Whether you are an experienced photographer or just starting out in your career, you have likely heard of Lightroom, use Lightroom, or already LOVE Lightroom (like we do). Many of us got started with Adobe Lightroom simply because we were told to do so. Maybe you posted a question in a Facebook group, asked a mentor for advice, or did your own research and stumbled upon Lightroom. However you landed on this beast of an editing program, we bet there are a few features tucked away you don’t know about. Throughout our travels and speaking engagements, we have learned that a lot of new photographers open the program up, put a preset on their images and call it a day. Did you know that Lightroom has SO many other features and tools that will make your life easier? Let’s dig in!
Most photo editing software has a steep learning curve and a daunting interface that is overwhelming for new users (I’m looking at you, Photoshop). Lightroom is far more beginner friendly, with an intuitive design and simple slider controls for most tools. There are some complex features that might be worth digging into, but you’ll be able to load up your photos and start making impactful adjustments right away, without any confusion.
One of the first lessons professional photographers learn is the importance of keeping their images sorted and organized. You can waste a lot of time trying to dig through folders with hundreds of images looking for specific captures, so the powerful organization tools in Lightroom can be a real lifesaver.
You can quickly go through batches of photos and sort them in a ton of different, useful ways. Lightroom lets you give each shot star ratings, color coded thumbnails, and instantly tag your favorites with a single keystroke. Rating, applying color codes, and tagging my favorite images is the first thing I do after every shoot.
Once you’ve got those sliders fine tuned (or have found a perfect preset for a series) you can quickly apply the settings to multiple photos at once. With a little finetuning, you’ll have an entire photoshoot looking polished and consistent in no time.
The Best Part: Multi-batch Export
The exporting process is a little slow, so it got more than a little frustrating whenever we needed to export a single photo multiple times to use across platforms. Thankfully, Adobe added a great new feature to Lightroom late last year that lets you export copies of an image into multiple formats all at the same time. What a lifesaver!
Once you’re finished editing and love the way your photo looks, you’ll need to export the image file into a format you can use. That’s where the export menu comes in.
Depending on where you’ll be posting a photo, you’ll need to resize, crop, maybe even add a custom watermark. You can do all that (and a lot more) right from the export menu.
Bonus Tip: You can make and use presets specifically for export settings. A handful are included in Lightroom but we recommend using customized presets if you’re a detail-oriented type.
Unlike similar photo editing programs, Lightroom doesn’t hog up a lot of memory or resources on your computer. It’s streamlined so it runs quickly and efficiently, meaning you don’t waste half of your editing time waiting for things to load. Using about 1/10th of the disk space as Photoshop, it can easily fit onto any device.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time adjusting the hue/saturation/luminance (H/S/L) settings and tone-curve to zero in on the exact look and style you’re going for, but it can be tough to know where to start. The auto-tone feature in Lightroom will detect things like the brightness and contrast of a photo and quickly apply settings that are almost always a huge improvement over the raw image, and will give you a great starting point to get you on your way.
Lightroom uses a catalog of edits to keep track of every single change you make to a photo. This means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally ruining a great shot because you’ll always be able to revert back to any stage of editing, and won’t have to worry about saving or exporting multiple copies.
Always being able to tap that undo button takes away any anxiety of experimenting with settings and lets you try new things worry-free.
Similar to the auto-tone feature, presets can be used to instantly apply a variety of settings and tweaks to your photos. The big difference is that instead of relying on software to make changes, you can find presets created by professional photographers to give your shots a stylish and polished look.
Making versatile presets has been a labor-of-love for us, but they’ve become an invaluable part of our editing process. Plus we LOVE seeing what other photographers can do with them!
You’re probably going to be spending a lot of your time in Lightroom adjusting sliders and tweaking the tone-curve to get that perfect look, but presets can do almost all of that work for you. They essentially act as filters that apply several settings all at once.
We have created our beautiful Renaissance Presets that help to transform your images into incredible pieces of artwork! Inspired by the italian way of life, you can find these presets here:
We hope these tips and tricks help make Lightroom just a tiny bit easier for you. Be sure to check out our Lightroom presets here for a quick and easy way to enhance your images!