Tutorials |Best Lightroom tips for smarter post-processing

HOW TO... Best Lightroom tips for smarter post-processing

Best Lightroom tips for smarter post-processing

Adobe Lightroom is one of the prevailing raw conversion and photo editing software packages available. Thanks to Adobe’s photography plan it is now offered along with Photoshop CC, which attracts a lot more users. We’ve put together our best Lightroom tips and tricks that this commanding package has to offer.

Lightroom Tips: 01 Use an external drive

Lightroom is especially handy in regard to its ability to access images stored on external hard drives and NAS (network attached storage) drives. This allows you to store your data-rich files somewhere other than your computer while still being able to retrieve them with Lightroom.

In the case that you need to move files from your computer to an external drive, you’ll want to do so via Lightroom to allow the software to track the files.

The entirety of your images’ data is stored in a catalogue called the .LRCAT file. This can be stored on an external drive if need be, you’ll just need to double-click on the catalogue in Lightroom to open it. This feature is particularly useful if you tend to move between more than one computer.

Lightroom Tips: 02 Save space with Solo mode

In Lightroom, the controls are displayed in panels throughout the Develop module. This can be a lot to sort through, leaving many users a bit frustrated when it comes to finding the control they need.

The process is still time-consuming even after you’ve familiarized yourself with the Develop component. In Solo mode Lightroom, however, open panels automatically collapse once you open another one. This way, locating the control you want isn’t as difficult because you don’t have to constantly scroll up and down through the panels.

Solo Mode can be turned on by right-clicking (Ctrl-click) in the dark grey area found in the left or right side panels and then selecting Solo mode in the list that appears.

SEE MORE: The differences between Lightroom and Photoshop

Lightroom Tips: 03 See collections on iPhone and iPad

A mobile version of Lightroom was launched with the 5.4 upgrade, as well as well as introduction of synced collections on the iPad for Creative Cloud subscribers. When Lightroom 5.5 came round, this service was broadened to include iPhones as well.

All it takes is a quick upgrade to the newest version of Lightroom and a quick download of the Lightroom for iPhone app and you’re ready to connect your Creative Cloud account.

Simply indicate the Collections you want to synchronise and you’ll soon be able to peruse your images according to your selected collections, as well as flag, rate, and make non-destructive adjustments to these images.

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Lightroom Tips: 04 Save images as JPEGs

It’s not very clear how to save in other formats in Lightroom because there is no ‘Save’ or ‘Save As’ option in the File Menu. You have to choose ‘Export’ (also in the File Menu) if you want to save your image as a JPEG.

However, since changes made in Lightroom are non-destructive, most people don’t bother to save in other formats.

SEE MORE: 6 beginner photography techniques you can use forever

Lightroom Tips: 05 Save frequent actions as Presets

Lightroom Tips: 05 Save frequent actions as Presets

Any regular adjustments you make in Lightroom can be saved as Presets, which allows you to execute all of those adjustments with a single click.

Since modifications made in Lightroom are non-destructive, you can safely use Presets as starting point for your editing. Any adjustment can be undone by simply reverting back to the original image.

As we discuss in point 6, you can access several Presets for free on the Internet, or you could just as easily make your own. Open your image in the Develop module and use the control panel on the right side of the screen to make your adjustments.

Then locate the Preset panel on the left side of the screen and click on the ‘+’ to create a new Preset. A new window will then pop up and prompt you to choose which settings you want included in the Preset. All you have to do next is name the Preset and click ‘Save’.

You can now locate your new Preset in the Preset panel when you want to use it on other images.

Lightroom Tips: 06 Download and use Presets

Lightroom allows users who are willing to share their Presets to post them to the Internet. This allows you to explore the effects others have created and use them on your own images.

First you have to download the Preset and install it to Lightroom. This usually requires unzipping a compressed file(s) first. Next you’ll want to pull up the Preset panel in Lightroom and right-click to create a new folder. Right-click again on the folder itself and choose ‘Import’ to locate the files you just unzipped. Simply click on ‘Import’ to finish up.

Lightroom Tips: 07 Apply camera presets

The majority of digital cameras come equipped with features such as Picture Control (Nikon) and Picture Style (Canon) options such as Landscape, Netural and Faithful etc. These options let you tailor the appearance of JPEG images.

In Lightroom, you can use the Camera Calibration panel in the Develop module to apply these profiles to raw files. If you want to change the profile, click on the arrows just to the right of the words ‘Adobe Standard’ and a list of available profiles will pop up.

SEE MORE: ISO in Photography: what it is and when to use your higher settings

Lightroom Tips: 08 Automatically straighten images

You can automatically straighten images and correct perspective distortions in the Basic tab of the Len Corrections panel of the Develop module. The controls are one-click and consist of ‘Auto’, ‘Level’, ‘Vertical’ and ‘Full’.

Lightroom will find any lines in the image and make them suitably level or parallel. Click on each control to determine which one produces the best results for your image.

The process of correcting perspective distortion can result in some white space around the edges of the image. To remedy this, select ‘Constrain Crop’ and the white areas will be automatically cropped out.

Lightroom Tips: 09 Softproof images

The Softproofing tool is a useful feature that shows you how the colours in an image will be replicated in a printer or lab. Any colours that can’t be produced (‘out of gamut’) can be adjusted accordingly.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed your printer or lab’s colour profile, simply tick the Soft Proofing box found right under the bottom left of the image preview.

A panel will then open on the right and prompt you to choose the profile you want from a dropdown list. Colours that are out of gamut are highlighted in red.

Lightroom Tips: 10 Create books and order direct from Lightroom

If you use Lightroom you probably know that is has a module called Book. What you might not know, however, is that any books you create can be uploaded to Blurb where they’ll be printed, bound and posted out. Blurb’s software even lets you convert your book to a digital edition.


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