this, turning up at you know, this little boy's 21st, or her 21st, or their 18th, or even more embarrassing, their 16th, which is even more awesome, you know. So, yeah, shooting things. And then of course here was another traditional aspect, which you need to respect. You know, this is part of the ceremony where they do the scarf and incense, which is, you know, very relevant to the Greek Orthodox Supreme faith. And once again, we need to keep these images in because it's all about people paying their respect and blessing the groom, et cetera, so we need to have those in. I can hear the music. Can you hear the music? (Ryan hums Greek song) So we keep on going through it, and we keep on tagging everything yellow. And Kristi's got a question. Yes Kristi? Yes we have a few people voting for this question in the audience. As you're going through of all this and you are having that problem where your cameras were not synced, is there a way as you're doing this to line them up and can you show people how to do that? Yeah, absolutely. So, down below here, okay, if you just say, okay, let's go into metadata, okay, and let's sort by camera time. So D4 or D4S, okay? So as you can see I shot more with the D4S, and where the D4 of the day, these little things happen, so, you'll go to the camera that's up and work out how much it's out by, then what you do is you select all those images and you come into here where the capture time is, okay, capture time. You click onto that, and you adjust it here, okay? So your original time and the corrected time. Okay, so, one really safe way of you know, doing this is that when you turn up and you do your first shot of the day, whether it's just a random shot of the front of the house or the hotel, just quickly take the same shot with both cameras. Because then you'll know that if, heaven forbid, they're not synced. I've had a camera you know, went overseas shot some stuff, came back in a different time zone, forgot all about it, see you later, you know. It was a nightmare trying to adjust everything, trying to work out how many time zones by how many hours, right, it adds to a lot of time into your workflow. Or you could be like me. I had the right time, the wrong day. Mine for some reason went back to 2007. One of the cameras was 2007, and the time was in Guam, I don't know. We wanted them all in Australia, but somehow it went to Guam in 2007, awesome. Not useful, but yeah, so that's how we do it. It's very simple, so Lightroom allows you to do that, okay? So let's go back into none. So the beauty thing with this is that you know, you can sort by different lenses, it tells you what lens you shot with and how many shots, obviously, you know. My 85 I alluded to that, you know, when we did our shoot, 85's my favorite lens, 257 shots were shot on the 85. 7200, 135, boy it comes to a very close second. Followed by the 58, I love the 58. It's a really really cool lens. Not many shots there, just you know, if I'm shooting say at F and I do a really atmospheric portrait of the groom or bride, wide open to give us that nice, beautiful bouquet. And once again 12 images were shot with that. And then of course, you have the 1424, 86 images. And that's what I shot on the D4. So it tells you what camera, okay, and what lenses were used with that particular camera. Okay, so with the D4S I was running, I took everything out that day just in case. So I had the 7200, on the D4S, which is the main body I shoot with most of the time, you know, 245 of those images were shot, and then 247 on the 35, but it's good. It gives you a little bit of an insight also in how you shoot, which can be really cool. So, once the images are all tagged, I mean, once again the same thing happens happens at the bride's house. There's a lotta traditional stuff here that we need to go through. And then of course, you know, the shots of the guys, family, et cetera, et cetera. So we choose what's relevant, okay. Family's important so you gotta leave all these in, especially if you've got family that's come from overseas or from another state, another city, et cetera, okay. And then we just, yeah, keep going until we get to, and this is a bit sad because his younger brother had passed away, so and even though like, I didn't want to do a shot of him just holding his brother's photo, cause it's just, I don't know, I just find that quite morbid. But to have his brother in the background and just have that, I think just added a lot to the story without. Cause it was a portrait about the groom thinking about what could have been on this day if his brother was still around, which was very, you know, you gotta tap into these things, you know, through the interview process, the second interview is all about you know, understanding the family, who they are, who's important on the day, et cetera, et cetera. So this is information that I was privileged to have, by the couple, so you need to document accordingly. So these are obviously images that we leave in you know. And a little bit of a difference, and so on and so on. Then we get to the bride's house, and the same thing happens. We have, you know, the bride getting ready, so we need shots of that. This is quite a beautiful wall. It was all these photos. I just love going to people's homes and seeing photographs up on the walls, you know. And this beautiful thing that was written on the wall, you know, was awesome, you know. It was just a little memoir to past family members. And I thought it was really really tastefully done. It was absolutely gorgeous. The dress, which cost a fortune. This was a Steven Khalil. And very expensive designer back in Australia. And then you know documenting again and choosing you know, what we need to keep. I'm just gonna randomly check some of these in here. So there's Dad. I love Dad and Mum, Mum and Dad's wedding photo. This is another sad story because Mum was no longer with em, so he'd lost his brother she'd lost her mum, so it was a very emotional day but it's you know, it's good because we captured lots of beautiful memories for them. So that was shots of their wedding, Mom and Dad's wedding and I had that. So yeah, it's just like I said, feel very privileged and honored of the role that's given to us as wedding photographers to be able to capture these beautiful moments. So we'll tag a few more. Okay, then once I've done that, if I click onto the little button down here, okay, then what I have is everything that's tagged yellow. And what I can do, I can do two things. I can create a collection with these. So I can go into here, and I can create a collection. And I can call the collection say, anything I want, but probably raw edited would be a really good place to start. Don't just call it Fred or Jim cause that's not gonna work. So let's do you know, raw edit. And inside this collection set, where are we. So we can have you know, smart collections you want to do at this stage, include the selected photos. So what I would do here is I would select all of the yellow photos, go into, yeah, go into my smart collection, you know. Create collection, raw edit, so call it raw edit. And include selected photos, create, okay. And there is my raw edit folder. Now collections inside Lightroom don't actually, they don't move files. The files are still in this master folder. They don't go anywhere, okay. Think of collections like, playlists on your music library on your computer. Your songs are always just in your music folder, but then the order in which you play those songs comes down to your music lists and so on and so on. This is what exactly this is, all right? So, that becomes my raw edit folder, and then everything else is you know, things that I'm not gonna use.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Guide Book Chapter

