I’m going to share something. It’s probably going to ruffle a few feathers, but I feel it’s important to say. I’d invite you to leave a comment at the end, because I want to see how many other people have a similar approach (or not). Here goes…
My Lightroom catalog is a mess! My hard drives have photos all over the place (we can call it organized chaos because I do know where things are). I have zero idea how bright my screen is or it’s color profile. My hard drives do this RAID thing but I don’t even know how to spell it, let alone use it. When I save a photo, I have no idea what color space I save it in. I have no idea if I cropped it first or last. I never calibrate my computer screen. When I upsize a photo, I simply open it in Photoshop and go to Image > Image Size.
The metadata panel in Lightroom has never been opened by me except for when I do a tutorial on it. I don’t use import presets. I (often) don’t even import my photos into Lightroom! I only use one (maybe two-ish) plug-ins. I teach about star ratings and flags, but I rarely use them on my photos. On some photos I use the contrast slider, on others I use Whites and Blacks for contrast – and the only reason I have is because it’s the mood I was in at the time.
I could go on… but I’m wondering if you see a theme here. The above paragraph says a lot of things that I don’t spend my time on. Why I wrote that will make sense in a moment, but let’s approach it from a different angle.
A while back when I was noticing a lot of noise in my wildlife photos I wanted to use Noise reduction software, so I asked a friend what they used and immediately went out to get Topaz Denoise – without spending another ounce of brain power (or time) on choosing software. I got a new monitor a while back and all I did was open it, place it on the desk, attached my laptop and immediately started editing. When I edit a photo, I spend A LOT of time on the sky. How bright, how dark, transition, color, etc…
Want more… When I edit a wildlife photo, I open it, almost always press auto, some times crop first, run Topaz Denoise (sometimes first or sometimes last), and save it as a JPG with zero thought to color space, PPI, output sharpening, workflow order, etc… I spend A LOT of time on the subject in my photos… how bright, dark, color, etc… I spend A LOT of time on distracting areas in my photos. Are they too bright, dark, out of place. When I edit many of my photos, I open them in Bridge or Photo Mechanic, find one really good one… edit it in Camera Raw and save it as a JPG, and I’m done (having never touched LR – gasp!!!!).
Where Is This Leading?
Okay, so where is this going you ask? It’s the idea that I think many of you are spending time on the things that don’t make a difference to your photography, and won’t help your photos resonate more with you or anyone else. I only say this because I see the questions you ask. And questions are a great indicator of where people spend their time, or at least where they think they should be spending it.
I can 100% guarantee you that the photographers you follow out there (and appreciate their work) have the absolute worst, pieced-together workflows. They could care less what hard drive they’re using, or color space, or upsizing program, or the order in which they do things. I promise you because I know… we talk at various events, online, personally, etc… And the really good photographers I speak to all care very little about the things I just mentioned, because they know that there’s only one thing that matters – how good the photo looks. And they’ll spend their time making the photo look good – be it in camera or through editing. And you know what they rely on to get it there? Their eyes. Not a color space, or some specific perfectly ordered workflow.
So my hope for you is two things…
THING #1 Start asking the right questions of yourself or whoever you follow online. If you’re stuck on a technical detail, go with your eyes first. As Nike says… just do it. Just freakin’ edit the photo! And spend your time on the creative aspect of how things look. If you don’t trust your eyes, then post to an online group, or send a message to some one you follow or trust. But instead of asking them a technical question, that is pretty easily google-able, or doesn’t really have a right answer, make that post or email count.
How? Don’t just say “What do you think of this photo?”. Instead, look at what you’re unsure about in the photo or an area you spent some time on. Post a question that goes something like “I really worked a lot on the sky in this photo since it was very blah, and I’m wondering if it looks too dark?”. Critiquing a photo is a skill that 99% of people don’t have, so DON’T ASK them to do something they’re not good at (but may think they are). You could end up hurting your workflow more than helping it.
