Attention, Lightroom lovers! Today we have a great post by one of our friends, Matt Kloskowski, full-time Education Director for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He’s the Editor of Lightroom Magazine, author of several best-selling Photoshop books and teaches Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world. So we’re flattered that he hand-picked a few favorite ways for Lightroom-armed Smuggers like you to get their photos finished faster. After all, we’d rather be outdoors shooting in the sunshine than stuck at our desks. Wouldn’t you?
If you’re a pro photographer thinking about joining the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and continuing your photo education, they’re offering a free 24-hour trial membership now. Try it out!
Hey everyone, Matt Kloskowski here with some tips on speeding up your Lightroom workflow. We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money.” Well, if you’re shooting weddings or events, you need to get through your photos and get them organized as fast as possible. Then you can get on to the good stuff of editing and getting out there to shoot more photos. So to help out, I’ve compiled 5 of my favorite tips to kickstart your workflow and keep you moving through Lightroom as quickly as possible.
Tip #1. Use Flags Instead of Stars
A big part of speeding up your workflow is identifying your favorite photos in some way. That way you can do something with them. Well, if you look under the photo menu you’ll see Lightroom has 3 ways of picking out your favorites. First there’s Set Flag. next, there’s Set Rating and finally there’s Set Color Label.
Here’s my thoughts. Ratings and Color Labels are really difficult to work with. Most people are familiar with the 1-5 star rating system but the main drawback is that it has too many choices. 5 stars is a keeper right? 4 stars probably means the photo is pretty good. 3 means it’s decent. 2 would be bad. and 1 star would be a reject that you throw away. Well what happens as you go through your photos and you come across something that isn’t a throw away or isn’t an absolute favorite keeper? You sit there and debate with yourself whether it’s a 2,3 or 4 star photo. Either way, it’s not your favorite so you’ll probably never do anything with it. But yet, you’re giving it too much time in the rating process. And inevitably, when something takes too long, we stop doing it.
So try this. Instead of using ratings, use the flagging system. This way, you get two choices:
- Flagged means you like it.
- Reject means you don’t and you want to delete it.
Go through your photos quickly and hit “P” to flag or “X” to reject. If you don’t flag it or reject it, then it stays unflagged which is that gray area that you’re just not sure about. But you don’t have to press a key to be indecisive – Lightroom just assumes you’re indecisive about the photo by leaving it unflagged. So your job becomes really easy! Flag it if you like it and think there’s a remote chance you’ll do something with it again one day. Reject it if you don’t. Then hit the right arrow key and move on.
Tip #2. Delete the Bad Stuff (and an easy way to do it)
Another way to speed things up is to keep your library as clean as possible and get rid of the bad stuff. If you followed the previous step and are using the Flag system, you should have some rejects that were marked with an X. A really simple way to delete them is to go up to the Photo menu and choose “Delete Rejected Photos.” Lightroom will delete all the rejects all at once so you don’t have to go back and get rid of them later.
Tip: When you try to delete a photo Lightroom will ask you if you want to delete it from the hard drive or just from the Lightroom library. Personally, I want me rejects gone forever so I delete them from the hard drive rather than just removing them from Lightroom.
Tip #3. Use Collections
Using Collections in Lightroom is more important than ever and probably one of the fastest and best ways for you to speed up your workflow. Photos that go into a collection are the photos that should be one click away and the photos that you’ll want to see most often.
To put it simply, think of a Collection as a photo album. Let’s say you have 2000 images from a wedding. You want to quickly show them to the bride/groom or family. Do you go through and show them all 2000 photos? No way. Instead, you’d create an album. Well that’s what a collection is. It’s a way for you to get to your favorite photos in just one click no matter where you are in Lightroom because the Collections panel is everywhere.
Typically, I’ll look at my photos in the Folders panel and go through them one by one. I’ll hit the letter P (for Pick) to flag photos as a favorite when I come across them. Then I can quickly sort to just see my picks by clicking the little flagged icon in the Filter strip just above the filmstrip:
Once I’ve figured out what my favorites are I select them all (Edit > Select All), go to the Collections panel and create a new Collection with a descriptive name (usually the last name of the bride/groom). Now, no matter what I do in the Folders panel and no matter what folder I’m looking at, I have a one-click way to get to my favorite photos from that event.
