Adobe Lightroom is an essential tool for any photographer. Whether you are a professional or amateur, Lightroom can make your workflow faster and more efficient. But there are also a whole host of editing tools available. Some of which you may not even know existed. So here are 6 great lightroom tricks that you probably didn’t know about.
Crop overlay options
Cropping your photos can sometimes mean the difference between a good photo and a great one. You can access the Lightroom crop tool by pressing R on your keyboard in the Develop module. Perhaps you already knew that, but what you may not have known is that when your cropping tool is open, you can change the overlay that shows on your image.
By pressing “O,” you will be able to get a whole host of different overlays on the image to help you crop effectively. Everything from the “Rule of Thirds” to the “Fibonacci Rule” can be accessed to help turn an okay photo into a great one.
Lights Off Mode
Sometimes when you are editing a photo, it is easy to get distracted by all of the side panels and options available. A great way to really see your photo is by looking at it in the “Lights Out” mode. By pressing the “L” key once on your keyboard, everything dims except your image. Pressing it one more time, you will see just the image on a black background without the distracting side panels. Press it a third time to make the side panels re-appear.
Another useful trick, especially when working on smaller screens such as laptops, is to view your image at full screen. Because of the screen size, naturally the actual photo you are working on looks pretty small on a laptop screen.
To get a better view hit “F” on your keyboard and you’ll get to see the image as big as possible on the screen.
To come out of full-screen mode press Esc on your keyboard.
Know if your image is clipped
One of the key elements of taking a photo or post-processing it is to ensure that your highlights and shadows are not overexposed or underexposed to the point where there is no detail in those areas. This is a term that is known as clipping.
It can be difficult to judge by eye if any areas of your photo suffer from this. Thankfully, Lightroom’s clever tool can make it much easier to see where this occurs.
Click the little triangles on the corners of your histogram, and if there are clipped areas in your photo, they will show in red for highlights and blue for shadows. You can then tweak the different sliders to correct these issues. You can also access the clipping highlights by pressing “J” whilst in the Develop module.
Pick and organise
I have over 100,000 photos in my collection. They are for a variety of assignments and clients, and they need organizing in a way that makes it easy for me to access them. One of the most useful aspects of Lightroom is being able to organize and flag your photos effectively. The three easy ways to organize your photos are 1) flagging them (i.e., putting a flag on the ones you want to), 2) adding 1 to 5 stars, 3) color-coding them in red, yellow, green, blue and purple.
You can access these by using the following shortcuts:
- “P” flags a photo (to unflag a photo press “U”). You can also reject a photo by pressing “X”
- Add stars by using the relevant number key between 1 – 5 (press zero to remove stars)
- Color code your image by pressing 6 – 9
How you use these ultimately depends on your workflow. However, for example, you may decide to utilize the colors like a traffic light system (i.e., Green for the ones that you love, yellow for the okay ones and red for rejects). Alternatively, you may simply star the ones you really like with 5 stars. The choice is yours.
Speed up your editing
Often whenever you are at a location, you will take multiple photos. Sometimes you may even take a set of photos from the same scene. When it comes to editing them, it wouldn’t be very efficient to edit each one individually as the light and conditions won’t change much in a few seconds. Lightroom has a couple of great options to help.
Whilst in the Develop module, if you click on the “Previous” button (at the bottom of the right-hand panel), Lightroom pastes the same settings as the last image you were on to the selected image.
If you select multiple images on the film strip in the Develop module, you’ll notice that the “Previous” button changes to “Sync.” Press this and whichever image is selected will be used as a basis to paste the adjustment from to all images you’ve selected.
Once you have clicked on “Sync,” you’ll get a pop up where you can select which settings you want to add. This is a great option when, for example, you shot a scene in burst mode where all the conditions are similar from one photo to the next. You can always make further adjustments to a photo if needed.
These are just some of the simple yet effective editing tools that you may not have known about in Lightroom. There is so much more Lightroom can do. If you learn how to use it, it will become an invaluable software in your workflow.
Don’t forget to let us know your great Lightroom tricks below.