“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”
– Henry Ford
When you work in the media world, time is key. We all have a very limited time to get the images of the artists on stage (3 songs and out!), but in many instances, you are on a tight deadline to get your images in to your clients/editors/medias.
Working for a web media means that you usually need your images done within 24 hours. Doesn’t sound too bad. But as the vast majority of media photographers also have 9-5 jobs, this means processing your images when you get home or early the next morning.
Working for a daily means that you have a deadline for print and your images need to be done within a few hours, and sometimes quicker.
Working as a festival photographer, where your images are the images used by all medias, you are basically shooting your 3 songs (and sometimes just one or two), speed walking to your laptop, downloading, processing and uploading all within 20-30 mins… 14 times during a day… and sometimes for 3 days straight. You’ll sometimes shoot 2 bands before heading to your trailer and have just 30 minutes to send in a set of 6-10 killer images for both bands.
You get the point. 🙂
Finding ways to speed up your workflow is key. I had a period where I was shooting 12-15 shows a month while still working a 40 hour job during the day. I had no choice but to find ways, and in some cases shortcuts, to get my stuff done faster, as I’m someone who loves to sleep and get way cranky when I don’t sleep enough. As I learned back when I was working in the corporate world, looking at tasks that are repetitive and finding ways to automate them is a huge time saver.
Too lazy to read the article?
I use a custom made Lightroom preset that is applied during import for all my images.
What is a preset?
They are essentially the adjustments that you do in Lightroom saved under a specified name. You click on that name and all the adjustments are applied. There is a pretty big market out there that sells you presets to make your images look awesome. There is no magic behind them, you can do them all yourself. I’ve downloaded (and paid!) for some of these as more of a way of studying what they do in order to understand and do it myself. I prefer to know what I am doing and have control than just click and apply what someone else said was nice.
So I have a preset that includes all of my basic adjustments… Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Blacks, Sharpening and so on. The preset is directly applied as I import my images, on all my images. This usually gets me very close to the end result that I’m looking for, as per my style. I still have to adjust some of the images, as things change based on lighting and so on.
Sounds great, how do I create one?
It is actually pretty easy.
- Open an image in the Develop Module, any image (preferably the type that you process a bunch of or have a tight deadline to get out)
- Manually do your adjustments. This could include Contrast, Highlights, Clarity… basically anything that is available in Lightroom.
- On the left side of the Develop module, beside the PRESET folder, click on the + to create a new one
- Select the adjustments you have made that you want saved in the preset, name the preset, select the folder you want it to be saved in (I put all mine in User Presets)
Ok, I’m done. How do I add it to import?
Next time you import images, in the import screen, on the top right of the window you can select a preset to apply
And there you go! The changes will apply upon each import of images until you replace / remove the Preset to be applied during import. There are a bunch of other ways you can speed up your workflow… specific folders in your camera for various bands, using software like Photo Mechanic and simply shooting less (less images, less selection time, less importing time,…)
Want to see more quick tips? Click here!