LIGHTROOM POWER EDITING
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First of all, thank you and congratulations on downloading this book. How you edit your images can be just as important as how you shoot your images. Each photographer has a different opinion when it comes to editing but they all will agree that the post processing phase of photography is one that can help enhance your photographs as well as allow you to develop your own recognizable style. While Photoshop has for a long time been the go-to editing software for photographers many are incorporating Lightroom to take their photographs to a whole new level.
If you have ever look at the interface of Lightroom it can seem overwhelming and complex. There are plenty of tabs, modules, folders and more that you can quickly become lost and frustrated. Along with all these new features, you’re concerned with how all these files will hinder the time it takes for you to edit any of your photographs. Are all the new effects worth the extra time?
When you are using Lightroom you don’t have to sacrifice your time to get the results you want. In this book, you will learn a number of ways to cut back on the time it takes to make your edits so you can still get stunning photographs without putting in the extra hour. From optimizing your device speed, helpful shortcuts to organization tips and time-saving actions you can learn to master Lightroom quickly and effectively so you can spend more time behind your camera instead of behind a computer.
One of the most significant adjustments you can make to optimize Lightroom performance is to increase the cache. By default, this setting is typically 1GB but increasing it to 20 or 25GB allows you to more quickly find and search through images while utilizing your computer’s system better. To increase the cache, click on preferences then Files and then Handling and change the maximum size.
When importing you image you want to render 1:1 preview, this is the largest preview you can choose. Choosing this 1:1 render will eliminate the lag time it takes to display clear images every time you switch images. While this will increase the import time it will make the editing process move much faster. To change the 1:1 preview look on the top right panel of the import dialog box.
Optimize your catalog every so often. The Lightroom catalog can become unmanageable rather quickly since this is where every photo, adjustment, name, folder, rating and more are stored. Optimizing the catalog file can help clean up the space and allow for information to be retrieved and written more quickly. To optimize the catalog, click on the File tab, Optimize Catalog and the program will begin to clean itself up.
Before you begin to import your images to Lightroom you want to first go through and uncheck any images you know will not be edited like misfires, blurred images or poor facial expressions. This can significantly cut down on the upload time it takes to import all the images into Lightroom.
There are a several ways you can filter your images in Lightroom. You can rate them with stars, give them a color-coded tab or simply pick or reject them. In the Library or Develop module you can quickly see all the files you want to keep by clicking on the Flag filter icon. Instead of clicking on the rating you want to give the image you can save time by using the 1-5 numbers for setting ratings, the 6-9 numbers to set a color or us the P (pick) and X (reject) to apply these filters to an image.
If you have a number of images that are similar and you want to narrow those down to the best one more easily select them all and then hit the N key. This will bring you into Survey Mode which will display all the images together and allow you to choose the ones you like the most, use the X key to get rid of images you don’t like.
To make the filtering process faster turn on the Auto Advance setting. This setting will automatically move on to the next image once you have assigned a rating to an image. You can turn this on by turning on the CAPS Lock or by clicking the Auto Advance options from the Photo tab.
There are a number of ways you can quickly batch edit images. You can do this upon importing the images by selecting a preset to apply to the images or from the Library or Develop Modules. You can batch edit some of the basic adjustments in the Library Module and then fine tune the editing in the Develop Module. To make this process easier it is best to already have your images organized and group together according to specific that apply to the shoot. For example, if you shot a wedding you might group your images by whether they were taken indoor or outdoors, location, or time of day.
Begin your batch editing in the Library Module where you can make adjustments to the white balance, contrast, exposure and a number of other major settings. Do this will keep your images more consistent through the process. You can use the CTRL key to select the images you want to edit together then on the right side of the screen I the quick develop panel you can choose which settings to apply to all of the images.
To fine tune your editing you will need to switch to the Develop Module to make adjustments to the curve, add gradient filter and other settings to enhance your images. Make the edits on one image first and then use the CTRL key to select the images you want to add these edits to. On the right side of the panel at the bottom click the Sync button. You can choose which options to apply to the images you selected but keep in mind that if you have used the adjustment brush on your image, such as to correct skin tone, you will want to make sure this is not applied to the other images as most often this adjustment will be applied to the wrong area of the image since most often than not your subject has most likely moved.
Smart preview is an easy way to be able to make edits to an image without having to have the original photo file on your hard drive. These files are compressed DNG files that can allow you to store your RAW images on an external device and free up more disk space on your editing device. Smart Preview also makes it easier to take your photos on the go. You can perform all the same edits to your smart preview images and they will automatically synced to the original files once the devices are connected again.
There are a few ways you can build your smart previews.