Tip #4. Use Collection Sets
Collections have an extra level of organization called Collection Sets that are key for events like weddings. Think of a Collection Set as a group of nested folders. If you put your picks from a wedding/event into a Collection, you’d have all the best photos from all parts of the wedding in one place (the Collection you created). The problem is that this Collection could be huge, so this is where Collection Sets come in.
You’d create a Collection Set (example: the top level folder with the bride/groom name) and then create Collections within the set for each part of the wedding (example: formals, church, reception, etc…). Here’s what a Collection Set could look like in Lightroom:
Tip #5. Use Smart Collections for the Long View
Collections are also smart: They can organize themselves automatically as you import photos into Lightroom. One example of this could be a Smart Collection to help organize your portfolio photos. These are photos that help get you new business as you update your website, so you’ll want to keep them close, easy to get to, and – most importantly – easily updated.
For example, anytime you edit a show-worthy image, put the word “portfolio” in the image title or give it a certain color flag or label. Because Lightroom’s Smart Collections are “smart”, you can set up a rule to detect that this photo meets certain criteria and have it placed directly into a “Portfolio” collection for you.
The best part about it is that once you set up your Smart Collection, Lightroom automatically does the rest.
Bonus Smug Tip: Get Them Uploaded Safely
Once your photos are all cleaned up and ready to go, you’re just a few clicks away from uploading them safely into your SmugMug website. The publish plugin is free, gets your photos seamlessly into SmugMug, and also lets you sync, make galleries and keep your online presence as clean and organized as your Lightroom library. You can also see and adjust your customer’s Event Favorites, republish, and even proof your orders all right within the SmugMug Publish module. Get it now!
What Lightroom tricks have shaved seconds off of your photo editing workflow? We’d love to know!
If you’re new to SmugMug, you may wonder exactly what, how much and how often you can upload to your galleries. And we agree — it’s a good idea to get an idea of what your limits are… particularly when there isn’t one.
The quick version: Upload JPG, PNG, or GIF files up to 50 MB and 100 megapixels apiece, videos up to 3 GB and 20 minutes apiece. Add up to 5,000 photos into each gallery and create as many galleries as you want.
Uploading at SmugMug
You’ve got tons of options for getting your photos from your computer and into your galleries. Our two favorite methods right now are:
1) Our default, browser-based HTML5 uploader. It’s lightweight, accessible from any computer/browser, and lets you drag and drop files from your desktop into the upload box. Voila!
2) Lightroom’s free SmugMug plugin. So many photographers from all walks of life love Lightroom for its ease of use and powerful editing capabilities. Download the free SmugMug plugin if you haven’t already got it, and start making your life that much simpler. Best of all, you’re publishing direct from your digital negatives, which means no extra JPG files to suck up space on your hard drive.
We’ve got lots of other options if those don’t bake your potatoes. From SmuggLr to Star Explorer, our community has created as many methods as possible to upload photos from wherever they are, just the way you like it. Check out your options here on our Apps page, or click the green “Choose a different uploader” from the bottom of the web uploader box.
How Big Can Galleries Go?
You can create as many galleries as you wish on your SmugMug site, and each one can be tweaked to have different SEO, privacy and print settings as you’re aware. You can give them a total makeover by choosing one of four different Viewing Styles, too.
Your galleries stretch with your screen and adjust to fit the largest images the gallery settings allow. They’ll also auto-adjust so that you see fewer gallery pages on big screens and more pages on smaller ones. We’ve capped photo count to 5,000 per gallery because basic tools like sorting and keywording become impossibly difficult when you have that many photos in one place.
The Many File Flavors at Smug
When it comes to photos, we accept JPG, PNG and GIF files up to 50 MB apiece. Which file you use depends on what you’re going to be doing:
JPGs are the format you’ll use the most. The only file type our print labs will print from, and they’re ubiquitous, so it’s easy-peasy for your fans and clients to view them if you’re offering digital downloads.
PNG files are recommended for images that contain transparent areas, like the site branding files that Power, Portfolio and Business users will use. We’re talking header logo images and watermark image files, to start.
