Take a Break

by David Miller

While this entry is not specific to Lightroom per se — it is just as applicable to other imaging applications such as Aperture or even the duo of Camera Raw & Photoshop — it crystallized while sorting through a few hundred shots that need to be widdled down and edited within the next couple days.

After dumping your shots into Lightroom, I find it relatively easy to go through my shots, weeding out the rejects and eventually flagging the selects; the task may take some time to accomplish (depending, obviously, on how many shots have to be inspected), but it’s relatively straight–forward compared to the next step: making the necessary tweaks to the selected shots.

So if you find yourself unable to make your images pop the way you want them to (or if you are unable to decide which ones should pop), try taking a break; something as simple as getting up to stretch your legs could provide the kick start you need, or it might require coming back the next day after a good night’s sleep to let your subconscious mull over your work.

I often find myself losing a grasp on what constitutes natural, balanced light when making white balance adjustments on images shot in varying and less than ideal situations (see my post from last week as an example). By taking a break, it’s easy to come back to your images and see that the tint of green is too strong, for example.

It might be tempting to try and plow through your shots (especially when on a tight deadline), but give your eyes — and brain — a break and come back to Lightroom with a fresh perspective. Your work will be better for it.


2007-10-17 09:52:48
Agreed... I do this too and it definitely helps.
Mark Sirota
2007-10-18 09:31:28
I find that coming back to a shoot a day or a week or a month later and going through the sorting/weeding/flagging process will also result in a different set of picks than I got when I went through that process right after the shoot.

For example, I may find that an alternate crop of one of the rejects will be a much stronger finished product than my original pick.

I think this is often because at the time of the shoot, I had a vision for what the result should look like. When I come back later without that vision fresh in my mind, I see the shots for what they are, not for what I wanted them to be.

2007-10-18 10:55:14
Great point, Mark. The fact that Lightroom (& co.) allow you to rip through your shots faster than ever doesn't mean that there aren't any side effects to your change in workflow.