Ask a pointed question. Sure you’ll get various answers but you’ll get much more focussed feedback, which in turn will help keep you focussed.
WHAT’S THE SECOND THING I HOPE YOU DO?
I’m glad you asked. The second thing I hope you do is check out my No Light, No Problem Volume 3 course. Of any course I do, this series shows you exactly how I spend my time. If you like my photos or my editing, this is they key. It’s everything I know and do to a photo all wrapped up in a 90 minute course. It’s not an encyclopedia course like my Lightroom System where I have to show you the “what” of everything – even if I don’t use it.
It’s my “Why” course. It shows you where I spend my time, what I’m thinking as I look at a photo and why I make the changes I do. It’s the important stuff about photo editing that WILL make a difference. Not the stuff you get caught up in that has zero impact on your photography.
How’s that for some shameless self promotion! 😉
Thanks for reading. And even if you don’t buy my course (or already have), I hope you start asking the questions that really count. Enjoy!
It’s nice to know I’m not alone! 😉
Hi Matt, can totally appreciate your points. From a priority perspective, editing the photo with fantastic light (whether in camera or in post) is the most important thing. I have my photos relatively organized (OCD like that) but like you I don’t worry about raid drives (I have a simplified backup strategy), do use labels (Red/Green/Yellow and Star and Flag), but don’t have a calibrated monitor (I’m not that picky on printing when I do it) and do the same thing relative to contrast.
I love your No Light No Problem course because it makes me think more creatively (which I struggle with being an analytical tech kind of guy though my photography is my stress relieving mechanism).
Keep up the great work and stay safe.
Wow, I mix up my workflow, I have photos on numerous hard drives, I never look at metadata, I have a few favourite plug ins and presets, but I get excited when I m editing and I go with my flow of the moment. Sometimes I think to myself that compared to others I seem so disorganised, so I enjoyed reading that you work kind of the same way. I am always excited to get to work and try something different or new immediately after watching one of your videos. Thanks, Matt.
HI Matt, I always love your no nonsense approach to editing and learning. Every once in awhile I would feel bad hearing my fellow friend photographers saying they spent HOURS editing. Yikes. I sometimes spend as little as half an hour and think to myself. Can this really be good? But I like it! So thank you for making me feel better.
Amazing!! I am both astonished and grateful to hear your true confessions about your unconcern about what color space, what format, which hard drive in use, presets, plugins or not and so on. It’s like I don’t have to feel guilty for not using let alone understanding everything the programs are capable of. Most astonishing is you aren’t a die heart LR user!
Thank you. I feel like I have a new lease on life!
PS. Just bought your No Light No Problem and I love it!!
I am way behind in reading emails and just saw your advertisement for your workshop, No light, No problem. It sounds like you had a sample workshop on this subject. Before ordering the course, is there a way that I an see the sample workshop to see if it really is what I need?
Hi Luci. There’s a sample video on the page at mattk.com/light
Thank you Matt – I love your honesty! You are right about asking for input – everyone has different opinions, and you cannot take them all to heart. What matters is your own opinion, and the photos you share which bring joy to their recipients. I love photography, and if I like a photo, other people usually do too.
Love this, Matt!
This is great–I’ve been waiting for Volume 3 ever since I completed Volume 2! Your “No Light” tutorials are the only ones from anybody that I’ve watched multiple times. They provide exactly the information I’m look for to improve my post processing skills!
Started Lightroom course what’s your issue with importing photos into my external hardrive via Lightroom ? Does doing so in any way also inadvertently also imports int my internal hardrive? Louisrheisler@gmail.com
No issue Louis. You can follow the course and it’ll show you how to import, etc… Thanks.
Thanks for your thoughts Matt! I’m off to purchase your No Light, No Problem Volume 3. You are a great teacher!
My camera club sometimes has a meeting for critiques. I have already found that some of the feedback seems a little off-and I’m relatively new to photography so want to be careful of what I absorb in the way of advice. The pointed question is great advice. Furthermore, I feel secure with your classes-so thank you~!