GIF files are commonly used for animations. We don’t hear much about them these days, but who doesn’t love watching a good cinemagraph? We’re always thrilled to see what great ones you’re making.
If your tipple is video, you’ve got a lot more options. There’s tons of codecs out there and we support a good number of them. Check out the list here, which may not include everything but does come with bonus conversion info.
Just be sure that your videos are under 20 minutes long and 3 GB apiece.
Vault It! For Everything Else
SmugVault, our archival service provided by Amazon, is for the kitchen sink. PDFs, TIFFs, RAW, CR2, DOC whatever you’ve got and want to keep safe, keep it there. You can upload any file up to a max of 3 GB, and you can view and retrieve them from the familiar SmugMug gallery interface. When possible, we’ll even create a JPG preview so you know exactly which file you’re looking at.
Tip: Because all video files are processed slightly on upload to SmugMug, you can choose to Vault your originals. This way, you always have a copy in case your hard drive goes boom.
We hope that everyone has a better idea of what’s possible with their accounts. So go ahead, grab your bag and get out there shooting. We’ll see you on the upload!
- Our drag-and-drop uploader
- Upload direct from Lightroom
- Uploaders, downloaders, migration tools and more
- How to set your own print, privacy and presentation settings in galleries
- Spruce up your site with gallery viewing styles
- Arranging photos in your SmugMug galleries
- Set up your keywords and get found
- What files types can I upload to SmugMug?
- All about SmugVault
- Video on SmugMug: What, why how?
As you get ready for wedding season, we want to send a friendly reminder to any of you out there who may still be scared of one of our favorite Business features: Events.
Don’t be intimidated, because Events are just what the doctor ordered to keep your friends, fans and family sane. If you’ve never used this feature — or its little brother, Sharegroups, available to Basic, Power and Portfolio members — here are just a few reasons why you should dive in and give it a whirl.
1. Your friends will thank you.
Instead of sending a huge catalog of links to your wedding guests, send just one. Both Events and Sharegroups are “islands” that contain as many galleries as you wish, so there’s no need for guests to get off track. Mentally, it’s an easier and more friendly approach… especially since you get to pick the URL.
In short, you share just one link and your visitors don’t have to poke around your vacation pics looking for the bride.
2. You can exercise your OCD tendencies.
Events come bundled with lots of cool features, like a place to display a slideshow of favorites and details about the shoot, the ability to add in as many galleries as you wish and arrange them, email templates for sharing and lots more. Everything stays neat and tidy, and you can use all the options or just a few. Best of all, each client (we call them “Participants”) gets their own special view of the Event, and a unique gallery to hold their Favorites. So whether it’s the bride, her mom or a favorite aunt, their selections don’t get mixed up.
Sharegroups are the simplified version of the above: Bundle all the galleries you want under one Sharegroup and share the link. Like Events, you can enter a description and sort the included galleries in whatever order you wish. You’re still able to tweak ’til it squeaks.
3. You stay in control.
You’re the star; everyone’s waiting with bated breath to see your photos. When you’re ready, release all their galleries with one click, and (if you have a Business account) keep track of everyone who takes a look. The secret? Events’ registration feature. Just toggle the Registration setting to “Required” and anyone viewing your Event will be asked for their email address.
Both Events and Sharegroups can be locked down with viewing passwords, so images don’t fall into the wrong hands.
The 2-Minute Guide to Making Your First Event (or Sharegroup)
1. Make it.
To create an Event, open up your Account Settings and look under “Business.” Click on the “Making Money” tab and you can manage your Events on the right:
For Sharegroups, look under your Accounts Settings‘ “Discovery” tab and find Sharegroups under the “Sharing” tab:
2. Give the details.
Once you’ve opened the manager, click the “New” button at the top right and fill in your details.
3. Add the good stuff.
You can add galleries and Participants right away to Events. Don’t forget to click “Save” once you do!
For Sharegroups, you’ll have to save your new Sharegroup first, then go back to add the galleries to it.
If you want all the details about how these features work, check out our help pages for all the info. We’ve got a few other articles in our resource center for Pros on the endless benefits of Events, too.
Great news for Squarespace users!
Today, our friends over at Squarespace are announcing an even easier way to bridge both of your websites: by importing your SmugMug photos.
