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Workflow Step Two: Sorting Your Images

Okay, your photos are in Lightroom, and it’s time to start the process of finding our best shots. I use the SLIM system (we looked at this in Chapter 2) for my shoot organization, so we’ll be creating a collection set, finding our Picks, then finding our Selects and sorting those into their own collections inside our collection set. Here’s the exact process I use for all my shoots:

Step One:

At this point, your images have been imported, but we haven’t done anything with them yet. So, in the Library module, go to the Collections panel (in the left side Panels area), click on the + (plus sign) button on the right side of the panel header, and choose Create Collection Set from the pop-up menu (as seen here). When the Create Collection Set dialog appears, give your new collection set a very descriptive name (I named mine “Dolomites with Jeff”), then in the Location section, choose the collection set you want this new set to appear inside (I put this inside my Landscape collection set), and then click the Create button.

Step Two:

We’re going to create a new collection inside our Dolomites collection set for all the images from the shoot (I do this for every shoot). So, press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to select all the photos you just imported, then press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to bring up the Create Collection dialog (seen here). Name your collection “Full Shoot,” and for Location, choose that collection set you just created in the previous step (in this case, it’s Dolomites with Jeff). In the Options section, the Include Selected Photos checkbox should be turned on by default, but if it’s not, turn it on (and leave the other options off), then click the Create button.

Step Three:

Now it’s time to find our “keepers” from the shoot. So, click on the thumbnail for the first image you imported, then press Shift-Tab to hide all the panels (or press the letter F on your keyboard if you want to do this part in Full Screen view). Then, start moving through your images. If you see an image you like, press the letter P to mark it as a Pick (you’ll see “Flag as Pick” appear right onscreen, as seen here. If you’re in Full Screen view, you’ll just see a tiny, white pick flag appear at the bottom center instead). Press the Right Arrow key on your keyboard to move to the next image, continuing through the rest of your images, marking the good shots as Picks, and just ignoring them and moving on if they’re not.

Step Four:

Now, let’s turn on a filter that just shows our Picks (after all, this is what this is all about—separating our Picks from the rest of the shoot). Make sure the Filmstrip along the bottom is visible, and near the top center, to the right of Filter, click twice on the white Pick flag (shown circled here in red) to filter your images, so only the Picks are showing. Note: If you don’t see three Pick flags to the right of Filter, just click directly on the word Filter to have them slide out. Now, press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to select all your Picks, press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to create a new collection, name this new collection “Picks,” turn on the Inside a Collection Set checkbox, and from the pop-up menu, choose the Dolomites with Jeff collection set. Make sure the Include Selected Photos checkbox is turned on, and click the Create button. This saves your Picks in their own collection inside your Dolomites with Jeff collection set. So, to recap: at this point, we have a Dolomites with Jeff collection set, and inside it, we now have two collections: Full Shoot and Picks.

Step Five:

It’s time to narrow things down even further, and take our time now, as we get down to the final images we’ll be tweaking, and then maybe sharing online or printing, etc. In the Collections panel, click on the Picks collection we just created, then click on the first image (the one up in the top-left corner of the Preview area), and now let’s go find the very best shots from our shoot—our “Selects.” I do the same Shift-Tab routine to hide the panels, but since all these images already have a Pick flag, I tag my best of these images with a 5-star rating. So, as I come to an image I really like—one of the best images from this shoot—I press the number 5 on my keyboard, and it applies a 5-star rating (as seen here, where it says “Set Rating to 5” onscreen).

Step Six:

Go through your Picks collection, using the Right Arrow key on your keyboard, until you’ve tagged your very best shots as Selects (5 stars). When you’re done, turn on the filter, so we just see the 5-star images in our Picks collection, by going to the top of the Filmstrip and clicking on the 5-star filter (shown circled here in red). Now, just your very best images from the shoot are visible.

Step Seven:

Press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to select all your 5-star images, then press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to create a new collection, name it “Selects,” and then save this new collection inside the Dolomites with Jeff collection set. That’s the process. We have a Dolomites with Jeff collection set, and inside it, we now have three collections: Full Shoot, Picks, and Selects.

Step Eight:

If you look in my Collections panel here, you’ll see how this organization looks (and it should look familiar with what you learned back in Chapter 2). Inside my Landscape collection set, you’ll see the Dolomites with Jeff collection set, and inside that, you’ll see three collections:

(1) Full Shoot

(2) Picks

(3) Selects

The only images I would actually be tweaking, cropping, editing, or sharing would be the ones inside that Selects collection. That’s how I sort and organize every shoot, whether it’s a wedding, travel, portrait, or sports shoot, or whathaveya.

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