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Outdoor Landscape Workflow & Organization

Lesson 27 from: Landscape Photography: Start to Finish

Matt Kloskowski

Outdoor Landscape Workflow & Organization

Lesson 27 from: Landscape Photography: Start to Finish

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

27. Outdoor Landscape Workflow & Organization


Class Trailer

Course Introduction


5 Things Every Landscape Photographer Should Know


Camera Gear


Gear Q & A


On Location: Weather & Safety


On Location Pre-Visualzation Sutro Baths


On Location: Camera Settings


On Location: Composition


Matt Klowskowski - My Story


On Location: Bracketing


On Location: Artistic Choices


On Location: Pre-Visualzation Marshall's Beach


On Location: Long Exposure


On Location: iPhone


On Location: Wrap Location


Location Challenges: How to Shoot in Open Sun with No Clouds


Location Challenges: How to shoot Cloudy, Stormy, & Blah Weather


Location Challenges: How to shoot Beaches


Location Challenges: How to shoot Waterfalls


Location Challenges: How to shoot Panorama Vista Scenes


Location Challenges: How to shoot Lakes


Location Challenges: How to shoot Mountains


Location Challenges: How to shoot Deserts


Location Challenges: How to shoot City Skylines


Location Challenges: How to shoot Snow


Location Challenges: How to shoot Backlit Situations


Outdoor Landscape Workflow & Organization


Basic Editing in Lightroom: Part 1


Basic Editing in Lightroom: Part 2


Lightroom and Photoshop: Intermediate Techniques Pt. 1


Lightroom and Photoshop: Intermediate Techniques Pt. 2


HDR for Landscape Photography


Panoramas for Landscape Photography


How to shoot Landscape with Adobe Photoshop in Mind


Sky Replacement in Photoshop


Processing Project: Stormy Mountains


Processing Project: Crashing Waves on the Rocks


Processing Student Raw Images


Final Q&A


Lesson Info

Outdoor Landscape Workflow & Organization

Alright so let's do this. We're back from a shoot, okay? What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go into Lightroom and I'm gonna start from scratch. I'm gonna pretend we have a blank catalog called DeleteMe. You know why I named it DeleteMe, right? So I remember to delete it. 'Cause if I name is something else then I forget. Alright so DeleteMe is open, so I'm basically thinking alright I'm starting fresh. I haven't imported these photos. I already did import them on my other Lightroom catalog which is why I'm starting fresh here. So you can't see it, but I put the card in to the computer already. So what are my steps? Step number one is I wanna backup. I'm gonna give you guys two things that I do. Number one would have have an external hard drive. So I would plug this in, man that's a long cord. I would plug this in and first thing I would do is go in here, so there's my photo shoot, k? And here is my other stuff. So let's call this San Francisco. So I go in here, San Francisco. Go in there. I...

