A less messy approach to using Adobe Lightroom Classic (LrC)

It’s easy to make a mess of thousands of digital photos, just like cramming a bunch of photo prints and negatives into shoeboxes. Without labeling the shoeboxes and photo print envelopes, there’s no way to quickly find a particular photo. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to organize your digital photos and find what you need when you need it?

I am midway through a fine arts photography class that starts with analog (black & white film) and ends with digital photography. I thought it was time to really learn how to use Adobe Lightroom Classic to my advantage.  With fewer than 2000 digital images taken since I purchased my digital SLR (DSLR), it’s about time to get organized… before the number grows too large to manage!

Today I watched a video presented by Tim Grey on the B&H Photo Event Space called, “Avoiding a Mess in Lightroom Classic.” My thoughts on the video? Tim’s advice is great for mid-level to professional photographers who have LOTS of digital photos. Some of the advice is probably not as helpful for students who will take 1-2 photo classes and not catalog their photos again. 

This post applies to features found in the Classic software. It focuses on organizing your photos, not photo editing capabilities. Read on to learn a few secrets of managing LrC, or as I call it, a Less Messy Approach.

What is Lightroom Classic?

Adobe offers two versions of Lightroom; the newer, Cloud-based known as Lightroom, and the original, desktop software, now known as Lightroom Classic (see screenshot, right). 

Lightroom Classic is more powerful than Lightroom, and geared more to professional photographers. Learn more about the two different products on the Adobe website here

Screen Shot of Lightroom Classic, Adobe Creative Cloud 2021

A Less Messy Approach to Using Adobe Lightroom Classic

Tim Grey is a leading educator in digital photography and imaging. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events around the world.

His advice on using Adobe Lightroom Classic (LrC):

  • Initiate everything in LrC. This avoids problems with moved photos and renamed folders.
  • Make sure you understand how LrC works.  The LrC catalog contains information about the photos; the photos are stored separately. If you rename folders and photos on your hard drive, LrC thinks they are missing when you look for them later. 
  • Tidy up photos before using LrC. Get rid of photos you don’t plan to use. Clean up your folder structure. Then import photos. You can create, rename, and move folders after you import photos to the catalog. 
  • Use a single LrC catalog. Tim has 400,000 photos in his catalog, so it takes a bit longer to load LrC, but he does not see performance issues with LrC.
  • Consolidate photo storage. Use a single hard drive or external hard drive as the top level for photo storage. This makes it easier to locate a photo later. 
  • Avoid date-based folders. You may not remember when you took a photo, so easier to label folder with who, what, or where photos taken. You can use dates if needed, just not as the first part of the folder name.
  • Create a meaningful and consistent folder structure. Something that works for you. Keep folder structure relatively flat.
  • Make full use of the import feature. Don’t download photos to your hard drive first. Copy photos from your media card and add photos already on your computer to the catalog. Use file handling, file renaming, apply during import, and destination settings.
  • Back up your catalog. Remember, the catalog is separate from your photos. Backup feature allows you to test the integrity of the catalog and optimize it after backup.
  • Back up your photos. Photos are separate from the catalog. Tim uses GoodSync; you might use OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, etc.
  • Create a consistent image review workflow.
  • Get familiar with filters. In the Library tab, in Grid mode [G], use the backslash [\] to access the filter bar above the image thumbnails.
  • Preserve metadata. Use Catalog Settings and Editing capabilities. You should include develop settings in metadata inside your image files. This way, you maintain the metadata if your LrC catalog gets corrupted.
Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Guidelines

Halloween Thanks to CLHS Teachers and Staff: “No Tricks, Just Treats!”

Halloween Poster in Appreciation of CLHS Teachers and Staff by Jill B Gilbert

The Clear Lake High School PTSA wanted a Halloween poster to show appreciation to the school’s teachers and staff. 

