Lightroom Workflow Tutorial Video

Lightroom workflow video tutorial

Figuring out a system to upload, edit and export your images daily can be a challenge. In this video you can see my Lightroom workflow.

In this video, I show:
– How I upload my images into Lightroom through my external hard drive
– Select which images to keep and delete
– A basic edit of the images I keep
– Export settings

The key to staying on top of editing is to create a workflow that works for you. Use some or all of the tips provided in this video to create your own workflow. What works for me may not work for you and that is fine. Keep trying different methods until you find one that works for you.

Helpful links mentioned in the Lightroom workflow video:

Organizing photos
Exporting Photos from Lightroom

Do you have a Lightroom workflow? What do you do?

  • Diane Lewis
    January 7, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Very helpful. Thank you

  • tom
    January 7, 2014 at 3:34 PM


    I love your site, a friend shared it with me via Facebook. Thank You so very very much for all you do and your expertise in Photography, I love your site.

    I have looked at most of Your post and continue to learn so much from you.

    I really enjoyed this Video on work flow and storing of photos.

    I have three grandson’s the two oldest are into High School Sports and I shoot many photo’s both jpeg/raw with either my Nikon D-5000 or D-600 Camera’s. I am an old man now of age 73 and the Camera, Computer’s, Amateur Radio and Grandson’s help keep the protein flowing between my old brain cells..

    I currently use Photoshop elements, However am thinking of going to Lightroom or Aperture.

    Since, I shoot so many Sports photos in a variety of Gyms with different lighting White Balance is my
    main concern. I normally take a coffee filter and hold in front of lens in manual mode and pre-set the white balance, a tip given to me from a friend on another nice forum Ugly Hedge Hog Photography Forum.

    I use all Mac’s for my processing Computer’s.

    If I understood your Video, You set the White Balance since you shoot in raw on one photo and then batch adjust the remaining photo’s is that correct. If so that would save me lots of times, since with one Grandson playing JV and the other playing Varsity Basketball, I often shoot 300 plus photos in one evening.

    I know you do not have time to address each and every dumb question.

    However, should you read this and have a moment I would appreciate confirmation/clarification and also did you start or have you any experience with Photoshop Elements verse’s Lightroom. If so, My assumption is that Lightroom is working better for you.

    Please excuse my long rambles, I do enjoy and appreciate your site and all your efforts.

    Thank You very very much.

    Tom Mewborn
    New Port Richey, Fl (about 25 miles NW of Tampa, Fla)

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      Hey Tom,

      Yes, that is correct. I set it on one of the images and then batch edit. This only works when all the images are taken in the same light. But if you are photographing in a gym then I’m sure that is the case. I do set my white balance in camera using Kelvins to get it as close to correct as possible but I tweak it in LR. Lightroom works great for me. I had Photoshop Elements but never really understood it. I fell in Lightroom right away. Enjoy taking pictures of your grandsons!

      • Tom
        January 8, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        Good Afternoon,

        Thank You for the Video, Your reply to my query and all you do to help all of us
        enjoy this fantastic mode of making memories.

        Have a wonderful afternoon and restful evening, and a Fantastic 2014.


        (Based on your Info, I will be down loading a Trail of Lightroom, check it out and then purchase it
        meets my needs.)

  • Susan Watson Bahen
    January 7, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Great tutorial! You have it down to a science. You’re daughter is getting so big. I wish I had my DSLR when my boys were baby’s. I had a film point and shoot until they were about They were 7 & 9 and replaced film with a digital point and shoot. The boys aren’t the most willing models these days, being 17 & 19, but every now and then they let me practice on them. I want to thank you for your wonderful site and showing me how to shoot in manual. It really has made all the difference and wish I found you years ago instead of relying on my camera’s auto-mode.

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      Thank you! So glad to hear that your boys are willing models every now and then :)

  • January 8, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new apple
    iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the superb work!

  • January 8, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    You answered my email! Thank you! This is just what I needed to get going for the new year and to clean up all my photos.

  • Sarah
    January 17, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I just purchased Lightroom 5 (to upgrade from Photoshop Elements 6 which was not working for me) and this was hugely helpful! Thank you so much for your tutorials. I now feel like I can go through and edit and organize the years of pictures that I have sitting on my hard drive!

  • Kelly
    January 20, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Just wanted to be sure that I understand correctly. When you first copy your pics as DMG files, you save them to your hard drive. I’m assuming all edits you do automatically save there as well as you are under the develop tab? The need to export the photos for print or web is specifically for those actions, otherwise you leave the files as DMG? Thanks so much!

    • January 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Yes, I save them on my external hard drive. The edits are saved in the Lightroom catalog but not on my external hard drive. This is why you should export them as JPEGs so you have the edited version.

  • Susan Sanders
    February 12, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Hi! I thought I had posted my question yesterday, but I don’t see it in the list. sigh… :)

    Wondering why you put so many subfolders (ex: year–>month–>child–>event) if you also use keywords. I am new to LR 5, came from Creative Memories. Can you help me?


