The Ethics Of Nature Photography: Is The Image More Important Than The Subject?

Is the image more important than the subject? Hint: NO! Moreover, I can’t even think of a hypothetical where it might be.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I recently returned home from Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve appalled and concerned by the behavior of some fellow photographers. See Ethics And Courtesy In Pursuit Of An Image. The Audubon Society has just published online Too Close for Comfort, an article from its May/June 2015 magazine, detailing how some photographers are pushing the limits and hurting wildlife in pursuit of an image. I highly recommend the article.

And, let’s all remember that our national parks and wildlife refuges are fragile, the animals we photograph are live there, and we are mere visitors.

Ethics And Courtesy In Pursuit Of An Image

I try to keep some thoughts to myself and not be too critical of anything or anybody but sometimes it is awfully hard to remain silent. This is one of those times.

During my just concluded trip to the deserts of Southern California, I was shocked by the less than admirable behavior by some photographers in pursuit of an image. I don’t know if they were simply ignorant of our professional ethics and common courtesy or blithely ignoring them. In any case, their behavior was unacceptable.

2015-04-05_Death Valley_Zwit_0131What did I see that so upset me? I saw photographers walking off trail, disturbing wildlife, littering, purposely stepping in front of other photographers, using inappropriate equipment for the environment or subject, and simply being obnoxious. They may think that one person can’t hurt anything but it is the accumulation of damages of that one person plus thousands or others or even millions of others.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Death Valley National Park, and Mojave National Preserve as well as much of the other lands we photograph are delicate habitats. Within them, there are endangered environments and species and, even if not endangered, the destruction of some environments can take nature hundreds or thousands of years to repair. These refuges, parks, and preserves are our legacy and their destruction would be a sad reflection on us. Once they are gone, they are gone.

I do, however, realize there are competing interests that must be accommodated within these areas, e.g., recreation, hunting, photography, endangered species. Accommodations can be difficult to negotiate and enforce, especially with the high demand put on these areas by visitors and limited budgets. So, preservation falls to us: The photographers and other visitors to these special and unique places.

Most of us aren’t trained as naturalists or biologists. Instead, we need to rely on the experts-the people in charge of these lands, photography associations, and outdoor organizations-that have developed codes of ethics. See, e.g., North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Code of Ethics and Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics. These codes of ethics are based on science, designed to preserve the outdoors for everyone, and protect the ecosystem and animals living within these precious resources. Read them and follow them.

2015-04-07_Death Valley_Zwit_0239One common and major element of most of these codes of ethics is one that I need to emphasize to everyone-photographers and non-photographers: Treat everyone courteously. It’s simple and makes for a more enjoyable time for everyone. Remember, you are not entitled to go to the front of the line just because you arrive late for sunrise. Those already there got up earlier than you and arrived on time.

By all means, enjoy our refuges, parks, and wild lands but remember we are treading on irreplaceable habitat that, if it is to survive, we must help protect. No image is worth the cost of crippling damage to the environment.

(The Ninth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The ninth step is more of a precaution than a true step: Do not delete, move, or rename images outside of Lightroom. Delete images, create new folders, move images between folders, and rename images only within Lightroom.

Before you can organize, edit, or output your images in Lightroom, the images must be “imported” into the currently opened catalog. Unfortunately, the word Import is a bit of misnomer. Your images aren’t being imported into the catalog; they are either staying exactly where they are on your hard drive (the Add option in the Import dialogue) or being copied from their current location to a new location on the hard drive (the Copy option in the Import dialogue). What you are really doing when you “import” images is instructing Lightroom to remember these images exist and where the original copy of these images are on the hard drive. This is different than what iPhoto does, which is physically copy the images into the iPhoto Library, and what the Managed option is in Aperture, which is physically copy the images into the Aperture Library. It is the same as the Referenced option in Aperture.

While Lightroom creates and stores thumbnails and previews (low resolution copies) of the images, it sole link to the original images is the path stored in the catalog, e.g., C:\User\bzwit\Pictures\2014\2014-07-04_National Mall Fireworks\Image001.nef. To edit an image, Lightroom needs more information than is in a preview and this means that the original image file must be available to Lightroom. In other words, if you store images on an external hard drive, that drive must be connected and mounted before you can edit any images on that drive. With Lightroom 5, you can create smart previews and edit your images offline but Lightroom will still need access to the original images to output the them with any edits.

Lightroom will always look for the original image file using the path and name stored in the catalog. So, if you rename or move images outside of Lightroom, Lightroom won’t know that the images have been renamed or moved to a new location. It won’t find the original image files and, as a consequence, won’t let you edit or output your images. The bottom line is, once the images are imported into Lightroom, use Lightroom to delete images, create new folders, move images between files, and rename images. When done inside Lightroom, Lightroom will automatically update the name and path in the catalog or delete the image from the catalog.

