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Reordering Images for Delivery

August 5th, 2018

Ashley in South Carolina asks:

I have a realtor who has asked us to upload our images delivered to them in a particular order (living areas, kitchen, & so on, with bedrooms last). I don’t want to change our on-site workflow from starting at the top of the house and working to the bottom so my question is: Does anyone have any method in Lightroom for designating images in a certain order, tagging them, or exporting them, so they will now be in a sequential order that the realtor wants?

It is quite easy to use the collection feature in Lightroom to create virtual copies of your shoot image in a different order. Here is the process:

  1. While in either the Library or Develop module, select the images you want to put in the reordered set.
  2. Go to the left sidebar of LR to where it says “Collections”.
  3. Click on the “+” to the right of where it says Collections and select “Create Collection”.
  4. In the Create Collection dialog box, provide a name for the new collection; make sure the options “include selected photos” and “make virtual copies” is selected.
  5. Click on Create to create the new collection.
  6. Go to the new collection and reorder the photos as you want.
  7. Select all the photos in the collection, and do an export.

The video tutorial above goes into more detail on the Lightroom “Collections” feature.

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17 Responses to “Reordering Images for Delivery”

  • As Larry Explained, using Lightroom collections is the easiest way to go about it if you use Lightroom. I will add, we use Tourbuzz to deliver and once uploaded to the site you can then drag and drop to reorder the photos as they will play in the slide show and/or change file names for each image so they are in order of file number as well… just a additive thought… Most Realtors prefer having the main selling images up front so potential clients will see those first and not lose interest before getting to them.

  • I do this frequently—but just because I know how my clients usually like them ordered.

    Typically in my workflow I have final image versions in .tif. As you may know you can’t reorder the raw files as imported from your camera. But you CAN reorder the files and copies produced—as Larry said, you can create virtual copies (if your workflow is single ambient and you simply edit the raw files with no additional programs like Photoshop creating copies) and reorder them as you please by dragging and dropping them in the film strip or library view.

  • Here’s my workflow with LightRoom:

    1. Mark the images I am going to use with one star
    >post process/edit images
    2. Mark images that are finished with 4 stars
    3. Mark alternate selections with 3 stars if I have two competing compositions I’m not sure of yet
    3-1/2. Mark images for the portfolio with 5 stars (not too common)
    4. Show only images with 4 or more stars in a grid view
    5. Drag the images into order
    6. Select all ordered images
    7. Export as .jpg with a custom name and sequence number
    8. ?
    9. Make lots of money

    I used to shoot in the order I would deliver, but I’ve learned to use small bedrooms and baths as a warm up and I finish with the kitchen most of the time which is where I’ve dumped all of my gear initially. It’s a tip I picked up from Scott Hargis’ videos and I’m sure some others. If I have issues with where the sun is or will be, I’ll photograph certain rooms first or last depending on what I see during my initial walkthrough. There are some occasions where the home owner is still cleaning and I have to go with what they have ready first.

    I give the agent the opportunity to request an order that they prefer, but all of them go with my lead so far. I start with the front exterior, work through the common rooms, master bed/bath, secondary rooms/baths and finish with the backyard. I sequence detail shots with the area they belong with if I have any. I keep notes on each one of my customers in a text file that sits in their folder on my computer. If any were to have a preference different than what I normally do, I’d write it down there.

  • my lightroom workflow

    1. I mark the first exposure of every shot with the flag and red (key 6) – takes a couple seconds
    2. I choose the flag only view and then see only the first exposure of each shot – I deliver 20 for most shoots
    3. If there are more than 20 i unflag the ones I don’t want so only my 20 are flagged (the first exposure of all unpicked shots are still red for easy reference if needed.
    4. I renumber each of my 20 in the standard order I deliver (eg 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 then 2-1, 2-2, and so on) – this takes about 1 min in LR
    5. I arrange the folder by ‘name’ so they are 1-20 and dragged the images not picked (if any) into a subfolder in raw marked ‘spares’

    The above takes less than 5 minutes
    All clients get their images in the same order

