3 Tips to Reduce Editing & Culling Time | Confessions of a Chronic “Overshooter”

The most time consuming task for a portrait photographer is often culling and editing. A little transparency here: My name is Sarah and I’m an over-shooter. Throughout my entire career I find myself taking way. too. many. photos.

So many photos, friends. You have no idea.

But I also confess I’m a big girl, 28 years old, to be exact so I’ve learned a thing or two (actually three tips, ha!) I will share with you on how I have bettered myself & business.

Editing and culling, in fact, takes me longer than bookkeeping, filing taxes, client consultations, cleaning my studio, driving to sessions, and photographing my clients. I spend more time on this task than anything business related. I’m type A and cannot work without doing something to the fullest. While being detail oriented and business minded can have its perks, it also can be a millstone around you neck when it comes time to creating your art.

You see, part of being an awesome photographer is creating a collection for your clients. The session should encompass your genre fully. To elaborate, I specialize in posed newborn portraits. This means I work with precious new arrivals when they’re about 14 days or newer. There are several session types such as my bean bag mini to my full session. In my case, clients need to see a diverse and stunning gallery. The process, however, from taking the images, which is my time and talent, to the editing, culling, and researching is a lengthy one.

The longer I’ve been in business, the more I ask myself, “How can I reduce my editing and culling time?”

The answer is simple: Have your husband do it!

HA! I kid, totally joking. Humor aside, I admit I am a perpetual over shooter. I go into a session saying, “I’m going to take around 100 clicks and that’s it. Stop. Don’t do more.”

I would equate this, as a Mom, going into Target and saying, “I’m just going to buy toilet paper and a lunch box. That’s it. Toilet Paper. Lunch Box. This is the mission. Get in and get out.”

But then, you see that awesome Magnolia line by Joanna Gaines; there is a sale on mascara, and you can stop oooohing over the beautiful floor lamp that would look dashing your living room! Before you know it, you have $650 dollars of random items in your cart and you’re in the check out line without a memory of how you even got there, HA!

That’s how photographing a session is for me: I get caught up. I swoon over my clients. I get super excited about creating something new, all the options, all the creativity and aspects that before I know it, I have, like, 400 photos to go through. Okay, sometimes 500. Friends, actually sometimes even 700!!! That is nuts! Nobody needs to go through 700 photos. That’s not a collection - that’s going to overwhelm your client and yourself!

Example: Miso’s Little Sitter Session. She is a client of mine who is a baby plan membership plan, so going into the session I was already stoked to see them! We had a fantastic time in the first portion, the posed newborn, so when she came to my studio, I had a ton of plans and ideas in mind.

So much, in fact, that I took SIX-HUNDRED-FIFTY-ONE IMAGES. OH MY LORD. Do you know how many come in her session? 15. 15 images, friends. I typically show parents around 50, so I ended up editing 51, ha, because I’m an overachiever, ha!, but really - it was a learning task for me.

Her final proofing gallery is here, shown below, but along the way I learned some tricks that have since been implemented into my reduction of editing and culling time.

 culling and editing in lightroom

Refine Your Culling Process

This blog post is going to share how I have learned to efficiently and quickly cull my sessions in Lightroom specifically. This will cover a brief overview on fastest way to cull, why Lightroom is my choice for culling digital photos, and the workflow behind this. As a chronic over shooter, I have learned to reign myself in. While I still take too many photos, here and there, I have significantly reduced the time I spend in my office editing.

# 1 ) Stick to the session design plan

I am super guilty of adding additional setups to all of my sessions. Sometimes it’s going super well and I’ll think, “Hey, what’s one more?!” Well, before you know it, a session that had 2 set ups turns into a session with 7 set ups. Make yourself accountable. Do not include more setups than necessary; you’re not getting paid for more and you’re going to be sitting at the computer much longer. You could use that time to market, spend time with your loved ones, take a nap, focus on your other clients, or just be more present in your daily activities.

Being accountable and sticking to the game plan is the foundation for starting your editing and culling process off smoothly. If there’s not 651 photos to edit, than you’re already off to a better start!


I am a huge advocate for Lightroom editing software. All of my workflow takes here. However, while I adore Lightroom, I also believe you should use the software you’re most proficient and comfortable using. Some people use bridge, but my heart belongs to Lightroom and I do about 99 percent editing in there. A few tricks to culling a session in Lightroom will help reduce your editing time by removing the going back and forth, constantly comparing, feeling overwhelmed, and agonizing over each and every image.

