How to get started with Lightroom?

veagle

Well-known member
I have been away from these forums for a while. As I approach retirement this spring, I wanted to take a big step in photography, and I have purchased a Nikon D500 and Nikon 200-500 lens. Lots to learn.

At the same time, I thought I’d better get Lightroom, as I have up until now used Apple Photos to store all my photography. I got Lightroom CC, and it is a little overwhelming. Wondering if anyone out there has some advice for how to get started. I am doing some research about naming conventions, and how to organize my files, and it looks like Lightroom has some decent videos, but I was wondering if there is any advice as to an approach to take so as not to try to do too much too quickly. All good problems to have, and appreciate any help offered. Thanks.

Veagle
Rapid City, SD
 

Neil G.

Well-known member
Hi Veagle....i can't help you with lightroom but i just wanted to say good luck with your new camera and lens.I have a d7200 and the 200-500 lens and its a cracking combination capable of stunning results.Your combo will be a winner too.Have a great new year.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
I'm no longer a Lightroom enthusiast given that Adobe has recently switched to an expensive web subscription-only model. But if you don't mind that, it's a good choice.

I think probably the best way to get started with it is to work you way through an instructional book. Scott Kelby's books are entertaining and accessible; though I find his reliance on memorizing keyboard shortcuts a bit annoying.
 
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kitefarrago

Well-known member
I agree with Jim on all counts. Lightroom is a very nice program covering almost all my needs, but given that the latest version is exclusively available via subscription I am looking for an alternative.

I think for a program like this it is very important to develop a workflow that serves one’s needs, and I agree that a book is the best place to start. The two most popular authors appear to be Martin Evening and Scott Kelby, and over the years I have used books by both. Kelby is more humorous, but I found his style annnoyingly flippant, and so
I prefer Evening; I also found the structure of his book more logical. Content-wise though they are both very good, and I think it is a question of personal preference which one prefers.

Andrea
 

seaspirit

Well-known member
I use since digital day one the following filing and file naming system:

Toplevel is the folder P://photos on a drive (I use an extra HD (internal or external named P:)

Followed by folders by year (e.g. 2017)=> P://photos/2017

Then every shooting gets own folder named yyyy-mm-dd (e.g. 2017/11/22) and a general keyword (e.g. eaglewatch) => //photos/2017/2017-11-22 eaglewatch

Files of that shoot are bulk renamed to yyyy-mm-dd keyword number
e.g. 2017-11-22 eaglewatch 1287.nef
=> //photos/2017/2017-11-22 eaglewatch/2017-11-22 eaglewatch 1287.nef

Another shooting session on the same day maybe named
P://photos/2017/2017-11-22 goosehunt/ ......

Info to the files are stored in the Lightroom catalog/database as searchable keywords (e.g. Bald Eagle, Eaglewatch 2017, Location, Feeding, Mating......)

If keyword cataloging is done when new images are added finding images later in LR is easy.

Some folks use a system based on subject related folders, but no need for that when using LR (or other management software) built in database and keywords.

As far as learning the use of LR is concerned there are tons of instructional videos on youtube and dedicated websites dealing with all the different aspects from importing images to processing images and beyond.
 
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veagle

Well-known member
Very much appreciate all the detailed responses. Any thoughts on bringing in all my Apple Photos (around 10,000, going back to 2000)? I like the idea of having all my files in one place, have a 4 TB external drive ordered. Up to this point my photos are from point and shoots, phone cameras, and bridge cameras, so all JPEGS. Now I will be shooting RAW. My initial thoughts are to focus on the organizational structure of my files, then once I am confident I know my way around LR a bit, bring in older photos.
 

kitefarrago

Well-known member
I think there is no way around importing all photos - that’s how Lightroom gets to know about them. Provided that you use the keyword tags in Lightroom you don’t need to worry too much about file organization since it will find photos based on searches. You can change the folder structure in Lightroom later if you like.

If I were you I would import photos one or two past projects at a time, ensuring that during import I attached keywords that allowed me to find photos attached to a particular event (for example, location, occasion, timing). I would also plan some kind of rough hierarchical file structure to make it easier to navigate to a group of related photos, and a hierarchical keyword structure to keep those organised.

Andrea
 

veagle

Well-known member
For those of you using Lightroom, I would love to know how you organize your collections. I am beginning to understand Collection sets, etc., and have been thinking about creating a collection set for ABA Birds, then collections for each species I shoot. That seems like a lot of overhead, but could be helpful years from now. I am curious how those of you who have been doing this for a while are organizing your collections within Lightroom. Thanks.

Dick
Rapid City, SD
 

cj.holder

Well-known member
Dick,

have a look at Youtube - https://youtu.be/Q7YlHDgKC28
Although he discusses Landscape photography the principles are sound.
Generally if you search for Lightroom and wildlife photography on Youtube, there are lots of very useful resources and tutorials available there.
Best wishes,
Chris
 

kitefarrago

Well-known member
I think of collections as something that allows me to collect photos that I want to keep together. Much of my photography is centred around trips, and typical collections I create are the best photos from a trip (possibly more than one collection depending on the purpose - show to friends and family, put on the web, put on a mobile device), or maybe a calendar I've put together to be printed, or maybe my best butterfly photos.

I wouldn't create a collection for something that I could find using a keyword search, maybe combined with a * rating. (I try to use * ratings to evaluate my photos as objectively as I can manage, but that might mean that some photos that I would want to be in a `best of trip' selection have only one *, for example if they're the only shots I managed of a particular species.)

So if I wanted to find all my photos for a particular species I'd just have to do a keyword search for that species. The way I've organized my keywords I could also find, say, all the hummingbirds I've photographed, but currently nothing more detailed. I would certainly strongly recommend thinking about how you are going to structure your keywords in a way that would allow you to easily find many of the groups of photos you might want to find. Tagging photos with keywords can be a bit boring, but I do think it does pay for itself down the line. (It also highlights any pictures where you don't have a firm id.)

For my keywords I use a fairly simple hierarchical structure (Location, various subject-based top-level labels eg `Birds', and possible additional pieces of information I might want to look for later, eg male/female/immature, or behaviour tags, photographic effects (eg `panned')) which allows me to find photos based on their keywords.

Andrea
 

mike_gss

VERY new birder
I've recently (3-4 months ago?) bought Lightroom 6 which is still available as a standalone, non-subscription-based package (Amazon) for just less than £100. OK, I won't get any functional upgrades as Lightroom CC develops but I'm sure it will do for me as it is for quite a few years to come.
 

kitefarrago

Well-known member
I do have Lightroom 6 as well. However, if I should buy a new camera then I won't be able to use Lightroom for raw shots with that camera (since Adobe never adds this sort of new ability to old versions of the software). In the past it was possible to download a new stand-alone version of their Camera raw software and convert to their format, but it's cumbersome and I suspect they won't do that in the future.

So I'll be pushed to use something else at some point, and that's why I'm starting to look at alternatives. If my current set-up works for me for a few more years that's fine, but who knows...

Andrea
 
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