  • Dana Stallings
    February 16, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Shew! Even as fast as move through those edits (as the obvious pro you are!), everything you did and said still makes more sense to me than the $150 Photoshop workshop I paid for! Everyone recommended LR so I made the switch and I am SO GLAD I did as a new photographer. Your website has helped me immensely and I have referred many a folks over here :) I’ll be bookmarking this tutorial for sure…thank you so much for your time!

    • February 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      I’m so glad to hear it made sense. I’ll try and slow down next time :) Thank you for your sweet words about my site and for recommending me to your friends. yay!

  • Crystal
    March 27, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    Hi Courtney. Quick question – You correct white balance with the dropper tool… I’ve been making myself crazy trying to find places where the three numbers match like you said in the video… in another video I just found out about the temperature slider… it’s waaay easier to quickly warm up a photo that way… is there a reason you don’t use it? Is it cheating? Thanks!

    • March 27, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Hey Crystal,

      You can definitely use the temperature slider and no, it isn’t cheating :) I used to use that as well but realized my eye couldn’t see what the correct white balance was. I am still trying to train my eye so I have to trust the number. Remember to find a neutral spot – gray, black, or white and get the numbers as close as possible. It doesn’t have to be exact.

      • Crystal
        March 27, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        Ah, that makes sense. Thanks!

  • Andrea
    April 6, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    Hi Courtney.
    When you are importing photos in LR5, you can choose how to build your previews – Minimal, Embedded and Sidecar, Standard and 1:1. What is the difference?
    Thanks a million
    Andrea :)

    • April 7, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      I honestly have no idea :) I have mine set on minimal. ha ha

  • Natalie
    June 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    I am BRAND NEW to LR. I just received LR5 and found the video so helpful! I only wished that you had done more of a step by step instruction on the actual edits you made. I’m still overwhelmed by how you found white balance and synced similar pictures. It was so fast! Do you have other tutorials on these steps? The importing and exporting was very helpful! Thanks!

    • July 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Hey! Glad you found it helpful! Here is a list of all of our LR posts that may help –

      • Natalie Ryan
        August 14, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        Thanks! Quick question- when you exposit back into the same folder do you then have 2 copies of the photo- edited and unedited?
        Love your blog!

        • August 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM

          Yes, the original and the edited version :)

          • Natalie Ryan
            August 26, 2014 at 4:44 PM

            Ok, one more question :) When you export your pictures, what do you change the file name to? I’m struggling to find a smooth way to name files. Do you change it at all?

            • September 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM

              I don’t rename them when exporting. I put them in the same folder as the original but a sub folder for “web” or “print”

  • Jennifer
    January 6, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    This is awesome and very timely for me. Thank you!

  • Chris Key
    January 7, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    Love the blog!

    My LR workflow is very similar, the main difference being that I often don’t get a chance to edit straight away (never get enough time for anything these days!) so I import into a folder structure but don’t name the final day folder. Once I’m done editing, I give the folder a name, and if there is more than one shoot I split them out.

    When I export, I use a publish service I found that mirrors the LR structure in another root directory as JPGs. This is really handy for easily copying multiple shoots to another area (also helps that I don’t use month as a folder as I don’t shoot enough to need it). It also means I can drop the RAW files later on if I know I won’t need them again.


    • January 8, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      Awesome! Great to hear you found a system that works for you :)

  • February 20, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    I just wanted to send you a quick comment thanking you for all you do on this website. I have found it so incredibly helpful over the past few years. I am self taught, and really struggled with the editing/processing aspect. Your workflow tutorials and editing tutorials have helped me tremendously and almost every time I edit I catch myself using tips and methods that I learned from time spent browsing your blog. I’ve had several people come to me asking how I learned or self taught and I always point them here for a resource. So thank you, thank you, and thank you again! I hope you know how great click it up a notch is!

    • February 23, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      Hey Katie,

      Thank you so much for your sweet words :) I’m thrilled to have helped and been a part of your photography journey! Thank you for sharing my site with your friends. I truly appreciate it. Thank you!

  • Sannetta Marsh
    April 30, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    New to Lightroom and you are making it a breeze! Curious about a few things, do you keep your originals or just your edits for print, web and facebook? I shoot in RAW and Jpeg and so editing old photos I end up with my original RAWS, Jpegs, now DNG’s and all edits!! Love your blog and send all my friends wanting to learn manual mode your way!

    • Jayce
      February 9, 2016 at 3:36 AM

      I’m so glad that the inntreet allows free info like this!

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    March 22, 2017 at 9:24 PM

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  • Bekah Walters
    April 6, 2017 at 9:25 PM

    Thank you!! What a great opportunity to see someone else’s workflow. I’m a visual learner so this is really helpful.

  • Alison Redman
    May 4, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    This was so helpful, thank you!
    One question – do you save all of your RAW files? I was thinking that maybe once I edited them and exported as JPGs, I would delete the RAW files to save space.

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