This will be a familiar problem for anyone who’s done much photography (especially event photography), and I can’t promise that I have any brilliant advice, but I’m juuuuuuust starting to feel like I’m getting a handle on it: what to do when you’re drowning in images from a particular event/vacation/photoshoot.
I have photo batches from past events that I’ve barely touched because I was so overwhelmed by the sheer number of images. Since my favorite part is Photoshop, and Photoshop work can take… well… a while, the number of hours it would take to properly edit everything is beyond daunting.
So, scrap that.
Besides photography, I dance, and I drag Andrew along to our shows. While it’s certainly not his favorite type of photography, he often photographs our performances. We’ve reached an arrangement: he shoots, then hands over the RAW files for me to edit (while he goes back to taking pictures of waterfalls and bugs and the aurora borealis). For one recent show, that was 436 pictures, which is actually pretty few compared to other events (there’s one show I’ve yet to tackle where we took 1591 images between us… I still need to go through those).
Here’s the process I came up with:
1) Chunk it: I’m too indecisive to look over aaaaaaaaall the hundreds of images at once and pick out the best ones. But if I broke it up into smaller chunks, it wasn’t so scary. Andrew did this with his Iceland pictures: one day at a time, or if a day was particularly full of activities, one event at a time. The dance show had 12 performances. For each dance, I made a Lightroom collection so I was ONLY looking at those pictures. It was very calming to only see ~30 pictures at a time instead of 400+.
2) Lightroom first!: Since I started working with Photoshop, my time spent in Lightroom has dropped, but I’m starting to really appreciate it as a triage and quick edit tool. I didn’t let myself even open Photoshop until I’d gone through everything in Lightroom, selected the best pictures, and did a quick Lightroom edit to all of them. That way I could get the pictures out to the other performers promptly, then take my time and enjoy the pieces I want to play with.
3) Presets: This was a chance to play with all the neglected Lightroom presets I’ve collected. Presets are a fast way to get 90% (or more) to a cool looking image, and you can tweak them to taste for the finishing touches. Sometimes I used the same preset on a batch of images with similar lighting and mood, and sometimes I played with different looks. Fun and easy. They also gave me some ideas for what I might want to do in Photoshop later.
The fairy picture in this post is one of those quick Lightroom edits with a preset. And now I can pull this one into Photoshop and play, guilt-free. I’ve got a few ideas, so you’ll probably see her again…