Do you want to speed up your Lightroom workflow? You’re not alone – I get countless requests from people to help them optimize their photo processing workflow. However, because it is so commonly asked, it is also frequently answered and this makes it difficult to add a fresh spin on a topic that hasn’t changed much over the years.
One of the great things about dPS is the diverse nature of its writers and how we each have our own point of view, own skill set, and own way of explaining a topic. This post won’t be a groundbreaking reveal of some hidden secrets that I just uncovered in Lightroom yesterday, but rather an explanation of some commonly overlooked and ignored features of Lightroom that you’ll want to learn in order to speed up your workflow.
Speed up your Lightroom workflow
#1 – Auto Advance rating option
This is something that I would have preferred Adobe set to “ON” as default and then give you the option to turn it off if you choose. How many of you rate your photos by selecting a rating, and then pressing the arrow right key to advance to the next photo?
Do that no longer! Simply turn on Auto Advance either by selecting it from the drop down menu under ‘Photo’ or simple turn on CAPS LOCK. Once activated Lightroom will advance you to the next photo in the queue after every successful rating. It’s amazing how fast you can get through a fresh import with this option turned on.
#2 – Start with a YES or NO rating system
I like to think of this as keeping it simple. There are so many different rating options (from flags, to stars, to colors) and while each one serves a purpose, I think it’s best to keep it simple the first time you import a new set of photos. Remember tip #1 above and active Auto Advance, and then use the keys ‘P’ or ‘X’ to rate your photos. ‘P’ tells Lightroom that you want to keep that photo and it is flagged as a “Pick”. ‘X’ tells Lightroom that you want to reject that photo, and it is marked as such. Once you’ve made it all the way through your import, press Command + Delete (control on PC). This will remove all of your rejected photos, never to be seen again. (choose “delete from disk” to not only remove from your LR catalog but delete from your hard drive)
I find that this will help to keep your Library cleaner, and easier to manage. It will also allow you to remove a lot of the ‘maybe-I’ll-use-this-photo-sometime’ photos which in most cases just end up wasting your time.
#3 – Learn and use the magic keyboard shortcuts
I’ve already mentioned a couple of the keyboard shortcuts above, but the master list is only a shortcut away. Press Command + / (Control + / on PC) in any panel of Lightroom and the index of everything possible within that window is displayed. It’s one thing to learn the keys, and it’s another to work them into your workflow (I’m still slowly learning to do this myself), but once you get it down you will be flying through the panels without even thinking about it.
#4 – Use Solo Mode on the side panels
Another Lightroom setting that I personally feel should have been set as a default option is the Solo Mode option for the various tool panels of Lightroom. This option allows you to automatically minimize a panel when you open another one. For example, if you’re working in the Basic Tab of the Develop Module and want to switch to work on sharpening your photo, clicking on the Detail Tab, Lightroom will automatically close the Basic Tab for you. I find that this keeps the interface a lot cleaner and easier to navigate, especially for someone who’s just starting to get their feet wet with the program (or using a small screen or laptop)
To turn it on simply right click on any of the sidebar panel names (not the triangle) and select ‘Solo Mode’ from the menu that appears. Once activated you’ll probably never go back.
How do you speed up your Lightroom workflow?
These four tips will certainly help you become faster at working through your photos, but there are countless other ways to speed up the way you work. If you are well experienced with Lightroom, what else can you think of to add to this list?
For more Lightroom reading check out these articles:
- How to Upload Photos to Flickr and 500px using Lightroom 5
- Lightroom Tips for the Develop Module – the Magic Alt Key
- Creative Ways to use Keywords in Lightroom 5
- Use Lightroom Collections to Improve your Workflow