am not gonna copy all the photos. What's the date today? There we go. I'm not gonna copy all the photos because it'll take a while to copy them all. So you guys get the idea. I create a folder called San Francisco, take a bunch of photos, drop 'em over. So at this point, gonna copy them over onto my drive. I'm assuming that's where I wanna put them, okay? I carry a laptop almost all the time so I don't put the stuff on my computer, I use external hard drives. If you use your computer, make a folder on your computer called San Francisco, drop the files onto there. Alright? Now in the field one of the things that I do, like when I went to Iceland and really, this has become my favorite way to back up my photos. I used to bring these drives with me and do all this stuff, so I actually just bring another SD card. It works out great. Number one, it's that big. So what I do is I just continually, I take a card reader and I plug my card reader in and I put my good card in there, okay? Then I take my other one, I plug it into my computer one, if not you just get another card reader, whatever it happens to be, but I put another blank card in and I just copy them over onto that blank card. And now I have a backup in the field of all my photos. Then what I do is I take that card, and I put it somewhere different than my laptop and my camera gear and all that stuff. So just in case the worst happens and somebody breaks into the car and steals everything, I try to put that card in a place that's safe. But every night when I get back from shooting, if I'm taking a longer trip, just plug that card and just keep copying files over to it. So I get a big enough card that I know will last. Like 128 gig is gonna last me for a trip. I mean these cards are 128 gigabytes. And they're cheap, they're like 40 bucks. So it's not like you're spending a lot of money on buying a duplicate of it. But that's my backup strategy for traveling. So I just do it onto another SD card. So works out pretty good for me. But when I come back, I got that backup SD card, now I've taken my photos and I've put them on the drive where they will reside, k? From here, so now they're on my San Francisco drive, or my drive in the San Francisco folder. Before I ever get into Lightroom or do anything else, from here the only other thing would be another backup. 'Cause eventually I'm gonna format these cards and all that stuff, so I'm not gonna have backups on my cards so I want some other backup, so what do you do? Pretty much whenever you buy one of these, if you really wanna make sure you back up all your stuff, you gotta buy two, make sense? So I would just plug that in and copy this folder over. That way my SD cards are free to delete and format when I'm done. So now I am backed up. My photos are in the place where I'm gonna keep them on my hard drive. So I'm backed up, I'm ready to go. So what I wanna do now is I'll start my work inside of Lightroom. So I go File>Import and then over here on the left hand side you'll see there's my hard drive from my computer, right? But also there is my Sony drive. So I'll just click on my San Francisco folder. So there's all the photos from the trip, okay? The reason why I do it this way is Lightroom will let you actually plug your card in and copy and do the whole thing. The reason why I do it this way is by putting them on my drive in my own folder, when I go into Lightroom, the import process becomes super simple because all I have to do is click add. If you look up at the top here, see what it says? Add photos to the catalog without moving them. So forget cataloging, forget even that word, catalog. It's such a horrible name to put up there. But it should say add photos to Lightroom without moving them. So what this did is I'm in control. When you do this copy method, what happens is it opens up this whole destination section over here and that, if I've seen, I've taught Lightroom for a long time. If I've seen anything trip people up in Lightroom, it's this process. 'Cause this destination process, it gets weird, it gets funky, and it almost makes people think Lightroom does something different than it does. But what you should know is Lightroom is never ever ever taking ownership of my photos. My photos always live on here. All you're doing when you bring them into Lightroom, and it's easier to do under add so I don't open up that whole destination section 'cause you get weird named folders and all this stuff. When I bring them into Lightroom, no matter which way I bring them in, all I'm doing is I'm saying Lightroom be aware of these. Be aware of these, they're stored here. That's all I'm doing. That's all Lightroom does. The technical term is it's a referenced system. Okay it's referencing my photos on that drive, but it never owns them, okay? Super important concept to get behind us because a lot of people think Lightroom's doing something that it's not. What I see people think Lightroom's doing is kinda like iPhoto. So if you have ever used iPhoto on a Mac, you open up iPhoto, you send your photos into it and you don't know where they go. It's like this black box, your photos just went into it, and when you wanna get a photo out of it you just go File>Export and you save a JPEG from it or whatever, but you don't know where your originals are. You really can't get to your, there's advanced settings and all that stuff, but you really can't get to your originals in iPhoto. That's not Lightroom, okay? That's called a managed system. iPhoto's managing your photos for you. Benefit of that is it'll backup, it'll do a lot of different things, but Lightroom is referenced. So if I can get anything behind us, it's just to get that it never ever ever takes ownership of these. They're always on my drive, okay? And reason why I did it the way that I do it, is because now I'm in charge. I put my photos right where I want them. I click add, and when I choose import down here, I'm not gonna choose it just yet, they go into Lightroom, it becomes aware of them, but where are my photos? They're still here. I told them to go there, I'm in charge of it. Photographers are kind of picky about where we put our photos. We don't want other programs moving them around on us so just understand Lightroom's not moving them. We're gonna revisit that topic once we get