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How to Cut Your Photo Editing Time in Half


Editing photos after a shoot can be extremely time-consuming, especially if you have not spent some time optimizing your workflow. If you’d like to speed up your editing process, here’s a 5-minute video by Mango Street Lab with tips and tricks for culling, organizing, and editing photos.

It’s always interesting to see how other photographers employ the tools that we use every day, and in this case Mango Street Lab have some techniques for speeding up the editing workflow.

The software that they recommend in this short video is: Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic or XnView, and PFixer or VSCO Keys.

Lightroom is the most familiar tool here, but Mango Street Lab have a few techniques for speeding up their work in Adobe’s software. They create a new catalog for each shoot, and only import photographs that they have previously culled using Photo Mechanic. Because Photo Mechanic renders previews much faster than Lightroom, it is a handy tool for making an initial pass over a large collection of files. Photo Mechanic is quite pricey, so for those using Windows, XnView is a free alternative.

Within Lightroom they apply a preset on import, and demonstrate using the basic editing tools in the Library panel to make batch edits. They also generate Smart Previews for all images, which is especially useful when dealing with large RAW files on a slower computer.

The next piece of software, PFixer, allows you to set up custom shortcuts for just about every feature in Lightroom. Again, it is quite expensive at $99, but VSCO Keys is a free (and open-source) option that can be used instead. This does what it says on the tin — you can set up keyboard shortcuts to use instead of clicking and dragging the mouse in Lightroom’s edit panels. You could take this to the next level with PFixer’s hardware controllers or by building your own with a MIDI controller.

Follow along with the video at the top, and be sure to follow Mango Street Lab on YouTube for more tips like this from the duo.