Hi Diane – personally I would never put my photo out there for an open critique. The person who I ask to critique should be skilled in the process and be some one that I 100% know WANTS to make me better. While camera clubs are usually very nice people, I do find there’s a bit of competitive nature there. While not malicious, I don’t know that everyone looking at your photo has 100% invested in making you better as they (sometimes) do in making themselves look good or sound knowledgable. It’s human nature and I get it, but for those reason I’d suggest being careful about who you ask for advice 🙂
Thank you so much for taking away the pressure of having a perfect workflow, a calibrated monitor and so on. I already apreciated your fresh start videos and I absolutely love your class photoshop for photographers, you make me wonder less and be more confident and that’s really important!
Wow, a really forthright disclosure. Thanks for that … I thought I was the only one with a mess. Most of the time I can’t remember where I put the darn image that I’m looking for. Shame on me, I know better.
Anyway, good article and I look forward to learning more from you as always, Matt.
When first started out in digital photography in 2012 I got Lightroom cos everything I read on the net said that I would do 90% of my processing in Lightroom and I couldn’t afford to buy the Adobe CS package back then. Then I had the good fortune to come across a guy , and ex navy pilot called Bull Schmidt who had produced a series of instructional videos on Lr4 and one them was on digital asset management and I have followed that advice ever since. So my images are stored in a drive set up for that purpose and they are backed up on 2 other drives and in the cloud (Backblaze). The most labourious task I have is renameing all my images AFTER I have edited them with a name that has the place where they were taken and what the image is and the date of exposure, plus I write XMP files to the image in Lr as well. I am glad I do this as when I replaced my computer the last time the Lr catalog got corrupted which meant creating a new catalog (Adobe couldn’t fix the old one). Sensible digital asset management makes sense cos if you computer is totally comprimised in some way you are going to need your backup. File renaming comes after the main editing and culling is done and sometimes it is a pain in the ass but I do it cos you never know when you might need it, especially in these days of ransomeware attacks. I was lucky, I learnt about Digital Asset Managemet early. Dont get me started on keywording, that was a project for the first Covid lockdown here in NZ
Hi Matt – I love how you posed all these thoughts/questions … shows you’re as humble as we all are! I have purchased many of your training programs and online events and will be purchasing your latest one. I consider myself a fairly competent photographer. Why do I continue to purchase your courses? Because you never stop learning!!! I may know a lot, but I learn ONE thing from your course- that alone is totally worth the money and effort!
Keep up the great work and I look forward to more from you! Would love to attend an in-person event/workshop with you!
The made me laugh because when I first started photography in 2005 I was into everything – and the books I made then show it. They are so over processed, over sharpened, just over done. Okay here is for your shameless plug, once I got your courses from Lightroom, to No Light No Problem (the best) my workflow was cut down 75% and my books look 100% better and take 75% less time. I ditched the other softwares and tutorials and realized that just with LR and distraction removal in PS things are getting much better. Now I use a little DeNoise when totally necessary – but not often. When I need a review on a photo – I ask my husband to just look at the photo – “this one? that one?” It is easy because he sees things I missed in just the photo itself. Sometimes I find I am into a photo for another reason and he can just see what is communicated or what is missed. Simplification – it works. Anyway, thanks, Matt! Your classes are amazing.
Ah shucks, forgot an important lesson I learned from you, Matt. Make use of your time. Maybe it is “just a photo” and should be in the book just for that reason. But is it worth the time to make it perfect? Other times, it is special and I will use the tools to adjust light, direct light, use sky replacement, etc. I have learned to use my time when it is important and just let some things go. Isn’t that “Perfection leads to procrastination?”
SHOULD I BE USING LIGHTROOM (LR) or Lightroom LrC?
Edmund I’ll give you my opinion. I would definitely be using Lightroom LRC (Classic). What I believe I’m seeing Adobe do is slowly moving to a new platform to be fully web based so that Lightroom and Lightroom on mobile devices are the same.