them in. But when we look over here, so file handling. Couple just best practices for you are build previews I usually choose standard, alright? Standard builds you a basically a large, almost full screen preview of your photo, okay? Takes a little bit longer to do on the import, but you'll see when we get into Lightroom, we can actually start arrowing through our photos pretty fast. If you choose minimal or embedded or anything like that, what happens is, is it doesn't bring in a big enough preview and so when I start hitting my right arrow key, I start to wait. I have to wait for it to spin for a second and it'll build a preview for me. So I would choose standard. One to one is when we zoom in, when we're in standard it's gonna take a second. Then it builds the one to one so I don't build them right off the bat, I just let it do it when I wanna look closer at a photo. So I choose the standard option. Smart previews, we only have to worry about smart previews if we think, if we're working off of an external drive, and if we think we're gonna wanna travel and not take our drives with us, but still do stuff to our photos. That make sense? So that's the only time we need to worry about smart previews 'cause it'll build the preview smart enough that I can detach this drive, still work on the photos, when I reattach it, everything is all good and synced up. Let's see here. So of course we don't wanna import duplicates. We don't have to worry about collections or anything. Make a second copy to, that's grayed out, we don't need it because if you followed what I did before, you would have already made your second copy, k? You're in charge of that. The reason why I don't care that I'm not using it in Lightroom, is I don't really care for the way that it does it. 'Cause it doesn't make it the same way that we store it so what's gonna happen is is you'll have different folder systems if you let Lightroom do it than you probably organize your photos, okay? So I don't let Lightroom do it. I just basically clone this drive, right? Whatever's on here, I got another one, clone it. Alright, develop settings. These are like little Lightroom presets. Like if I want that, a black and white effect all of them, I could. It won't let you pick and choose, it'll add it to all of them so I don't do anything there. Meta data, pretty simple. If you come in here, just click new. And all meta data is, is mostly for our purposes is gonna be your copyright information. Copyright 2016, Matt Kloskowski,, I can put my address, my city, my state, my email, all that stuff in there. And then I can hit create. So I'll call this Creative Live and I'll hit create and it makes a little template there for me. From now on, I don't ever need to do it again. Until 2017 comes, I should edit that one and change the copyright date. But I can just leave that there. And what it'll do is it'll tag my photos with the copyright and with all that information, every single photo that brings it in. So whenever I save a JPEG from Lightroom I put it on the web, I send it to somebody, whatever I do, all that information will get tagged into it and so my copyright will always follow along with my photos. Very, very useful. Big company gets ahold of the photo, wants to use it in their annual report and they get ahold of the file and okay, I can see this is Matt's photo, we got a million dollar check to cut to him, we're good. 'Cause that happens all the time, right? But at least you're covered as much as you can be. So we got our copyright information there and then keywords, these are little tags, San Francisco. Put whatever tags you want in there. There's water in all the photos so I'll go water too, but that's about it, okay? So remember I chose add, so on the left hand side, I chose the folder that I want, which is San Francisco, at the top I choose add. Now all I'm doing is saying Lightroom be aware of these. Be aware of these, but you'll see it even says it right below it, without moving them. So I'm basically saying Lightroom, hands off, don't move 'em anywhere. Just be aware of 'em. So I'll hit import. I'll show you really quick 'cause it'll take a couple seconds to do the standard previews. So if I start hitting the right arrow key, see how it says loading? And then eventually, it's gonna stop where, yeah see I'm hitting the right arrow key and sometimes it doesn't go. So that's what it is. It's just taking a second to build the standard previews. And you'll see the little thing up there. But for the ones that are built, so the first few are probably built, I can arrow through them pretty quick. You'll see when it catches up when you start seeing loading. There you go. So if you just walk away and wait five or 10 minutes, then it'll take care of doing that for you. And then the one to one, remember I said if you zoom in, so here's what'll happen. See it says loading again? And then it'll build the one to one. So that's what we told it not to do, we just do it when we want to. Okay so let's recap. We got our photos on our drive. San Francisco folder. Inside Lightroom, I go over here on the left hand side, where are my photos? Right now they're under the folders panel, okay? There's the San Francisco folder. Interesting thing about Lightroom, remember how I said it never owns your photos, it's just aware of them? Lightroom's not a browser, okay? Lightroom it's a library, think of a library, you'll never see anything into a library until it's checked in. So we need to check our stuff into Lightroom which is this import process that we're doing here, right? So remember I had other folders in that drive, right? There were other folders on the same level. Notice we don't see them here? That's a testament to it's not a browser. If it were a browser, when I went to here and I looked there, I'd see those other folders. But I don't see them here in Lightroom. Lightroom is not a browser, it's not showing us everything, it's just showing us the stuff we told it to be aware of. Okay? Important distinction again. If you use the program, I use ON1 Browse a lot 'cause it's a super fast browser. So ON1 Browse, look at over here. It's gonna show you your folder structure on your computer just like your finder window on a Mac shows you your folder structure, Bridge shows you your folder structure. Lightroom