Recently I installed Adobe Lightroom (LR)2.6 and began the learning curve of using it to manage my photographs. I had downloaded a trial version of it several months ago but didn't really grasp the power of the program and what all it is capable of doing in my photography workflow.
Previously I had been processing most all of my photographs through Adobe CS4 one at a time to tweak the various levels and add a watermark before exporting to my Flickr account.
The previous workflow went something like this:
- Shoot picture with camera in RAW format
- Off load pictures from camera to computer using Canon EOS utility
- Make first pass cull of unacceptable shots and delete
- Open RAW file one at a time in PS CS4 for adjustments
- Save picture in .psd & jpg formats
- Upload the jpg format pictures to Flickr using the Flickr upload utility, I could only choose 13 pictures at a time to upload so most of the time this required multiple uploads.
- Tweak out titles, descriptions, etc on Flickr.
Now using Lightroom 2.6 (LR), my workflow is:
- Take pictures in RAW format
- Offload from camera directly into LR using a custom default keyword & metadata preset, I still put them in date folders as before then I review each shot and mark the culls. Using LR commands I delete the cull photographs from both the LR catalog and the hardrive. Then further utilizing LR filters I pick the best of the shots for further processing and sometimes will do another culling. If I do want to keep some of the shots but not process them in the Develop module I simple flag them all with a red flag. Then I filter out the red flag photos and move into the Develop module.
- Tweak settings using LR Presets, LR tools and add appropriate additional keywords, captions, etc.
- Choose files I want to upload to Flickr (again using the LR flagging system) and start the upload using Jeffery Friedl's "Export to Flickr" plugin and add my watermark at the same time using the LR2/Mogrify plugin. All of the files go up in one batch and my watermark is placed exactly as I want it. No muss, no fuss.
- Do finally title, description and geo-tagging in Flickr.
I have made the first pass through my 2009 photographs and culled many shots freeing up computer resources as well as making the LR catalog smaller. I probably will make another pass through all of the files again at a latter date.
So, if you are into photography and are trying to manage a large number of images on your computer, then I would highly recommend your looking into using LR. Below are some links to LR sites that offer free tutorials, presets and plugins.