As a 40+year veteran in the IT industry (with application development being my specialty), I will tell you that it will take a very long time to take a 15 year application like Lightroom Classic and port it over to a new infrastructure (Lightroom on the web). It will take a lot of time for all the features to be available.
I know for me, and believe for many other serious photographers, why they stay on Lightroom Classic until the new Lightroom catches up. Even when it does catch up, many will be reluctant to move to it because they don’t want Adobe holding their photos on the web, they’ll want to control it on their own storage devices and choose where in the cloud they exists for backup purposes.
Again, this is only my opinion as both a photographer since I was a young teenager and an IT Pro. I hope this helps
Totally resonated. Do much the same. Always been concerned over what I might be missing in technical details one one thing or another. Breathing a lot easier now. Thanks very much. Best instructor I know.
I recently switched to the IOS5 with RAID MyCloud server by Western Digital and discovered I have over 2.5 million images. YIKES! No wonder I struggled before so much. I use Denoise also, but I also use a whole bunch of other tools, too. There’s no way I could ever narrow down what my workflow is because it’s different for every single file. When I look at a file, I just feel my brain go through this rolodex of tools and pick out the ones that make sense. I also found out, like you, my organization is not the greatest and discovered that doesn’t really matter as long as I know where something is when I go looking for it. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to find it. I did, however, spend about a month organizing my images so they are easier to find. Once I finished that, I just try to keep my new images organized along those lines. That really helps a lot. You do not want to see my desk, though. I could never do videos because I would spend hours cleaning up my desk just to make it look like yours. Thanks for everything you do, Matt. Can’t wait for the next Photoshop Summit, coming up in May. Yay.
Keep up the fine work. I have your No Light No Problem Vol 3 course. Once I finish trying to learn Luminosity Masks with Lumenzia, will do next. Maybe I don’t need to use Luminosity Masks???
Hi Don. My advice is always to keep it simple. But that’s not advice for everyone. Some people like to make it complicated and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Some just like to tinker and try every software out there. And that’s okay. Just figure out which type of person you are. Panels don’t do anything you can’t do in PS anyway, so I’d say learn PS first so you’re not relying on a panel. To me, they often make things more complicated than simple. Thanks!
I agree Matt. Panels don’t do anything Photoshop can not do. What they do accomplish for me is save me time. I personally do not use Lumenzia. That is complicated. I use Tony Kuyper’s TK 8 Panel. Saves me a ton of time. That panel is well worth the 25.00 investment. Still I bought your No Light No problem Vol 3 course. I can always learn something new, or find different applications I might not have thought of yet.
Not to mention I like to support the cool people in Photography….
TK8 is great and my go to tool in PS. I’ve been using Tony Kuyper’s product for the last 12+ years. It’s not only great for luminosity masks but also a superb workflow tool and a all at a bargain price.
Each to their own when it comes to photography. Just do what you want to do and choose editing tools and a workflow that you like.
I am very wary and sceptical of those ‘professionals’ who push their ideas and certain products because they have something to sell, or, have some sort of deal or sponsorship with the company.
I like Matt’s tutorials and purchased many of them but don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but it’s good food for thought and having a different opinion is always good for progression in this current world of ‘wokery’.
Ha! “Current world of wokery”. My wife and I were just talking about that. I’m surprised I wasn’t “cancelled” for saying I don’t calibrate my screen 😉
I’m glad to hear you say this. My photography is for my enjoyment. Yes I share photos with family & friends because it’s a hobby not a job. You’ve helped me justify my reasons in editing.
Great resources and detailed information. I have purchaed a lot from Matt over ghe years and find value in everything I received.
Oh yes I’m that person who downloads and never know where they go, not sure what I’m doing in Lightroom!
I could not agree with you, more.
Thoroughly enjoyed your tips, MATT – I had my photos catalogued well in Lightroom (it took me forever) and then after an update I lost the catalogue – ugh! So now, like you, I have photos in a number of areas on my hard drive. Was helpful to hear your thoughts and tips for turning out a nice photo.