  • An initial flag to select

  • Star rating system

I use Lightroom to flag those images I like and then use a star rating. I only edit the 5 star images. There’s no point in showing a client an image that does not meet my extremely high standards and expectations for my portraiture work.

Lightroom is my choice for editing because the flagging system is very quick. It’s literally a click. That’s it. You can also reject or “unflag” images easily, too, and have Lightroom show only what you want to be shown. You can also use colors and a 1-5 star rating system if you want to be very particular.

# 3) Be Discerning | Follow this checklist

Once my images are imported into Lightroom I get serious. I am super objective about the images because my photography reputation is ultra important to me. I do not release images that are anything but high quality and so following this checklist will help streamline your culling process and ultimately ensuring you spend much less time editing because you’re only working on the top images. Your time is best spent on creating. Not culling and agonizing for hours a day.

Fast culling in Lightroom will naturally develop through this list. The more discerning you are and focus only on the best of the best, the more you will wow your clients and serve them.

Always discard images that fall into these categories:

  1. Out of focus

  2. Eyes closed

  3. Odd or uncomfortable facial expressions

  4. Repetitive pose or setup

We discard these images because unless the photo is sharp, stands on it’s own as a diverse option, and is worthy of being framed than it does not deserve your time! Clients should be wowed and over the moon when they receive the proofing images. They should not feel like it’s the same image over and over and over. That’s why sticking your plan, which is tip number one, is the foundation to drastically reducing culling and editing time.

I have now reduced my editing time by almost two hours/session simply by implementing stricter standards for myself. What would you do with an extra two hours per day? You could bake a cake! You could go for a walk! You could take a nap. You could take your kiddos to the park or surprise your spouse with a picnic! The options are endless. You are valuable. Your time is valuable. Your time should not be spend hunched over a PC deciding which of the 800 images are going to make the final 15.

Ultimately, the strongest images from Miso’s session were the following:

 culling in lightroom
 culling images in lightroom
 fast culling in lightroom

If you enjoyed reading how I’ve reduced my culling and editing time via Lightroom and other helpful tips you may enjoy reading blog posts sharing these topics, too!

Updated Newborn Options with Appointments Available to 40 Days Fresh

Top Rated Houston Infant & Baby Photographer, Sarah Borchgrevink, is Now Offering Extended Availability for Newborn Portrait Scheduling.

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Hey, friends! Howdy to you! Today’s blog post is super awesome because I am sharing a new option available to my precious cherub clients here at SBP. Newborn sessions are now available to earth-side arrivals up to 40 days fresh! I even had a 55 day old baby boy recently and it went well, too, so this has taught me a little flexibility. Up until now, I specifically focused on little ones who are 14 days or newer, as this is the industry standard in the world of fine art, posed infant photography. While I still believe that 5-9 days is the best time to bring Baby to my studio, I am able to modify sessions, catering to babies who missed the traditional 14 day window.

What changed my mind?

 highest rated newborn photographer

As one of the highest and best rated portrait artists in Houston, newborn safety and awareness is a huge part of my excellent customer service. You see, in general, newborns are sleepier, curlier, and are more mold-able when they’re less than two weeks old. There are certain poses that need to be avoided with older babies, but for every pose one should avoid, there is also the opportunity to do new creative, unique, and gorgeous of a brand new baby. Working with older newborns has taught me to think outside the box, to try new set ups and floor props, and also to amp up my macro photography game, which are the darling details of your baby’s precious features.

 portrait studio infant photography

Also, parents are human. Unless they’re a photographer themselves, they probably do not know how soon after birth parents visit my fully stocked baby portrait studio. However, I’ve been experimenting with taking older babies as sometimes parents aren’t aware how early you have to book your newborn session. Furthermore, sometimes parents miss the two week window to schedule. Newborn sessions can be modified to reflect the age of an older baby.

There are certain poses,such as froggie, also known as chin in hand pose, you will not achieve with an older newborn, such as 40 days, but there are some really neat, unique, and spectacular galleries that can still be achieved!

We can use texture, backgrounds, cozy wrapping, breathtaking macros, and family images, too, along with adorable parent and baby set ups to achieve a very diverse, special gallery you’re sure to treasure for years. A newborn session is an investment though it is one you’ll have forever, and one you’ll never regret making.

