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Picking Pictures

Lesson 3 from: The One Hour Essential Lightroom Course

Rafael "RC" Concepcion

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Lesson Info

3. Picking Pictures

Lesson Info

Picking Pictures

When I first started, a long time ago, before doing the Syracuse thing, I was actually a teacher. High school English teacher. Like that. And I gave people tests, multiple-choice tests. Right? And I gave people tips on tests. If you're taking a multiple-choice test, let's say 90 minutes, right, and you tell people, "All right, you've got 30 questions that you need to pass the test." The best test-taking skill that you can have for that, is if you know the answer to the question of a test, you answer it. If you don't know the answer to the question, what do you do? You skip. You skip, right? Why do we skip? We skip because, one, if all I need to do is answer 30 questions, if I get the 30 questions right, who cares about what I do with the other ones, right? Peace out, I'm out. D plus, and I'm outta here. One. Two, when we skip, we can go through the test, and I use this stupid example all the time, bear with me, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. Imagine if I gave you a Harry Potter quiz,...

and I turned around and I said, "The girl that hangs out with Harry Potter, her name is?" a) Rosa b) Hermione c) Ellen d) Michael Right? If you didn't know, you'd be like, "Uh, skip." Usually, 20 questions later, you'll see something like, "Harry and his best friend Hermione are hanging out battling an a) Ox b) Bull c) Minotaur. And you're like, "Oh! It's Hermione!" And you can go back and you can get it, right? That's called test sensitization. What happens is, the answers are usually in other questions. What does that relate to here, and why is it important when you're working inside Lightroom? I can tell you that, teaching thousands of people when we're working with this part, the culling part of the process, getting the best from the worst inside of the pictures, is usually the hardest part of everything that you do. So, what happens is, a lot of the times people do this. They double-click on the first file, and they're like, "Hmm, is this a good picture? I don't know. Hmm." Go to the next one. "Hmm. Now let me go to the first one. A or B. A or B." It's like a bad eye test. And you talk to people about this over time, and what happens is, they're like, "Oh my god, it took me forever to edit this thing." And I was like, "Did it, did it really?" No, you spent a lot of time doing this, "A or B. I don't know, oh, C. A or B." It's a process that sucks. So what I tell people is you have to get used to culling. And I talk to people about this iterative culling method, which is based on the Skip marker, right? So, watch this. Hit Shift + Tab. When you hit Shift + Tab on Lightroom, it gets rid of all of the interface. Hit Shift + Tab again, it brings it back up. Hit Shift + Tab, Shift + Tab. If I hit the letter L, it dims the interface to about 80%. Hit the letter L again, turns the lights off. Now, Shift + Tab, brings it back up. All I want you to work on now is four keyboard shortcuts. X, which marks the picture as rejected. P, marks the picture as picked. And then left arrow and right arrow, if you need to skip. So, what I'll do here is, I know for a fact that when I'm working with these pictures, I know the pictures that suck. The picture that's out of focus. The picture that, y'know, the shutter hit my butt and it took a picture of the floor. The picture of all of the stuff from the last thing that I did. There's a whole bunch of pictures that I know suck. And I know that there's a whole bunch of pictures that I wanna be able to go back to. So, I only wanna spend a half a second looking at a picture. If I know that it sucks, I'm gonna immediately mark it with an X. If I wanna look at it later, I'm gonna hit the letter P. If I have to think about it for more than half a second, I'm gonna skip it. That's it. So, I will spend most of my time, X, P, P, P, skip, skip. Ooh, P, X. And I turn the interface off because I have horrible ADD. Terrible, like, I'm shocked that I'm still here. Like, it's bad. I'll just walk oh, look, camera, I'm outta here. And I can't so, if I turn the interface off, what happens is that it resists the urge to go, "Oh, what happens if I make this brighter and I make this darker? And I make this brighter, and I change this and I do this?" And you hit the right arrow and you're like, "This is the picture that I was supposed to be working on, but I spent 10 minutes on the other one." Problem that everybody has. So much so, I use this thing from a company called Palette Gear. They have these pluggable interfaces, and you can actually, like, disconnect them. And they're like these plug-in buttons. And I can actually grab the whole, I'm gonna show this to you. Just leave the reservation here for a second. But inside here, you can actually customize this, so that I have Select Photo, Pick, Reject. So that I don't have to touch anything else. I can just get away from it and just go, "All right, P, P, X, X." I can go back and forth. "Oh no, P, no, skip." Move to the next one, move to the next one. "Oh, P, skip." Move to the next one, move to the next one. "No X, X." And I go through that entire process because I don't want to touch anything on the keyboard. Because if I