In my YouTube videos you get to see a fair bit of what happens when I go out and capture photos. But what happens when I get home? Apart from putting my feet up and having a cup of tea.

The intention of this blog post is to inspire and inform. It’s by no means the best way to organise your photography workflow. But you might see something useful. So here we go.

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The Great SD Card Dump

I’m going to focus on photographs here. No one wants to know my video workflow (do they?). The first port of call is to get all my photos off the SD cards. Personally I prefer to eject the card from the camera and plug it into an SD Card reader. There’s potentially an argument here that I’m reducing the life of the card by removing it constantly but I’ve never had an issue and find the readers to be a little faster than plugging a USB into the cameras (I’ve not done any scientific tests mind!).

Folder Structure

It took me a few attempts to get a structure that I’m happy with. I’ve been using this structure now for five years or so and it works well for my needs. The layout is something like this:

  • Photos

    • RAW

      • 2021

        • LocationA

          • 20210510

          • 20210511

        • LocationB

          • 20210618

      • 2022

        • Location C

          • 20221127

Let’s break that down a little bit. I have a top level folder where all my photos are stored.

The main folder I care about at the point of export is the RAW folder (Called so because I shoot in RAW format for my cameras). Sometimes there’s the odd jpg and these go in here too.

Next is the year. If you’re starting out this might seem trivial, but I’ve found it really useful in the past few years for having a higher level of grouping to work on when in Lightroom. It also helps when I’m trying to narrow down photos I think I took.

Which leads us next to the location. Generally the two things I care about most when searching for photos is when did I take them, and where did I take them.

Finally we have the date the photo was taken in year/month/day format. This is mostly for ordering by day inside the location and having some separation. Before I go out on a shoot I format my memory card and reset the sequential numbering to 1. This stops me copying over photos if I go to the same location twice in one year.


After the photos are copied over and memory cards disconnected I open Lightroom. I always make sure all the memory cards are removed before opening Lightroom as I’m convinced that it looks at the cards when it opens thus making it impossible to remove the media cleanly.

Lightroom points at the previously mentioned RAW folder and I synchronise with that folder. So here’s an example of the folder structure from above in action inside Lightroom:

During synchronisation process I should only expect to see the new photos I’ve added to the RAW folder.


I always find culling photographs difficult. On one hand I wish I could keep everything. On the other hand there’s some photos that I know for certain I will never use.

To sort through the good, the bad and the ugly I’ll make two passes through the recently imported photos. The first pass is a straight up deletion and wiped forever. I’m mainly looking for duplicates or out of focus shots here. Even a photo with a badly composed shot can be cropped and tweaked. The second pass is to pick what I want to edit now and tagging it. Once I have a list of tagged photos they go into a named collection (the name depending on the type of shoot the photos are for, e.g. if they were on one of my YouTube video outings the name is Vids\Year\VideoName).

I still might cull a few more after this point simply because they don’t work out or there’s something putting me off developing it. But this sorts out the main bulk of photos. It’s also around here that I merge photo stacks, mostly so I can tag them to develop.


There’s not too much I can say about developing. It’s simply a case of going through each selected photo and editing it the way I like.


After editing I export to jpg. Depending on the photo usage I’ll apply keywords and other meta tags. Similar to my RAW folder I have similar for exports, but don’t go as granular. For example, Photos\Stock\2022 is my folder for any photos I intend to upload to stock websites such as ShutterStock. For the most part I keep photos their original dimensions (after cropping during develop) with the exception of Twitter photos, which I reduce in file size (Twitter is just going to compress them anyway).

That’s It

That’s a wrap folks. Everything I can think of that you might find useful in my editing workflow. Did you find anything useful? Do you do anything different that might of use to me or others? Shout down in the comments.

Categories: Tutorials


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