Lightroom & Photoshop Workflow Wizard

20110702-090529.jpg My ears prick up the minute I hear the word workflow. It's the one area of photography that can be a bit of a drag. The digital age has brought many great things, like being able to take lots of photos for free. The digital age has also brought us a few bad things though, like being able to take lots of photos for free (yeh you read that right). If you shoot weddings, you're taking photos for hours and they stack up fast. My editing sessions always start enthusiastically and then take a dive after the first three or four hours, so I'm always looking for ways to speed up my workflow and always curious about how other photographers work in post.

The Logitech G13 arrived at my door last Friday and I spent most of the day configuring it. It's set-up is very similar to a Wacom tablet and it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.  It's easy to set-up Photoshop and assign keys on the G13 to just about anything. Lightroom is a different story though, as it doesn't have keyboard short cuts assigned to the sliders. The answer to our dreams comes in the form of a fantastic plugin called Paddy which is available to download HERE for free. Paddy is a little time consuming to set-up, but is well worth it. It's best to use the computer F keys as they don't have any shortcuts assigned to them in Lightroom. You can map the F keys to any of the G13's 21 keys using the Logitech software. The keyboard can then be configured in Paddy to control the Lightroom Sliders.

Paddy handles Lightroom sliders by assigning keys to move sliders by a fixed amount. I set my keys up so that for example the F4 key is assigned to Exposure +5. Every time I hit the key on the G13 that's assigned to F4, it increases the exposure by 5. F3+Shift is set to increments of 1 and F3+Alt is set to increments of 10. This might sound a bit complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it's very easy.

I have only edited using the G13 for a couple of hours, but I can see a big jump in the speed of my workflow. The keys are marked G1 to G22 so you need to memorize which key does what, but the shape of the keyboard really helps your brain to take it in a lot faster. I find I'm already reaching for keys on the G13 rather than the computer keyboard. The G13 also detects when you switch programs and applies your presets automatically, again like the Wacom tablets. You can even have three pages of presets for each software program and have each page set to a different colour (screen and keys are lit) so you always know where you are. I use a page for the Library module (blue) and a page for the Develop module (orange) in Lightroom. The G13 is available from Amazon in the UK for £62 or in the US for $62.