You can build your smart preview when you import images into a catalog. Simply click on the Import tab, then the File Handling tab then select the Build Smart Previews for the catalog and all the images you import into that catalog will have a smart preview created.
When you export a catalog you can also build a smart preview for the files in that catalog. Click on the File tab, Export as Catalog then, make sure the Build/Include Smart Preview box is checked.
You can also create Smart Previews as you go instead of the whole catalog. Choose the Library option, then Preview, the Build Smart Preview.
Saving any amount of time during the editing process is always welcomed. You want to limit the hours you spend editing but still increase the amount of work you get done and these shortcuts will instantly allow you to be more productive.
You can zoom in 100% on any image by using the mouse pad but to zoom in further use the CMD+ (Mac) or CTRL+ (Windows) to zoom out use the CMD- (Mac) or CTRL- (Windows).
To quickly go from the Lightroom editing window to full screen hit the F key. This can be an easy way to get a better idea of how the image is looking as you are editing.
To ensure your images are properly exposed you want to know where there are blown out or blocked up areas in the image. These areas give no detail to the image and are referred to as being clipped. You can make these areas visible by hitting the J key in Lightroom to show where the image is over or underexposed. By visibly seeing the areas you can make the proper adjusts to the histogram for an even exposure.
Brush and Eraser
To help save time when making small and local adjustment when using the brush and eraser tool simply use the OPTION (Mac) or ALT (Windows) keys. This will allow you to switch between the two quickly without leaving the image you are editing.
Instead of wasting time dragging images into a collection to easily access the best images from a shoot right click on the collection you want to use and Set as Target Collection. As you come across images that you want to add to that collection click on the B key.
Navigating the Modules
While you may only use the Library and Develop Modules a majority of the time in Lightroom you can save some time by being able to move back and forth more easily. To switch between the Library and Develop Modules hit the G key for the Library module or the D key for the Develop Module. There are actually several different modules that you can also quickly access by using the CMD+OPTION (Mac) or CTRL+ALT (Windows) plus the corresponding number to that module. Also, when you right click on a module you can turn it off so they all are not showing in the user interface.
Lightroom obviously features a number of settings and panels which can not only make it difficult to find what you want but will also consume a lot of your time searching. Solo Mode is a user-friendly way to navigate the many panels in the Lightroom interface. To turn on Solo Mode hold the OPTION (Mac) or ALT (Windows) and click on one of the panel headers. This will cause open panels to automatically collapse as you navigate your way through another panel.
To learn even more of the shortcuts available in Lightroom click the CMD+/ (Mac) CTRL+/ (Windows) and a full list of shortcuts will appear on your screen.
If you find yourself continuously using the same settings when you are editing in the Develop Module in Lightroom you set the develop settings to be applied automatically when you begin your import. To create your own default settings you just need to hold the ALT key once you have applied the settings to an image.
A Set Default Button should appear for you to click on, after clicking on it click the Update to Current Settings options.
If you have a number of images that are shot in similar settings, then you can speed up your editing process by applying the same edits to a number of images without having to go one by one. Things like contrast, clarity and vibrant adjustments can be applied to a number of other images of the same subject or in the same setting. To apply setting from one image to another you will want to keep the edited picture selected and highlight the other images you want to apply the same settings to. At the bottom right-hand corner of the interface, you should see a Sync option, click on it to apply the edits you just made to the other selected images. You can also use the keyboard shortcuts by hitting the SHIFT+CMD (Mac) or SHIFT+CTRL+C (Windows) while on the image you have just edited to bring up a window of the settings you want to apply to the other images. From here hit the copy options and then select the images you want to apply the settings to. To apply the settings, use the SHIFT+CMD+V (Mac) or SHIFT+CTRL+V (Windows) key if you don’t like the way the settings look simply use the SHIFT+CMD+R (Mac) or SHIFT+CTRL+R (Windows) to reset the settings.
You do not always have to apply all the edits to each of the images you have an option to filter any edits you don’t want to apply to the images as well.
While Lightroom gives you a wide range of features and adjustments there are some tools you will have to switch over to Photoshop for. Using the Dynamic Link Function you can easily have your images linked between Lightroom and Photoshop across the Adobe Creative Cloud App.
To quickly switch from one program to the next right click the image you are working on in Lightroom. Choose the Edit In option and then scan down until you see the Photoshop option.
You can edit the image as a regular file or as a smart object which allows you to modify the edits of a RAW file as well.
The lights out mode are similar to viewing your image in full screen except the image won’t completely fill the screen. Whether you are in the Library or Develop module you can press the L key to gray out the area surrounding an image. This allows you to focus solely on the image without any other distractions. If you hit the L key twice the surrounding area will go to black bringing, even more, focus to the image. Hitting the L key three times will bring you back to the normal view in Lightroom.