    Front Exterior
    Interior entrance or lobby if nice
    Living room
    Kitchen
    Dining Room (sometimes dining room before kitchen if nice and you’ve already seen it in living room shots)
    Den if any
    Office if any
    Main floor bathroom if big enough
    Master Bedroom
    Master Bath
    Second bedroom
    Main bathroom
    Additional bedrooms
    Basement Family room
    Other basement rooms – gym, game room, bar, etc
    Any basement bedroom & bath if nice and requested
    Back of house & backyard
    Backyard looking out from house/corner
    Any outbuildings requested
    Occasionally garage if decorated and fancy cars

    Some clients request more than 20 shots, 25, 30, 35 etc – other clients only want 20 even with very big homes as
    MLS only takes 20 – in the case of a large home and the client only wanting 20 I will only shoot the master bedroom
    and bath – maybe a second bedroom and bath depending on if/what in basement. I’ll shoot only the main room in
    basement.
    If a large house has one or two suites in the basement (about 80% or more of all medium to arge homes in Vancouver, Canada
    area) – for those I will only shoot the main area in the basement apartment(s).

    I try to shoot in this order as it makes numbering quicker – sometimes we all have to shoot in the order of what the homeowner
    has ready.

    To me it makes sense to deliver the photos in this order as 1. they really appreciate it and 2. that’s how they will present them
    on their website and mls….and it good for clients to see the primary/best images first.

    I’ve tried all kinds of ways of doing it – for me the above looks best and is very quick once you’ve done it a couple times.

    I think the key is doing whatever is easiest and quickest for you – and pleases the client. No one has ever asked me to arrange
    them in any other order – many have thanked me for delivering the images in this order.

  • forgot to mention I then pick the exposure or exposures for each image and gather them together – those are edited
    and exported/opened in photoshop for any final edit/tweak if necessary. In LR the final edits are reimported and the
    final image (could be 1-1 or 1-3 – whatever it is is changed to just ‘1’ or ‘2’ etc.

    Print size and websize copies are exported from lightroom and sent to the client via wetransfer.com – love that we get
    a confirmation email from wetransfer saying the client has downloaded.

    I used to have a dropbox folder for each client that I shared with them – other than my very best 3 clients that seem
    to like leaving all their shoots, floorplans etc. in our dropbox I’ve stopped this in favor of wetransfer.com delivery.
    So far I’ve only used the free version as you can send up to 2gig in each transfer – and it’s SO easy and reliable to
    use and my clients like it.

  • Interesting discussion and thankfully have never had that specific request. I deliver “as taken” and conditioned agents to the “as taken” concept. My concerns are that if I let them know I COULD do it, it would suddenly become an expectation, or wasn’t in THE ORDER that they envisioned. Heaven forbid you got the dining room before the living room because in their mind it should be reversed. You are a photographer…not a mind reader. To accommodate, I typically work in a walkthrough process – Front exterior and entry, living areas, kitchen, bedrooms and baths – Master first, rear patio and exterior. They get use to it. When I differ, I let them know – and typically is weather related getting the exterior first or last, or Realtor related as they were occupying the living area signing paperwork so I got the bedrooms first.

    One major problem I noted with the latest Lightroom update is file naming. I usually export, renaming files “Address-1”, -2, -3 etc. (or “Address-1 1500px” etc). The update omits the -1 in the number sequence, and the file now without a number appears last rather than first. Simple enough to go in and re-name the file to include the -1, but it is an extra step and you have to remember to do it.

    @Ken – I use to “dump” my gear in the living area and move it. After having to Photoshop it out a couple times as it showed through the doorway of the adjacent room and I missed it on framing, I changed my workflow. While I setup (tripods, lighting, etc) in the living area, I now dump the excess gear in the laundry room (or garage if no laundry room). While I typically do not take photos of the laundry room, if this is an exemplary room where a photo is expected…take it first, then dump. If you want to have fun, after the initial introduction, ask where the laundry room is and watch the look of horror on their face. “You’re not going to take a picture of the laundry room are you?”.

  • I never heard of having the order from top of house down, If I was ordering pics that would drive me crazy. outside first then in an order that the home may be shown in, certainly not the bedrooms first, ever. If you deliver in a tour format especially, if you just send the photos to the mls site then the realtor should be able to change the order themselves but if it’s in a delivered tour I can’t think of any customer who would want top down. I apologize if I misunderstood the question.