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Screenshot 1: Delete dialogue window with three options: Delete from Disk, Cancel, and Remove

To delete an image or images…

  1. Select an image or images to delete
  2. Right-click the image or one of the images and click on Remove Photos… OR press the Delete key
  3.  Click:
    • Delete from Disk to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and delete the original file from the hard drive (pick this to delete images that you don’t want)
    • Cancel to cancel the delete operation and dismiss the window
    • Remove to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and leave the original image file on the hard drive)
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Screenshot 2: Folders panel and the right-click context menu.
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Screenshot 3: Create Folder window.

To create a new folder…

  1. Right-click on the folder in the Folders panel that will contain the new folder, e.g., to create a folder under the “2013” folder, right-click on it in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Create Folder Inside “[name of selected folder]” (see Screenshot 2)
  3. In the Create Folder dialogue window (see Screenshot 3)…
    • Enter a name for the Folder
    • If unchecked, check Put in “[name of folder]” to create the folder under the named folder
    • Check Include selected photos to move any selected images to the new folder
  4. Press Create to create the folder and dismiss the Create Folder window
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Screenshot 4: Move warning window

To move images between folders in Lightroom…

  1. Select the image or images to be moved to a different location on the hard drive
  2. Drag the images from the image preview area or the filmstrip to the new folder in the Folders panel
  3. When the new folder is highlighted in blue, release the mouse button
  4. Press Move in the warning dialogue box to move the images and dismiss the warning (see Screenshot 4)

Note: I recommend that you don’t check the “Don’t show again” checkbox because trackpads make it easy to accidentally move files. The warning will allow you to cancel any accidental moves.

To rename a folder in Lightroom…

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Screenshot 5: Folders panel and context menu with Rename… menu item
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Screenshot 6: Rename Folder window
  1. Right-click on the folder to be renamed in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Rename…
  3. Enter a new name for the folder
  4. Click on Save to rename the folder

Again, it can’t be stressed enough that once your images are imported in Lightroom that images should only be deleted, moved, and renamed in Lightroom and new folders should only be created and renamed within Lightroom. Otherwise, Lightroom will lose track of your images and you will need to help Lightroom find them. It is far easier to just use Lightroom to make these basic changes and not mess up your catalog.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; the seventh about using collections to organize your images; and the eighth about using filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean.

(The Eighth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

Screenshot of the filter bar and present menu
Screenshot 1: The filter presets are accessed by clicking on the currently selected preset located on the right end of the filter bar.

The eighth step, while not as fun as organizing and editing your images, is a necessary step: Use filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean and organized.

Screenshot of the Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled "Catalog Cleanup"
Screenshot 2: The Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled “Catalog Cleanup” used for cleaning my catalog.

As covered in previous posts, there are a significant number of steps in organizing your images in Lightroom and, as a result, it can be difficult to know whether you have completed every step in your workflow. However, Lightroom can help you determine what steps are left to do using filter presets (see Screenshot 1) and smart collections* (see Screenshot 2). Filter presets display images in the folder selected in the Folders panel that met the condition or conditions in the preset; smart collections will include any images in the catalog that meet the text condition or conditions of the smart collection.

A filter preset’s or smart collection’s criteria can be simple, consisting of one text condition, or complex, consisting of many text conditions. For example, a preset or smart collection can display all the images in the folder or catalog, respectively, that has a specific color label, e.g., red label, assigned to it or has a specific color label and a specific keyword assigned to it. You don’t add images to a smart collection Lightroom add all the images that meet the criteria to the collection automatically; it will also remove any images that met the criteria but have been changed and no longer met the criteria.

You can use filter presets and smart collections to help you maintain your Lightroom catalog. For example, a filter preset and smart collection that displays images that have no keywords assigned to them tells yow, respectively, what images in the currently selected folder have no keywords and what images in the catalog have not been assigned at least one keyword. To help you manage offline editing, I have two presets, one that displays the images with a smart preview and the other images that do not have a smart preview. This allows you to create smart previews for images that you want to edit offline and delete the smart previews that you no longer need.

To create a filter preset…

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Screenshot 3: The preset menu actions with the Save Current Settings as New Preset… command.
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Screenshot 4: The New Preset window for naming a new preset.
  1. If not already in Grid View, go to Grid View
  2. If the filter bar is not visible, click on the “\” (backslash) key
  3. Set up a filter as desired based on searchable text, attributes, and metadata (see Screenshot 1)
  4. Click on the filter preset menu and select Save Current Settings as New Preset… (see Screenshot 3)
  5. Enter a name for the preset and click Create (see Screenshot 4)

To use the preset later, click on the preset menu in the filter bar and then on the preset in the menu to active the preset

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Screenshot 5: The Create Smart Collection window.

