If you’re like most photographers, you love the process of working with your subjects and actually “shooting” – it’s the editing part that tends to be such a drag! Although I do know lots of photographers who really thrive on getting to their computer, unloading their images, and making the “magic” happen, I’d say the majority wish that there was a button you could press to instantly edit everything!
When you’re in the midst of a busy season (for me that’s spring and fall), time is incredibly valuable. It is beneficial to learn ways in which you can speed up your editing workflow. Not only does discovering new tricks and tips help you as a business and individual (hello, more time for yourself!), but it’s also great for client experience. If you outline in your contract that photo delivery takes six weeks but you deliver in four, what a welcome surprise that is for your couples!
Over the years I’ve spent time editing not only my own images, but also those of other photographers. I’ve picked up some time saving hacks along the way and am excited to share some tips to speed up your editing workflow!
1. Outsource at least some of your work
This can’t be overstated enough, because I think so many photographers are afraid of the word “outsourcing”! However, there comes a point for every photographer at which you simply can’t keep up with all of the weddings and sessions you’ve taken on. At my busiest, I’m doing eight weddings a month, so try to imagine the amount of editing time that would take! Although I personally edit all of my bridal and engagement sessions, I send out a good chunk of my weddings to a personal editor I found using EditSource. I could not be more thrilled with her work and professionalism!
2. Cull using Photomechanic
I will admit that it took me awhile to hop onboard the Photomechanic train. Everyone told me how much faster it was to cull using this popular software, yet here I was, set in my ways, continuing to cull my images in Lightroom. Friends, I was SO WRONG! I downloaded Photomechanic on a trial and fell in love with how FAST I could cull through sessions and weddings! No longer was I having to wait for the load time that I experienced in Lightroom. Photomechanic renders the images almost immediately, still retaining the ability to check for focus down to the eyelashes. Once you build Photomechanic into your workfow, I promise you will never go back.
3. Sort images in Lightroom prior to editing
This is especially important if you are editing a wedding! Once you cull all of your images in Photomechanic, pull them into Lightroom and create “Collections.” I like to label them based on the events of the day; for example, “Pre-Ceremony/Ceremony/Group Photos/Bride and Groom/Bridal Party/Reception” would all be different collections. Once I sort them, it’s easy for me to assess which collection I can edit with a given amount of time. If I have 30 minutes, I know I can probably knock out Bride & Groom Portraits pretty fast – but if I have more time at my disposal, I might tackle the Reception images.
4. Utilize a custom preset upon importing
You can tell Lightroom to apply one of your presets upon importing which will cut down on time almost immediately! I have a custom preset that I use for my images – it applies some basic adjustments in terms of exposure/contrast/tonal curve/sharpening. You’ll obviously need to make further adjustments based on the images and their lighting scenarios, but your import preset should be able to get you most of the way there. To do this, all you have to do is go into the Develop module, expand the Presets menu, and right click on the preset. You should see a pop up menu, and from there you can select “Apply on Import.” Easy!
5. Use Smart Previews
Another thing you can do prior to editing is to render smart previews of all of your images. This helps Lightroom to not have to load the entire image each time you edit. Go into the “Library” module, make sure you’ve selected all of your images in the viewing pane at the bottom of the window, and click on “Library” at the very top. Then go to Previews > Render Smart Previews. Some of you may have Lightroom to automatically render Smart Previews when you import the images! I personally don’t because I hate waiting for it first thing, but that’s just me!
6. Use Lightroom’s “Sync” Feature
My last tip is to utilize Lightroom’s “Sync” feature to sync the adjustments that you’ve made to a set of images! You’ll only want to do this when you have photos that have the exact same lighting situation. For example – the cake cutting, where you likely didn’t move much and you’re capturing a sequence photos without changing the settings on your camera. To sync the settings in Lightroom, make the necessary adjustments on the first image in a series. Then select the entire sequence. After you have all of the photos highlighted, click Sync which is at the bottom right of the Develop module. When the Synchronize Settings menu pops up, make sure that you have “Local Adjustments,” “Spot Removal,” “Transform Options,” and “Cropping” DESELECTED as this varies too much from photo to photo.
I hope that you’ve learned some valuable tips to speed up your editing workflow! If you have any advice on how you’ve cut down on editing time, I’d love to hear it! Comment below!