Using color labels in Lightroom workflow

colorful flower in guatemalaUsing color categories in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom can help you get rid of cluster in your collection. It is only recently that I started using color labels in my work flow and I find it to help tremendously in my attempt to keep things organized.  If you are like me and shoot a lot of pictures there is not always the time to process them right away. Therefore my catalog can become filled with images and keeping track of what has been done and what needs to be done is difficult. If I need to work on files from the middle of a collection things can get tricky and confusing even though I am using the simplest of file system. 

In Adobe Photoshop Lightroom there are three or more ways of helping you out. In my current work flow the first thing I do after importing the images is finding those pictures I want to throw away and flag them as rejected. You could as well start the other way around and start by rating them with stars. 5 stars to those that you are going to keep and so on ending with one star for those you are going to throw away.  I find it a bit confusing using this method even though it can bee good in those instances where you have not decided yet which to keep and which to throw out.

My reason for using flagging is that some times I do not know if I want to keep the file until I start developing it. Its at this stage that I check finally for any flaws that possibly are un workable. I check highlights and shadows and focus. If any of those can not be worked on I finally throw the image out. Before Key-wording I check one last time for sharpness and if I think I can manage the flaws I go on key-wording and then on to adding Meta data. The reason for doing this first is that they usually are

fresh in my mind and retrieving them at a later time can be difficult. Developing is therefore the last thing I do. All other things I leave to Photoshop.

After throwing out those rejects I used to put the image into a collection I called keywords After keywording they went into a collection called IPTC and be deleted from Keywords and so on. As I export both DNG and Tif I was in need of one more collection, export to tif, and then yet an other for worked on files as I was keeping the CR2 files. For each step there where three steps or more and in the main window I could not see, until after throwing images out, which one needed to to be worked on. Things became cluttered and confusing.

Advance of color labeling This is why I looked into color labeling Color labeling actually simplify the work flow and get rid of the cluster.  I do not create the DNG or the Tif until I have all the metadata and developing information to save with it.I also keep the Cr2 file. I want to have these information built into the DNG in case any thing happens to my database. You never can have to many backups as I discovered recently when my computer drank a glass of juice and died. The Tif's go out to a hard disk so do the DNG's. The original Cr2 files goes on to a DVD and gets sent to a different location.


The labeling process. You have 5 options and you can customize them Red Yellow Green Blue Purple My naming is as follows: Red - Needs keywords Yellow - Needs IPTC data Green - Needs developing Blue - Export DNG Purple - Export tif After that I can delete them from the catalogue.

Now when I have an image selected and am done with any one stage it is simple to change colors.

No more moving the image around and deleting with all the anxiety that follows deleting a file. Simple easy and based on the color and text you see clearly att all stages of the browser window what remains to be done to the file simple as that


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Kristjan Logason is an Icelandic photographer based in Norway at the moment, where he mainly works in fine art and commercial fine art photography.Kristjan owns and runs The art of Icelandic photography.You can contact Krissby phone: +47.916.62749