To create a smart collection…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) icon in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on Create Smart Collection in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Smart Collection dialog window (see Figure 3)…
    • Enter a Name for the collection
    • To place the new smart collection inside an existing collection set, check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set from the drop-down menu to add the collection to a collection set
    • Chose Match [any or all or none] of the following rules to determine whether an image needs to match any, all, or none of the rules to be include in the smart collection
    • Select the text condition, e.g., the metadata to search on, the condition, and the value, to set up the smart collection, every image meeting the condition will be automatically added to the collection
    • If desired, add a second, third, or more text condition by clicking on the “+” (plus) icon at the end of the first condition (Note: Once there is more than one text condition, a “” (minus) icon will appear at the end of each text condition; clicking on the minus icon will delete that text condition from the smart collection.)
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection and dismiss the dialog window

To create a collection set…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection Set in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection Set dialog window…
    • Enter a Name for the collection set
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set to add the collection set to that the selected collection set
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection set

Simple but frequently overlooked, filter presets and smart collections can help you to keep your catalog clean and up to date. By doing so, extraneous images, mistakes, and overlooked workflow steps can be corrected before they get in your way later, speeding up your workflow and allowing you to easily and quickly find your images.

*As discussed in the last post, there are two types of collections, collections and smart collections, and one type that exists at all times, quick collection, in Lightroom. You can have as many collections and smart collections as desired but only one quick collection per catalog. Images are manually added to and removed from a collection (so I sometime refer to these as manual collections). A smart collection is a collection that is populated according to a rule or set of rules and any images that meet the criteria set by the rules existing at the time the smart collection is created or exists in the future are automatically made a part of the collection. Images are added to the quick collection by dragging and dropping the image on the Quick Collection or using a shortcut.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; and the seventh about using collections to organize your images.

Aperture and iPhoto: They Are Going Away

In a long anticipated move, Apple will cease development of Aperture, its pro photo editing application, and iPhoto. Mac’s new operating system called Yosemite and scheduled for release this fall will include a new photo app called Photos for OS X. While Apple has been showing off Photos for OS X and has said some of the advance features of Aperture will be in Photos, it isn’t at all clear how sophisticated Photos will be. Because Photos will be for everyone, I would expect its functionality to be more like iPhoto than Aperture and what few remaining pros and enthusiasts using Aperture will quickly move to Lightroom.

Editor’s Note: If you need to make the switch from iPhoto or Aperture to Lightroom, the School of Creative Photography can help you. Our Lightroom class is scheduled for September 20 and 21 in Sterling, VA, and will get you up to speed quickly on managing and editing your images in Lightroom.

(The Seventh of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

collection panel
Figure 1: The Collection panel, which is organized by subject using Collection Sets, e.g., Catalog Cleanup, Projects, etc.

The seventh step follows the third and sixth steps: Use collections to keep track of images for projects.

Assuming you are storing your images by date and location, as discussed in a previous post, and consistently keywording your images, as discussed in the last post, finding all your images of a specific event or your dog should be quick and easy. However, it gets more complicated as soon as you start working on a project and, while you can easily find numerous images of your dog, you most likely want to identify a subset of those images and keep track of them regardless of what folder they are located in on the hard drive.

In the days before Lightroom, we would take out a piece of paper and write down the names of the files that we wanted to use for a project or, even more confusing but less time consuming, create a second copy of the images in a new folder. A collection in Lightroom is similar to that piece of paper but much more powerful. You can add images to a collection and subtract images; with a piece of paper, you would have added an image to the bottom of the list and simply scratched through a file on the list to remove it. However, unlike with a piece of paper, you can display and work on the images in a collection by simply highlighting the collection in the Collection panel. The paper approach required searching for each individual image every time it needed to be edited or used in the project.

There are two types of collections* in Lightroom: (1) collections and (2) smart collections. See Figure 1.  Images are manually added to and removed from a collection (so I sometime refer to these as manual collections). On the other hand, a smart collection is a collection that is populated according to a rule or set of rules and any images that meet the criteria set by the rules existing at the time the smart collection is created or exists in the future are automatically made a part of the collection. The best thing about collections and smart collections is that you can shutdown Lightroom and all your collections and smart collections will be available the next time you open Lightroom with the same catalog.

