Sorting & organising food photos in Lightroom

Sorting & organising food photos in Lightroom

Being organised is kinda my thing.

Like, my sister once wrote a song about everyone in the family, listing their best qualities (beauty or musical talent, for example) and when she got to me, there was a dramatic pause before she came out with “Zoe’s so… organised“.

We fell about laughing (in her defense, she was about 9 at the time) – but its kinda true. I like to always know whats going on, and for everything to be in its proper place.

Personal prefecrences aside, I would honestly be lost without some sort of orgnaisational system for photos.

Between client shoots, recipes for my food blog, styled shots for my business site and my Instagram (not to mention family photos & holiday snaps), I have a lot of photos flying around.

Sorting & organising food photos in Lightroom

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This post is part of a series on using Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom for food photography. See the other posts:
Pixlr vs Photoshop: Why I made the switch
Importing photos to Lightroom
Sorting & organising photos in Lightroom

Get the Adobe CC photography package (that’s Photoshop & Lightroom for under a tenner) using my affiliate link here.

How I sort & organise food photos in Lightroom

Photo organisation is personal to each individual, but there are some tools that can help you to stay organised and find the photos you’re looking for.

First, (affiliate) get the photography edition of Adobe Creative Cloud (which includes Lightroom & Photoshop) for about a tenner a month here

You can organise your photos into broad folders & albums.

There are a number of ways people organise folders & albums. Personally, I have 4 overarching folders:

  • ‘Fig & Fennel’ for client projects
  • ‘EatsLeeds’ for images on my food blog
  • ‘ZoePickburn.com’ for my own styled photos
  • ‘Personal’ for other images – holiday snaps, family photos & the like

Then each shoot gets its own album. An album per recipe for my food blog, for example, or an album for each client shoot (named with the venue/customer and the date of the shoot. eg. ‘Doner Summer, May 2019’)

You can organise your photos into broad folders & albums
You can organise your photos into broad folders & albums

Stack a series of images, inside a folder

Select all the images you want to stack (using ctrl+click or shift+click) then right-click & select ‘Group into stack’, or press ctrl+G.

Stacking images is especially helpful for groups of shots that look almost identical – wether because you were taking test shots, or you were shooting action shots with fast shutter speed and have a ‘burst’ or images.

Stack a series of images, inside a folder
Stack a series of images, inside a folder

Use labels to add keywords to each image, then filter images by keyword

I use this for broad, common themes – for example, ‘pizza’ or ‘salad’ – so I can easily find a specific type of food shot.

se labels to add keywords to each image, then filter images by keyword
Use labels to add keywords to each image, then filter images by keyword

Flag images as either ‘pick’ or ‘reject

When I upload a shoot to Lightroom there may be 50-100 images or more, so I use the flags to quickly reject images that are out of focus, under- or over-exposed, or poorly composed.

Then I filter to display only ‘unflagged’ images. As I go through those remaining images, I either reject them or apply light editing.

Then I flag images that are edited & ready for use as picked.

Flag images as either 'pick' or 'reject'
Flag images as either ‘pick’ or ‘reject’

Each image can also be assigned a star rating, and filtered based on those star ratings

I use star ratings when I need more nuanced differentiation than ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

This is especially helpful for big shoots, where I can end up with 100+ images (even after rejecting the unusable ones).

Each image can also be assigned a star rating, and filtered based on those star ratings
Each image can also be assigned a star rating, and filtered based on those star ratings

Now you’ve got some tips on keeping your photos orhanised in Lightroom, the next post in this series will show you the first changes I make when editing photos – cropping & straightening.

Sorting & organising food photos in Lightroom