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Do you feel overwhelmed just thinking about starting to edit a session? Does the word “cull” make you cringe? Editing might not be most photographers’ favorite part of the job, but today I have some simple tips for you that will speed up your editing time so you can get back to what you really love about being a photographer- taking photographs!
The first way to improve your editing time starts in-camera, improving your photos as you shoot them. Make sure to notice distracting objects in the background, wallets in pockets, stray hairs, and anything that can be fixed or adjusted on the spot. Having the mindset of “I’ll fix it in post” is only going to be a headache for you later, when most things can be easily fixed in the moment!
The best place to begin improving your editing workflow after a session is with a schedule because I think this is one of the easiest ways to hold yourself accountable for getting work done and not letting it sit and consume you for weeks upon end. After a session or wedding, I block off one hour the following day to edit a sneak peek. This is non-negotiable because it is part of my business to get a preview to my clients within 24-48 hours. Then, I put the photos away for a week to give myself time to edit them with fresh eyes. The following week, I block off 9-11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays as my editing time for the week. Any sessions and weddings that have happened will be culled and edited then. This allows me to plan out my week in advance so I can focus on other things to do without worrying about the looming hours of editing. Using this schedule has completely improved my editing workflow!
To begin your editing workflow, you’ll cull your images. Culling can be pretty monotonous, but here’s just one quick tip that I know makes it go quicker. Cull backward. Yup, that’s it. Start from the end of the day or session and cull to the beginning. Why do I do this? Because usually, the best photos happen at the end of a set or scene when you’ve dialed in your settings and gotten comfortable with your surroundings.
If you edit using Lightroom, I highly recommend looking into presets. There are hundreds and hundreds of them so it can feel a little daunting to choose one, but using the same preset or editing technique on each image will create consistency and recognizability in your images, strengthening your brand and your imagery. Try applying a preset to one photo, and then syncing the rest of the photos in the same location (ceremony photos together, reception photos together, portraits together, etc.) with the same edits. That way you only need to click through them to check exposure, white balance, and other minor edits and can speed up your workflow.
Bonus: Here are a few other ways you can improve your Lightroom speed.
- Increase your Lightroom Camera RAW cache.
- Turn on Smart Previews.
- Optimize Your Catalog
- Make sure you have plenty of room on the hard drives you’re working from
There are so many ways you can speed up your photography workflow and get hours back in your week, and editing is just one of these steps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with inbox management, booking, tracking leads or planning your year out, I highly encourage blocking out time for it on your weekly calendar, as I recommended above for editing. Focusing completely on one task is not only better for your brain, but will allow you to achieve what you set out to do more quickly! Speaking of workflows, check out my Wedding Day Organization Workflow here!