Last week in our co-working session, we talked about how to get in the right mindset before culling a session, set your goals and work effectively.
I know – at first it might seem counter-intuitive to spend time prepping, rather than just jumping in and getting through it, but hear me out! If you’re having trouble culling photo galleries in Lightroom, this will help you get into the right headspace and make your work so much easier!
Next time you pull up a gallery, try this:
I am a chronic overshooter and don’t plan on changing my ways anytime soon.
The thought of culling through SO many images can be overwhelming so I developed this workflow to break up the volume and get a better idea of what I have to work with.
Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
What is the damage??
How many images did you take and what are some of the elements that define the variety? Brainstorm different ways you could divide and categorize what you have to work with.
Set a goal:
Before you start, ask yourself: what do you want to do with the photos from this session? Do you want to make an album? A calendar? Find one epic image to print big and hang on the wall? Are you looking for material to post to social media? Are you going to do a carousel post, or just one image?
Once you know what you need your end result to be, you’ll be able to look at your images in an entirely new way. You don’t need to find ALL of the good images – you might only need 7 images for IG, so that’s going to really speed things up.
Now it’s time to divide the session up – let’s say you did a shoot with two moms and 2 kids. Before you even start looking at individual images, separate the gallery – you might have folders for: couple, full family, mom 1 and kids, mom 2 and kids, just kids.
If it was a smaller session, maybe just a mom and one child, you might want to break it down into scenes: water, rocks, tall grass, water.
Maybe you really want to showcase the best images you photographed in a variety of lighting situations! Divide into backlight, direct light, blue light, etc.
Once you’ve separated your images into segments, it’s going to be much easier to come up with the images you need to deliver as you’re culling.
Say you promised a client 50 pictures, and you’ve divided your session into 5 buckets. Ok, now you know you only need 10 pictures from each bucket. Go into folder 1 – full family, and find 10 great images, that are all different and tell the story in a different way.
Done. Next folder.
It helps to zoom out, into grid view, and find the images that really stand out. Don’t spend hours nitpicking between two similar images – look for the ones that really stand out – those are the ones you want.
I notice I will sometimes waste more time going back and forth between two images that aren’t that great but always know immediately when I’ve got a keeper!
By organizing the images ahead of time, you’ll save yourself the trouble of having to go back to compare the pictures of the full family in the grass with the pictures you took 40 minutes later of the full family on the rocks – they’re all condensed, and you can quickly see which ones are the winners.
The images that stop you in your scroll are probably the images that will stop others in their scroll too.
Everything on IG just blends together some days – stop overthinking and trust your eye.
As you’re culling, make sure you’re thinking about progressing the story with each image. If you’re only going to post 7 images from this session, each image needs to be different – they need to have different emotions, they should tell unique parts of the story of this family (and remember – less is more! No one wants to see 50 images from the same session, other than the family who receives the gallery).
This is also especially helpful when you’re culling your own personal work, like we’re working on in our weekly co-working session!
You don’t need to find every good image of your children. You want to find the standout moments from each memory, the images that evoke the feelings and the moment. Don’t get overwhelmed if you have a folder with hundreds of images in it from your last vacation – just decide what your end goal is, and have at it!
If you’re struggling to find time, especially for your personal work, come join us! We gather on Zoom every Friday at 2:30pm ET (we’re working on some additional times for those who can’t make this one!), and work for an hour or so. No cost, no strings, just a few great tips and then some dedicated work time!
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