  • Our local MLS will reorder the images as it wants and agents have to do sorting on MLS itself to correct the problem. Even so, we are photographers. Presentation is part of a realtors job, not ours.

  • Use PS and BRIDGE. A lot more simple!! I’ve been using that system for the hole 17 years! Lightroom is too complicated.

  • I start outside and work my way in from the front door. I deliver in that order.
    Thankfully everyone is happy with this.

    Until ‘perspective buyers’ start entering listings through a bedroom window, I don’t see why any other way would be needed.

  • While it is usually the agent’s job to order images as they want, once you know how they want it, at least for me it’s not really a whole lot of extra time (a few seconds at most) to re-order images before export in the Lr film strip because my final images are TIFF files before export. I’ve had a few agents say that it’s made their lives so much easier because they can just upload without thinking about it. Sometimes their assistants re-order images but mostly the order is left alone. As long as such a simple thing provides value to my clients I’ll keep doing it–because part of our job is making their lives easier.

  • I’m with Larry Gray & Aaron. Realtors will present the images in the order they want when they upload them to MLS, or after. Presentation is the Realtors job.

  • Funny, it never occurred to me not to shoot in the order the realtor would show them. All this time I could’ve started with a half-bath in the basement. 🙂

  • It is not our job to send the images in any order. I name my images Interiors (1) to whatever and Exteriors (1) etc If they want them in an order charge for it because you can count on them saying the images are not in the order they want.

  • In 18 Years as a RE Photographer I have NEVER given a Realtor that much power over my product, I have never been asked and If I was I would tell them where to JAM IT, seriously some of you guys are selling your souls to your clients. The order you shoot a house is up to you, your needs to produce the best images you can, the light, working in with Vendor and their needs, so many reasons I have to change the order I shoot in when arriving at a house, no WAY I would then re order the images to suit a Agent, its up to them to work out their order and upload to the websites.

  • @Larry Gray, I use the kitchen for gear since it’s usually the last room I photograph and there is lots of non-scratchable counter space. I’ve photographed my gear often in the past and I’m almost perfect now at keeping it out of frame.

    PFRE is a service business. Ordering images is a simple task that adds value for the customer. I don’t worry about what the MLS is going to do with photos as much as what consumer facing websites will do. So far, I don’t see images getting out of the order I put them in especially when agents upload directly to each site rather than letting them to propagate through syndication. My goal is to hand my customer a turn key set of images. I do not want to have them needing to re-size, change the order or anything else. That’s what they are paying me for. I point these things out in my pitch. If my competition doesn’t want to, that’s great for me and thank you so much for making me look like the better photography service.

    @Kathy Ward, Every software package has a learning curve. I do more than PFRE and keeping track of my images is very important so the cataloging features of LR are something I use all of the time. Bridge would be more onerous to use for my workflow and I’m all about speed on RE photos. If you license your images only once and toss them out after a period of time, using just Bridge and PS can work but you could be denying yourself additional income from secondary licensing. I also make money from creating portfolio books for my broker customers where I take the best images I have made for them over the past year or two, layout a book and sell them several copies for the agents in the office to use to when they make a pitch to a prospective client. It’s very easy to do that through LR. I can search keywords to pull up my customer’s photos, specify a time frame and build a collection. If I just had all the images in folder on the hard drive, I’d have to spend more time than the project might be worth finding the right photos. As it is, I can make about $500 for an evening’s worth of work in the off-season. I plan on expanding those sales this fall/winter and part of that will be getting the workflow as quick as possible so I can create single books for agents at a price point they will go for and still be able to earn enough to make them worthwhile.

  • So, effectively the agent is asking you to do it because (a) they can’t be bothered, (b) don’t know what to do, or (c) don’t have someone else that can do it. It’s that simple. Rather than charge extra, I’d show the agent how to modify each photograph’s file name, to add “01”, “02” and so on to the front of the filename, in the order THEY wanted. The can then upload them in that order.

    I’m often forced to shoot around the weather or people doing final preparations or moving things (which shouldn’t happen but it does). To shoot in a particular order would just add time and cause me to be late for my next shoot.

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