That’s right. Instead of uploading twice, simply browse and import your best images from SmugMug into your Squarespace galleries. They’ll slurp them over and automatically create multiple sizes so that your photos look great across any device.
You can create as many SmugMug galleries on your Squarespace site as you want, and there’s a max of 50 photos per gallery. You can keep each gallery as a standalone page or in gallery blocks within other pages or blog posts.
Best of all, all of your photos’ metadata and SmugMug links will stay intact, and people can click through from your Squarespace galleries to your SmugMug lightbox (and shopping cart!)
If you haven’t already heard, Squarespace is a beautiful and easy way to build your own portfolio website. They offer a full array of templates to start with, and you can tweak them to fit your name and needs… whether you’re a photographer, jeweler or any other business who wants a stunning web presence.
How to Import Your SmugMug Photos
1) Look in the “settings” section of your website manager (the gear icon), click on “Connected Accounts,” click “+Add Account” and choose the SmugMug icon.
2) You’ll be asked to provide your SmugMug login. Once the SmugMug logo appears under your Connected Accounts, click Import Albums, choose an album, and select which photos you’d like to bring in. A new Squarespace gallery will appear in your content manager.
3) From here, you can edit or reorder your photos and move the gallery into your navbar. Or use the gallery as the source content for a gallery block on any page or your blog.
20% Discount for Smuggers Trying Out Squarespace
To celebrate our friendship, they’re offering a 20% off deal for new Squarespace accounts. Just sign up and give them a try before March 13th, 2013, and enter the code SMUGMUG.
No matter what you shoot, we’re pretty sure that all photographers need a little privacy every now and then. So whether you’re looking for a safe photo-home for an exclusive (reclusive) client or just for your mom, look no further than SmugMug. We’ve got a number of safeguards that can be mixed and matched to create the perfect bouquet of privacy.
Your Options, in a Nutshell
1) Unlisted Galleries. Often called “private” galleries by some, these galleries aren’t visible on your website to anyone but logged-in you. The only way fans can see one is if you give them a direct link.
2) Gallery Passwords. Provide a password and nobody can open it until they enter it right. You won’t be asked for it when you’re logged in to your account, because we know it’s you. Unsure? Look for the teeny yellow lock icon next to the gallery’s name.
3) Hello World! and Hello Smuggers! These toggles ensure that your stuff does or does not show up in web searches. ”World” = Google, Bing, etc. ”Smuggers” = SmugMug search. Set this site-wide from your Account Settings, or on a gallery-by-gallery basis via Gallery Settings.
Then, Take It Further With…
4) Hide Photo. Like unlisted galleries, but for individual photos. You can check the box under any image or video in your gallery to hide it, and only you, the gallery owner, will ever know it’s there.
5) Hide Owner. This gallery setting makes your URL generic. It doesn’t mean that your gallery isn’t visible, but it does remove your customizations and your nickname from the link so that viewers can’t trace it back to you. If you want, you can add a gallery password and/or make your gallery unlisted, too, when you use this feature.
6) Sharegroups. Share multiple unlisted galleries with one link using Sharegroups! These are amazingly useful for guiding friends, clients and family to specific galleries from your latest shoot, without having to worry about them being seen by the public eye. And better yet, they won’t get lost. You can put passwords on the galleries in your Sharegroups, if you wish, but you can also set a master password to let your viewers unlock them all at once.
7) Events. These are Sharegroups on steroids, available only on Business-level SmugMug accounts. You create Events with additional flashy features (slideshows, user registration, etc) and add galleries, give special people (e.g. clients) their own unique viewing link, and the ability to tag their favorite photos. Together, it makes browsing and buying photos a breeze.
8) Site-Wide Passwords. Not for the faint of heart! Lock your whole site from the top down. Anybody visiting links to your galleries will have to enter the correct password before they can see a thing. Even your homepage.
The Privacy Ripple Effect
- Lockdown doesn’t mean your images can’t be shared. Anyone who can view the gallery can still click Share or post a link to Facebook. Please think about whether or not you want your friends’ friends passing your links (and potentially viewing passwords) around. Feeling queasy? You can hide the Share button from your viewers by toggling Easy Sharing to “No” in your Gallery Settings.
