I'm trying to come up with a workflow to organize my library in a sensible way and I wanted suggestions about it. I'm pretty new to light room so here's what I've come up with:

First of I usually take between 150 to 400 shots per session, which means I can't always go through all of them on the same day. So I'm selecting my photos to be:


  • Picked (meaning the photo has been developed or in the process of being developed)
  • Unpicked (not yet developed)
  • Discarded ... to delete.

  • Red: Uncertain photos. I'm not sure about this photo so I want to take a second look and either select or delete.

  • Yellow: Keep. This is a photo I'm sure I want to develop and save.
  • Green: Final. This photo is final and I'm satisfied with the final result.
  • Blue: Family / Moments. This photo isn't worth anything from a photography point of view but it involves something I want to remember (family, trip, etc).
  • Purple: JPG + Delete. This photo is to be converted to JPG and deleted (no need to keep the RAW file).

  • Stars: basic 1 to 5 to determine how worth the image is to me.

Smart collections:

  • Unprocessed to review. Not picked + No color
  • Doubtful. Red.
  • Important unprocessed. Yellow + Not picked
  • Important in progress. Yellow + Picked
  • Final. Green
  • Family + Moments. Blue
  • Family Processed. Blue + Picked.
  • Export & Delete. Purple.

Do you have any input on that process? Any suggestions?


For suggestions on your particular workflow, categories seem to be wasting some of the things at your disposal.

You can see if developments have been applied to an image by an icon that lightroom adds itself, so your use of pick isn't needed.

Red/Yellow - both of these are really doing the same thing as stars. It is expressing how much value the photos have to you in their unprocessed format. Careful setting of criteria for ratings would make these unneeded.

Green - pick can be used for this since it isn't needed for identifying photos being worked on.

Blue - this is best served with keywords, not a flag.

Purple - this is fine, though you could also simply do the change as well (unless you want to leave it categorized before doing the touch up. This could also potentially be replaced by a rating if you categorically wanted to do this for ratings of 1 or maybe 2.

Smart collections can still be setup based on the altered criteria.


I agree with AJ's answer, but wanted to throw one more important thing out: you will find flaws in your system and eventually modify it. That's not to say there's something wrong with your plan -- just that as your familiarity with Lightroom grows and as you see ways to better expedite and as your photography changes, you're going to recognize improvements that can be made to your workflow.

"But that's why I'm asking, so that I start off with the best workflow possible." Yeah, but you can't. Your process will (should!) evolve to best fit your needs.

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