Lightroom: The Keepers

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

Today, all cameras have a motor drive that can take at least 3 photos per second, some as many as 12 frames per second. 64Gb memory cards are becoming common place, that’s 2200 photos per card for a full frame camera (except for .

What are the keepers? Those are the photos that awe the customer. The keepers are the photos you want to keep 10 years down the road. The basic question is: “How do to find the keepers?”

I take out the compact flash card from the camera and insert it in the card reader. Then I copy all the photos from the CF card onto a directory on my local hard drive. Then I import them all in the WIP, Work In Progress, catalog.

I import all the photos. Then I start looking through the photos in the Library module:

  1. If the photo is out of focus at 1:2, I press X to mark the photo as rejected.
  2. If the photo exposure is so far out, I press X to mark the photo as rejected.
  3. If the person has the eyes closed… I press X to mark the photo as rejected.
  4. If the background is too bad… such as a lamp post sticking out from somebody’s head… I press X to mark the photo as rejected.

Setting the auto-advance: Grid view > Photo > Auto-Advance simplifies my life.

Then I delete all of the files marked as rejected with:

Lightroom: Delete all rejected photos

Lightroom: Delete all rejected photos

Second time around after having weeded all the “rejects”. Still in the Library module:

  1. Do I like this photo? Now and/or after some improvements? Press P to “Pick” the photo.
  2. Can this photo be rescued? The customer will want it. Press P to “Pick” the photo.
  3. Delete all the other photos.

Now I’m left with 10% to 25% of the photos that I took. Those are the photos that I will show to the customer.

Now in the Develop module:

  1. Cropping. If the cropping doesn’t work then delete the photo.
  2. Set the Auto Tone. I’m amazed by how good it is. ½ of the times, that’s it. The other ½ of the times, it’s a good starting point.

These are the keepers.

  1. This prevents the Lightroom catalog from being bloated with junk.
  2. This prevents the user, you, from being swamped, overwhelmed by the quantity of photos.
  3. You will become a better photographer..
  4. People will think of you as a much better photographer.

When was the last time you went back to “also run” photos that are 5 years old? I don’t know about you, but me? Never. I can’t even sell them, so why bother unless there’s a sentimental value.