LMAOROTF!! Matt, love your GREAT REVEAL post. A long time customer because your LrC/PS tutorials are easy to understand, direct and to the point and priced right. But this post is so true and bang on. While I, personally, use LrC to store my image files in well organised catalogs/folders, it’s because of your PS tutorials that I’m now using PS so much more to create unique, idiosyncratic images. It’s not about the subject/object; it’s what the subject/object is about. It’s all about the final image, what it says, how it makes me feel, an intuitive response to my state of mind while capturing the image and what I want the image to hopefully say to viewers. All the technical stuff is just that – stuff. For some images, I have multiple versions in colour and B&W (warm toned, cool toned, straight B&W) and I like them all depending on my mood when processing or viewing the image. Anyway, I’m babbling, but really enjoyed reading this post.
really really shameless
This just sounds like FREEDOM, and I love it. I do import everything to Lightroom only because (due to work) it sometimes takes me months (years?) to actually edit anything – especially after trips. But when it comes to editing, I go with how I feel also, and it’s different most (all?) of the time. The editing is the creative and fun part, IMO, so having a set workflow takes a bit of the fun out of it.
Also: Have never calibrated my monitor either, plug and play all the way!
Freedom is WONDERFUL for a mind (mine) overwhelmed with all the options. I still haven’t started editing photos for that reason. I will now take one of the Lightroom classes I purchased with all this in mind. It’s great to know photo editing is not baking (specific measures, doing things in order, etc. ). Wish me luck letting go!!!
Thanks Matt, as always you are able to shake us up!
Yes, one can easily spend lots of time doing administrative tasks rather than creative ones. In my case it’s because I find them easy, whereas I am uncertain about the creative part. Your “Why” course sounds just the thing I need to gain confidence. I don’t think I shall abandon Lightroom, however, as I find keywords a huge help for finding photos.
Thanks for this Easter booster shot!
Thanks Matt, I do the auto setting fix and paste to a bulk lot of similar shots then spend time composing those that stand out to me – yep lightings a big thing.
Will have to get your course on light later in the year when I finish your photoshop course
Well said, I personally edit my photos from a perspective of what I am looking for, this is of course easy as I do not share my images on line.
I do have a general procedure in editing and modify to suit and over time learn from different photographer’s like yourself what to back off a little so you don’t overdo the edit. Working with raw images gives you more freedom to work things.
Thanks for putting things in perspective for me. I have followed you for several years and have learned a great deal as far as the technical end goes. You have helped me to realize that the creative is more important than the technical and I am working hard to develop an eye for the creative aspects and nuances that will make my photos stand out. I have a long way to go but, once again, you have kicked me in the butt to concentrate on things matter. As always, I appreciate your style of teaching.
You just described my desk when I was working as an engineer. I had a manager that observed that the efficiency of a filing system is a function of the sum of the storage time and the retrieval time and I clearly was minimizing the storage time. Since I am 80 and don’t have a lot of time left to waste time agonizing over file structures I just import to a date shot structure 2022/2022-04/2022-04-09. And I just never change that structure. If I see clunkers like photos of the inside of the lens cap or the ever popular shoes I uncheck them to cull them. I also add them to a descriptive collection like “Matt’s birthday bash”. Then if and when I get back to it I gather selected photos to work on further in collections/collection sets however it strikes me at the time. BTW I rarely use key words to tedious and I am seriously spelling impaired. I find that I can quickly find photos I wish to use later without problems.
Will you be doing this course for On1 photo raw? I have both your no light no problem courses for On 1.
Hi Art. I will not be doing this course for ON1.
