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Image Credit: jacoblund via iStock
If you ask me, the biggest problem with inefficiencies when processing images isn't the tools we use, but poor habits that we've grown accustomed to that stand in our way.
That's a problem, especially for professional photographers because time is money, and every minute spent in the post-processing phase is one less minute available to work directly with clients.
In this tutorial, I share a few key tips for supercharging your post-processing workflow that will help you minimize post-processing time and maximize the time you have to actually take photos.
Editor's Tip: Streamline your post-processing workflow by using Excire to automatically tag your photos in Lightroom. Explore Excire and start your free trial today!
Refine the Culling Process
Streamlining the way you process your images begins with culling the collection down to the images you wish to work on.
The problem that many people run into at this point is that they treat the process of culling images as though they're somehow permanently getting rid of the images they don't select.
Obviously, that's not the case.
Rather than hand-wringing over this image or that one, try to refine the culling process by going with your gut and your first impression as you look at each image. Rather than waffling between one of three very similar images, just pull the trigger on one of them and move on.
In other words, you were there when you took the photo, so you know what each moment was like. Focus on how you felt at that moment and try to choose the images that best capture that feeling. Doing so can save you tons of time as you begin post-processing.
Make Keywording in Lightroom Simpler
I don't know any photographers that particularly enjoy manually keywording images when they're imported into Lightroom.
In fact, it's one of my least favorite things to do, so I usually don't do it.
That's a big problem, of course, because I have thousands of images in my Lightroom catalog that have no keywords, so finding the images I'm looking for is difficult.
At least, that used to be an issue...
Now I use Excire Search Pro to keyword my images automatically.
This award-winning Lightroom plugin utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze each image I upload to Lightroom, and based on its analysis, it applies appropriate keywords.
That means that photos that include a beach have "beach" automatically applied. Those with a car have "car" automatically applied, and so on.
But beyond that, Excire Search Pro has a keyword transfer feature that allows me to use its 500 keywords on my existing Lightroom images.
That means that all of those photos I never bothered to keyword are now keyworded by Excire based on content, as described above, how they look (i.e., if the predominant color in the shot is blue, it'll be tagged, "blue"), and features of people in the shot, such as "man" or "woman," "child" or "adult."
If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't! It's an incredibly handy tool that can literally save you hours and hours of work over the course of a year.
Better still, if you don't need the professional-level functionalities of Excire Search Pro, you can opt for Excire Search, which has the same search features but has 125 keywords - a perfect number for casual photographers.
Either way, if streamlining your post-processing workflow is what you're after, this is the way to do it!
Learn How to Batch Edit
Being able to apply your edits to an entire series of photos will save you loads of time because you won't have to make the same minute changes over and over again.
What's more, by batch editing your images, you can create a consistent look across a collection of images that results in a beautifully cohesive look.
There are two primary options when batch editing photos in Lightroom - using a preset or by applying the edits you've made to a new photo to other photos.
While utilizing a preset is much faster - it can be done as images are being imported into Lightroom - you don't have the same level of fine control over the images.
That is, if you're working on a series of 10 images, you can develop a more precise look by editing the first image in the series and applying those edits to the other nine images that what can be accomplished with a preset.
Not sure how to batch edit in Lightroom? Give the video above by Kevin Fremon a quick look.
Wrapping It Up
As I noted in the introduction, processing images usually hits a snag when you fall into an old, inefficient habit.
But by implementing the tips I've outlined here, you can break free of those inefficiencies, maximize the usefulness of programs like Lightroom, and make editing your photos a much cleaner and simpler process.
Doing so means that you'll spend less time at home staring at your computer screen and more time actually out taking photos. Who doesn't want that?