How to Start Organizing Your Images in Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Online Class

One of the reasons why I am such a Lightroom Classic fan is the organizational options. It can be a monumental task of managing a large collection of photos. I know this because I have over 70,000 images now in my Lightroom catalog. You may wonder how I keep track of all of them, and with Lightroom, it’s pretty easy!

Folder Organization

The first part of Lightroom organization is actually your folder hierarchy on your computer. You need to pick a consistent way to name your folders, preferably NOT by date.

You need to think about what kind of photographs you like to shoot. Do you shoot events? Do you like travel photography? Do you shoot pictures of your kids? For example, if you shoot a lot of travel photography, I would create a folder like this: Yosemite 2018_04. This folder will reflect the images you took in Yosemite, April of 2018. Maybe you were shooting your kids at a birthday party. It could be Megan’s Bday 2018_04. However you decide to organize it, make it consistent. For example, that Yosemite folder could be 2018 Half Dome Climb or Mom’s Bday in Yosemite. Do you see that all of these could reflect the vacation you had in Yosemite, but could be hard to find if you don’t have a consistent way of naming your images?

Yosemite Folders

Why You Shouldn’t Organize By Date

There’s a couple of reasons why I wouldn’t organize by date. The first reason is personal, I can’t remember where I was last week, let alone April of 2016! But I do remember that I was in Yosemite sometime in the spring of 2016, so my name of Yosemite 2016_04 would be easy for me to find. As you can see, I have a main folder heading in my Folders of Yosemite. Then you can see all the different trips I have made to Yosemite broken down by date. That is really the first step of the organization of your images.

When you first import images into Lightroom, it will default to organizing by date. Just be sure you change the settings so the destination reflects that you want your images organized into one folder.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 2.02.02 PM

Star Ratings

The other important addition to your Lightroom organization is to use star ratings. Star ratings can be confusing unless you use the top ratings sparingly. When I first import my images into Lightroom, I will quickly cull through my images. During this first round, I will mark with one star the images that I like and x to the images I want to throw away. (The x key will tell Lightroom that you are rejecting an image. After you have gone through your images, you can delete all of your rejected images at once.) Go to the Photo menu and choose “Delete Rejected Photos”. You can delete all the rejects at once simply and easily.
Star ratings

Lightroom will ask you if you want to delete it from the hard drive or just remove it from the Lightroom library. Delete them from the hard drive instead of just removing them from Lightroom, that way they will be gone forever.

After I have used the one-star rating, I will go through those images and give a 2-star rating to the ones I want to do further editing. Once I have my editing to those images, I will go back and consider a 3-star rating. This rating would only be for those images that I would want in my portfolio and the 4-star rating would only be given to the best of the best.


My other favorite way of organizing images in Lightroom in using Collections. I would use a collection to store my favorite pictures from a certain shoot. It makes it a fast and easy way to find the best pictures from a shoot especially if you are doing a slide show or want to sync those images to Lightroom mobile. I would use the same naming convention as mentioned above in folders and even create subsets of images from the same location. But you can organize it a little differently in collections.

For example, suppose you took a trip to California. Your folder would be named California 2018_02, but in your California collection, you should only put the best of the best from that trip. Then, you can create subsets of your California folder and name those subsets San Francisco, Yosemite, and Big Sur.

Can you see how this new way of organization could change your whole way of working with your images? It will take a little time to learn, but it will pay off so you will have more time to shoot and be creative doing the thing you love to do, photography!

Learn other ways to organize and edit your images as we go into more detail in the Lightroom Quick Start Class. Learn to use this great program and create more creative beautiful images!


BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo

Reach Holly by email at [email protected] and check out her blog and photography portfolio at:

Holly Teaches:

Lightroom Quickstart


Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.

iPhone Photography
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.

Non Human Gesture

I talk to my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct throughout the world about the importance of a gesture in your imagery; it’s one of the ways to create Visual Tension.

The actual definition of a gesture is “a movement of a part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea. It’s an action performed to convey one’s feelings.”

Visual Tension is generated when you stop an action, as in a gesture, and leave it uncompleted. I’m always on the lookout for someone using a gesture either while talking or even pointing. That said, I don’t like to take photos of people pointing unless I have positioned them close to the edge of the frame so they’re pointing out. Tha way the viewer doesn’t know what they’re pointing out.

There is another type of gesture that I also like to talk about and especially in a photograph, and that’s a non-human gesture. Non-human gestures can also portray an emotion or communicate an idea.

A list of non-human gestures would include contrast, a recurrence of objects, color, depth, shadows, light, and the element of surprise. Trees, waves in the ocean, flowers, and even rock formations can portray a sense of Gesture. The one idea that connects these objects and is usually necessary to show them in their reality is the use of elegance or grace.

The use of color or light to create a non-human expression is an unwritten language different than the intentional movement created by man or other living creatures. This demonstration of visual expression can be a complex form of communicating ideas and emotions to the viewer. The use of Light to create a non-human gesture can be more difficult since Light is so fleeting that it can come and go in a blink of the eye. When you can anticipate this moment, or quick enough to react, it can imply a sense of movement that will embody the essence of an object.

When you can combine these non-human gestures, with any of the elements of visual design and composition on my Artist Palette I refer to it’s a great way to find that elusive “OMG” photo we all strive to take.

