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Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow

Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow 

Previously, I covered the Effective Lightroom Importing Workflow. So, in this article, let’s look into an Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow. In all these years working in Lightroom, I was able to develop a compelling workflow for Lightroom, which I teach in our Lightroom Training Program.

Lightroom organizing power is unbeatable. Right out of the box, Lightroom uses the capture date to organize pictures in folders. However, the capture date is not very efficient and useful for many of us. In this article, you learn a practical workflow to organize pictures more intuitively.  

Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow

By default, Lightroom creates folder according to photos capture dates, and store the images accordingly. Firstly, this default setting is not very intuitive, as photographers may not remember the years, months, and days of the thousands of images that they have in the Lightroom library.

Secondly, most photographers like to organize pictures in the “Theme Based” workflow. Thus, what would be the best approach?

For sure, you can go ahead and change the name of each folder, but there should be a better solution. Before going any further, we need to look into what options we have in Lightroom for organizing images. Lightroom uses two principal sorting options, Folders and Collections.

Lightroom Folders

In Lightroom, Folders are the actual locations of the pictures. For instance, when you place an image inside a folder, the picture resides inside that folder in your hard drive. On another note, by moving a photo from a folder to another, you change the location of the image. So, a picture can be stored in one folder, unless you duplicate the photo. In most cases, photographers do not like to have duplicates. It brings us to the next Lightroom organizing option, which is Collections.

Lightroom Default Folders

Lightroom Default Folders
Lightroom Default Folders

Lightroom Collections

Generally speaking, Collections are the virtual locations of pictures. Therefore, images stay in their original places, i.e. folders, while you can pile them up in different virtual containers as Collections. For instance, I took thousands of pictures in 2019. By default, Lightroom stored them according to the capture dates in folders. Instead of moving the photographs out of their original folders, i.e. date folders, I created several Collections and named them accordingly, and added the images to them. 

Therefore, I organized pictures in a way that I wanted to, without changing their locations. Lastly, you can have certain photos in several separate collections without duplicating them.

Lightroom Collections

Lightroom Collections
In Lightroom Collections are like Albums. Collections do not contain the actual photos.

Summary of Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow 

I found out that using Collections instead of Folders is an Effective Lightroom Organizing Workflow. Simply by creating as many different collections as I need, I can have pictures in the Collections without duplicating a single image.   

Do you want to learn more?

Lightroom Training Program is a three-part workshop that starts on November 4th, 2020. I cover a complete Lightroom workflow in this workshop. The class size is small, and there are tons of practical exercises.

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