Extensive experience

 sarah borchgrevink | baby photographer

Each month, I photograph around 22 babies in addition to the maternity, family, and baby milestone sessions I also document. This means I work with over 240 new additions each year. To date, I’ve photographed over 900 newborns and counting! They are my specialty. This in mind, I am now comfortable taking older sessions because I have been quietly accepting older little ones over the past 3 months.

Which packages are available to which ages?

At SBP, there are four fully inclusive options for parents to consider. The wrapped mini is specifically available to 40 days, however, the bean bag mini, petite, and full sessions are now available up to 24 days, too. That’s 10 days longer than my current cut off of 14 days. These packages cater to different budgets in order to offer affordable options to new parents and couples in the Greater Houston area. The newborn photography pricing includes the following:

Sample Images of Babies After 14 Days

When these precious babies visited my studio, I specifically took their sessions a little unsure what was going to happen; after all, the newer baby is the “better” the session typically goes. However, I took a laid back approach and told myself to focus on keeping them safe, cozy, and content. Both parents had ample food on hand for them, as they are both much older than I typically schedule, but we ended up having beautiful galleries!

 7 week old newborn boy photoshoot
 6 week old baby photo ideas
 2 month old baby photography poses
 older newborn images
 posing 8 week old baby

See more of Miso’s gallery below. Here is also the full blog post showing Best Hair Award for Baby Girl!

This little guy, for example, is 55 days old (wow!!!) and even at this age he did great! See his full gallery here. This in mind, his parents chose the “petite” newborn collection, so we focused on macro details, wrapping, floor props, and family photos. I did try to pose him in the naked bean bag images, but he was no longer limber. This does not mean, however, you cannot have a sweet session! I am truly excited to offer sessions to parents because while I am a full time photographer, I also have four kiddos of my own and understand how meaningful the portraits are. You will treasure these forever and pass them down to your baby when they’re grown. A custom newborn session is the ultimate investment as it’s truly an heirloom.

See what R’s parents had to say about their experience with Sarah:

Sarah is a wonderful person to work with. Nobody in Houston was ready to shoot our baby as he turned 55 day old by the time we could plan for his session. Sarah showed interest and helped to take a chance and try different calming poses for our kid. She was so kind and nice throughout the session. She gave positive vibes in first few secs itself and one can blindly trust to handle their cute little ones.
She also handled all our choices of colors and probes with extreme patience. We are real lucky to have reached out to her. Pictures turned out to be amazing and would leave a lifetime memory to be cherished.
Thank you Sarah for everything.

Here is another sample gallery for a 5 week old baby boy named Malcolm. His sweet parents visited from Cypress, which is a suburb in NW Harris County. He also had an older sister named Mia who was such a rockstar and dream to photograph! His session was truly stunning and he was such a precious little fella!

What areas of Houston does Sarah serve?

Sarah is located in NW Houston, specifically near 290/Barker Cypress, though has convenient access to all major highways and freeways, as well as toll roads such a Beltway 8 and the 99. Areas include Cypress, Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, Klein, Sugar Land, Bellaire, Humble, Conroe, and more!

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If you enjoyed reading details about the option to schedule older newborn sessions, you may enjoy reading about these topics:

Sarah Borchgrevink Photography is a Houston Newborn Photographer specializing in gorgeous posed newborn sessions. Her studio is located in Northwest Harris County. In addition to breathtaking baby portraiture, Sarah also offers stylish natural light family photography as well as dynamic outdoor maternity sessions for expecting mothers and couples. Sarah joyfully serves the entire Harris and Montgomery county areas including Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Memorial & West Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Pearland, Richmond, West University and Rice Village.


