Sparkling Allison

American expat in Denmark, mom, lover of sparkles and staplers, avid book club member.

Organizing Week in the Life Photos in Lightroom

Sparkling Allison5 Comments

I loved participating in Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project last week! I have words and photos still to post here for Saturday and Sunday. In addition to writing throughout the day in Evernote, I also spent about 30 minutes a day organizing and editing my photos in Lightroom. This helped me to get down from the 619 total photos I took throughout the week, to about 40 edited photos each day. I will print a subset of them (probably 10 to 12) for my album.

Organizing and editing photos for Week in the Life:

(1) I set up a folder on my hard drive specifically for Week in the Life. (I store all of my photos on this drive, and they are religiously backed up. Thank you, Scott.) Each night I would clean off my phone and memory card, dumping all photos into this one file.

(2) On the first night, I imported the folder into Lightroom. Otherwise, I would synchronize the folder each night to add in the new photos that were taken. (Right click > Synchronize.) 

Note: You can also import the photos directly from your phone or memory card, versus drag/dropping them into the folder and synchronizing it in Lightroom. I prefer first putting them in the folder, manually, because I like to completely clean off my memory card/phone at the same time. Synchronizing also puts the photos you've just synchronized into a catalog that you can work from.

(3)  Then I ranked all of the photos I took throughout the day with my typical rating scale, adapted from Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom system. I do this doing keyboard shortcuts (you just type a 3, 4 or 5), so it goes very quickly. 

3 = I don't want to lose this photo. Most of these are either kind of blurry, but good content, OR they add some context to a story (e.g. photos of landscapes, buildings, etc.)
4 = I really like this photo.
5 = This is the best photo I've ever taken!

Side note: Stacy Julian's Photo Freedom is aaawwweeesome! I adapted it to my Lightroom workflow years and years ago, and just love it. Some resources are at the end of this post.

(4) Then I edit the photos very lightly, using Lightroom's tools and some presets I have set up for my different cameras / lighting situations.

Note: There was some discussion on the WITL Facebook page about editing out dust on table tops. :) To de-crumb or not to de-crumb? That is up to you. I de-crumb. I also typically fix the white balance, exposure and adjust the curves for contract/shadows/highlights. I know these tools, so it can go really quickly.

The presets I have set up do these things automatically, making it even faster. I made one for my camera phone that sharpens the photos and adjusts their highlights/blacks. I also have one for the raw setting on my DSLR that enhances the color and brightness, for the most part. 

Done. This took me about 30 minutes each night.

Choosing and printing photos for Week in the Life:

Now that WITL is over, I want to go through the best photos and choose which ones to print. I'm doing this with the help of Smart Collections.

(1) I set up a Smart Collection for each day of the week that filtered out any un-ranked photos, leaving me with only the 3s, 4s and 5s.

(2) I print from home directly from Lightroom, so my next step was to set up a print template. I set up cells with the standard printing sizes I wanted for my album, and then added the number of each cell needed for one day. This came out to:

4 - 4x6
5 - 3x4
1 - 6x8
1 - 2.75x2.75

(3) Once the template was ready, I went to my Smart Collection for a particular day, and then dragged/dropped the photos into the corresponding cells. I did this really haphazardly, mostly matching the cell to the photo orientation. If I ran out of cells on my template, I would add more... I'll be adding a few photos as miscellaneous inserts.

I also went back and did some more editing on photos that I felt needed it, or cropped them to different orientations if desired. 

That's pretty much it! I'm curious how others are organizing their photos?! There were so many gems this week.