- Keywords and searchability take a hit. This is a no-brainer to some, but we still sometimes get asked by photographers why their fans can’t find hidden photos via their site’s search box. In short: Only you as the logged-in site owner can search for (and find) images in unlisted and passworded galleries.
- Photos can’t be collected from unlisted and passworded galleries, unless it’s by you. As the logged-in owner you’ll always be able to collect your own photos, but guests won’t see the orange Collect button if the gallery is protected in any way. If the photo is collected from an unlisted gallery then your visitors won’t see a link back to the original. Photos collected from public, passworded galleries will be visible, but fans will need to enter the viewing password when they follow the link to see more.
- Feature a photo to make your locked gallery’s thumbnail pretty. We won’t display any part of the gallery when your gallery is protected with a password, and this includes thumbnails of the images within. But you can always swap the generic thumbnail for any image in that gallery — just use the gallery Tools button > This Photo > Feature.
- Unlisted and Passworded galleries
- Hello World! and Hello Smuggers!
- Everything about your Account Settings
- All about Gallery Settings
- How to hide individual photos
- Sharing multiple unlisted galleries: Sharegroups!
- Events, Favorites and how they work for Pros
- Site-wide passwords, and making your whole website private
- Keywords and searchability on SmugMug
- Collecting Photos, or putting photos in multiple galleries at once
- How to choose the thumbnail for your gallery
Hectic holiday? It doesn’t have to be if you plan on uploading your photos (and videos) to your SmugMug galleries! You’ve already got your hands tied with hot chocolate, ribbons and last-minute gift planning, so here’s a few tips that will help make the picture sharing part of it refreshingly easy.
1) Show Off: Badges and Slideshows
This handy feature lets you build your own mini slideshow or photo mosaic to any size you wish, and gives you easy copy-and-paste code to embed it. You don’t have to know any nerd magic to get this going, and it automatically refreshes with new photos when you add more stuff to your gallery.
You’ll find this little feature a godsend for blogs, forums and websites. Anywhere that allows you to embed Flash objects. Here’s how to do it.
2) Guest Uploading for Party People
With all those folks at your house snapping away, you need a hub where guests can pool their photos and relive the glory of your massive decorating skills. SmugMug to the rescue!
Create a new gallery for your event and then open up the gallery settings. Set any word you wish into the “Upload key” box, like this:
The next time you fire up the uploader in that gallery, you’ll see a secret link at the bottom that you can copy and share. Your friends can visit that link and we’ll automagically pop up an uploader so they can easily drag and drop in their photos from the night.
Just remember that anyone who gets ahold of the link can upload to that gallery, so be aware when you share. More about guest uploads.
3) Make and Sell Photo Cards
We’ve been talking a lot about our holiday cards this year, but they’re so beautiful we just have to tell you again. And there is truly no better, easier way to take the best photos you’ve taken (or the best photos someone’s taken of you) and pair them up with custom, heartfelt season’s greetings.
Our catalog is bursting with new designs for everyone, whether your style is vintage, contemporary, minimalist or traditional. Or all of the above. Just look for the Buy button > Create a Card option in your favorite gallery and start building your 4×8 or 5×7 masterpiece!
Read all about cards, including how to price and sell them.
4) Custom Categories for Easy Navigation
Did you know that when our pre-loaded list of Categories (and sub-categories) don’t work for you, you can create your own? And that you can edit the URL that shows in the browser bar when you’re viewing your categories?
We make it breathtakingly easy to efficiently organize your site, share the URL verbally, and even get better Google juice. It’s like Christmas came early!
Take a closer look and bone up on the basics of Categories, then take it a step further and learn how to use Categories to your best advantage. This year, you’ll have your “I will be more tidy” New Year’s resolutions totally beat.
5) Picmonkey: Funky Photo Editing
Picmonkey may be our (unintentionally) best-kept secret. But if you haven’t already tried this smart, sassy tool to edit your SmugMug photos, run – don’t walk – to your nearest Tools button and find it now.
It’s built right into every SmugMug gallery and you can do everything from basic exposure correction and redeye fix to adding graphics, words, textures, frames and filters. And more. Tons, tons more.
