If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may know that I was just traveling and photographing wildlife and nature in Alaska. Wildlife photography is a passion of mine (though it’s definitely just a hobby). I am not seasoned in photographing birds or animals, but I hope to grow in that arena. When I come back from a trip with thousands of photos, it can be daunting. I imagine weddings would be much the same way. If you want to edit faster, try this simple process.
My 15 seconds per image Lightroom workflow:
I cull my way through 1000s of nature, wildlife and personal snapshot photos from my trip, using my “15 second per image editing technique.” Using Lightroom with my cap locks pressed, I hit P (for Pick) or X (for Exclude). The cap locks advances you to the next photo once P or X are pressed. If I know it is one I want to keep, I edit quickly using the Enlighten Lightroom presets before hitting the P key. Once I have the look I want, if there are other similar images, I save the combination temporarily as a “save a fav” preset within the set. Then I apply it (or even just sync) with all similar images.
While I may spend 20-30 seconds on a few photos, the average time is about 15 seconds since I average in rejects and photos I synced (as those then usually just need a possible crop).
** for most vacation photos, I don’t enter Photoshop. But for portraits, if I want to, I will star those with a number too (so maybe 3 stars or 5 stars = portrait). Then once I am done in Lightroom, I can export and edit the starred images with Photoshop actions or hand retouching as needed.
Help, in exchange for the tip?
Remember how I mentioned I am not seasoned at wildlife photography??? Well, I need your help. I loved photographing bald eagles and really want to print one for my home. But technically speaking – and visually – I am having a hard time deciding on the strongest image. Which of these do you feel is the strongest? Feel free to add any thoughts or helpful CC for me in the comments too. Thank you!
** All images below were edited with Enlighten Lightroom presets. Only the resize and copyright were added using batch processing.
All eagles in flight were taken with the Canon 5D MKIII and Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II with a 1.4x extender. Settings: ISO 800, Aperture 4.0, Speed between 1/1000 and 1/1600
All bald eagles in the tree and nest were taken with the Canon 5D MKIII and Tamron 150-600mm at the full 600mm. Settings: ISO 1000, Aperture 6.3, Speed between 1/500 and 1/1000
Overwhelmed yet? Again, helpful critique is welcome. I did not have a flash, though with a better beamer that may have helped, and I know on a few the wings are clipped, so there’s that too. But I was happy overall with these. And I think practicing at home with the birds in my backyard actually helped me a bit. So tell me, what is your favorite of the ones above? Thanks again.
One danger when you are new to photography is over-editing. It’s easy to get super excited when post-processing.
Opacity is certainly your friend. When using actions in Photoshop or Elements, make sure to adjust the opacity of each layer if needed. But what if you are doing manual edits like the patch tool or cloning? If you work on duplicate layers you can adjust the opacity of the entire layer. Another great way to control things is to “fade” them. Go under EDIT – FADE (and look for what you did as your last step). Take full control of your editing.
Before and After Step-by-Step Edit: A Crop and a Few Quick Edits for a Great Portrait
The MCP Show and Tell Site is a place for you to share your images edited with MCP products (our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, textures and more). We’ve always shared before and after Blueprints on our main blog, but now, we will sometimes share some favorites from Show and Tell to give these photographers even more exposure. If you haven’t checked out Show and Tell yet, what are you waiting for? You’ll learn how other photographers are using our products and see what they can do for your work. And once you are ready, you can show off your own editing skills using MCP goodies. You might even make new friends or gain a customer…. since you get to add your website address right on the page. Bonus!
Here is a sample on how to choose a crop and edit with MCP Photoshop Actions to make your image stand out.
Today’s Featured Image:
By: Biju Photography
MCP sets used: Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions
- Crops make a big difference. I love how this is cropped closer in the after image. Then it was edited with Newborn Necessities actions - Hush Jaundice @42% + Brightened and sharpened the eyes using Eyes Wide Open action + added 18% It’s a Girl action.
To learn more about MCP Photo A Day.