Well?… I’m obviously going to be the odd man out here. I have a very specific filing system using several raid arrays and three exact backups of every image I’ve ever taken. I use stars all the time to identify images and their editing stages, and I also use smart collections. I never, ever work directly on my raw files. I edit in 16bit tiff with Adobe RGB 1998 as my color space. Why not Pro Photo Color space? Simple. If there is not one monitor alive (or on the horizon) that can show me all of that color space, or a printer alive (or on the horizon) that can print that entire colorspace, or a paper alive (or on the horizon) that can absorb that color space? Why do I need it? If something ever comes out that can do all of this above? Simple! I still have my untouched raws, and can utilize that technology. Color space is not applied until the Raw file is converted. I do basic editing in LightRoom and heavy lifting in PhotoShop and I use a LOT of luminosity masks in my editing workflow. I edit images once and once only. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time? When do you have the time to do it over? I edit every image for print and I print all of my own images. It’s not a photograph without the print! I print on several types of papers and canvas depending upon the image and the look I’m going for. I print very large (40×80) all of the time, so detail. pixels, and image sizes are important to me.
Still… bottom line. It’s not the gear that matters. It’s the six inches behind the gear, and the print that matters. Proper techniques and gear are important, but as far as I’m personally concerned nothing has changed photographically with digital. All of the magic still happens in the darkroom just like it did in the film days. Now we simply use a computer with digital imagery as our darkroom instead of chemicals and an enlarger. Nobody ever told Ansel Adams or any of the past masters “you dark-roomed that image”… But he’s famous for spending as much as four days in the darkroom on one image. If Ansel were alive today? He’d be all over PhotoShop! Your millage and opinion my vary… and we all have every right to those opinions.
All of your RAW edits in Lightroom are done in a 16 bit ProPhoto type of color space. That is why I maintain that color space when I move to Photoshop. I can’t see the true color, but the color transitions are maintained.
Great advice. Some of these i am guilty of
Same pretty much. I do keyword photos so I can find what I want later. I do have two “hard drives”, one is my Drobo (archive) and one is my “photos only” internal HDD. When I’m “done” with a shoot/folder I move it to the Drobo in Lightroom and that moves the files and keeps them linked in Lightroom. On import, I have a preset naming convention that includes the date and a “custom word” and numbering keeping everything one of a kind naming-wise and giving me some idea where to find things if I ever lost Lightroom searchability. I don’t calibrate my monitor and don’t even Denoise! And also just upres in Photoshop. (just as good as any software I’ve tried)
Sounds like great advice!!
Great article – so easy to lose sight of the forest because of all the trees!
Is this April fools? You expect us to believe you don’t calibrateyour monitor? 😜🤣
I am surprise but blown away by your honesty. I, on the other hand am very organized, as far as knowing where my photos are, and that suits how I work. However, like you, I edit with my eyes and my heart. The photo has to speak to me first, before I spend time on it. I have no precise workflow… again, it’s more of a feeling I’m trying to get out of the photo and I use the tools when I need them.
Thank you for your honesty. It was really refreshing.
Matt, I so appreciated you letting us all know your big secret! The first couple of years I was using LR, I spent way too much time trying to do LR perfectly! What a waste of time and energy! Thank you for the confirmation that it’s okay to spend much less time on organization and perfect workflow models, and much more time on creativity!
I have a new friend who is just getting into photography (landscape, at the moment) and I’ve recommended your LR System course to her. I was wondering if your confession should be made into a “watch-this-first” video for your LR System course? It could save a whole lot of newbies like my friend a whole lot of anxiety!!
Matt’s information has already successfully decreased my anxiety. It will totally change the way I go through the LR course.
I love your courses. Of course, I’d probably them a lot more if I actually found time to go through them after I buy them. I’ve not found a spot in my workflow for them.
The current software and plugin landscape is expansive. Also, many educators to follow!!
It’s taken me a while to start relieving myself of unnecessary garbage so I can get back to shooting, processing and evaluating to proceed on course.
Thanks for your recent videos and courses. (I purchased no light, no problem yesterday and have yet to indulge.)
