Lightroom procedural workflow

This is a suggested workflow for Lightroom. It is the one I use, but by no means is it the only one you could use. You may have your own or you could come up with one by using the one I am presenting here as a template or starting point. A successful photographic workflow actually begins before you’ve even been out to take the photographs by planning your shoot, but we’ll start at where you’ve transferred the images on to your hard drive and imported them into Lightroom. You should have backed up those images on another hard-drive as well (preferably two) so that you always have another copy of all your photographs besides those you are processing in your ‘work-on’ hard drive.

The first thing to do is to get rid of any images that have technical flaws. These flaws include photographs that suffer from out of focus, movement blur and over or under-exposure . Place an [X] on each of these images by using the ‘X’ on the keyboard. Go to the ‘Photo’ menu and click on ‘delete rejected photos’ or [ctrl+backspace]. This will delete these images from your hard drive.

The next stage is to add some metadata to those images you are keeping. On importing images into Lightroom, I always have my copyright information automatically added to the metadata of all the photographs by a preset. Once the images designated [X] have been deleted I then also add the following information to the metadata of each image again by using a preset. I set several of these presets up depending on where I am going on a shoot. Some get used again if I shoot in the same area, with just the sub-location changed.

  1. ISO Country Code (GBR)
  2. Country
  3. State /Province (county)
  4. Sub-location.

Once I have done that all the images are then labelled. I have set up a label colour set in the ‘Metadata’ menu to reflect the use of the colours.

  • Red = metadata added
  • Yellow = Keywords added
  • Green = processed
  • Blue = exported

I then use the colours to give me an immediate reminder at what stage the images are out in the processing workflow.

Once I have added metadata I press ‘6’ or use the paint can to paint all the images [red]

The next stage is to go through the images and label those that I consider worth working on with 1 star by pressing the number ‘1’.

In the Library module, I set up the filter using ‘attribute’ to show only those images that equal 1 star. I then go through the images more carefully marking those that I will process with 2 stars by pressing the number ‘2’ on the keyboard.

Again I set the filter to show only the 2 starred images and then I add keywords to those images. Once I have added all the keywords, I colour the 2 star images[yellow] to show me immediately that I have added the necessary keywords.

The next stage is to process the images. As each image is processed, I colour it [green].

The final workflow stage is to export the image if I am happy with the processing. If I am exporting the image to the screen, web or book, I colour it blue.

There you have it, my processing workflow in Lightroom.

I use a little card to remind me as I am processing of the order that I work in.

Workflow procedure
Workflow procedure

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