Jill B Gilbert created a 20- x 30-inch poster with a black cat and pumpkins, a haunted house on a hill, and spider webs. The poster, created in Adobe Illustrator, uses various tints of purple for the background, with oranges and yellows for the pumpkins and a hint of glowing green. 

Thanks to the amazing CLHS teachers and staff from the PTSA! Enjoy your treats!


 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Art, Design, Education, Graphics, Illustration

Questions to ask if you want a new or refreshed brand

A couple of weeks ago, a client selected my design firm to help with getting their brand on merchandise to sell at events and in their online store. I asked if they had their brand in various layouts and file formats for digital and print purposes. If the answer was, “Yes,” they were ready to go. 

It turns out that what they really wanted was a new or refreshed brand, as they felt the current one was outdated. 

If you want a new or refreshed brand, find answers to the following eleven questions before you speak with your graphic designer. 

Great Explorations | Original Brand
Great Explorations | Original Brand

Arm yourself with plenty of information before you start the design process. If you don’t know where to start, seek advice from a graphic designer in knowledgeable in design, business and marketing issues and trends. 

1. What are your business goals?

Believe it or not, a brand is more than a logo or graphic design; it is about your organization’s message, and how you communicate that message verbally and visually. So, it follows that business goals are connected to your brand. What is your organization’s “big picture?” Are you expanding into new markets? Are you planning new products, services, locations, or methods of reaching out to current or prospective clients? 

2. What do you want this Brand to accomplish?

Think about how the graphic design of your brand fits into your marketing plans. If you have an established brand, you might want to update it to capture new markets. If you plan to launch a new brand, how will you generate brand awareness in the marketplace?

3. Who is your target audience?

Do/will you use digital marketing–social media, email, blogs to communicate with current and prospective clients– or traditional print, TV, radio and merchandise marketing methods? Where and how will you display your brand?

4. What marketing channels will you use?

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5. How Do you want your brand perceived?

What 3-5 adjectives describe your brand’s personality? For example, “youthful, urban, and edgy,”  “corporate, seasoned, and traditional,” or something else? Do you see your brand as casual or formal; modern or traditional? Where do you see your product or service positioned in the market?

6. What are your brand/company values and mission?

If you closely tie your business model to your values and mission, then your brand design may reflect them. A preschool might want to incorporate a school or students. An environmental organization might want to use a tree, a leaf, something green, or something related to the earth. 

7. Do you want to avoid certain topics, themes, imagery or colors?

Images and colors mean different things in different cultures. You may think that all firms that cater to your target audience have brands with similar elements, and you want your brand to stand out. Or, you simply might not like the color orange or purple. 

8. Who are your key competitors?

What do you like or dislike about your competitors’ brands? Your graphic designer should create a brand that stands out from the competition, at the same time keeping in mind that you are going after the same audience. 

9. Which existing brands do you admire or want to emulate?

If you are a tech startup, do you admire the designs of Apple, Dell, or Microsoft?All of these are quite different, yet recognizable worldwide–and each has gone through a transformation over the decades. What do you specifically like about the brands you admire?

10. What do you like and dislike about your current brand?

Knowing what you like and dislike is valuable information that will help you to launch your new or refreshed brand. You may think the colors or typeface are outdated, or you may think you want to start over with a new design. Either way, this is a great opportunity to enhance your overall brand strategy.  

11. What is your decision making style?

When you embark on a branding initiative,  your graphic designer will ask you to make a series of decisions, from design choices like brand style, images, color and typography (fonts) to technical choices like file formats, resolution, and the size your brand will be displayed. Where you are on the scale from Decisive to Indecisive will impact your ability to meet project objectives, scope, schedule, budget, and timeline. 

Do you make decisions quickly? Do you make decisions based on feelings or facts? Do you get bogged down in “analysis paralysis?” For a description of business decision making types, read more here

When I say, “You,” I really mean “you and your key stakeholders in this branding effort.” I recommend that you seek input from your key stakeholders before reaching key project milestones, but I do not recommend building your brand “by committee.” 

