Last week Isabel March welcomed fellow Photo Betties to her studio to introduce us to the wonderful world of Lightroom. Some of us were die-hard Photoshop users intrigued by the hype over faster production and ease-of-use, and others had taken baby steps with Lightroom and were ready and eager to learn more.
What a reception! Isabel and her husband Mike greeted everyone as they arrived, and there was a delicious spread and super cute notebooks with pens to jot down notes. She jumped right in and literally flew through an engagement session – from culling to editing and final export – in no time at all.
When I heard Isabel could edit an entire wedding with Lightroom in a matter of hours, not days, I was mystified. After seeing her intuitive and efficient process and Lightroom skills, it made complete sense to me how she accomplishes it. She also shared tons of helpful tips about workflow, her favorite presets and tools, and answered any all all questions we threw at her. Much of what we learned was explained with on-screen examples, but here’s a few fantastic tips that translate without visuals:
• Before you even begin editing, back-up your files multiple times so there’s no danger of losing anything (Isabel has six back-ups, two of which go off site).
• Work on photos stored on an external hard drive – rather than your computer – to process faster and ensure everything is safely stored.
• Give each of your clients their own folder within your system. Keep everything subdivided within that folder, i.e. contracts, sessions, weddings, albums and your Lightroom catalogue. It makes everything related to your client easy to find.
• When culling and editing your images, let go of super fantastic perfection. Select the very best photos and spend your time and effort on those specifically.
• Isabel uses Photo Mechanic for culling – rather than Adobe Bridge or Lightroom – because it renders quickly and provides clear, detailed previews of your images. First she rates the top images then exports them to a folder – to edit only those select shots in Lightroom. There’s no need to import an entire wedding into Lightroom…only the images that will be presented to your client.
• When importing a new project into Lightroom, give each project its own catalog so that your computer can process everything faster. Save each catalog with the respective job so you don’t have to hunt to find it later.
If you’re switching over, or looking to increase your knowledge of Lightroom, here are some helpful places to go:
• Adobe’s Learning Center has articles, video tutorials, links and resources for all things Lightroom.
• Julianne Kost is the guru of LR. She’s amazing!
• Lynda.com is an excellent resource for online training with easy-to-follow tutorials – there are hundreds on Lightroom alone!
• TheLightroomLab.com has a wide range of tutorials from practical to fun to search and be inspired!
• Kelby Training offers online and in-person courses in Lightroom.
A few spots to pick up presets:
• Kubota Image Tools has a bevy of Lightroom goodies including presets, a RAW workflow system, and SpeedKeys!
• Totally Rad has a set of 103 presets (including 9 for the adjustment brush exclusively), plus tips and ideas to make photos uniquely your own.
• Marcus Bell has educational DVDs and presets available, and is also donating 20% of your purchase toward the Brisbane Flood Relief.
• Cuba Gallery has tutorials and a wide range of presets.
• Flourish, PresetsHeaven and Presetopia have a few awesome presets as well.