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I generally take a two step approach when I'm reviewing my images. My primary focus is on identifying my favorite images, the ones that I'd like to optimize and share with others. But along the way, I might also add additional information about the photos. I might delete images that I decide just aren't worth keeping and a variety of other considerations. Let's take a look at that two-step approach that I typically use for reviewing images in Lightroom. The first step, of course, is to select which images we want to review. More often than not, that means navigating to a particular folder location, so that you can select the image collection that you'd like to actually work with.
If you're on a photo trip where you're reviewing images as you go, you could also choose the Previous Import option in the Catalog Section of the left panel in order to review only the images that were most recently imported in the Lightroom. In this case, I'll go ahead and choose the folder of images that I want to review. And then I'll get started in the Grid View. So, I can click the Grid View button on the toolbar or simply press the letter G to get to the Grid Display. When I'm using the Grid View, I'm obviously not seeing a high level of detail for the images.
I'm just seeing the small representation. And so this initial review is for two basic purposes. First and foremost, I'm reviewing the images just to remind myself of what subjects I photographed, what order the images might appear in, just getting an overall sense of the images as I'm going to review them. The second focus is to delete images, that even in the thumbnail display, are clearly so problematic that there's no sense keeping them. There might be an image that's completely out of focus, for example, or an image that was extremely over or underexposed.
When performing this review, I'm obviously focused on the images, and so all of the interface controls in Lightroom really aren't necessary. Therefore, when I'm initially reviewing my images in the Grid View, I'll press the Shift+Tab key in order to hide all of the panels. You might also want to adjust the thumbnail size. You'll find a slider at the far right of the toolbar, underneath the Grid View display. I generally like to work with moderately small thumbnails because, again, I'm not trying to perform a very detailed review of the images.
I'm just getting an overview and perhaps looking for some especially problematic images. So, then I'll simply scroll up to the top of the list of images. And then I'll scroll down through the images, reviewing all of them to get a sense of which subjects I've photographed, when I photographed them, and just getting an overall view of the images. For example, one thing I would note in this particular case is that I photographed some flowers, some tulips, and then a little bit later, I have more flower photos. So, I might keep that in mind when I'm reviewing the initial set of flowers, that I do have more flowers coming up a little bit later. If along the way, I find an image that seems to be especially problematic, I could also get rid of that image.
Let's assume for example, that this image were extremely underexposed. I could select that image and then press Delete on the keyboard in order to delete the image all together. When I press Delete, Lightroom will ask if I simply want to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog or actually delete it from the disk. In this case, of course, the image isn't extremely underexposed. So, I'll simply click the Cancel button. But generally speaking, if I were going to get rid of this image, I would not simply remove it from the Lightroom catalog and leave it on my hard drive.
But rather I would delete the image all together. I'll go ahead and click Cancel though and then I can continue reviewing my images. It looks like overall I don't have any problematic images. And now I have a pretty good sense of which images are included in this particular set of images. So, I'm ready to move on to a more detailed view of the photos. For that more detailed view, I'll first scroll up to the top of the list and select my first image. I can do that by clicking on the Loupe View button on the toolbar below the Grid Display, or by pressing the letter E on the keyboard.
When I'm working in the Loup View, I like to have the film strip available to me. Both, so I can see where I am in the group of images, which images are coming up next, et cetra. And also, just to make it a little bit easier to navigate. For example, I could click on an image to select that photo rather than just navigating with my Arrow keys. But generally, I would start with the first image, and then use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate among the photos. You can press the Right Arrow key to move to the next image, and the Left Arrow key to move to the previous images. At times along the way, you might need to get a closer look at an image. For example, you might want to check to make sure an image is critically sharp. To do so, you can simply click in the image to Zoom in to a one to one display. It may take a moment for the high quality image to update, but then you can pan around the image checking, for example, to make sure the image is sharp or that there's not excessive noise, or other issues that you might be concerned about. To return to the full image, simply click once again on that photo. In this way you can navigate among your images an start to get a sense of which ones you want to work with and which ones you might not be quite as concerned about.
And of course, as you go through this process, you'll likely want to assign attributes to those images, so that you can better locate your favorite images later in your workflow. The key thing, in my mind, is to have a consistent workflow for reviewing your images that will help make sure that you stay as organized as possible, so that, later, you're always able to find your best photos, very easily.
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