Feeling desperate about all these features, buttons, icons, etc. when discovering Lightroom for the first time? We understand you. Even if you’re a longtime Photoshop or Aperture user, switching to a new program and getting used to it takes a lot of time. We’ve recollected our first days with Lightroom and scribbled ✍️ some useful tips for your smooth workflow in Lightroom.
- Set up import presets
Lightroom boasts of many presets to help you edit your photos in a more convenient and fast way. These presets are pre-made actions of different controls that you can access in the develop module of the program. Each of them includes saved values for the White Balance, Presence adjustments, Tone and the Basic Develop pane.
You can also create your own presets. To do it, adjust any of the Develop parameters and choose New Preset in the Edit menu to save it.
This will significantly simplify your photo processing as you can apply a necessary preset to all your pictures right after you import them. Instead of adjusting Clarity, Shadows, etc. in every single photo, you can apply default settings to all pictures. To do it, press ‘Apply during Import’ in the Import dialog and select the right preset.
Another tip: on the Lightroom presets panel; you can drag and drop to organize your presets into folders whichever way you like.
- Use arrow keys for fine-tune adjustments
In the Develop mode, it can be a bit difficult to set up the exact values when you move the slider. You can do it easily by using the arrow keys. For example, click on the White Balance and press Up or Down to change the numerical value in increments of 10. To make greater adjustments hold down the Shift key when pressing Up or Down, it will change White Balance in increments of 200.
- Sort photos in the Library Module automatically
In the Library module, you can easily organize your images by creating folders specifically for each collection of photos, e.g., Romance, Portraits, Guests, etc. These collections can be a part of Collection Sets (e.g., Wedding). The tip in organizing your images in this module is to use the Smart Collection feature that allows you to place the images in the right folders simply by setting up a number of conditions. For example, you can put in adding every image that contains the keyword ‘wedding’ from the Canon camera to the Weddings folder. You can also add ratings and flags to mark the images and organize them using these criteria.
Using Smart Collections is a very convenient way to keep your photos organized in Lightroom.
- Use Caps Lock for Auto Advance
Caps Lock will allow you to work in Lightroom Library mode quicker. Hit the Caps Lock button on your keyboard, and you will be able to use keyboard shortcuts to add metadata to an image and automatically move on to the next image.
- P to flag an image as a pick
- U to remove a flag from an image, or to skip the current image
- Number keys 1-5 to add the corresponding number of stars
- Number keys 6-9 to add a color label
- With the Auto Advance (Photo menu) option turned on you can move rapidly through a shoot while using the metadata keys above.
- Customize the Develop Module
Develop Module offers a great variety of different options, and a newbie can be overwhelmed by it. Fortunately, you can organize it the way you want to hide the options you don't need. You can do it by right-clicking anywhere in the adjustment panels and disabling the features you never use so that your working environment looks cleaner.