Initial Review Workflow

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Today’s Question: I have a follow up to a recent question. Do you import into a separate catalog for non-culled images first and then import only keepers into your primary catalog? I know several photographers recommend taking this two-step approach as a way of keeping track of images not yet culled.

Tim’s Quick Answer: No, I do not use a separate catalog for my initial import. Instead, I now assign a red color label to all images I import to my master catalog. I use that red color label to identify images that have not yet been reviewed, and then I remove the red color label once I have reviewed a batch of photos.

More Detail: In general I try to keep my workflow as streamlined as possible. As part of that effort, I prefer to get my photos imported into my Lightroom catalog as quickly as possible, creating a backup copy of my photos as part of that process.

To be sure, it is important to me that I review all of my photos, so that I am able to identify my favorites and perhaps delete any outtakes. In my mind, using a separate catalog for that culling process would create more complexity. It also creates a situation where I feel there is always a risk that some photos will never make it into my “permanent” catalog.

Therefore, I prefer to import images into my Lightroom catalog as a first step after capture. As part of that import I assign a red color label to the photos, so I always know which images have not yet been reviewed. As soon as I review a batch of photos, I remove the red color label, so I’ll know those photos have been reviewed.

As part of the review process, of course, I may delete some outtakes. More importantly I will identify my favorite photos with a star rating, so it is easy to determine which photos I want to work with and potentially share. Again, the key is that I try to keep my workflow as streamlined as possible.