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Workflow > 1 - Orientation

What's Workflow?

Workflow is doing things in a certain order.

By following a workflow, you'll get better results in less time.

Don't do willy-nilly workflow.

Devise a one-two-three workflow.

The workflow below is a typical one for the beginning user of Lightroom.

Please adapt the workflow to your own personality and needs.

After going through this tutorial, click Workflow > Cheat Sheet, a condensed version of this tutorial.

Start Small

At First

Avoid importing thousands of photographs into Lightroom.


You can import everything, if you wish.

However, do consider importing only those photographs that you want to see and/or edit.

New Photographs

At first, import new photographs from your camera or a card reader.

New photographs are photographs not on your computer already.

We'll import old photographs, photographs already on your computer, later.

Which Organizing Method Have You Been Using?

Click the appropriate answer below.


Non-Adobe programs, such as Picasa

Photos app in Windows or Mac


Date Names

If you've been importing photographs into folders with date names, you'll now import all of your new photographs into a single folder (described below).

After each import, you'll put the photographs in a collection, which is like an album.

Collection Advantage

A photograph can be in more than one collection— while it can only be in one folder.

For example, let's say you're a food photographer.

You visited the Central Restaurante, in Lima, Peru.

The photographs taken at the restaurant can be in multiple collections:

• Central Restaurante

• Peru

• Local ingredients

• Ants

If you were using folders, the photographs could only be in one folder.

Hierarchy of Folders

If you've create a hierarchy of folders, you may want to continue to use them.

For example, let's say you're a birder.

You have seven folders of bird types.

Under these folders, you have a folder for each specie.

You'll probably want to continue using your folders, rather than using collections (albums), in Lightroom.

Non-Adobe Programs

If you've been importing photographs using a non-Adobe program, consider using only Lightroom.

Adobe programs tend to persist, unlike programs from others.

For example:

• Google left users of their Picasa program in a lurch when it was discontinued.

• Users of a program from the manufacturer of their camera are often disappointed when the program is not updated and becomes obsolete.

Photos App

Microsoft and Apple do change their programs dramatically, but they generally offer more support for users transitioning from the old to the new.

They both have programs called Photos.

Windows Photos App

You can block the program from importing your photographs.

You'll let Lightroom do that from now on.

Photos will find your photographs imported by Lightroom.

Photos looks for photographs in Pictures.

However—you won't have two sets of the files—only the ones in the Lightroom Photos folder (described below).

To disable importing by Photos, go to Turn Off Importing.

Mac Photos App

The Mac Photos app imports your photographs automatically into a special folder.

This folder is inaccessible to Lightroom.

Therefore, to use Lightroom, you'll have to import the photographs again.

You'll have two sets of the files—one set in the special Mac folder—and a second set in the Lightroom Photos folder (described below).

You can stop using Photos and only use Lightroom.

To disable importing by Photos, go to Turn Off Importing.

Another option is to continue using Photos.

You'll export the photographs from Photos that you want to edit into Lightroom.

Create a Folder

For Your Imported Photographs

If you've been using a hierarchy of folders, and want to continue to do so, disregard this section.

Create a folder in Pictures or on your Desktop called Lightroom Photos.

If you're using a Windows computer, put an underscore at the beginning of the folder name: _Lightroom Photos.

The folder will appear at the top of your folders.

You'll import all of your photograph into this folder.


To make a _Lightroom Photos folder, do the following.

1) Go to Pictures or My Pictures.

2) Right click on a blank area in the window.

3) Select New > Folder.

4) Enter _Lightroom Photos or another name for your folder.

5) Press Enter.


To make a Lightroom Photos folder, do the following.

1) Go to the Desktop.

2) Open the File menu at the top of your screen.

3) Click New Folder.

4) Enter Lightroom Photos or another name for your folder.

5) Press Return.