A manual collection is great for a book or other project. (I also use smart collections frequently and will discuss them in the next blog post.) To use it, simply add all the images for the project to the collection and then, when you want to work on or use those images, go to the Collections panel and highlight that collection. All the images in the collection will be displayed in the image preview area if in Grid View and in the filmstrip. Anything changes made to the images in a collection are actually made to the original image and will be reflect in the view of the image in its original folder. When you are done with the project, it is easy to remove a collection without deleting the images.

To create a collection…

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Figure 3: The Create Collection dialog window for creating “manual” collections.
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Figure 2: Click on Create Collection to display the Create Collection dialog window (see Figure 3).
  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection dialog window (see Figure 3)…
    • Enter a Name for the collection
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set from the drop-down menu to add the collection to a collection set
    • Check Include selected photos to include the selected photos in the new collection
    • Check Make new virtual copies to make a virtual copy of all the selected images and include the virtual copies in the new collection instead of the original images
    • Check Set as target collection to set the new collection as the targeted collection (If it is the target collection, images can be added to the collection by using the Quick Collection shortcuts)
    • Check Sync with Lightroom mobile to have the image in the new collection automatically sync with Lightroom Mobile on your iPad or iPhone
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection and dismiss the dialog window

To add images to a collection…

  1. Drag and drop one or more images on to the collection in the Collection panel

OR

  1. Right click the collection in the Collection panel
  2. In the popup menu, click on Set as Target Collection
  3. Select the image or images to be added to the collection
  4. Click on “B
collection set
Figure 4: The Create Collection Set dialog window for creating a “collection set,” which is a folder for organizing collections in a coherent manner.

To delete an image from a collection…

  1. Select the image
  2. Click on the Delete or Backspace key

To create a collection set…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection Set in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection Set dialog window…
    • Enter a Name for the collection set
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set to add the collection set to that the selected collection set
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection set

Collections are a great alternative to creating copies of images or creating a handwritten list of images for a project. Using them for projects should increase your productivity and save you a significant amount of time.

*There is a third catalog type called a Quick Collection but there is only one per catalog and it is generally used to start a manual collection because, by default, images can be added to it by clicking on the “B” key, i.e., it is the “targeted collection.” While it can be useful at time, I find it better to just create a new collection and populate it directly rather than starting a manual collection as a Quick Collection, saving the Quick Collection as a manual collection, and then clearing the Quick Collection.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the seventh post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; and the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images.

(The Sixth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The sixth step is a bit more complicated than the previous ones: Use keywords to sort your images.

I often see photographers sort their images by creating separate folders based on the subject of the photograph. For example, I was recently helping a someone organize a chaotic mess of 100,000 image files. This photographer, instead of organizing the images chronologically, organized them by subject with each subject in a different folder. There was a folder for birds as well as one for eagles, hawks, and backyard birds; there was a folder for family as well as separate folders for each member of the family; there was a folder for vacations as well as folders for many states. And, there were duplicates galore because, if an image was of the photographer’s teenage son, a copy went into the folder for family pictures and into the folder named for the son. It was a mess!

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Screenshot 1: The Keyword List panel in Lightroom is the starting point for assigning keywords. From this panel, you can create, edit, or delete keywords, assign keywords to an image or images, and rearrange the hierarchy of keywords, and search for images with a specific keyword.

While I remain committed to the idea that you can choose any system of folder and file naming that works for you, this type of organization works for no one. Why? Because you can’t keep track of your images this way. Which image of the multitude of duplicates is your master image? If you make a habit of only adding each image to one folder, how do you know whether the image you are looking for is not in a different folder? If you dump all your images from New Mexico into a single folder, what happens when you want to look at the images from New Mexico from the trip in 2012?

In the third posting in this series, I recommended that you store your photographs by date regardless of the subject and, now to help you find all your images in those chronologically arranged folders, I recommend that you tag your images with keywords.

You don’t need to add 20 keywords to each image; you only need enough keywords to differentiate images. For example, an image of me hiking in Muir Woods in northern California could be tagged with “Brian,” “Muir Woods,” “California,” “Mill Valley,” “vacation,” “coastal redwoods,” “Douglas fir,” “afternoon,” “green,” “hiking,” and “photography.” However, I can really limit the keywords to brian, muir woods, mill valley, coastal redwoods. Why? Because these are the keywords that I am most likely to search for when looking for images. So, you can see that which keywords you assign is really somewhat dependent on what it is you are doing with your images.

