I am getting a new computer and going through a huge decluttering process with all my files. I am not the most organized person, so having processes in place to help are so valuable. I've even gone back to the early days--pre-lightroom. I thought it helpful to share my recent thoughts.

TIP No. 1: You don't have to rethink your entire photo library and previous files to start using lightroom. that would have been overwhelming for me too. Just start fresh going forward. I've only recently imported all of my old files into my lightroom catalogue--4 years later. 

TIP No. 2.: if its an image you really care about save the raw file. I hope by now I've convinced you about the importance of shooting in raw. If you aren't shooting in raw: Save the original jpg. Back in about 2005 my skills along with the capabilities of the software were way less than they are today. It's nice to know I can go back and rework, if I want to. (most likely I won't, but reassuring to know I could)

TIP No. 3: Raw files take up so much less space than psd files. When going back to clean out my pre-lightroom and pre-aperture days I almost always threw away the psd file. Why? I did a lot of work on some of those images in ps. But the programs today do so much more. I'm not sure how much I care about the image now. But also not sure I want to throw it away. Easier to remove 40mbs than 8. Unless I've done a huge amount of work to the file, but that's not the bulk of my images. Even then I might flatten it and save as a high res jpg. and still keep the raw.

Also, many of those changes can easily be done in lightroom today with the raw file. So I have one file (and a significantly smaller file) to archive instead of 2.

TIP No. 4: Keywords. This is less of an issue if you are already overwhelmed, but it is so helpful if you can do this for new files upon import. I keyword the location, and other facts with each import, so if I search in lightroom for a person or a subject that I know I photographed but don't remember when, I can type the keywords and all photos with that search term will show up. 

Hope this is helpful and happy shooting!

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  • I always work on the premise of "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"  My Bridge + Photoshop workflow is certainly not broken.

    However, I just attended a seminar on shooting tethered.  The presentation was given by Yanek and Sasha of Wasio Photography https://tethertalk.com/2018/04/23/shoot-better-work-faster-with-tet... and was aimed at professional shooting using tethered techniques.

    Yanek showed us tethered techniques using Lightroom and using On1 software. I was very impressed with the speed and capability of On1 over Lightroom.  Raw imagery opened much faster and the user has a lot more controls at his fingertips using On1 in both tethered and non-tethered shooting.  On1 is not only a RAW file converter, it is a fully equipped editing program.


    It is on sale right now for $79.95 and I am going to purchase it for its tethering capabilities and will, most likely use this program as my RAW converter. According to Yanek, he believes that On1 does a better job in RAW conversion than does Lightroom or Adobe Bridge. The jury is still out on that!

    There is another RAW converter and photo editor that I have been introduced to recently.  It is Cyberlink Photo Director and this could very well be, at $45-$50 (depending on where you get it and what discounts are applied) a better program for the beginning but, not quite casual photo editor.


    I bought an ACER notebook computer and a full copy of Cyberlink Photo Director was included on that machine.  I played around with it for a while and consider it capable of very decent RAW conversion and  most editing that many photographers will ever need to do.

    Adobe isn't the only kid on the block anymore...

    Shoot Better & Work Faster with Tethered Photography by George's Camera Academy
    Sponsored by Tether Tools and hosted with George’s Camera. Whether you're new to photography or a seasoned veteran, getting started in tethered photo…
    • I am not familiar with On1. I do know many that say Capture One is a much better software for raw processing and it gets rave reviews for tethering. 

      I agree Adobe has competition. I think that is a good thing.

    • I now recall that I used an earlier version of On1 which was known as Perfect Photo Suite.  I lost the program due to a computer glitch and for some reason which I don't recall, never got around to putting the program back onto my computer.  I did like the Perfect Photo Suite, especially for the masking ability.  I also liked the Perfect Resize portion of the Perfect Photo Suite which was very handy before Photoshop began to provide the ability to efficiently resize images.

      For $79.95, I will be allowed to install On1 on five computers.  Between my wife and I, we have three computers on which we could use it.


  • I don't use Lightroom because I have never liked it.  I have my own filing system and don't like to be forced into using a different system.  I know that it is operator error but, I lost a succession of images when I tried using Adobe Photoshop.  They are floating around somewhere in cyberspace but, I could not find them.

    I open my RAW files using Adobe Bridge and at that time, Bridge saves an additional copy of the RAW file on an external hard drive (my drives are also backed up using Carbonite - so I have redundant back ups).

    When I work on an image, I save this uncropped without resizing and without export sharpening as a Master Image in PSD format.  I can go back to this Master Image at any time and crop it the way I need the image.  As an example I need different sizes, croppings and image qualities for posting on the web than for making my yearly calendar.  When I go back to the Master Image, I don't have to go through all the original post processing.  It is sitting there, waiting for me to crop, size, and sharpen it in the way that I need.

    I save the Original RAW files under the name that I open them - Such as Holly's Birthday.  I save the PSD Master Images in the same file as the RAW images.  I also have a series of files that I save my cropped and processed images into...

    I have never lost an image and can easily pull up virtually any image that I have ever worked with. I work with only thousands of images, not hundreds of thousands so, Adobe Bridge is perfectly capable of keeping track of these images.  I can do just about anything in Adobe Camera RAW than I could do in Lightroom.

    I have a 258 GB SSD hard drive on which I keep my programs like Photoshop, Portrait Professional, etc.  I have a 2 TB standard hard drive on which I store my images (along with those stored on the external hard drives).  Again, all of my drives are backed up with the Carbonite program , which has saved me at least once... 

    I can understand that Lightroom is a very good program and can be a great helper for many photographers, just not for me!

    • Curious when you last tried it. It has changed a lot over the years.

      To contradict your first point: you don't need to change anything in your filing system. I just imported a lot of very old photos into lightroom. In lightroom I see the folders and the subfolders exactly as they are on my hard drive and in exactly the same place. So that may be a user error as you say.

      I see nothing in your current process that lightroom can't do faster, better, easier and with less hard drive storage space.

      I am speaking from experience as my process years ago was very similar to yours.

      If it works for you I don't have any reason to convince you to change. I'm just providing a counterpoint to your argument for others viewing this.

      I welcome others to comment with bad experiences, good experiences, fears, whatever. I guess I'm such a fan because I like anything that saves me time and makes life easier, and it is included with the normal adobe photography subscription. 

  • Great tips.  I've been horrible with keywords and now regret it.

    • Keywording is not my strong point either. It does come in handy. My philosophy about all these things is best practices moving forward. 

  • Thanks for all the good tips.
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