Revising my Lightroom Workflow

While attending the Adventure Sports Photography Workshop back in September, I realized that I would need to improve my Lightroom workflow if I was serious of moving my photography from a hobby into a second-career business. I learned much from Dan and Janine Patitucci on how they manage their photography business in this age of social media and ever-growing competition from non-traditional sources.


The first area I needed to work on was keywording.  While my photographs all had basic keywords, being successful in today’s world of stock photography requires a well-executed strategy for keywording.

I did some searching on the Internet and found the Lightroom Keyword Project List.  I downloaded the list and then exported my own keyword list. Working in my favourite text editor (PSPad), I combined the two and re-imported this combined list into Lightroom.  The design of the keyword structure simply requires me to move from the top to the bottom of list, keywording as I go.  My average number of keywords has jumped up considerably. I’m now at or above my target of 15 keywords per master photograph.


In addition, my overall Lightroom workflow needed work. As a hobbyist, having no differentiation among personal, hobby and potential salable photographs was not a big problem. But looking forward, I knew that I needed to have a way to separate these in Lightroom.  I also needed a better way to manage master photographs within portfolios, especially if the master photographs were processed in other software technologies like OnOne and Nik.

Another Internet search led me to Dan Morris’ Complete Lightroom Workflow post. Dan’s workflow  met almost of my requirements. including keeping all photographs within a single Lightroom catalog. I especially liked Dan’s use of Smart Collections to ensure that master photographs are all properly titled, captioned, geolocated, keyworded and copyrighted. My only significant change to Dan’s system was to assign the Purple color for Hobby Photography.

The Results

I took well over a month to go through my entire Lightroom catalog with the new workflow. Looking at the numbers below, you’ll see why it took so long:

  • Total Photographs: 16222
  • Within Total Photographs: Personal Photographs: 5710, Hobby Photographs: 794, Professional Photographs: 9717
  • Within Professional Photographs: Archive Quality: 3653, Hold Quality: 5839, Master Photograph Quality: 169

The numbers show that I need to take about 100 photographs to get one Master Photograph.

One of the joys of going through my entire portfolio was finding photographs that I passed over at the time.  Now with new tools and a more mature vision for my photography, I was able to bring some of these long-lost photos back to life.  The image above is a good example: it is from 2007 on a road trip we took to New Mexico.  The bright glow of the white sand desert that I saw when I took the photo really did not come out until I used some of the new processing tools (in this case OnOne Perfect Effects 8).

Camera: Nikon D70s
Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G DX
Focal Length: 200 mm
Exposure: 1/80 sec at f/16
ISO Speed Rating: ISO 200

Processed in Adobe Lightroom 6.5 and OnOne Perfect Effects 8

Barry Cott Written by:

Barry is one of the driving forces behind Station Studios. An avid photographer and outdoor enthusiast, when he's not traveling, he calls Port Stanley, Ontario home.