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Aug 21

Tips to Make the Most Out of Adobe Lightroom

Although Lightroom is not capable of carrying out a few professional tasks like advanced photo manipulation and working with text layers over photos that Photoshop can, it still seems to have garnered a bunch of fans. Photographers praise this program for its features that enable them to cut down on their time spent processing and editing pictures, thereby increasing their efficiency. It certainly has come a long way from being just a tool for organizing and managing photos in its earlier days to being one of the most widely used editing and post-processing software. Many web design professionals and web design agencies prefer Adobe Lightroom.

So, if you are a Lightroom user, you would obviously want to know how to enhance your skills and take your pictures to the next level. Here a few tips and tricks to help you make the most out of Adobe Lightroom.

Adapt a minimally efficient organizational system

Lightroom has so many options for organizing and managing photos that it becomes confusing for users to choose the right one. Numerous organizational features like Quick collection, Flagging, Starring, Color tagging, Collections, and Smart Collections are available for users to choose, but these rather bring an unnecessary complexity.

Make sure to keep all your photos in one location when you import them and never replace or rename them outside of Lightroom. Otherwise, they will likely be lost as the program has no means of tracking changes you make outside it. Keep all your photos in the same hard drive and if possible, in the same master directory.

While some may have no problem using multiple catalogs, some argue that employing a single catalog workflow is beneficial.

Keep Caps Lock on for keyboard shortcuts

If you wish to work quickly, simply press the Caps Lock to turn on the Auto Advance mode. This will allow you to add meta-data to your pictures using the keyboard shortcuts, and move on to the next picture automatically. For example, you can use the numbers from six to nine to incorporate color labels and one to five to add stars (1 for one star, 2 for two stars, and so on). The letter P will allow you to flag a picture and pressing U will unflag it.

Auto advance is an effective trick to increase productivity and decrease the time spent editing. Some of the following tips rely heavily on keeping the Advance mode on.

Make use of Smart Previews

Smart Previews allows you to keep editing even after disconnecting from the hard drive by creating a smaller version of your image in your Lightroom catalog. What is even better about this feature is that the recent update from Adobe allows not just editing, but an increase in performance. Smart Previews are smaller files, hence they are quicker and easier to work from. Many even prefer to use them instead of the originals while editing.

Make use of presets

Presets are tools in Lightroom that could save you a huge chunk of time spent on post-production. You can save your own presets that you use regularly to enhance your pictures or use the multitude of presets available online, both free and paid. Presets are powerful features that make the core of many photographers’ workflow. They enable you to take your photos to new levels with just one click.

Travel photographer, Viktor Elizarov, recommends separating your presets into two categories – Style presets and Adjustment presets. Style presets are those that define the look and style of your picture. For example, cool or warm, contrasted or soft. The presets that allow fine-tuning without altering the look or style preset of an image are what he calls ‘adjustment presets’.

Make use of various cropping options

Did you know that there are various cropping options in Lightroom? After entering cropping mode by pressing the R button on your keyboard, tap the O button to allow Lightroom to offer you with different kinds of crop overlays or grids you can place on top of an image while cropping. These can help you get creative while cropping your images, and not just stick to conventional picture shapes.

Make use of Lights Out mode

If you wish to concentrate on the image you are editing and not be distracted by the surrounding Lightroom interface, you can switch on Lights Out mode by pressing the L key. Consequently, the program interface area will dim, allowing you to focus on your image. If this still does not do the trick for you, tap the L key again and the surrounding area becomes completely dark. Pressing the L key a third time will reset the view back to normal. Lights Out mode can be used both in single image view and in grid view.

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