OMG! Your lead in had me freaking out! I thought you were going to tell me I had to think about all those things. I don’t and I don’t want to. Whew! I’m glad I read on. Yes, I am engaging in some confirmation bias here but who doesn’t like validation? I appreciate your tips on how to ask for feed back, thank you. And, your “shameless self promotion” is fine with me after all the valuable free tidbits you send our way. Thanks for sharing your thinking and experience with all of us.
Your No Bullshit approach works for me. Look at good photos by others, look at your own and try to make them better. Your advice is almost always right on! thanks, Bob
Matt, you are one heck of a salesman! After reading this, now I have to sign up for another of your courses, but that is not a bad thing. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.
I’ve been using Photoshop since 2007. I try to stay organized, but I usually open Bridge, find my favorite few photos in a day’s series and jump right in to work on them. I usually just process in ACR and call it done. But I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from your “No Light, No Problem” course. Now I’m looking through old files to reprocess.
I have a request: Please record your free session on April 11! I have a class to go to that night and I would love to see more of the way you process photos in low or harsh light.
I can guarantee you that any photographers worth following know their sh@t and do not have a pieced together workflow like you. You have shattered my opinion of you. You are no longer worth following, if you are that disorganized. You call yourself an educator. Ha!
Matt, don’t listen to Joe. He obviously doesn’t understand the vulnerabilities of mortality.
Hi Matt – thanks for this latest blog post.
Can you recommend a few online groups I could get involved with to ask questions, critique etc?
I do use stars in Lightroom. I use 1 star for photos I probably want to share online, either with family on SmugMug or publicly on social media (I only share a small subset of my photos), more than 1 star for photos that I might want to print someday (I use my own photos in my notecard stationery and like to be able to look for new ones when I’m running low and need to reorder), and 5 stars for photos I might want to enter in competitions. I suppose I could use labels or tags for that, but this numbering system works for me.
Incidentally Matt, I just sat down to continue where I left off some weeks back, to write my seminar program about Digital Asset Management. And then I receive your post and “bang”. You are spelling out my personal situation. I have not keyworded my LrC images properly. I have not spent time on upgrading my import window presets, or organise presets I have purchased. I hardly use them. I do minimum star rating, I use the colour selections mildly and on and on.
I am still working on a seminar I plan to call “How to organise your digital images, independent of software, operation system, hardware or storage media. Yes, I am going full Monty teach other how to do the things right. But I am quite a teaser. I know that while I am teaching my seminar, I will learn the workflow better and hammer it into my suborn head.
Einar Erlendsson, B.Sc. image science
Adobe Gold++ Certified Reseller in Iceland
I have been following you for some time. It was a Kelby Training DVD called Lightroom 4: Crash course that featured you teaching that taught me the very first things about Lightroom. Some of those techniques I still use today and probably will never change because they work for me. I have to say, I own most of your courses because I feel I agree with your flow and what is important in the edit. I am therefore very similar in my approach to edits and photography. I have learned to do things my way also but your teaching has opened many doors for me and got me started thinking on how to be creative. In the end, it is about having a final product you can use, sell and/or be proud of. Thank Matt!
Great advice!! Thank you for being there and being so up front!! i’m a sky person too and I’m hoping to be able to purchase vol 3 … no light no problem… I think it will do me the most good.
Blessings and thanks
I agree. As I work through processing an image, I rely on what my eyes are telling me. I seldom pay attention to the numbers beside the different sliders. I tweak to satisfy my eye. It works faster, and usually better. Just make sure that you know what the different adjustments do, and don’t overdo any particular aspect. Over brightening or over darkening is often a common flaw. Seems like folks just can’t be moderate when tweaking skies and clouds.
Thanks for your insight.
For the photographer who will only be posting small images to social media, much of what you’re saying makes sense. It’ll be good enough.
But as someone who prints, judges (and is judged) in photo competitions-and wins awards (see the latest results of the Smithsonian Magazine photo contest), thinking about and doing color space settings, file output formats, and monitor calibration are critical for a few – not all – of the images I create.
