10 Tips for Working in Adobe Lightroom
Remember back in the days before Adobe Lightroom, or Bridge, or whatever sort of software photographers used to organize and manage their images? Compared to today’s functionality, it seems crazy that any of us put up with whatever archaic process we were using! But alas, we are living in the future and get to reap the benefits of time- (and stress-) saving tools like Lightroom. It has made working with our images downright fun! To enable you to have even more of that fun, I compiled these 10 tips to make your Lightroom experience better, faster, easier and downright enjoyable.
1. The “F” key: Whether you knew it or not, the letter “F” will allow you to view an image in full-screen with a single push. This is super nice for reviewing images and wanting to eliminate all distractions from view. Simply hit “F” again or the “Esc” key to exit full-screen view. Please note you can also go to “Window -> Screen Mode -> Full Screen Preview” to enter this viewing mode.
2. Solo Mode: Laptop screens are small and working with long lists of panels on the left and right can be frustrating. To help with this, right-click on one of the panel headers (Basic, Tone Curve, etc.) and choose “Solo Mode”. This will only allow Lightroom to keep one panel expanded at a time. As soon as you expand a new panel, the prior panel collapses, allowing you to use Lightroom without nearly as much scrolling. It should be noted that this setting is specific to the module and the side of the screen in question. For example, you could turn on Solo Mode in the Develop module on the left-side but leave it off in the Library module and on the right-side of the Develop module.
3. The “Page-Up” and “Page-Down” keys: When you’re doing any sort of dust spot removal in Lightroom it can be hard to tell which areas of the image you’ve looked at and which you haven’t. Luckily there’s a solution. First, select the spot removal tool and zoom in to the upper-left corner of your image (I recommend the 1:1 zoom level). Now on a PC, hit the “Page Down” key on the keyboard, on a Mac, use the “Fn” key in combination with the down arrow. This will move you exactly one screen-length down the left hand side of the image. Now hit the key again and watch it move down again. Once you get to the bottom of the image it will move back up to the top and over one column to the right. Keep hitting the key and eventually you will be in the bottom-right hand corner of the image. The idea is to start in the upper-left, remove all of the dust spots, then hit the key and move onto the next section. Remove anything on that section and repeat until you end up in the lower right. At that point you can be 100% sure you’ve checked the entire image for dust spots. Pro tip: use the “Page Up” button or “Fn” and the up arrow to move in the opposite direction. This way you can check the entire image a second time. I do this right before I print an image to be sure I’m not missing something!
4. Ensure Graphics Acceleration is Enabled: Many modern-day computers have dedicated video cards (GPU’s) that can help the CPU handle tasks that are related to what you see on your monitor. Lightroom can utilize the GPU for a lot of its processing power. This allows your computer to run faster as the CPU is freed up to do other tasks. Sometimes this will not be enabled by default and we need to tell Lightroom to take advantage of the extra processing power your computer provides. To enable this, go to “Lightroom -> Preferences” (Mac) or “Edit-> Preferences” (PC) and go to the “Performance” tab. Once there, be sure enable “Use Graphics Processor.” This will allow Lightroom to take advantage of all the power your computer is capable of! Please note that older versions of Lightroom will not have this option.
5. The “\” and “T” keys: These are more frustrating than anything. In the Library module “T” hides the tollbar at the bottom of the grid of images and “\” hides the Library Filter. Both are extremely useful and hiding them can be triggered accidentally quite easily. If you ever lose your toolbar or “Library Filter” bar, try tapping “T” or “\” to bring them back!
6. Using “Shift-F” to Go Full Screen: This one can help when using a smaller laptop screen. By default, the dock/taskbar can take up a lot of screen real estate on a laptop. I run my Lightroom in full screen view 100% of the time to ensure I get the most out of my smaller screen. To toggle through thedifferent viewing modes simply hold down Shift and tap the letter “F”. There are three different modes you can use. Each time you hit tap the “F” key with Shift held down, the mode will change.
7.Using the “Delete Rejected Photos” Function: Deleting images can be a time consuming process especially if you are a sports photographer! To make it easier, Lightroom made a neat tool we can take advantage of. Start by marking all of the images you wish to delete as “Rejected”. You can do this by simply selecting the photo (or viewing it in full-screen or Loupe view) and hitting the letter “X”. This gives the photo a black flag that indicates it has been marked for deletion. After marking all of the bad images, go to the “Photo” menu and select “Delete Rejected Photos”. This will tell Lightroom to delete anything with the rejected tag (“X”). When going through large volumes of images it’s much faster to tap “X” that it is to delete each image individually.
8. Configuring Your Identity Plate: The small section in the upper-left of Lightroom is called the Identity Plate and can be customized! To do this, go to “Lightroom->Identity Plate Setup” (Mac) or “Edit->Identity Plate Setup” (PC) Once there, choose “Personalized” and have fun making it your own! Pro tip: You can actually use your business logo as your Identity Plate by choosing “Use a Graphical Identity Plate”. Just be sure your logo is sized to 41 pixels high on a Mac or 46 pixels high on a Windows machine.
9. Using Target Collections: When you want to add or remove images from a collection there are few ways to do it. Most people just drag and drop images but there’s a much faster way. Right-click on the collection you are wanting to add images to and choose “Set as Target Collection”. The collection will get a small “+” sign to the right of its name. That collection is now the target and anytime you hit the letter “B” on the keyboard it will add the selected image(s) to that collection. This is really nice when you are in full-screen image view (see tip #1 above) and you are wanting to easily add specific images to a collection. Pro Tip: Only one collection at a time can be the target. Also, as soon as you set a new collection to become the target, the previous target is no longer targeted.
10. Finding Keyboard Shortcuts: There are a ton of keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom and they are different depending on the module you are working in. To see a list, just go to “Help->(Library, Develop, Slideshow, etc.) Module Shortcuts.” To get out of the list simply click anywhere on the screen and the list will disappear.