We all know that with Wedding Photography, the actual wedding day is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the work that goes into delivering images. As well as the client meetings that come before any wedding, there’s also all of the post processing.

They key to ensuring you can keep on top of your workload, not let clients down, and minimise the time we spend in front of the computer, is an efficient workflow. Because, let’s all be honest, we all want to spend more time with our families than we do working!

So I’m going to walk through my process, from importing, to culling images and show you just how quickly it can be done in LightRoom.

File Structure

So, to get started. I work with a single catalog. This is how Adobe intends Lightroom to work, and the size of the catalog doesn’t slow anything down (having your drive fill up with images does though).

My catalog is split over two drives. As many of us will have a faster drive for our Operating System vs our bulk storage. It makes sense to use the faster drive to edit from.

I use the Pictures location on my Windows machine, but you can use any folder you like on your faster SSD.

Mine is like this:

  • C
    • ¬†Pictures
      • Working Files

I store all of the images that I’m going to be editing in here. And move them over to my slower storage once the edits are complete.

On Import

When I import images, I import them directly into my “Working Files” folder into a subfolder with the clients names, and I Keyword them on import, with the clients names and whether it’s a wedding, a family shoot etc as well as the year. I don’t do anything until all of the images are imported. I know some wedding photographers swear by Photo Mechanic, but if you leave the images to import and previews to generate, then Lightroom is really fast anywhere, if it’s not then it’s likely your machine isn’t quite up to scratch.

So like this:

  • C
    • Pictures
      • Working Files
        • John & Jane

The Keywords would be “John Jane Wedding 2019” for example, applied during import, or in batch in the library view.

Culling

I cull from the Working Files using the star system. So I’d go to the “John & Jane” folder, making sure shift lock was on so that it automatically progresses the images when I rate them. I go through and I use a simple rating system of:

  • 4* = keep
  • 5* = keep & potential album / slideshow image

But before I edit, I want a nice uncluttered view, and this is where Smart Collections come in.

Smart Collections

I do all of my editing from Smart Collections, it makes it all really slick.

I create a Collection Set for each year, and a collection set to match each type of shoot, then within them I create a Smart Collection. The rules I use for that smart collection are:

Keywords – contains all – <whatever keywords you’ve chosen>

Rating is greater than 1*

This will create a reference to those images you’ve just imported, and show them under your Collections Panel. This isn’t a duplicate copy, simply a reference pointing to the same files.

Efficient Workflows in Adobe Lightroom 1

This gives me a Smart Collection containing images that are selected for editing and nothing else and I edit from here.

Next steps

I do three things to finish off when editing a session.

Firstly, I go back into the main folder in my Working Files. And I change the filter at the bottom of LR to show me only “unrated” images. I select all in the Library module and hit “X” to mark as rejected.

Then in the library module, I drag the whole folder over from my Working Files directory, to my bulk storage drive. By dragging it from within Lightroom, it ensures LR still knows where all of those images are. Whether I move them to an internal drive, or an external one.

My storage directory looks like this:

  • D
    • Images
      • 2018
        • Weddings
        • Families
        • Engagements
        • Corporate
        • Personal
      • 2019
        • Weddings
        • Families
        • Engagements
        • Corporate
        • Personal

With a folder for each shoot under the relevant section. So I just drag the whole folder into where it needs to go.

This frees up space on my fast drive and moves them over to my bigger storage drive. Structuring it in this way means that when my drive gets full, I can offload a whole years work of images to an external drive or other storage simply by dragging the whole year from within LR to that archive drive.

And thirdly, about a month after delivery (I put a note in my diary to remind me) I select the whole folder and choose “Photo – Delete Rejected Photos” in Lightroom, ensuring I’m only keeping the RAW images of things I’ve delivered, rather than the whole lot.

Optional – Album and Slideshow Images

If I’m doing an album or a slideshow, as I used my 5* to be an album or slideshow choice, then all I need to do is change the filter at the bottom of LR to show me 5* images only. I might choose to refine the choice further, but that’s fine, it still saves me a huge amount of time rather than going through the entire gallery again.

Any other tips?

I’d love to hear if you do something similar, or if you have any other tips on speeding up the post processing! Comment below if you do.

I’ll cover how I edit images and the tools I use for that at a later date ūüôā

If you’re looking for a Norwich Wedding Photographer or Norfolk Wedding Photographer then you may be in the right place. Please see my pricing and portfolio page for more details. For weddings further afield, travel may be charged on top,¬†why not get in touch and see if we click?