It’s totally free to use — even their premium features, since they’re still the new kid on the block.
Check it out now and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your photos.
6) Camera Awesome for iPhone and iPad
If you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to leave the DSLR in your office. You can shoot up to 9 fps with our free camera app, meaning you never miss a moment. And apply gorgeous effects and filters to make them shine.
Best of all, your shots won’t stay locked on your phone where no one will see them. Share direct to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and back them up safely to your SmugMug account so you can visit them year after year. Download it free right now.
Bonus! Business features for Pros
Since there’s a lot of pros out there, here are three additional features we snuck in to remind you Business SmugMuggers that there’s a lot more to your website than just photos.
A) Coupons - A no-brainer for getting your customers a little extra nudge this holiday season! With a Business account, you can choose from 5 different types and create as many coupons as you wish.. which means you can tailor your discount codes to every client. Be sure to set an expiry date so they don’t sit on a good deal forever.
B) Events and Favorites - Intimidated? Don’t be. Events let you corral galleries into groups, so your customers can easily view only the photos that matter to them most. Best of all, they can tag and save their Favorite photos to a special gallery only they can see. All which makes browsing and buying a breeze.
C) Order Branding -This feature actually consists of three separate (and awesome) tools: Cart Branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints. All of them ensure that you and your brand stay connected to your customers until the prints are sitting in their hands. And you can easily switch up your Order Branding designs from season to season, so you look super organized… even if you’re not.
GIVEAWAY! What’s Your Lifesaver?
In the spirit of giving, we’re digging through Smuggy’s workshop and rounding up some of our best swag items.
To enter this giveaway, simply comment below and tell us which SmugMug feature you find helps most during your holiday rush.
We’ll pick a random winner and announce it in this space on Friday, December 7th, 2012.
From all of us at SmugMug, we wish you a picture-perfect holiday! And we can’t wait to hear what you can’t live without.
**UPDATE** The Magic SmugMug 8-ball chose Melissa Ponder as our winner. Congrats Melissa and we’ll be contacting you directly. Thanks to everyone and have a great weekend!
- How to properly show off your photos
- Let your friends upload photos to your gallery
- How to make scandalously good holiday cards
- SmugMug’s full catalog of custom photo cards
- How to master Categories and Subcategories
- Free photo editing with Picmonkey
- Free your photos with Camera Awesome
- Make and use custom discount coupons
- Events and Favorites: The easiest path to more sales
- Cart branding, Stickers and Thank You Prints
We’ve heard that making custom photo albums is a scary deal. Finding a quality company with good designs, managing the clients’ approval and then exporting your album to print makes most photographers hide under the couch. It’s complicated, clunky and just plain no fun.
Ridiculously Simple Custom Photo Albums
KISS has come up with their own integrated solution with their SWAT system. Their automated design process is easy, slurping photos right from your SmugMug galleries. It auto-posts gorgeous slideshows to your Facebook page, your SmugMug gallery, or you can email it or embed it into any website. This way your clients can see and approve the design via the built-in comment system.
Here’s an example of the slideshow. It’s like flipping through the real album, but without the weight:
Once you’ve picked the options and leathers, order the finished album with one click. No exporting or uploading required.
And don’t be shy! Try one of their cheek-rubbingly beautiful albums and start giving your customers what they’ve always wanted: Custom albums delivered fast at a great price.
Create your free account at KISS and get started here.
In case our super-awesome Support Heroes haven’t already tipped you off, we have a growing library of help videos ready to guide you on some of the most important features on your SmugMug site:
They’re pretty self-explanatory, so go check ‘em out! If you’re like us and would rather see how to do something straight away, these vids are just what the doctor ordered.
Best of all, they were lovingly crafted by one of our very own veteran Support Heroes, Seán. You’ve probably shaken his hand at one of our trade shows, because he sure knows his stuff and loves to teach. Thanks, Seán!
What’s on the program?
So far we’ve got videos covering image protection, Pro pricing and – the latest – how to use the Easy Customizer:
But we’re not finished, yet. Our help library continues to grow so don’t be afraid to bookmark that page and keep checking back for more.
Let us know in the comments if there’s a topic you’d like to see. We love to hear what you think!