Kind Words & Praise | Top Notch Experience, Service, & Communication

See why Sarah’s clients are the happiest in Houston! Check out October reviews from clients sharing what set their session apart!

 posed baby with teddy bear hat

“Sarah was an amazing newborn photographer for our little one! She was prompt and thoughtful from start to finish. During the session, she made sure everyone was relaxed and happy which led to a pleasurable experience for the whole family. He professionalism and photography are unmatched and we look forward to using her photography services in the future!” - Jessica & Matt

 newborn girl in bucket

“Having Sarah take newborn pictures of our newborn was a TERRIFIC decision!
I have used other newborn and family photographers in the past and Sarah is the most prepared, patient, and fluid of all of them. She has a vision of the shots she wants to take and the studio is set up and ready to go prior to your session. The excitement and passion Sarah has for photographing newborns is unmatched! She looooves babies and looooves what she does. Her exuberance and professionalism made the session go so quickly and smoothly. The final products are AMAZING! I worked for Disney and they always taught us, “Communication is key”. Sarah GETS IT! She was by far the best at communicating and touching base before and after our session. “ - Emily

“fI am so glad that we found Sarah. She was amazing. Her work is wonderful at an amazing price. Sarah is extremely professional and prompt. But more importantly she cares about the families she portraits. We couldn't have been happier. “ - Chris & Kristin

 newborn photography in houston

 highest rated photographer houston

“Had an amazing experience with Sarah from the beginning. Sarah was very professional in all of her communications and very fast to respond to any questions we had. When it came to the week of our shoot, the weather was looking a little shaky and Sarah kept us very up to date on the plan should weather cause any issues. The night before we decided due to the rain that we would reschedule to the following weekend. When we showed up for our shoot Sarah was prepared with props and very good at giving direction. We are very happy with our photos and already have our 2nd shoot booked!!! “ - Brandon & Erin

 Houston's Best Newborn Studio.jpg

“Sarah was so amazing for our son's newborn photos that we used her again for our daughter's photos! She is so sweet and gentle with newborns! Her studio is gorgeous and she provides a lot of options for colors, props and poses. She is so easy to work with and captured beautiful photos of our family.” -Jodi & Brad

 one year old photography session

“We had a great time working with Sarah for our family session. She made the session very fun and comfortable for our daughter. She captured the perfect moments while working not only with a toddler, but parents and grandparents. We would love to work with her again in the future!” - Timothy

“Sarah was amazing with our 12 month-old, busy-walking girl! We love the shots she was able to capture of our girl and family, and would highly recommend Sarah” - Elizabeth

 baby girl splashing in vintage tub

“Sarah is an amazing photographer. We have used her for all our daughter's big events in her short 1 year life (maternity, newborn, family, photos and 1 year photos). Sarah has always been such a pleasure to work with, always answers her phone and makes me feel like I am talking to an old friend. The picture quality is AMAZING! We have the best photos of our little girl. All the photos are timeless works of art. I still marvel at all the photos we received. I recommend Sarah to all my friends and will continue to use her every year to capture the love and unique characters of our little family. if you are looking for a friendly, talented, patient, responsive photographer, look no further you have found her! “ - Ana & Scott

 newborn photos with mom and dad

“Let me start of by saying that Sarah was absolutely AMAZING! She was so patient, calm, and took all the time she needed. Our baby was in the NICU so her pictures were done at 14 days old instead of the usual 5-9 days, & she did every thing she could to get me a froggie pose picture since it was one of my request. All the pictures came out so perfect, our family loved them, we received so many compliments from family & friends. My husband and I have been recommending to her to everyone! It was so worth the investment. “ - Eunice

 fall family photography in houston

“Sarah takes our family pictures every year. She takes beautiful photos and offers packages for a reasonable price that include a variety of poses. We have a two year old son and he is pretty wild, and she was still able to get a number of great shots for us to choose from. The whole process with Sarah is very easy and she outlines all the steps for you from picking a location, clothing, choosing from proofs, lab selection for printing, and more. I really can't say enough good things about her as she is truly talented and professional. We will continue to use her for our photos and I will recommend her to everyone! “ - Rita & HL

 family portraits by sarah borchgrevink

“I absolutely love the work that Sarah has done for our family photo shoot! The pictures all came out beautiful. She is also very nice and very approachable with any questions that you have. “

If you enjoyed reading why Sarah is the best baby, newborn, and family photographer you may enjoy browsing these topics, too:

Sarah Borchgrevink Photography is a Houston Newborn Photographer specializing in gorgeous posed newborn sessions. Her studio is located in Northwest Harris County. In addition to breathtaking baby portraiture, Sarah also offers stylish natural light family photography as well as dynamic outdoor maternity sessions for expecting mothers and couples. Sarah joyfully serves the entire Harris and Montgomery county areas including Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Memorial & West Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Pearland, Richmond, West University and Rice Village.

Sarah’s Located in NW Houston Near Barker Cypress & 290