Although it is sometimes overshadowed by its powerful cousin Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom is a robust post-processing program in its own right.
Lightroom is designed with simplicity in mind, however, it still offers a lot of options and can be confusing to new users.
This article assumes you have a basic familiarity with the appearance of the various panels in the Lightroom, and gives you some tips on how to customize your Lightroom workspace for better workflow and productivity.
Lightroom is organized into seven Modules: Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web.
You can find these modules in the uppermost right-hand corner of your screen. This panel or bar is called the Module Picker.
Each of these modules contains a set of tools that work specifically within that module.
For example, if you want to design and print contact sheets of select images from a shoot, you would navigate to the Print module, where you would find the required tools to do that.
You will find, however, that there are some modules that you rarely (or even never) use.
Most users of Lightroom spend the majority of their time in the Library and Develop Modules. Therefore, Lightroom gives you the option to hide these modules from view if you wish.
To set up which modules you would like to remain visible, right click on the module panel to bring up a pop-up menu:
The panels that are visible are noted with a checkmark. To make the module invisible, simply click on it to uncheck it in the menu.
For example, I never use the Book and Slideshow modules, so I have those checked off in my own Lightroom workspace.
The missing modules are still available under the Window menu; you can use keyboard shortcuts to open them.
Keep in mind that if you do this, Lightroom will automatically add the missing module back to the Module Picker.
In the above image, the following are noted:
A. Library Filter bar
B. Image Display area
C. Identity Plate area
D. Panels displaying photos
F. Module Picker
G. Panels for working with metadata, keywords, adjustments
There are four panels in each of the Lightroom Modules. Only two panels – the Module panel and Filmstrip panel – appear in all of the different modules in Lightroom.
For example, the Library module has a top Module Panel, the Navigation panel is located on the left-hand side. The right-side panel is mostly for Metadata, while the bottom panel is where the Filmstrip appears.
Develop Module has Develop and Preset panels instead of Navigation and Metadata.
Tabs are small panels inside of panels.
Below are the various tabs in the Develop panel in the Develop Module in Lightroom:
You can customize your workspace to display only the panels you want.
- To open or close all the panels in a group, hit -> Command-click (Mac) or Ctrl-click(Windows).
- To open or close one panel at a time, simply Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click (Windows) on the panel header.
- To show or hide both side panel groups choose Window ->Panel -> Toggle Side Panels, or press the Tab key.
- To hide all of the panels, including the side panels, the Module Picker and the Filmstrip, choose Window -> Panels -> Toggle All Panels, or press Shift-Tab.
If you don’t use a panel often, you can hide it form view: Control-Click (Mac) or Right-Click (Windows) on any panel header in the group and choose the panel name.
Change the Screen Mode
You can also change the screen display to hide the title bar, menus, and panels.
Choose -> Window -> Screen Mode, and choose an option from the drop-down menu.
When in Normal, Full Screen with Menubar, or Full Screen Mode, press the F key to cycle through them.
If you’re on a Mac OS, note that Full Screen mode and Full Screen and Hide Panels mode both hide the Dock. If you don’t see the Minimize, Maximize, or Close buttons for the application, press the F key once or twice until they appear.
Press Shift-Tab and then the F key to display the panels and menu bar.
- Command+Option+F (Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+F (Windows) to switch to Normal screen mode from Full Screen with Menubar or Full Screen Mode.
- Shift+Command+F (Mac) or Shift-Ctrl+F (Windows) hides the title bar, menus, and panels.
To dim or hide the Lightroom Classic CC workspace, choose -> Window then -> Lights Out, then choose an option. Press the F key to cycle through the options.
You can brand your Lightroom with the logo of your photography business through the Identity Plate Setup.
It’s not going to impact your workflow in any way, but this is a cool customization you can make to appear more professional when working with clients and utilizing tethered capture.
To access the Identity Plate Setup click on a Mac -> Lightroom and choose -> Identity Plate Setup from the drop-down menu. For Windows, go to -> Edit and choose -> Identity Plate Setup.
Under Identity Plate, choose -> Personalized and Custom.
Click on -> Use a Graphical Identity Plate and then -> Locate File to navigate to wherever you have your logo saved on your computer.
However, if you don’t have a logo, you can still customize the text that appears in Identity Plate by changing the font, size of the font, and the color of the module names.
To sum up
A customized workspace can help you improve your workflow and therefore efficiency when working in Lightroom.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you navigate Lightroom a bit more easily and has given you some ideas on setting up the interface in the way that works for you.