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Culling and Presets

Lesson 28 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

28. Culling and Presets

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

This lesson focuses on culling images during post-production and using presets in Lightroom. The instructor explains their culling system, which involves marking everything as rejected and then pressing a single button to keep the desired images. They also discuss the use of presets, specifically the SR lounge preset system, which includes different styles for color and black and white images. The instructor demonstrates how to fine-tune presets and suggests being vocal about desired features in Lightroom to encourage development.


  • How do you cull images in Lightroom?
  • What is the instructor's approach to culling images?
  • What is the purpose of using presets in Lightroom?
  • What are the different preset styles included in the SR lounge preset system?
  • Can you adjust the effects of a preset globally without going through each individual slider?
  • How can you control the opacity of brush effects in Lightroom?
  • Is it possible to request new features in Lightroom?


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Culling and Presets

I have just one quick question, when you're culling through images do you use stars, like the rating numbers, or do you use flags? And then also, you mentioned presets, what presets are you using? Thanks. Trevor's asking questions for everybody else's benefit and that's why we're smiling when he asked the question. But it's a really great question. They were touching my shoulder asking me to ask this. So what we generally do is we do a system of culling in. And so when we pull this in, and we're gonna show you our culling system, we actually use Photo Mechanic for culling for the majority of our shoots. We're gonna get into that tomorrow and I'll show you the differences. There's major speed differences in culling there and then taking just the images you want to work on into Lightroom. What we generally do is hit control A when we get into Lightroom, or command A, and then press X. This marks everything as a reject. And then we simply would go in the loop view and we would just ...