do, I will mess things up, guaranteed. Once I'm done, once you're done with this process, I'm going to do a Shift + Tab. Bring everything back up and turn the lights back on. And you're gonna notice that at the very start of the process, you have pictures that have been flagged. You have pictures that have been grayed out, because they're rejected. And then there's pictures that have been unflagged. Now, let's go back to the test thing that I was talking to you guys about. Why is it important? Imagine if you're a photographer that's doing an engagement shoot. Right? And the client asks for 10 pictures, and you shoot 200. Well, inside of the Library module here, notice that I have a tab at the very top called Attribute. I can single-click on this, and I can sort these by individual flags. So show me all of the pictures that are picked. I click on that and notice that, now, I'm looking at a lot less of the amount of pictures. Show me the pictures that are all of the pictures. Show me the pictures that are rejected. Turn that off. Show me the pictures that are picked and rejected. So there are switches that you can use. Now, if I get to picked and notice that all the way at the bottom, it tells you there's 10 out of 19 photos. If the client wanted 10 pictures, and I got 10 pictures, Export, Preset, Develop, do whatever it is. Move to the next job. You've passed the test. If you don't have those, then you wanna go back and start working. That part I think is cool. But, the most important part of all of these pictures is not what is picked, and is not what is rejected. It's what's unflagged. Those are the ones that you skipped through the process. So we Shift + Tab, we double-click, we hit the letter L again to turn the lights off, and I go through a second iteration. The beautiful part about the second iteration is that it brings us back to the Hermione situation. The second iteration will always be faster than the first one, because you have context. By going through all of your pictures, and looking at this one, you can say to yourself, "I know that I have a better picture. Because I already went through the whole thing." So you will always work faster doing it this way. By this point, I can just do P, P, P, and X, and continue to do it until I get to a gray screen. Hit the letter L to turn the lights off. Shift + Tab and you're back to this. Now, it says no photo selected. Hit the letter G to go to the Grid mode. Why are we at no photo selected? Right? If you look, what are we looking for? We're looking for unflagged photos. Of which there are none. That's a good thing. That means, that all of the pictures are either picked or rejected. We've made all of the culling, we've got the culling down. We know exactly what it is that we need. Move on to the next phase, good? So that I think is super important when you're working with this, and then what happens from here is, you need to then start working on organizing all of this stuff to make it make sense for you. Right? So, that's a key part of the process. The import part of the process is a key part of the process. The culling part of the process is a key part of the process. It helps a lot to focus you to do the work that you need to do. Now, I wanna show you a couple of other things while we're working here. On my desktop, I have some images that I'm gonna do, and I have a folder called Folder. I couldn't think of anything else. But, when we start with this entire thing, what we can do here is, we can actually not just import cards, right? Because if you're starting from the very beginning, chances are, what you want to be able to do, is you want to import the stuff that you already have. The folders that you have set up. Like, you're watching this, and you're like, "Oh, that makes totally so much sense, I'm gonna start all over." That means that you already have folders that are sitting on a hard drive, sitting on a removable drive, sitting on a NAS drive. And you need to connect them. To do that, all you really have to do is make sure that you're in the Library module, and you can just drag that folder into this one area. Once you have that there, notice that I have a set of pictures that have already been placed here. And notice that at the very top, you have something that says Add. So, instead of Copying, or Copying as DNG, what you're doing is you're Adding these pictures. It is the literal equivalent of you walking into the house and seeing something there. Seeing a box of pictures sitting in the living room, and you're like, "I need to add this to the Notebook." You're not copying pictures over, you're not moving anything over, all you're doing is adding it to the Notebook. That's it.

Ratings and Reviews


Even though I'm already pretty advanced in Lightroom, I'm glad I took this class anyway. You never know what you don't know.. until you learn it! RC is a fun instructor and super knowledgeable. More importantly, he's a talented teacher who has the ability to explain how certain processes work, and why they work so well. Great class!

Emily Compton

Concise, no-nonsense instructor with a sense of humor. Love it. Thank you RC for helping a LR newbie better understand the software. The one hour length is perfect.

a Creativelive Student

Excellent instructor! Clear and concise with a little humor! I learned so much in one hour! Very impressed!

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