is not that. It's not a browser, it's a library. And it's only gonna show you the stuff you told it to be aware of. Alright so we got this folder over here. Couple more organizational things we can do just to help ourselves out. Let's real briefly talk about the structure, what's going on here. So see that folder? Just to further demonstrate that what's going on here is I'm gonna go to the San Francisco folder and I'm gonna rename it to San Francisco 2, okay? See what happened over here in Lightroom? So it's got a little question mark next to it. Anybody know what that is? It's the question mark of death. So that's the official term, by the way. Look in the Adobe Help Manual, it actually says question mark, no. So it is the question mark of death. What it means is, Lightroom is basically saying okay dude, so I am aware of these photos, you made me aware of them, but then you went and you moved them. You moved them, you changed the name of something, you did something outside of Lightroom, so I am still aware of them. I'll still show you the thumbnails, but I can't let you do anything to them. So if I try to go to the develop module, I'm gonna get a little error message here. Or not. That's interesting. Did I build smart previews? (audience members speak off mic) Huh. That's new. Maybe I built smart previews. Okay. Well it normally wouldn't let you go to the develop module and do anything to it, but it is. I musta built smart previews. Anyway, okay. So but what it's doing is it's telling you okay so I don't know where this folder is, you did something. And again, here's another popular-- (audience member speaks off mic) What's that? (audience members speak off mic) Yeah. Okay yeah see it says photo's missing. So I don't know why. But so what it's doing is, this is another popular way that we can get tripped up a little bit with Lightroom, is we think okay I can go do something outside of Lightroom to this folder, I can move stuff around and it'll be okay and it's not. Remember Lightroom is a reference system, so it's referencing that folder where you told it it was. So by renaming it or you wake up one day and anybody's desktop just ever get a mess? And so you wake up one day and you start moving stuff around and all this and get organized, and then you go into Lightroom and what happens? There's question marks everywhere. 'Cause when you're trying to work fast you forget to organize things the right way. So Lightroom is simply referencing it where we told it it was, and we now screwed up that reference 'cause we renamed it. So there's a couple things we can do. Inside of Lightroom, you could right click and you could choose find missing folder. And so then just go to wherever it is. Click on it. Hit choose. And you'll see it links back up. No more question mark of death. It renamed it yes, but it actually didn't rename it, it just referenced the folder it was in. The folder that was in was named San Francisco 2. Further testament to Lightroom does not own your photos. It's simply looking at the folder on your computer. So let's say I do this a different way. What would be the best way to do this? Go over here in Lightroom, right click and choose rename. Take that away, hit save, if I go look at the folder what am I gonna see? Am I gonna see the two or not? Nope, renamed it. So again, I know I'm saying it a lot. Lightroom doesn't own your photos, it's just looking at the hard drive. Looking at wherever you told it that those photos were gonna be. But there's nothing I can do in Lightroom to permanently damage a photo. 'Cause it's just referencing. It doesn't own anything, okay? Cool so let's talk about basic organization. So here's my levels of organizing the photos. Alright what I wanna do is I wanna narrow this down so I have an easy way to find my favorites. This is really what I wanna get to. So if you go up here to the photo menu, you'll see that we can do flags, ratings and color labels. So flag is basically flagged or rejected. Everything is unflagged, 'cause it's the way it starts. Ratings, one through five stars, or color labels. So here's what I recommend, at least for our landscape stuff and that is I do the flags. I either like it or I hate it or if it's somewhere in between and I'm not quite sure yet I just leave it unflagged, okay? But really all I wanna do is know do I really like it or do I hate it and want it gone? And if you think about it, the star rating system you probably heard me say before if you've watched any of my videos 'cause I always kind of tell the same story. The star rating system got out of control for me because five stars was really good, one star was really bad, but you're going through, you're like this, you're like. Let's see here. Oh maybe that's a three? Alright I'll give it a three. Go to the next one like is that a two? Is that a three? Maybe a two. Okay I'll give it a two. And you're sitting there deciding on something you're never ever gonna use. 'Cause when are you ever gonna wake up and say let me show my crappy photos to people, right? It's like you're deciding how bad it sucks. Is it a two or a three? And you're trying to decide that level of suckness to it. So it's just too many levels. All I care about is do I like it or do I hate it? And so that's why when I come back here, so if you look under the menu, there's the flags there, P for flag, X for rejected. If you can't remember P for flag, remember P for pick. Or if that doesn't work, P for pflagged. Alright so we're going through our photos, if I like it P. It's tough these are bracketed, so P. P. X. P. X. P. P. X. Get the idea? P and X. So here's what that's done for me. This is why this is cool is because now, and we've all been guilty of this one. Alright I've been guilty of this one today. Is if we don't do what I just did, we open up our grid view and what do you do? You're scrolling up and you're like where's that photo? I know it's in here somewhere. You're doing the scrolling shuffle thing. And you're scrolling down and down and down and down, oh there it is. Find it, go edit, do something to it. Come back two days later what do you have to do if you haven't marked it in some way? You're back in your grid view, oh man it's in here somewhere, you're scrolling down and down and there it is. And then you gotta go find it again. By doing what we just did, you'll see there's a little filter bar down at the bottom. By doing that when I click on the pick filter, now I only see my picks. So I've given myself a real fast way to get to my favorite photos. Really it's essentially what I've done, alright. I don't have to go do that scrolly shuffle thing trying to find the favorite photo. I've given myself a fast way to do it. I'll take it one level further for you. 