5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

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If you have recently started using the Adobe Lightroom software and are looking for some exciting tips and hacks, this article is the perfect read for you. Lightroom is one such software which allows us to visually improve your photos with easy controls.

But there are some hidden or less explored features of this software of which you might not be fully aware. This is why made this list of five such Lightroom tips and tricks which you can use to maximize your editing skills and save time while editing pictures.

1. Change Colors using the HSL Tool

The HSL tool is one of my favorite tools in Lightroom as it allows you to adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance of a particular color in your image. Yes, you can selectively choose one of the eight primary colors (as shown in the image below) and adjust its tint (hue), intensity (saturation), and brightness (luminance).

If you wish to play around with the colors in your photo, you can use the Hue tool and adjust the tones as per the range of colors available for the respective color.

For example, if you look at the images below, you can simply change a particular color in a photo by adjusting the Hue scale. When I took the purple color hue slider all the way towards +100, the color shifted towards pink. Whereas, when I took the scale towards -100 the color changed to somewhat blue.

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

It is simply magical how you can use the hue scale and change the color (within the range of hue of colors) and enhance the visual appearance of your photo.

2. Automatic Slider Adjustment (shift + double click)

In situations when you are not sure which slider to adjust and by how much, Lightroom has an automated solution to this. The “Automatic Slider Adjustment” feature enables the software to automatically adjust the primary sliders which are Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks.

All you have to do is hover the mouse pointer on a particular slider title (on the word, NOT the actual slider – for example, “Exposure”). Then press and hold the Shift key and along with that double-click the mouse button on the title.

In this example, the software automatically detected the properties of the photo and adjusted the exposure as +0.45. Similarly, you can do this for rest of the primary sliders and let the software decide the best settings for your photos. It’s a good starting point, you can then tweak them as necessary.

NOTE: When you press the Shift key, the “Reset” button at the bottom right corner will change to Reset.

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

3. Clipping Mask

One of that toughest parts of editing is getting the shadows and highlights accurate and within the range so that there is no clipping or loss of detail. One way of keeping a watch on the shadows, highlights, blacks, and whites is by reading the histogram. But histogram can sometimes be difficult to read and you can end up losing details in certain areas of the image.

Inside Lightroom, there is a quick and easy way of finding out if the shadows, highlights, whites or blacks are going out of range or leading to any clipping.

Press and hold the Alt key and then move one of the four sliders. When you are adjusting the highlights or whites in this way, you will see any areas which are clipped appearing as white. Similarly, when you adjust shadows or blacks, the spots appearing in black (or a color) indicate clipping in those areas (as shown in the samples below).

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Left – highlight areas being clipped appear in white. Right – shadow areas being clipped appear in black or a color (partial clipping).

4. Copy Paste Effects

If you are a wedding or event photographer, you might find this tip really helpful. Adobe Lightroom allows you to copy and paste effects from one photo to another with just a click. This comes handy when you are editing photos which are shot in similar lighting conditions and you want the similar effects on multiple photos.

Once you are done editing the first photo from the lot, click on the “Copy” button located at the bottom left corner (or press Cmd/Ctrl+C). Now you can see multiple adjustments (as shown in the screenshot below). Check off the ones you wish to copy or simply select Check All if you want everything similar in other photos.

Now navigate to the next photo and simply press Paste (or press Cmd/Ctrl+V) and all of the same settings will be applied to that particular image.

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

5. Radial Filter Auto Selection

The Radial Filter in Lightroom is a life saver for photographers, don’t you agree? You may have used this tool to create vignetting effect or to make adjustments in the selected area of your photo.

But did you know that rather than wasting your time manually selecting the shape of the selection as per your subject you can use the Auto Selection trick?

Simply draw a small selection over your subject, press and hold Ctrl/Cmd and double-click on the small dot at the center of the selection. The software will automatically make a selection based on the shape and size of your subject. It is accurate most of the time, but there are always exceptions especially when the photo has multiple elements in the frame.

5 Lightroom Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Conclusion

Lightroom is a great program, but image procesing can be tricky and time consuming. Try out these five Lightroom tips and tricks and let us know how you make out. If you have any others please share your Lightroom tips for beginners in the comments area below.

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Kunal Malhotra is a photography enthusiast whose passion for photography started 6 years back during his college days. Kunal is also a photography blogger, based out of Delhi, India. He loves sharing his knowledge about photography with fellow aspiring photographers by writing regular posts on his blog. Some of his favorite genres of photography are product, street, fitness, and architecture.

  • Thanks, Kunal, for sharing a useful tutorial with us. I am a new lightroom user, I have enjoyed the article and also i learned some new task about lihgtroom through from the article.

  • Martin Schlender

    Nice article, but what I found strange is the CTRL double click feature of the radial filter. This only leads to a complete selection of the picture (as described in the LR manual). Good for vignette for example.

  • Mike Robinson

    Great tips, thanks!

  • Christian

    @martinschlender:disqus , is this happening in LR CC or LR Classic CC? I’m just wondering because I’ve noticed that some hotkeys do different things between the two.

  • Christain

    Thanks for the tips, excited to go home and jump on LR! ^_^

  • Martin Schlender

    @Christian It’s Lightroom Classic CC…

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