Wedding season is winding down, at least the shooting part is. Now that the months of shooting are over, you’re left looking at all the images you’ve shot and wondering how you can magically post-process all of them quickly and painlessly. Well, we’re here to help you with that.
The big draw for most of us on wanting to be a photographer is to be away from our desks and not be cooped up in an office all day. So when it comes to post processing and the thousands of images we shot, we look at the mountain we’ve created and wonder how we are ever going to conquer it.
Some of us, on the other hand, love post processing and feel like that’s part of the equation. The finished product doesn’t feel complete until it’s delivered. Whatever your stance is, here are some tips to help you speed up your post processing workflow.
Use the correct software. At Lin & Jirsa, we use Lightroom to post process all of the images we’ve shot for over 200+ weddings throughout the year. We also use Photoshop when necessary, but the majority of our post processing time is spent in Lightroom.
Why Lightroom over Photoshop? Lightroom is designed for a more efficient workflow for photographers. Photoshop is designed for heavy photo manipulation, so post processing simple photographs without the need of heavily altering the image, is like using a water cannon to put out a tea lite candle. Of course, there are still times we need to take the image further and certain tasks are just more convenient in Photoshop, but if it’s more efficient in Lightroom, we stick with it.
Lightroom is the popular choice for post processing, but it isn’t the only choice. Some people like to sort their photos with Photo Mechanic and others like to post produce with other software options like Capture One. Remember the main goal is to be efficient.
2. Don’t Edit ONE Photo While In ‘The Zone’
We all do it. We remember that one shot we took and we’re already thinking about how it’s going to look finished on our ride home. Then, when we come across the image in our catalog – we pause, stop everything we’re doing, and spend hours post processing that ONE image.
This is the kryptonite to editing efficiency. We’re all guilty of it and we’re all should fight the urge. My solution, if you absolutely can’t wait, set aside some time (before you start to get into the zone) to post process your select few favorites. Edit those and/or once the time is up, move on and get back to work.
3. Assembly Line
Minimize your work output. Split up your tasks and group them by the motions you perform. For example, culling (or sorting your photos) requires one set of actions – split this task from actually editing your photos and you’ll find it much easier to get into a rhythm. By doing this, it might also help you refrain from editing ONE photo (see number 2).
Another task I like to perform independently is selecting my favorites. We export a group of favorites that we select from the catalog to encourage our clients to use them for slideshows, FB posts, or emails to their friends. When you are focused on a single task, staying on course becomes much easier.
4. Divide and Conquer
After dumping all of your memory cards and creating the catalog for your images, you take a first glance at the image count. It’s daunting at first, but if you divide and conquer, it becomes much easier. 3000-4000 images (or if you shoot Indian Weddings or multi-day celebrations it could be as much as 10,000-15,000 images) can seem like a never-ending amount.
Begin by grouping the images by camera. Different shooters with the same camera produce different results. Nikon cameras and Canon cameras produce much different results due to the characteristics of each camera body, so by dividing cameras, you’ll see more consistency when editing for different scenes.
Every lighting scenario is different, so next, I would recommend dividing the catalog into scenes or locations. Again, this will help you consistently read the light the same way, making it much easier to adjust white balance and color correct your scenes as a whole instead of jumping from one camera to another and from scene to scene constantly adjusting for a few different scenes at once.
5. Create Tone Setters
Tone Setters are a couple images selected randomly from each camera within each scene to help you dial in the correct white balance, color, and exposure. By creating tone setters, you establish a starting point for yourself to reference as you edit the rest of the scene. This drastically helps efficiency so you don’t edit one scene from the lead shooter, then jump to another scene shot with by the second shooter. Pasting settings from one raw to another takes just one click. When you have your catalog grouped accordingly, you can edit dozens of photos with just a few clicks per photo.
These are a few of the workflow tips I try to practice when editing. Hopefully, you’ll find these helpful to your workflow and it will make post processing those thousands of images that much easier, and faster.
For a more in depth explanation of the workflow we use at the Lin & Jirsa studio, check out the Lightroom Workshop Collection. This is the same information given to all our post producers and the DVDs are training material for our editing staff. The collection includes 3 parts, Lightroom Workflow & Organization, Lightroom Image Processing Mastery, and our newly revamped Lightroom Preset System V6.
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