'Cause this is good. This'll get us past most of our organizational issues. If you wanna take it one level further, it would be to create what's called a collection. So a collection is Lightroom's interpretation of an album. Alright we go out, back in the film days, go out, get our photos developed, get all the envelopes of film, whatever, our envelopes of pictures and everything like that and then you take your favorite ones out and you put them into an album. That's what a collection is. It's a quick way, so now when you wanna see those favorites you just grab the album out and you show people. So that's what a collection is. So what I would do is select all. And go to my collections panel, create a collection, call it San Francisco. Little checkbox here, include selected photos. Hit create. And now I've got a collection over here of just my favorite photos from my San Francisco trip. The cool part about this is this folders panel is gonna grow. So is my collections panel. So what'll happen a week from now? Let's say I've got 10 in there and I'm working on Chicago, I was in Chicago the other week. I'm working on my Chicago. Well I wanna go back to my San Francisco photos. So what do I have to do? So I'm in another folder, so I gotta go over here, I'm in the develop module working on Chicago. And I wanna work on San Francisco. So I have to go back to the library, click on San Francisco, click on filter for my pick flags, then I can go back to the develop module and start working. Where the collections come in, is now I can be in the develop module and look at what I have down here. I'm in the develop module right now, see what I have over here? My San Francisco collection. See what I don't have over here? Folders panel. So you can actually start almost staying in the develop module and just clicking on the folders you want, and then you don't even have to go to the pick flag anymore because you know as soon as I click on that collection, I got my favorite photos. So you're kinda almost working from the collections panel mostly and not bouncing back and forth between library and turning your pick flag on and going back to develop and back and forth. And this collections panel follows you throughout Lightroom. It's in maps, it's in books, it's in slideshow, it's in print. In all of the different modules there, you're always gonna see your collections. So it's kinda your hint that that's the way that you're gonna organize best inside of Lightroom. And those collections are what sync up back to Lightroom on the phone or your tablet too. So they let you keep photos back and forth, so that helps out a lot too. But it's just a little time saver. But that guys is really, that's kinda the organizational process is get your photos to their home. I suggest doing it manually because that way they can't get lost. If you let another app do it then it can kinda accidentally maybe move them to a folder if you didn't look at all the settings the right way. So you do it. Get your photos to their home. Make a copy, okay? From there, import them in. Do your pick flags. Do your run through your photos. Make a collection, you're ready to roll. Are you gonna do it every time? I get it, probably not. But it's one of those things, you sit down on the rainy day, like okay I'm gonna get a little bit organized today and kinda run through these things. I'd love to say I do it on every single shoot. What I do is I do a little bit more of it each time I run through the shoot. It's like last night I quickly went through and I hit P for a couple of them. Probably tonight I'll go back, I'll hit P for a couple more and I'll keep adding to it. But at least I know every time I'm going through there, I'm doing work that helps me because later on I'll find all those photos. Okay? Jim do we have any questions? We sure do, Matt, just a couple. Folks were asking about DNG, could you reiterate just what that stands for and what that all means? DNG stands for digital negative. It's basically a non-proprietary raw format. It's open, it's out there for everybody. So what it means is, is that every time a new camera comes out, Lightroom needs to go get files from that new camera, decode it, issue an update to Lightroom so it can read those files. Alright, that's because every camera manufacturer has a propriety raw format. DNG is different. DNG, Adobe says hey, we'll always make a DNG reader, so if you convert to DNG, we can't guarantee every ABC app that you might use for your photos will read your raw files, but we'll guarantee we'll always read DNG. It's a non-proprietary raw format. So you can convert to DNG and everybody can read it. I like where it's going. I don't really do it. But I'd love if all the camera manufacturers got together and saved our files in DNG. So there weren't NEFs and CR2s and ARWs and all that stuff. That's when I get behind DNG. But right now, not really.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Matt's Photography Gear

Ratings and Reviews

Christian Ruvolo

Mat Kloskowski class is really amazing, full of very useful tipps and inspiration. Wonderful pictures by him help to understand the explanations an I am learning A LOT from him!!! Thank you for the class!!! TOP!!!!


I love Matt's teaching style, humor, honesty, friendliness. I love On1 and all the other demos and critiques he does. He makes me enjoy the craft/art of photography much more and is a great inspiration.

a Creativelive Student

This class was for beginners and I believe Matt did a great job of giving students an great introduction to landscape photography. More on the practical than technical side, but that seems appropriate for an intro class. He comes across as a "real" guy who loves what he does and is eager to share his knowledge. Those new to photography will get a lot of helpful information and tips in this course.

Student Work