How to Simplify and Speed Up Your Photo Editing

October 23, 2014

I love picking other photographers' brains to gain new tricks and knowledge!  So today I want share a few tips and tricks of my own with you about speeding up your post-processing workflow so you, my fellow blogging friends, can get those pictures up on the web quickly and leave more time for living.

I use Lightroom 5 for 90% of my photo editing.  It's an incredible computer program that has sped up my workflow and I think has improved my finished photo product.  Unless you're a professional photographer or need to do some heavy and intricate editing (that's what Photoshop is for), Lightroom is the perfect work horse for bloggers .  Plus, it's relatively cheap!  

That said,  I think many of these tips will apply to other photo editing programs as well.  Let's get started!

  1.  Cull, cull, cull.  Cull means to choose your best pictures and get rid of the rest.  Think of it as a 'yes' or 'no' deal: keep or don't keep.  In this age of digital photography, we often take many more pictures than is necessary to tell our story.  I always have a hard time choosing which photos to keep (they're all so cute!) and usually do two or three rounds of culling before I start editing.  Yes, this ultimately SAVES TIME!  Lightroom has this wonderful little button that allows me to compare multiple pictures side by side.  I begin by rating my favorites with one star.  Then I compare all of my one star photos and rate the best of those with two stars.  Simple!

 ^^The 'compare' button and my stars are circled in red.  Notice I am in Library mode.^^

2.  Presets are your friend.  There are certain things I do to every single photograph: increase contrast and vibrance, use a little noise reduction, add a slight vignette, and more.  Because I do these things to every photograph, I made myself a preset, or set of actions.  I push one button and all these things are applied to my photo.  I can then tweak the exposure and temperature in just a few seconds before applying any 'heavy' editing, such as using a brush tool or changing it to black and white.  Easy!  Each photo on my blog usually takes me just a minute to edit.  (Luckily, there are also thousands of presets/actions/filters available on the inter-webs to utilize if you don't want to take the time to learn all the editing ins and outs.) Also, this next part is exciting!  When I have the edited look I want on one photo but also have two or three others taken in similar light (because I just couldn't bring myself to cull them), Lightroom allows me to apply all of that work to those other photos by clicking the 'sync' button.  Amazing!  One button.  Boom.  Everything done.

 ^^The arrow points to one of my favorite presets I made for myself.  I use that in conjunction with the tabs on the right side to get the look I want in each photo.^^

3.  Save and sharpen for the web.  I've found this is a photo editing 'secret' that not many folks are aware of.  Not only does this step make your photos appear sharper on the screen, but it saves you a lot of time uploading to the web and a ton of memory space!

When exporting your photos from Lightroom (or saving in Photoshop, etc.), resize your pictures anywhere from 600 pixels to 1000 pixels on the long side, depending on how wide your blog is.  Choose sRGB color mode and sharpen for screen.  Easy!  Note: Be sure to save full size copies to your computer too because pictures that are made especially for the web are often too small for printing well. 

 I hope this information is helpful to someone out there! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote this post! I'm really wanting to up my photography game, but I'm lost when it comes to photo editing. I haven't heard much about Lightroom 5, but the price is right! Is it user friendly? How long did it take you to feel like you could navigate your way around the program well? A photo-editing program is definitely going to be on my wish-list this Christmas :)


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