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One of the most common questions received is, “how do you edit your photos?” I keep this process as simple as possible, mostly because of how many photos I edit through in a day.

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

On any given trip, 2,000 to 3,000 photos are taken. This means I could spend hours selecting photos, editing them, and tweaking each one. I don’t have the kind of time to do that so over the past four years, I’ve developed a concise, no-fuss photo editing process. 

This process that I’m going to share is targeted only for photos taken on a DSLR and designed to be edited in Lightroom. I rarely take photos on my phone, so I have to take the time to get the photos on my computer while I travel. This editing process is one that works for me — it’s not the “end all” answer but rather a look at the steps that go into editing a photo. For yourself, you may find that there are steps you take longer on or skip entirely. Photo editing is a very personal thing.

For me, this process is all about saving time. Having a clear focus and task when opening up Lightroom has been important to my business and time management over the year. So here’s a look at my no-fuss photo editing process. 

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

1. Choose how you’ll store your images

Where are you storing your images? I keep mine on an external drive so as not to slow down my computer and I can easily plug it in knowing I have the space to download my photos. The last thing I want is to not be able to get my photos on my computer when I need to start editing.

2. Download while doing something else

It takes a long time to download photos, especially large files, to your computer. The first thing I do when I walk in from the day is plug in my memory card and get them on my computer. I’ll do something else, like take a shower or answer emails while the photos are pulled.

3. Have an organization method

I keep my images all sorted by trip and date. So for instance, “Helsinki, Finland 7/2019”. So when I have to go back to find something, I know exactly where to look. I don’t thumb through memory cards and I can find any image I’ve taken in a matter of seconds. Process and organization are so important, get the small details in line from the start.

4. Have a specific task and get them into Lightroom

If you have a blog, social media, or website, you’ll find you need to edit photos for different tasks. For instance, I will grab a collection of images for IG stories — so all I am doing is editing for that. I’m not editing photos for future blog posts, IG posts, or anything else. I pull my selects that I know I want for one specific task. Once you have the collection you want, pull them into Lightroom or store in Lightroom, depending on how you organize your images. 

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

5. Make quick decisions on what photos you want to edit

You can’t edit each select from let’s say a set of 30 photos from one location. Select a few, maybe 3-5 good ones that you can choose from later. This part here requires quick decision making as often it’s easy to get stuck flipping back and forth between images that often look all the same. I find that very frequently the first two-five images and the last two-five images are my best because of this: the first set of images were probably what caught my eye or prompted me to snap a photo, so there’s something organic in it. The last set of images often represent a more calculated and tweaked camera setting as I’ve probably changed my exposure comp meaning the photo is taken with balance. Select down, star the images you want to edit, and start editing.

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

6. Batch edit with presets

If I’ve shot at one location, I’ll edit the first photo to the tones I like and then copy and paste that edit to any of the other selects — I’m always looking for ways to save time. Presets are always applied — I specifically edit with these to maintain a quick process. Sometimes the photos have to be tweaked from a preset and that’s okay. Some photos do require more editing than normal but most of the time I aim to do the work with my camera rather than post in Lightroom.

Some other tips that help the editing process are having a clear idea of tones you want to enhance, so for me, I always mute my oranges and greens, so I go straight to the HSL panel and tweak. I know my highlights are muted, so I check that dial as well. Editing frequently in Lightroom will get you comfortable and over time, make it easy to look out for specific fixes. 

(Here are my presets that are available for sale.)

7. Export

Once you’ve edited a photo, export it to wherever you’re storing images. For me, it goes back into the folder with that location and date. From there, I airdrop from my computer straight to my phone when I need images for social. Airdrop is a quick way to get a photo on your phone from your computer. 

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

8. Other helpful tips

It takes time to develop a process that works for you. The general flow of what I’ve described above is all about process and it works for me. I don’t want to be spending hours editing photos, I have other jobs to do in the day, so I’ve really focused on being concise with this part of my business. Finding a process that works for you is all about what you enjoy — maybe you enjoy editing individually and that’s okay!

Useful Blog Posts

Best Sony Cameras For Starting Out

5 Photography Tips to Up Your Travel Photos

How I Photograph Myself When Traveling Alone

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A No-Fuss Photo Editing Process

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


1 Comment

  1. Editing for specific tasks is so smart. I recently lost an entire day editing multiple sets of photos for one round-up blog post, only to realize I probably only needed about two images from each set that I could have pulled and edited in minutes. Thanks, Jess!

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