Here are a few examples of non-human gesture:

Visit my website at:, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

The Use of Gestalt in Photography

The beauty of simplicity

What makes an image quiet?

In Finding Beauty we approach creating quiet, minimalist images from different directions. One of the ways is contrast.

The crux of creating a quiet image is to reduce the contrast. That contrast can take many forms, including color, pattern, texture, value, shape, and sharpness.

Contrast is important because the eye automatically goes to the area of highest contrast.

So the trick for creating a quiet image is to either contain or minimize the contrast.

Questions to ask while composing your image

Since reducing contrast is important for a quiet image, some questions to explore as you compose your image are:

  1. Is where something is happening isolated to one area of your image? Or is it spread all over?
  2. How much of the frame is filled with “something happening” versus “not much going on”?
  3. How great is the contrast between the two?

Examples of quiet images

Below are examples of quiet images from some of the students enrolled in Finding Beauty.

What ideas will you use in your own photography, whether you shoot landscapes, flowers, still life, or some other subject?


Images: Maureen McKeon

“In Finding Beauty Brit taught me to declutter my images and allow the subject breathing room. She calls them quiet images.

In her critiques, Brit offers alternative ways to frame the image, encouraging exploration and experimentation.

I feel that my skills have grown a lot in this class.”

— Maureen McKeon (Instagram: mccrockett)


Images:  Bob Rosenbladt

“I have often found myself in a location that has lots of potential for a photograph, but there is so much going on visually that to make a compelling image in difficult.

Finding Beauty has really helped me to find ways to improve my photos by simplifying and decluttering them.

Brit has many excellent case studies to show how to think about a location to find memorable photographs within it.

Her critiques and comments have been both instructive and encouraging. I would highly recommend this class.”

— Bob Rosenbladt


Images: Kip Kriigel

“This class improved my ability to see photographic opportunities in everyday objects that are all around us.

In each week’s lesson the concept of producing quiet and clean images was well explained and backed up with great photographic examples.

I learned to improve the impact and photographic quality of my images by ensuring that nonessential and distracting elements are eliminated.”

— Kip Kriigel




Finding Beauty

Authentic Photo Stories

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images

Photography Essentials

Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

** No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses **



Brit Hammer is an international award-winning photographer, bestselling author, and a celebrated artist whose work is aptly described as fresh and optimistic.

Brit’s students love her intuitive eye, patience, enthusiasm and holistic nurturing because the results are unbelievably incredible and inspiring student growth.

Visit Brit’s website at

Learn more about creative development and one-on-one mentoring with Brit

Follow Brit on Instagram


“There are great photographers and great teachers, but it is rare to find a great photographer who’s also a wonderful instructor; Brit embodies that rare combination.” — Tennessee Rick Elliot



Standing the Test of Time

There are many aspects involved in taking a photo that you’ll remember and that will stand the test of time; or perhaps just another background memory clouded by the passing of our daily lives.

Since I enjoy the game of golf and I often play (I’m a much better photographer), I can draw this analogy…to simply hit a golf ball straight and not necessarily far, it takes a number of things all working together at the same time: Your stance, grip, wrist, shoulders, head, knees, follow-through,  tempo, backswing, and that’s not counting all the separate nuances that are associated with each one of those aspects. FYI, according to my brother, who’s a Master Professional, only five percent of all the golfers in the world can break 100.

Well the same hold true for photography, fortunately for all of us there’s not quite so many!!!

In my online classes with the BPSOP and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind’ workshops I conduct around our planet, we work on incorporating the elements of visual design.

We also work on light, exposure, balance, composition, unity, rhythm, meaning, visual interest, and the ability to see past first impressions, are all some of the important aspects necessary before you click the shutter; if you expect your photos to stand the test of time.

What do I mean by standing the test of time? I mean that when you look at your photo a day, week, month, six months, a year or longer, and it still looks as good to you as the day you shot it, then it will stand the test of time and become timeless. Will it convey the same meaning, tug at the same heartstrings, the same smile no matter how much time goes by?

Moreover, if in the same stretch of time you take a second look at it and you wonder why in the hell you ever clicked the shutter, then maybe you shouldn’t have been so hasty. That’s where those aspects I mentioned come into play. A good photo is going to be a good photo no matter what new technology forces its way into the art of photography…and make no mistake, it is art.

In fact, I find that the more plug-ins, programs, software, and buttons there are, the harder it is to take a simple photo and have it last through all these photo fads. Case in point, look at all the great photographers that shot with a lens and a camera. People like: Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Steichen, Haas, Lange, Eugene Smith, Newman, Walker, Penn, and so many more.

Their images are more sought after today than ever before and will continue their popularity even as our generations change hands and younger/newer photographers take over with more advanced, more powerful, newer, smarter, more megapixel cameras . I just don’t think you can say that with the type of photos that one sees every day. They will come and go as fast as the new spring fashions that come out year to year.

For a photo to stand the test of time, it takes a commitment to the process. Take the time to get all these aspects going for you before you click the shutter, not in front of a computer. Think before you bring that camera up to your eye, and you’ll wind up shooting less and being more productive.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

The Use of Gestalt in Photography

  • I really enjoyed this course on composition a lot and learned again as always! Have just been through some more of your critiques for others in class – I also love to learn by seeing work of classmates. A big “thank you” for a great four weeks! You are always kind and never discouraging! This has been wonderful and helps a lot!! Read More
    Séverine Blaise Understanding Composition
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