It’s that time of year where all of us fellow photographers are swamped doing sessions and weddings. Not only are we spending time shooting those sessions and weddings, but also, we now have to process the images to get them ready for our clients. Photo editing seems to be a HUGE time-consumer for many photographers.
Reducing the time you spend on processing and editing your images will not only help you be more efficient and productive with your time, but you will save yourself money.
I’ve listed below 7 ways that will definitely, without a doubt, save you time on your photo editing. If you do all of them, you will maximize your time savings.
#1 – Get it right in camera.
It’s simple, really. Get your exposures, white balance, and focus right in camera, and there is less editing to do on the photo. When shooting a session or a wedding, you should not have in your mind that you can fix it later. While you probably could, it isn’t as natural and it is time consuming.
So, know your camera, know your settings, and know your light. Get it right the first time!
#2 – Use a memory card reader.
There are still many photographers who do not use a memory card reader to transfer their images to their computer or laptop. If you are plugging your computer directly into the computer to transfer your files, you are wasting an exorbitant amount of time. For as little as $20, you can choose from a variety of card readers that will transfer your photos quickly.
Using faster memory cards will also help speed up this transfer. You will be able to snap more photos quicker as well!
#3 – Max out the memory (RAM) on your computer.
I recently did this, and not only was it reasonably priced, but it was super easy to do. And, it has made worlds of difference on the speed of my computer and editing.
Just so you are not confused, memory is what your operating system runs on and any other software or programs you use. Storage has to do with how much space you have to store your applications, photos, documents, videos, etc.
While keeping as much storage free as possible is important to your computer running smoothly, maxing out your memory on your computer will make the biggest difference.
My iMac can take up to a maximum of 16GB of memory, however I was only at 4GB. Going from 4GB to 16GB made such an incredible difference with how fast my computer ran. It started up quicker, programs started and quit faster, and my editing in Lightroom was definitely speedier. And, this was all for $150, so well worth the investment.
I purchased my memory from Other World Computing and had a great experience. This is not your only option, but they do have great support and warranties on their products. Just locate the model and year of your computer to see what memory is compatible.
#4 – Use Photo Mechanic for culling.
Starting to use Photo Mechanic made such a drastic change in my editing workflow. I was previously culling in Lightroom, but it was so incredibly slow! Now that I’vs discovered it, I can’t imagine going back.
Another benefit is you are not clogging up Lightroom with the hundreds of reject photos from your shoot or wedding. The more images you have in Lightroom, the more it will slow down your editing.
Finally, once your clients have their final order placed, you can choose to throw away those reject photos. Then, they are not taking up space on either your computer or your hard drive.
#5 – Use Lightroom vs. Photoshop.
Before Lightroom, digital photographers did all of their editing in Photoshop. It was cumbersome, tedious, and time-consuming. Adobe then came out with Lightroom specifically for digital photographers. And while Photoshop still has its benefits, Lightroom is closing the gap between the two editing programs.
If you want to learn more about Lightoom and what features are available, there are many video podcasts out there with tips and tutorials on using Lightroom. When I first started out learning Lightroom, this was a huge help. I really liked Lightroom Killer Tips and watch primarily in iTunes, although you can watch via other avenues as well.
Rename your files.
After working through your images in Photo Mechanic, it is time to import your top images into Lightroom for editing. A benefit of Lightroom is the ability to easily and quickly rename your files. You can either do it when importing, exporting, or whenever you would like to change them within Lightroom.
With the help of presets you can quickly and cleanly make your way through your images. I use a combination of presets I have downloaded from various sites, as well as presets I have created on my own. For ones that I’ve purchased, I like to use the ones from Pretty Presets. They offer a great variety, options for all versions of Lightroom, and most importantly, beautiful results.
Since I can find a source to explain it better than I can, here is a link how to create your own presets in Lightroom.
You can also create import and export presets as well, so it isn’t just for editing!
Copy & paste your edit settings.
If you combine the use of presets and copy and pasting your settings (i.e. your changes you’ve made to the RAW image), you can get through editing your photos in no time. This is especially handy when the lighting conditions are consistent.
For instance, if you are working outside in one specific location for a series of photos, copy your edit settings from the very first image in that series and paste them to all of the other images in that series.
Make sure that before you paste those settings, you have the edits you want pasted checked. You don’t want the crop you did on one image and apply that crop to all your other images.
Use keyboard shortcuts.
I save even more time by using the keyboard shortcuts. Photography Life has a great article about the Most-Used Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts.
Edit in Photoshop from Lightroom.
Another really neat feature in Lightroom is you can edit images directly from Lightroom in Photoshop. It makes an extra copy of your image, and once you are done editing in Photoshop, you can have that photo stored in Lightroom. It works great for those 5% of edits that you cannot do in Lightroom… yet. 🙂
#6 – Close down unnecessary programs while editing or exporting.
Along with maximizing your memory, closing down unnecessary programs while you are editing or exporting will help speed things up for you. It’s because you are freeing up as much memory for your computer to focus on your main task! It’s simple step to do, but easy to forget about. And, it will keep you focused on editing, instead of checking emails or Facebook!
#7 – Wait to Export/Upload Photos.
When I have a lot of photos to export from Lightroom to upload to galleries or for my blog, I kick off all of the exports prior to turning in for the evening or if I’m going to be away from my computer for a while. This is especially important if it is a wedding, since there are hundreds and hundreds of photos. Obviously, if you have to export when you need the photos, go for it. However, if you have the luxury of waiting, why waste your time waiting and clog the memory on your computer.
Furthermore, you can also save time by uploading a large number of photos to online galleries overnight or when you are not at your computer.
What is my editing workflow process?
I have perfected a good editing process and can now get through a session from start to finish in 60 minutes, as long as I’m not interrupted by one of my children. Here is my process, from import to client gallery:
- Use a double card reader to import my photos to my hard drive.
- Import photos into Photo Mechanic.
- Color code top photos using numerical keys on keyboard.
- Select only the photos that are color coded (bottom righthand corner of Photo Mechanic).
- Copy/Move photos to a new folder (File -> Copy/Move Photos).
- Check box “Move photos (delete originals) and select folder where images should go.
- Import those top photos into Lightroom.
- Edit photos in Lightroom using a combination of presets and copy/paste settings.
- Export photos for online gallery using export preset.
- Upload photos to online gallery.
Now some sessions take longer that others depending on how intense the editing on that specific session is and whether or not I have to use Photoshop, etc. However, if it is a normal, everyday session, this is efficient and effective!
What do you do to save time when editing?
These are just 7 ways I’ve discovered that work great to save me time while photo editing. I’m sure many of you have discovered other ways, and I would love to hear them! Comment below if you have another way to save time on editing your photos.
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