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The Ultimate Guide to Workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop
Importing Images Into Lightroom
The first step in your workflow will be getting your images from your memory card onto your computer. We prefer to use Lightroom for importing as well as file naming and structure.
We choose to have Lightroom organize everything by date and convert to DNG when importing RAW files. DNG files take up less space on your hard drive and allow cleaner long term storage.
File Structure and Naming
After importing your files onto your computer or portable hard drive (we use a Promise Pegasus R4), it is time to get everything organized. We change the name of the main folder to include the theme from the photo shoot. In this example our folder is named “2014-05-27 Bahamas Shoot”.
After naming your main folder it is time to bring each of the images from the shoot together and create sub-folders for organization. We create 4 different subfolders titled “Capture”, “Master”, Selects”, and “Output”.
The Capture folder is where all of the RAW images from the shoot are placed. When you complete a complex shoot it is often a good idea to create subfolders in the Capture folder that describe different parts of the shoot. In this example we use both “Landscapes” and “Portraits”
The Selects folder is where your selects will go, usually exported as TIFs. This will help you to organize and quickly identify the best images from the shoot as well as get them in a file format ready for editing in Photoshop.
The Master folder is where your layered PSD or TIF files will go. Anytime you need to go back and make edits to the file you will be accessing images from this folder.
The Output folder is where images are placed after editing is complete. Images here are ready to be printed or uploaded to the web.
Editing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop
We use Lightroom for base editing techniques such as changing exposure, white balance, highlight and shadow levels and some base sharpening. After these changes are made to your selects it is time to export them to the Selects folder as TIFs.
In Photoshop we open those TIFs from the selects folder and make our final edits. These Master files are then saved into the Master folder. You can use layered TIFs (our preferred file format) or PSD files. Your Master files should contain layers and should be easily editable.
Exporting Images and Location
After completing your edits in Photoshop and Lightroom you are ready to get your files on the internet. We export from Lightroom using JPEG and Convert to sRGB options. These final JPEGs are saved to the Output folder and named appropriately.
By now you have created new folders and files within each of those folders. Right click on the original folder in Lightroom, in this example it is named “2014-05-27 Bahamas Shoot”. Click on “Synchronize Folder” and you will get a new import dialog, click “Synchronize”. Now you will see each of your folders populated with the files you created and everything should be in its proper place.
Now you have created a file structure that is robust and simple to access at any time. Years from now you will be able to go back to these folders and easily find what you are looking for.
Lightroom is linked to your operating system so when you create folders in Lightroom they will appear on your computer as well.