press one single button. Like, as I get to an image that I like, and usually I like to have my film strip loaded up just so I can see what's coming next. So I'll kind of just look and say yeah, I like that. Okay, this is too similar to the last one so I'm gonna just leave that one. And I'm just gonna go through and just basically press P. Anytime I see something that I wanna keep, I'm gonna press P, okay? Now the whole purpose to this is that we want to keep our culling system as simple as possible. With stars, I know people have like complex culling systems. You'll use one star means like oh this is, I suck, that's not going anywhere. And then two stars is like, I semi-suck, and that's like kind of just gonna stay in my library. And three is like, that's average, maybe I'll post-produce and deliver that. And four is like, oh that's awesome, I'm gonna post-produce that. And this is five, that's gonna be save for my portfolio later on. But then that's like five decisions that you've gotta make on every single photograph that you see. And that just tremendously bogs down the amount of time that it takes to go through a set of images. So we keep it simple, everything is rejected until we press P to choose and keep it. Otherwise it stays rejected. At the end of our entire process, we will take all the rejects, reset all of the adjustments made to them, and export them as jpegs. We save anything that was delivered as RAW. Once the images are delivered and the clients are satisfied and when it's been about three to six months, we deliver the RAW rejects and just keep the jpegs. So that way if anything hits the fan, and someone's like, a year later, I gotta have this photograph of grandma, I know you guys got a better one but I really just want that one that was her sitting there, you know, did you guys get it? And we're like yeah, but it's not that great of a shot. They're like, I don't care, I'd love to have it. We still have the jpeg there that we can go back and pull. So the only annoying thing, the only reason why I didn't do that now, is because from the grid view it darkens out all of the images when you do that. So we'll just select everything and just flag them as unpicked by pressing control A or command A and then press U. And then control D or command D or escape just to jump out of that. Yes, I love questions, especially during post-production. The other one that I was waiting for the answer for was the presets that you use. Yeah. well these are the SR lounge preset system. So what it is is it's basically the presets that we use in the studio. But these are, if you notice they're the Lin and Jirsa signature presets, so we've grouped these. So we have LJP color, LJP black and white, LJP color film, and LJP black and white film. What this is is we don't allow our team to mix and match. Meaning if they're delivering, like if a client comes in we call it signature color or classic film. So when a client's picking their mood board, we identify like okay, so there's kind of like two popular styles right now. There's our signature color which is what we'd generally do. And something that's really popular right now is classic film. We developed a classic film style because tons of our clients kept asking about it. And they were like, we want that look. And we go well okay, I guess we've gotta develop that look. So we have it available. So they go one of two routes. If they go signature, they stay in the color so they can go like with these, you know, soft color, black crush, like these kind of presets that will give a modern, poppy look to an image. Or go with the black and white variations for those same effects. But they may not dip down into the color film. So that way it keeps the developing process cohesive. So these come with the preset system in addition to our entire foundational developing framework. So, which is kind of cool. I'll show you guys real quick just one brief example. And this is gonna fit for some of you. Like for some of you, you want fine-tuning control over your presets, that's great. For some of you, you just want a single click, that's great too. The single click stuff is the mixology, where these are one click finish presets. But let's say you wanna try out a different curve on an image just to see what it looks like before you go and apply it or try and do things. We've built in this developing framework that works top down. So for example, if I go into stylization, I can choose a different curve, so watch this. Rather than adjusting five points, I could choose a bright wash, a bright matte, a neutral wash, neutral punch. The neutral punch is a standard S curve, okay? Neutral matte, a dark wash, this is that dark, filmic vibe. Look at how it's shifting the tone curve over here, okay? I can test out several different effects and build a preset from the ground up. So we call it a preset system because it's a system for developing your own presets. So it gives you a lot of flexibility and control to be able to develop and create your own presets. And at the same time, to kinda learn Lightroom better, because of the way that it works top down. So the foundation, this stuff, is gonna tweak kind of everything you build from the foundation and tweak as you work your way down. Every new preset adjusts from there. I don't want this whole thing to get just about that, so I just wanted to briefly show that. But in the color schemes, you'll notice that we have our split tone in here. So if we wanna add split toning to our images to kind of create those cool yellow, violet tones, orange, blue tones. You know, those kind of cool effects. We have those built in and it's nice because rather than just typing in and adjusting four settings on this side, it takes like 15 to 20 seconds just to do that, as opposed to testing something real quick, seeing if I like it, and then just going back to a different curve and whatnot. So that's what we create that for. By the way, I kind of like the yellow violet on this, it looks nice, lovely. I like that orange too, I feel like it looks really good. Yeah, yeah, thanks buddy. Okay, where were we? I do have just a quick question on presets. This is from LJ Bowers, when you apply a preset can you lesser the effects globally without going through on each individual slider of that preset? We've been asking Adobe to do that for a long time. We work with Adobe a bit, or at least we tell them what we'd like and then they ignore us. I'm just kidding, we do work with them a lot and they take a lot of, like a lot of the new local adjustments and things that they've done, we were like, we'd love to have brushes to paint things in, they added those things. So what I would say number one is everybody be vocal about what you want inside of Lightroom. It really helps when everybody's talking about what they need and stuff like that. That's one of our requests for a long time, that's not yet available. With the brushes however, it kind of is. 'Cause you saw that we can hold down alt or option and drag the pin left and right. And the cool thing about that is like let's say, let's go to one of these close-up images like this one, right? And let's just make sure this is really sharp. It's somewhat sharp, I'll just pick one of 'em. It's totally fine. Okay, good enough. Okay, so grab this guy and I have a preset in here for, so we have like our retouching presets, all these things are, this is included inside of that preset system is all the retouching stuff too. So under skin softener, when creating the presets we test out the settings at how they work over the image. And we actually dial in these settings over here on the right side to be incrementally adjusted. So meaning, if you apply this over an area to soften the skin, let's just, we'll apply it over her entire face and then subtract it off like her eyes. So hold down alt or option, pull it off the eyes. I'm gonna do this in a very messy fashion, okay? So I press O, you can see where it's applied and where it's removed, yeah. Alright, when you alt and click this, or alt or option click it and you pull the left, everything is adjusted, you're adjusting incrementally. So you want it stronger, you go to the right side and it'll make it stronger incrementally. You want it less powerful, you go to the left. So this is our way of controlling brush opacity, well, the amount of an effect that's being applied. 'Cause we do have like amount and density and stuff below. I don't wanna confuse those two things together. But as far as the presets, we don't yet have that control. I would love for that, that would be a fantastic thing. But I think one of the biggest issues and one of the reasons why it's really hard for Adobe to roll out these features is 'cause you'll notice the layout is already so complicated as it is. And this is actually the most intuitive raw processing application that really there is right now. As you make these kind of adjustments, it's like how do we exactly incorporate this stuff? Are you gonna alt and click on a preset and then pull to the right and the left? And so a lot of it is more of how-to type things. But if enough people scream that they want something, we'll get it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work