It’s extremely common to come back from a client photoshoot with hundreds (or even thousands) of images. Lightroom makes the process of editing those images faster than ever before. In this tutorial, we show you a workflow that can help you edit hundreds of photos in mere minutes. Learn to make adjustments to exposure, copy edits from one image to another, and save custom adjustment brushes to edit more efficiently – all while keeping the client’s goals in mind!
Getting Started in Lightroom
Lightroom isn’t just a powerful tool for editing photos. It’s a software designed to help you develop a consistent workflow for post-production. This means that you can work faster and more efficiently while never missing a step.
Post-production begins the moment you import your images into Lightroom. While importing can sometimes sound like a trivial task, there are a few important tips that can greatly improve your overall post-production experience.
First, we recommend setting the Build Previews option to Minimal. Since we will be constantly be making changes to all of the images in our catalog, we don’t Lightroom to have to keep rebuilding full-size previews of each image. That would significantly slow down both our computer as well as our ability to quickly cycle through the photos. By setting Build Previews to Minimal, we’re telling Lightroom to create very small, rough preview files that will still give us an idea of what we have changed without taxing our computer’s resources.
Second, don’t forget to protect your work by adding copyright information to the metadata! Lightroom makes it incredibly easy to update metadata information for any number of images upon import. There are a number of options to fill out and choose from. We recommend, at the very least, filling out the Name and Copyright Status areas of this section.
Editing in Lightroom
Once all of the images have been imported, the next step is to get every image to an acceptable level of exposure and sharpness. Since all of our images were taken in the same environment, with the same camera, and with minimal changes to camera settings, we can safely edit one image and then apply those adjustments to every other photo in the catalog. Remember that these are just baselines adjustments – everything we do at this point is to get each image to a great starting point for more detailed edits.
When making initial adjustments, it’s usually best to begin with exposure, sharpness, and lens corrections. This will ensure that each of the images is properly exposed, has a subject that appears sharp and in-focus, and will eliminate any distortion caused by the particular lens used.
No matter what adjustments you decide to start with, it’s important to make sure that they will be relevant to every other picture in the catalog. So if the lighting changed halfway through a photoshoot or if you switched lenses, you will want create a different set of adjustments for each group of images where the setup changed.
Once you have made the necessary edits, all you have to do is select all of the images you want to apply those settings to (including the one already adjusted) and click the Sync Settings button. In the window, simply select all of the settings that you wish to be applied across all of the images you’ve chosen.
Create a Custom Adjustment Brush
Now all of the images should be at a great starting point to make more detailed edits. Even though we want to make individual edits to each image, we still want to save as much time as possible. Custom Brushes in Lightroom are the go-to for making quick and accurate adjustments.
When you click on the Adjustment Brush icon in the Develop Module, you will see the same options that you had when making general adjustments. The difference here is that these changes only appear where you paint with the brush. So if you have a section of an image that is too dark, you can very precisely raise the exposure in some areas without changing the exposure of the rest of the photo.
Even better, any brushes you make can be saved as presets! If you have several photos that have the same underexposed areas, simply save the brush, and then use it on any images that need the same corrections.
Now you can fly through edits of an entire photoshoot in minutes, making general and individual adjustments to every image! One of the most important aspects of being a professional photographer is developing a workflow that allows you to work as fast and consistently as possible. The less time you spend struggling with the software, the more time you have to focus on making sure your clients are getting photos that they will love!