You can also customize this feature, by default it dims to black but you can change the color to white or a number of others. You can also set the percentage the screen dims to, by default this is set to 80%. To change these settings just click on the drop down menu when using the Light Out mode.
Lightroom allows you to customize the interface with your brand name and logo. The Identity Plate, as it is referred to is located on the top left corner of the screen which you can personalize and use for prints, slideshows and for web sites. To use the Stylized Text Identity Plate click on the EDIT or LIGHTROOM tab then IDENTITY PLATE SETUP or just IDENTITY PLATE. Here you will be able to change the format, text, size and color or the text you type in the text area. The text will not scale autocratically to fit in the section so you will want to enable the identity plate check box to ensure that what you are entering fits in the area appropriately. Once you are satisfied with the look you can SAVE AS and give your identity plate a name to use for prints later.
Likewise, you can also add a graphic to this area if you wanted to include your logo or signature. This design can be made in Photoshop but will need to be less than 60 pixels high to fit in the space, you will not be able to scale the graphic once it is uploaded in the Lightroom Identity Plate. When creating your design, you will want to create two, one for the Identity Plate and one that you can use that will be of printing quality. To upload the graphic into Lightroom simply open the Identity Plate Editor and click on the Use Graphical Identity Plate option. Save the identity plate in case you change it but would like to use this one in the future.
Presets can make editing your images go even quicker. Creating a preset allows you to save your most used settings to apply them to other and future images instead of having to continuously copy the settings and paste them into another image. Auto tone, white balance, clarity, color and just about any other setting is capable of being saved in a preset.
To create a preset, you can simply click the + button on the preset panel to save adjustments or use the keyboard shortcut CMD+SHIFT+B (Mac) or CTRL+SHIFT+B (Windows). From here you can select the develop setting to include in the preset you are creating then save the preset with a specific name. Presets can be accessed in the user presets folder in the preset panel and can be applied during the import process or at any time during your editing. You also have the option to download or purchase user-made preset to use.
At RockShutter we have designed, developed and launched professional Lightroom Presets collections that are used daily by thousands of photographers around the world. You can check our preset collections in the link below.
Just as you want to have your photographs neatly organized you want to have your presets organized as well. Using folders can help keep your presets in an easy to find arrangement that will save you time when searching for the right one. You can create a folder by right-clicking in the presets tab and finding the New Folder options, then simply name it and drag and add presets to the folder.
You can create your folder, however, suits your workflow so examples can be Black and White Presets, Sharpen Preset and so on. When you are saving your presets to the designated folder ensure that the settings applied in the preset are relevant to the settings it is supposed to adjust. For example, if you are creating a preset that meant to adjust the colors in the image but you also check the noise reduction setting this preset will not only change the color but any noise reduction you may have already applied to the photograph. This could end up causing you to have to go make ad readjust settings.
While Presets can ultimately help cut out a significant amount of your editing time the one down fall it that there is no opacity bar that can help you fade the effect on your photographs. In some case a preset can be a little overpowering one way that some have compensated for this is by exporting to copies of the photograph to Photoshop. One image is with the Preset applied the other is just the original image, in Photoshop the two images are layered on top of each other and the opacity bar is used to fade the Image with the Preset. This is time-consuming and can take up a lot of space on your hard drive.
Plug-In is an alternative option that can save you time and space. This plug-in allows you to fade all the settings in a selected preset and apply them to an image. You can download the Fader Plug-in easily and save it to a predetermined folder. Once saved go into Lightroom under the File tab and locate the Plug-In Manager. At the bottom left corner, there will be an Add options, which you’ll need to click on to search for the folder you saved the Fader Plug-In in.
To use the Fader Plug-In you will want to work in the Develop Module. Open the photograph you want to edit then click the File tab. Locate the Plug-In Extras option than The Fader, select the preset you want to apply to the image. You should see a window with all the settings applied in that preset and an Opacity slider. Use the slider to fade the preset effect and fine-tune what you want faded by unchecking the adjustment in the preset you don’t want faded.
So there you have it! 11 brief but extremely powerful tips that will help you edit in Adobe Lightroom like a pro. All these tips and techniques if used correctly will help you reduce your editing time and dramatically improve your workflow.
Remember to visit us at rockshutter.com for more professional editing tools like Lightroom Presets and Photoshop actions.
Editing your photos in Adobe Lightroom can be challenging, time consuming and overwhelming. Photographers using Lightroom to edit and process their photos complain aboutt the long hours this process takes. Hopefully there are ways to improve the workflow and reduce editing times, that's exactly what this book explores. Simple, but proven tips and techniques to super charge your Lightroom editing.