An Open Letter To Adobe Lightroom
I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom rather intensely for several years now. Overall I’ve been quite happy with how the program streamlines my workload, organizes my photos, and how often it get’s an update. Having said that, I am rather surprised that Adobe hasn’t improved one area of Lightroom and it’s wasting both me and my clients valuable time every week. The following letter is written on behalf of photographers everywhere that use Adobe web galleries. Please share this so Adobe listens and improves.
First, let me start out by saying that I am a big fan of what you guys are developing over there. I mean, seriously, it’s nothing short of magical what your programs allow us to sit down and do jacked up on 4 cups of espresso at 3 AM. I mean, where else can I easily replace flying bouquets of flowers with images of silly little adorable cats flying towards single bridesmades hoping to catch a furball. My clients really loved that and the grooms father actually thought he missed out on the flying cat bit at the reception while he was at the chocolate fountain. Talk about clients for life!
Having said that. I have one thing on my wish list for the next Adobe Lightroom update, whenever that will be. Oh, and one more accolade, great job on keeping up with timely updates for your professional line of photo softwares. You guys could teach a few things to the Aperture team over at Apple. What the heck happened with that program, yikes!
I am writing to you today on behalf of wedding, event, portrait, and commercial photographers that use Lightroom to make client galleries. I speak for everyone. Yes, EVERYONE, even the trees.
When I show up to a job, I typically will shoot hundreds, if not thousands of photos. If I hire a second shooter, I sometimes will have multiple thousands of photos that I will then have to comb through and process before I post hundreds, if not thousands of photos for my clients to browse through on your web gallery feature. I do this on a semi regular basis as well.
Here is where I am having an issue. My clients will typically select a pre-determined number of photos that we’ve agreed upon dictated by my prices. Sometimes this is 10 photos, but sometimes this can be 1000 or more photos.
So here is my workflow just so that we are totally clear.
- I select the photos that aren’t total crap through your awesome filtering//ranking system.
- I then post those photos to the gallery that I customized with my own logos. BONUS!
- I upload this gallery to my server.
- Then I send the link of the images to the client for their perusal.
- My clients spend hours combing through all of my photos making the very best selections one by one, without the ability to compare photos side by side or filter the images with their own ranking system.
- For the ones that they like, they then have to write them down in a text document and send them to me. For those that are computer, vision, or just generally impaired, this can be a challenge to get 100% right and causes me more work down the road.
- Then, I get a text document in my email with all of the photo numbers listed in a row, great!
- I then have two options. I can either copy and paste the numbers into the text search function in Lightroom, which sometimes doesn’t work, or I can memorize the number and hunt for it in my project one by one. Currently I am having to do this multiple times per week and am wasting hours and hours of time doing so. Probably weeks of wasted time per year.
- I then review each photo number to make sure I have all the photos that my client selected in my photo selections folder.
- I process the photos, send them to the client.
- I get an e-mail saying that they wrote down the wrong number of a file, they are apologetic, and send me the right numbers.
- I re-edit, and re-deliver.
- I dread the next photo gallery project coming up.
So this is my workflow and it feels very 2002. My clients have to physically write down the photos that they like for me to process, to make prints, or for me to retouch further and then I have to spend time away from my Internet re-selecting the photos that they have already selected and add them to the special “selections” folder. I feel like this is out of date. I know that there are other options however I like keeping my workflow simple and complete within Adobe.
Here is my suggestion. Please develop a way for clients to have a better experience when viewing, comparing, and selecting photos that ALSO makes my job more efficient. You can save us all hundreds of thousands of wasted hours per year doing so and you guys can feel better about yourselves for making everyones life enriched by removing the monotonous tasks of re-selecting photos one by one. You guys could easily be the best photo gallery service on the Interwebs with a few improvements.
In a perfect world my clients would be able to rank their photos how I can rank them in Lightroom, filter based on rankings, and select the photos digitally that they would like for me to retouch and deliver. Oh, and don’t forget this part because it’s crucial and the most brilliant. The photo selections from the client need to auto update in my Lightroom catalogue as “selected from client.”
Adobe. This is a great idea. You know , I know it, and we need to make it happen with the next update. I would love to be able to wake up, stroll into the studio, and start the day off with photos selections already made, ready for me to start retouching in my catalogue. I know this makes you all warm and fuzzy, which makes me all warm and fuzzy. Let’s do this!
Everyone That Uses Lightroom Galleries