Too much hard sell, buddy
Curious what monitor you got. I’m spending too much time on specs for a new monitor and not enough time on making photos.
I like all the things I can do in Lightroom, including an organized hard drive (can go back and find photos). Finally got a new computer, so can use both Photoshop and Lightroom together, so will get back to using Ps (it does a shitty job of focus stacking macros, so will be getting Helicon Focus, new camera, new lenses…)
To pick photos that are worth working on; use auto or minimal adjustments and sync. Mark them with stars as can click the box to see only rated photos and refine sort.
Do a lot of forest shots where I try to minimize sky as is often white in Pacific NW.
Adjust to direct attention once contrast, etc. are OK, and sometimes play with mood. Distraction removal woks better in Ps so will get back to using it for more complicated things there, although I tend to ignore brush unless it’s really annoying, is part of our forests.
Have older version of No Light, No Problem.
Your first scenario “My Lightroom catalog is a mess” describes me almost perfectly. Despite trying to be organized I just can’t get the hang of organizing Lightroom.
I read this post, then had to draw a deep, deep breath before letting it out very slowly. I have never read anything about photography that made more sense as a practical method of working or as an artistic philosophy.
I wish I had come across something like this a long time ago.
I am an intermediate digital photographer and I carry a lot of preset, and no doubt. outmoded attitudes from the days of emulsion film.
At one time I had a lot to do with visual artists such as painters, sculptors, etc. Looking back on those days, I do not recall any of them discussing their tools, exact order of creation, or any theory involving procedures and practice. All they did was work to some internal image of what they wanted from the finished product. What’s that quote from some famous stone sculptor?” Just remove the bits that don’t belong and the sculpture is done.”
I have a sister in Toronto who owns a major studio for actors, advertisers, corporate clients etc. She gets outstanding results although she claims never to have read a camera manual or taken a Photoshop course. She is a huge believer in discovering for yourself how to make things better and that does not include most of the dogmatic rules that I see all over the photo groups on the internet.
In writing this, I have also realized that my practice has roughly parallelled yours. Certainly, most of the time I have no idea what I am doing and it causes great anxiety. Your post has reassured me I can happily discard the worry and angst that I am violating some formal procedure of work practices by just trying to make my photos look better according to a strict procedure. Thank you for this. I feel much relieved and energized.
Matt, this sounds like that course that I should do as it will give me more incentive and knowledge to do what I have been hoping to accomplish for some time.
Started the course the night I got it and am enjoying. The vision of what you see is remarkable.
Thanks for the insight Matt. Being the technical person I am, it’s too easy to to fail focusing on the aesthetic side, which is the whole point of the post processing. I just purchased your “No Light, No Problem” course and look forward to watching it.
Matt, I have Lightroom 5 would this still be a good course?
Great comments Matt. While I agree with what you are saying, I do spend some time keywording my photos because, well, that’s how I find them again. I name the folder for a shoot with the date and location but I keyword the photos with the place and species or whatever I think I might search for to find the photo again. I’ll put a four or five star rating on only the very best photos so I can also search for the star rating. I don’t use collections but I have a rather large nested keyword collection that helps me add keyword information automatically. For example, if I shot all day at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, with the nested system, I can put that in and the county, state and country will be automatically added.Sometimes I will do this in big batches but recently I’ve only been doing it for the photos I choose to edit that I think are good enough to, say, feature on our web site or post online.
This is the best article I’ve read in years – telling the truth. I’ve often argued that getting mired in technical stuff simply stifles my creativity – if I need a tool or technique, I’ll find it (love Google).
I follow you because you are always honest (I think /hope).
Do I need to buy the no light no problem if i already have your courses? I am confused
Can I use Lightroom System in on1 2022
Hi Fred. My Lightroom System is a course on Lightroom that will not apply to ON1. Thanks!
Still having problems organnizinng my photos.
Folders are a mess.
Many duplicates from starting over.
Good God…someone finally admitted it. Thank you Matt for speaking the truth. I will be following you much closer from now on.