Lightroom provides a variety of ways to create, edit, delete, and assign keywords. However, here are some things to keep in mind when you implement keywords…

  1. Keep in mind that you can and should create a hierarchy of keywords, e.g., geography > north america > united states > california > Mills Valley. The reason for the hierarchy is that, if you assign “Mills Valley” to an image, Lightroom will also assign all the keywords higher in the hierarchy to the image as well, i.e., geography, north america, united states, and california  to the image. You can then search all your images for “california” and Lightroom will display any images tagged with “mills valley” as well as other cities under “california.”
  2. Set up at least a small list of keywords before you begin assigning keywords. It doesn’t need to be a complete list at this point because you can add more keywords as you are adding keywords to images. However, it is helpful to have a basic structure. For example, for locations you might create a set of keywords as follows: geography > north america > united states > virginia and then add cities under virginia as they are needed for keywording.
  3. Use the plural form of words, e.g., caterpillars rather than caterpillar. Because if you search for the singular, Lightroom will find images assigned “caterpillars” but, if you search for the plural, Lightroom will not find images assigned “caterpillar.”
  4. Create keywords using the words that you would use. For example, use woodpecker instead of Picidae, the scientific name for woodpeckers.
  5. Check your spelling.
  6. Always verify the keyword or a similar one isn’t already in the keyword list. You don’t want multiple keys for the same subject, e.g., bears and coastal brown bears. Use one and stick with that keyword.
  7. Use capitalization consistently for readability. It doesn’t matter whether proper nouns are capitalized; Lightroom ignores capitalization.
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Screenshot 2: Click on the + (plus) sign to display the Create Keyword Tag window. Create a keyword by entering the name of the keyword and any synonyms, checking the desired options, and clicking on Create.

To add a keyword to the keyword list…

  1. Open the Keyword List panel
  2. Click on the + (plus) sign on the far left side of the panel’s title bar (see screenshot 2)
  3. Complete the Keyword Tag by entering a name for the keyword, any synonyms, and checking the desired options (Generally, the first three options should be checked and whether the last two are checked depend on the circumstances.) (see screenshot 2)
  4. Click on the Create button

To create a hierarchy of keywords…

  1. Highlight the containing keyword, e.g., if you create the keyword virginia and want to create the keyword richmond under virginia, highlight virginia by clicking on it once in the keyword list
  2. Click on the + (plus) sign on the far left side of the panel’s title bar (see screenshot 2)
  3. Complete the Keyword Tag by entering a name for the keyword, any synonyms, and checking the desired options (see screenshot 2)
  4. Check “Put inside [keyword], e.g., virginia in the above example (see screenshot 2)
  5. Click on the Create button

If the keyword ends up in the wrong place in the heirarchy, simply drag and drop it to the correct location. Lightroom will handle all the mechanics and any images assigned the keyword will be updated automatically.

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Screenshot 3: When the cursor is rolled over “air sports,” a small checkbook appears to the far left of the keyword. Click the box to assign the keyword.

To add a keyword to an image or images…

  1. Go to Grid View
  2. Select an image or images
  3. Find the keyword in the Keyword List panel
  4. Roll the cursor over the keyword and click on the small checkbox that appears to the far left of the keyword (see screenshot 3)

One final suggestion, add keywords to your images before you start processing the. If you don’t, you will never add them and really just a few keywords will make finding your images much easier.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the sixth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; and the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts.

(The Fifth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

Fifty most important shortcuts for the Library and Develop modules in Lightroom. Click to download the pdf.
Figure 1: Fifty most important shortcuts for the Library and Develop modules in Lightroom. Click on the image above to download the pdf.

The fifth step is a simple one: Learn the keyboard shortcuts for the functions that you use the most and, as a consequence, the ones that will save you the most time and effort.

I was never a big keyboard shortcut fan until I started to use them. Now, I am one of their biggest advocates. Even just a few shortcuts can greatly speed up your workflow in Lightroom as well as other image editing applications.

The biggest complaint that I hear is that it is hard to remember all those shortcuts and I would agree if you needed to remember all the shortcuts in Lightroom. However, you don’t need to remember all the shortcuts; learn the ones that will save you time. Also, learning them one at time is helpful as well. Pick one or two and use those regularly; once they become a habit for you, choose one or two more and do the same.

For example, I find it easier to double-click an image than use the “E” shortcut key to view an image in Loupe View. When in the Develop module, I use the shortcut keys to invoke the Crop, Spot Removal, Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush tools. It is simply easier and faster to click on Q to open the Spot Removal tool than navigate the cursor to the Spot Removal tool icon and click on it.

To help you decide which shortcuts to learn, we have prepared a list of 50 important shortcuts in Lightroom. There are many more shortcuts than those in our list. However, the shortcuts on our list are the ones that are most likely, based on our experience, to save you a significant amount of time. Download it by clicking on the figure or hyperlink above.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the fifth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; and the fourth about how to name image files.