Ratings and Reviews

Jerry Willis

Ryan & Rocco, in my very humble opinion, are THE best wedding photography instructors in the entire industry! I've been watching their work for years now, which just so happens to win a most grand-scaled competitions, and they somehow continue to keep getting better! I first drilled Ryan at WPPI inquiring about what made his workshop different from all the others. His response, me paraphrasing, "If you're looking for tools to learn, come to my workshop. If you're looking for inspiration and smoke blowing, don't come." That's exactly what I needed to hear. Straight tools, no fluff. THE BEST photography workshop I've EVER taken, by far. You want the best photography education, learn from the best. This CreativeLive workshop is the PERFECT complimentary refresher and companion to what I learned! Thank you so much for having them! It's not the same as the workshop, which it shouldn't be, but they ARE reinforcing many things that have slipped my memory! I'm for sure buying this! :-)

Neeraj Arora

WOW!!! I have started a few CL courses but not finished as I got distracted by "life" and it took me a while to get back and finish them. But these guys!! They were simply superb. I finished this course really fast. Amazing artists, they explain things so well, Ryan is such a charmer and engaging teacher, Rocco is a fountain of knowledge. I am an enthusiastic photographer with aspirations to start my own business soon. I learn't so much from this class that will help improve my photography even if I don't become a professional wedding photographer. Great job guys, keep it up. I will need to come back to the lessons and I very much appreciate the key note pdf. All CL courses should include the slides like they did here. Thanks CL.


I am a newborn photographer by trade, but I really want to venture out and photograph more weddings so I decided to purchase a wedding class on creative live. Of course when I typed in wedding, quite a few classes came up. But when I saw the image and title "capture the story" I was definitely intrigued. I've always been touched by the photographs that have emotion and that's what I'm passionate to photograph! Always a little nervous when you purchase a class because you don't want to feel like it was a waste of money, but this knocked it out of the park for me! Thank you to Ryan and Rocco for explaining so much, showing the pull backs, and moving your subject and explaining why! This has opened my eyes so much to how beautiful photographing a wedding can be and not so terrifying as I've been making it out to be. I'm really so thankful to hopefully being a great wedding photographer and making more income for my family, while having fun creating something beautiful

Student Work