5 Tips For Processing Your Sports Photos Faster in Lightroom

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Using Lightroom to Edit Your Sports Photographs

One thing that anyone who shoots sports knows is that you need your photos edited fast. I am sure that other news related items are similar, but for sports you have a very small window in which to edit and transmit your files. Below I have listed five tips that can help make your editing faster. Most pros use a product called Photo Mechanic to cull their files. There is a process that allows both of those programs to work together. For this post I want to just stay inside of Lightroom. This is the program that most people have. Here are five tips to make you workflow much faster and more organized.

  1. Tag your best photos in camera – This is a step done outside of Lightroom, but it can save you tons of time in the editing process. Most cameras have some way of tagging a photos. You can set a button on the back of your camera to do this. The tagging may come in the way of stars or just locking a photo. When shooting most sports there is a break in between plays or innings where you can do this. I have already talked about how I do it in a past post here. Tagging your keepers in camera is vital. One quick note. Tag your photos during the downtime of your event. Don’t miss an important play just to tag a photo.
  2. Set up an import preset – For most of my sports photos I just tweak a few sliders in Lightroom. I shoot in RAW so every photo must have something done to it. It is worth shooting in RAW for the extra data, but it can mean more work. I have a basic sports import preset that performs these simple tweaks for me. The photos can be adjusted if need be, but most of the time they are good to go from here. This tip can save you lots of time in the editing process.
  3. Sort the importing photos by stars – This is where adding the star rating to your photos is very important. As your card is dumping onto your computer you can select to just see the photos that you have rated at the bottom. Now instead of your entire take showing up you just see your keepers.
  4. Use the Library Module to cull down the keepers – Now that I have a faster computer this isn’t as much of a problem, but when you are browsing your photos in the library module you are using the jpeg that is built into every RAW file. When you browse in the develop module you are looking at the full RAW file which takes more time to load. When editing in a time when speed matters you need to save all of the time that you can. This is one way to pick out the selects much faster.
  5. When you find a photo that you like while browsing flag the file in some way. I use the pick flag by hitting the P button on the keyboard. You can also set a color label. I like the flag just because it is what I have used since day one. There is no wrong way to do it here.

At this point you have your selects picked, and you can go into the develop module and just look at these files by clicking on the flag button or by sorting just the color you selected. You can then tweak the files that you have selected. These five tips can shave minutes off of your editing time which is vital. Do you have any tips to make your workflow faster? If you do leave them in the comments below.


3 Replies to “5 Tips For Processing Your Sports Photos Faster in Lightroom”

    1. I only really shoot in RAW. I don’t want to constantly be worried about the correct exposure on a cloudy day. I want to be worried about the action in front of me. I do change my settings, but it is not the priority. RAW helps me save images that would have been ruined when the light suddenly changes. It also lets me show the dynamic range that our eyes can see, but the camera cannot.

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