For July, our themes are inspired by Reality TV Shows. You can really stretch your imagination with these - take them literally, represent the show, or do a completely unique spin on the words. Use your creativity – anything goes. We cannot wait to see how you interpret these! Use your dSLR, iPhone, P&S or even a pinhole. If it can take a photo, it’s fair game.
It’s never too late to join in. And if you miss a day or two, or get behind, that’s fine as well. Just participate when you can. Here are the fun themes for May. You are welcome to pin this and post it directly to Facebook, Google+ and Instagram too!
How to participate:
- Take a photo with any camera you want (SLR, phone, P&S, etc). Post the image to your Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus or best yet – all of them. Hashtag it #mcpphotoaday. If possible list the day, date and/or theme.
- Bonus fun – You can also follow us and tag @mcpactions on Instagram. If on Facebook – tag the MCP Business Facebook Page and if on Google+ – tag the MCP G+ Page.
- If you edited the photo with MCP products such as our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and textures, you can also hashtag it #mcpactions. For more exposure, you may post MCP edited images to our Facebook Group and state what products were used.
- Spread the word. Tell others to visit this shortened URL to join us: http://bit.ly/mcp-photoaday
- Make sure you FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM and OUR PERSONAL FACEBOOK as we will try and feature photos daily.
That’s it – super easy. We hope you participate. Make sure to check out MCP on Instagram. We will feature participants’ images – so visit to get inspired and maybe to see your image.
Comment below and let us know if you will be joining us!
If you use Lightroom to edit your photos, you may (or may not) realize that your edits are not applied to your image unless you export them out of Lightroom.
Lightroom is essentially a big, huge database of information. When you edit, whether you use Lightroom presets, make manual adjustments or both, your changes just tell Lightroom what you want to do to the image when it leaves the program. They do NOT actually change the photo. Since you can see the changes, and even view before and afters, it seems so permanent.
It’s easy to feel like this information in Lightroom is completely safe. And usually it is… But what if your catalog (which is like a big notebook filled with every set of directions you’ve told Lightroom) dies or gets corrupted?
Here’s three steps you need to take right now to protect your future edits:
1. Back up your Lightroom 5 Catalog. This backs up your “steps” you’ve told Lightroom you want to do, using presets or manual editing. Only you can decide how often to back up your catalog based on the value of this information. Remember this does NOT back up the photos themselves.
Need detailed catalog help? Learn how to back up your Lightroom catalog HERE.
2. Consider exporting your images once you are done editing them, even if you are not ready to print or use them in another way. Remember that adjustments you make in Lightroom are not applied to your photo until exported. Yes, it takes up space on your hard drive but storage is affordable now.
3. If you are in a storage crunch and really do not have room, here’s another idea. Change the way the Lightroom catalog works. Adjust the settings under METADATA. Go to your Catalog Settings – the location will vary based on your operating system. It is under the word LIGHTROOM on my Mac. Then click on the Metadata tab. And check off “Automatically write changes into XMP.”
When you do this, the .XMP files will save alongside your Raw files! This way, if your database corrupts, you still have your edits. It’s as easy as a check box. Boom!
4. Back up your computer – None of the above will “save you” if your hard drive crashes. The most important thing in terms of protection for any photographer, and I cannot stress this enough, is a solid, reliable backup system. I highly recommend you back up your photos, important files, and any other documents you’d miss if they vanished. I backup my work in the following ways:
- RAID – I have hard drives that mimic each other in case one fails
- Time Machine – I backup everything on my computer to an external hard drive using Time Machine on my Mac.
- Off-Site – this is the most important one. It protects you from hard drive failure, theft, and fire. The top two solutions do not protect against all three… I currently use Backblaze for my off-site backup. It is easy and affordable! I need to know my files and photos are safe – this solution provides that assurance.
Don’t let disaster strike your Lightroom catalog or files. Keep everything safe from corruption using these quick, easy steps. Now it’s your turn… What methods do you use to keep your files, catalogs and photos safe?