How I Quickly Process a Large Photoshoot

At Sunday’s BYOBW event, (which I blogged about on Tuesday) I shot over 1000 images (1424 to be exact) which can cause a bit of a bump in the road for my regular photo work processes of trying to complete processing of my images from Japan, France, getting my images into businesses, getting flower images ready for my next photo book, etc. I simply don’t have a lot of time to take my time processing 1400 more images.

So in today’s post I want to share a little of my “quick” workflow with Lightroom. I usually follow the same general workflow, but will add a “quick triage” step when I’m short on time. In today’s post I will walk you through my method of whittling the images down to a few for final editing.

In the first step, I insert the SD card into the computer, next I start up Lightroom and Select File-> Import Photos…

When the import dialogue box appears, I enter the keywords (California, san Francisco, bring, your, own, big, wheel) for this shoot and press enter. These are the keywords that I will use to associate these images together. With them related together with keywords, I can later search, create collections, & differentiate them from the other 80000+ images in my catalog.

After pressing the ENTER key to apply the keywords and then pressing Import at the lower right of the screen, the Lightroom will begin importing the images. It takes a little longer for my import process because I (1) shoot in RAW mode, (2) Convert the images to .DNG format during import and (3) Create a backup copy on my Home Server as they are being imported just in case. At the beginning of the import process, you will see the following screen:

Then you will see the following screens as Lightroom imports, converts and backs up the images.

Once the import is completed, Lightroom will create the quick view previews. Here is a good article on the options and reasons for selecting the level of previews which are right for you.

Now, I use the Slideshow mode to quickly review and rate each image. I also use the left and right arrow keys to quickly proceed through the images. My goal at this point is to quickly pare the images down to a more reasonable number. I use the flag ratings for this. For each image I use either the P (Pick) or X (Reject) keys to rate it. The U (Unflag) key can be used to remove the flag rating. I use P (Pick) for those images I like and want to keep (they pass my composition, exposure, and focus guidelines), the X (Reject) for those that absolutely do not pass and no rating for those that I think that I might be able to “save” with extended work when I have more time. This next 3 image show me entering Slideshow mode:

Now, I have moved through each image and given it one of the following ratings:

  • P = Pick/KEEP/White Flag
  • X = Reject/DELETE/Black Flag
  • No Flag/Save for a later date

The following screen shows the grid view of the 1424 images in Library mode with the Keep/Delete ratings:

The number keys 0-5 can be used to add a star rating to the image. I usually add a rating anywhere from 1 to 5 to the images I want to keep as I get closer to the final set. These ratings (flag & star) can be seen in each module, Library, Develop and Slideshow.


Now it’s time to further refine the images. I use the flag filter to select all of those with the pick flag set (658 images). Then I go through Slideshow mode again for each image giving it a 1 through 5 rating where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest.


After going through that rating process, I then select all of the images with the pick flag set and with a rating above 4 (132 images).

One more pass through Slideshow and adjust the ratings of each image, down to 5 or below or up to 5 to keep. Now, the filter shows all those with a rating of 5 (51 images).

These are the final keepers, the images that will be edited and eventually posted on the web site and blog posts. More images may drop out during the editing process that follows. I will blog about my image editing workflow later.

You can view some of the final images at my previous B.Y.O.B.W. blog post or all of the final 40 at my web site gallery here.

I also created notes from an Intro to Lightroom class I presented at my camera club last year here which you are free to download.




4 thoughts on “How I Quickly Process a Large Photoshoot

    • Thanks Sasi, Lightroom has been pretty good for me. It’s actually been so powerful, that I haven’t learned much PhotoShop. Let me know if you have questions I can help with once you move to it. I just upgraded to 3.4.

    • Thank you Emily! Im working on finishing up the post of my image editing workflow too. Please let me know if you have any questions that I can help with in regards to Lightroom, I’ve been using it since the beta days.

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