 

The Justice Hub School | Original Brand
The Justice Hub School | Original Brand

Spending time to answer these eleven questions–including input from key stakeholders–can better position you for success in your branding initiative. Credit to 99 Designs for their original post; I added my perspective to their eleven questions.

Is all this effort worth it? Clients who understand the importance of branding say it is. If branding is new to you, So You Think You Need a New Brand might provide some insight. 

As always, if you lack the internal resources to do a branding project, seek outside help. And, if you don’t know where to start, seek advice from a graphic design professional that also understands business and marketing issues. You will be glad you did.

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Consulting, Corporate Identity, Design, Graphics, Logo Design, Marketing, Typography, 0 comments

Eight Million Stories, Inc. selects Jill B Gilbert to create a brand for a new school

The Justice Hub School | Original Brand
The Justice Hub School | Original Brand

Marvin Pierre is Executive Director of Eight Million Stories, Inc., a nonprofit founded in 2017 to support disconnected youth in Houston, Texas. Building upon the success of Eight Million Stories, he is founding a new school in Houston’s Third Ward. Marvin chose Jill B Gilbert to create a brand for The Justice Hub School that is attractive, edgy and has an urban feel. This project also included development of a brand guidelines document that will grow with the organization.

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Art, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Design, Education, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Typography, 0 comments

So, you want a new website… 30 questions to answer before you build it

Your website is an important part of your organization’s identity. A well-designed website reflects well on your organization, and a poorly-designed website can damage your reputation. Spend time planning your website before you build it. Understand your audience and design your site accordingly. Make the site responsive, clean, and easy to navigate.

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography, Web Design

Mississippi Park Connection selects Jill B Gilbert for graphic design work

iMac with screenshot of Mississippi Park Connection presentation slides
Custom, branded presentation template for Mississippi Park Connection

Mississippi Park Connection needed a custom, branded presentation template to convey its mission and message. They selected Jill B Gilbert to design the template. “The challenge was to understand Mississippi Park Connection’s needs, and find a style to complement the organization’s three pillars—habitat restoration and tree planting; paddling the Mississippi River; and youth education,” says Gilbert. MPC is thrilled with the presentation template, which includes over twenty customized illustrations that will appeal to diverse audiences, from prospective board members to volunteers and Park visitors of all ages. 
Read more about the project here.

“Jill was wonderful to work with. She responded positively to our initial feedback on a design and came back with an update that accurately met our needs and vision while incorporating her professional expertise in PowerPoint and graphic design. She is prompt, communicates efficiently, and pushed the project along at times when I felt overwhelmed. We now have a well designed, branded, and functional PowerPoint presentation that will bring cohesiveness to all our presentations. Thank you Jill!”

–Callie Sacarelos, Communications and Marketing Manager, Mississippi Park Connection

Mississippi Park Connection is the nonprofit partner of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (U.S. National Park) and has headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the start of the river. 

 

Jill B Gilbert is a graphic and web designer with years of experience creating impactful marketing communications for both digital and print platforms, for large corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. 

 

the nonprofit partner of Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Branding, Consulting, Corporate Identity, Design, Graphics, Illustration, Marketing, Standards, Typography

Komolova Log Works Selects Jill B Gilbert to Create a New Brand

Komolova Log Works logo in full color, all black and all white
Komolova Log Works | Logo & Visual Brand Guide

When Eric and Nancy Raup needed a brand for Eric’s craft furniture and decor business, they immediately thought of Jill B Gilbert.

After identifying Komolova Log Works’ needs, Jill created three design concepts. After further discussions and iterations, Komolova revealed that they wanted to include an owl. 

Here is the result—a playful owl standing on a tree branch. The logo, tag line, and color palette work together to communicate the brand, as well as the rustic setting for the business. 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert, 0 comments