Photo Coleslaw

Behold…. Lightroom!

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Picture sitting in a room with 413 file cabinets surrounding you.  They’re huge looming things and each one has multiple files within it.   Every time you need to retrieve a  file you have to rely on your memory or an elaborate list that you manually enter all of the critical information into.

Look a little closer and those drawers seem to be laughing at you.

Such was the case before Adobe Lightroom entered into the file management system.   Those file cabinets were actually folders on your hard drive with multiple subfolders.  A lot of photographers would simply curl into the fetal position and rock back and forth when faced with the task of finding all of the images related to “Dog”

Now picture those same filing cabinets, except they’re operated by invisible hands and multiple drawers can zoom open and closed simultaneously on your command.   Employ Lightroom into your workflow and quite frankly you might just find yourself sleeping better at night.

An ongoing theme within Photo Coleslaw will be the tricks to maximize the power of Lightroom.   The less time you spend on file management means the more time you can spend on shooting.  Or cleaning your gutters.  Whatever strikes your fancy.

To start?  The power of Smart Collections.   They have two important functions within my workflow.  They automatically sort out my best files for me (handy when you are looking to update your portfolio) and they sort out the problems in my workflow (files who somehow escaped keywording tagged onto them)


I employ a 3 star system in my editing process.  1 star for decent, 2 for solid and 3 for possible portfolio-worthy.   I have a Smart Collection set up to filter all images that have a 3 star rating and were captured within the last year.  My best, recent work is always there – constantly evolving with no effort from me.  Kind of makes you smile, eh?

Picture 6

The flipside of that is the isolating of images that need attention.  Lightroom comes with a Smart Collection already set up to filter all files that have no keywords attached to them.  Normally keywords are added upon import, occasionally a mistake is made and they are not.  This collection ensures that I catch those files and they don’t disappear untagged into the system.

Picture 7

The power of Smart Collections lies in the fact that they operate completely independently and automatically.  They constantly update themselves as you move through time.   Take that laughing file cabinets!  You’ve just been rendered obsolete…


Written by Spelman

09/23/2009 at 10:13 am

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