Unless you are one of those rare breeds of photographers who actually enjoy sitting in front of a monitor for hours editing your photos then no doubt you would rather be outside shooting. For me personally one of the positives that has come out of being in lockdown is being able to catch up with my editing. But it has also confirmed how much I despair at this part of the photography process. If you are like me and prefer to limit your editing time then here are 5 ways to ensure you make your photography process more efficient. Meaning, less time in front of a monitor and more time taking photos.
Take fewer photos
This doesn’t mean that you should photograph less, but rather to be more selective about your shots. When I first began on my photography journey I, like many other beginners felt that the more photos I took the better the chance of a great photo. But the problem with this is that firstly you don’t spend as much time thinking and analyzing your shot before taking it. So you end up with a lot of mediocre shots rather than a few great ones. But also, taking lots of photos means, lots of time spent going through them. Don’t get me wrong sometimes you need to take lots of shots. Like for example if you are photographing events or sport. But in a landscape scene, a few shots will be more than enough.
Get it right first time
A common phrase that I hear from beginners on my photography workshop is “I’ll fix that later in Lightroom”. You should always aim to get as much of the photo correct at the time of actually taking the photo. Not only will this give you the best quality photo but it will also allow you to make tweaks there and then. For example, if your photo needs to be cropped slightly on one side, instead of thinking you can do this in post-production see if you can move slightly or zoom in to crop it. Or when you are taking a shot that requires filters, use them. Don’t be lazy and just think I’ll add a gradient in Lightroom.
Don’t get me wrong there are times when there is no other option and you have to fix something in post-processing. But the more you can get right in the camera means the less time you will have to “fix” things in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Build an efficient workflow
There is no getting around the fact that every photo will still require some level of editing. So it’s important to set up an efficient workflow for yourself that can speed up your editing process. How you edit will come down to your own preferences. But here are some things that could help you make your workflow faster.
- Be ruthless in your editing. Rather than trying to edit every photo, go through your collection a couple of times and only select the strongest shots (and delete the ones that are blurred).
- Use the “sync” or “copy from previous” function in Lightroom. There are some great functions in Lightroom that allow you to bulk edit multiple photos by pasting your edits from other photos. So if you have a set of photos that are all taken at the same location around the same time, the chances are that the required edits will be the same.
- Create presets. You can also create unlimited presets that are based on your own editing preferences and use them to quickly get the look you want. Again this will depend on your type of photography but it’s something that can really help you speed up your editing.
- Use an editing accessory such as a tablet or a controller to give you more control. For example, something like TourBox allows you to build your own set of shortcuts on the controller and it makes adjusting sliders much easier than using a mouse.
Set yourself editing time
One of my biggest challenges is editing fast enough to avoid a backlog of images piling up. At one point I had over 10,000 images to edit through spanning a few years. Thankfully I’m now caught up with these and I have promised myself I’ll avoid it happening again. One way that I found that I was able to get through my editing was by setting myself specific times for this. So over a week I would set myself specific days and dedicate 3 – 4 hours to just edit. Because it wasn’t all day, every day, I found it easier to get through and I was able to still have days away from the computer. So if you struggle to edit through big collections, breaking it down into chunks like this might help.
Get someone else to do it
If money is no object or you are too busy to be able to edit the shots yourself you can always hire someone to do the editing for you. This is something that portrait, wedding and even property photographers often take advantage of. There are plenty of companies out there that offer a variety of editing services at different costs. So if you really don’t want to edit the photos yourself, this is another solution that you could consider.
Editing is an essential part of the photography process but also one that most photographers would happily forego if they could. By using the tips above you will be able to speed up your editing which means you will be able to spend more time taking photos.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.