Adobe Lightroom is one of the most powerful tools for photography post-production. There are many useful features that the software has, but some of them aren’t as obvious as others. In this list, we look at ten essential tips for making the most of this photo editing suite.
1. Auto Tone
Auto tone is a feature that more experienced users may know about, but newcomers probably won’t. It’s a setting that allows Lightroom to choose what it considers to be the best settings for your pictures. As a starting point, it’s a really useful feature. It means you can make improvements from this base level.
2. Resetting Your Edits
Although there is a specific reset button, this feature undoes every edit you have made to a photo. Sometimes, this is far from ideal. Instead, you may just want to undo a specific set of edits. To do so, you can double click on the effect that you’ve edited. This will reset that specific setting back to zero.
3. Grid Overlays
When you’re trying to crop a photo, you can select either the crop overlay button or press the ‘R’ key on your keyboard. However, many people don’t know that by then pressing ‘O’ you can cycle through a variety of grid overlays. This feature allows you to achieve different effects for your composition.
4. Isolate the Photo
When you’re working in Lightroom, pressing the ‘L’ key on your keyboard will isolate the image. It dims the background and means you can focus on the image you’re editing. Pressing ‘L’ again will totally black out the rest of the software, giving you an idea of how the final image will look. You can edit how dark this background fade is by changing your preferences.
5. Precise Levels
It can sometimes be tricky to straighten out a horizon using your mouse. The slightest movement can make your picture look lopsided. However, there is a setting that allows you to auto-set the horizon level. If you select the ‘angle’ setting and drag a line across the horizon, Lightroom will then automatically balance your picture.
6. Before and After Tool
You can compare how your original photo looks versus the edits you made by opening two panels side-by-side. However, you can also do this while you’re editing by using the ‘\’ key on your keyboard. This tool allows you to toggle between the before and after view of your photos.
7. Clipping Tool
Another simple keyboard shortcut is the ‘J’ key. This will allow you to see whether your image is clipping the highlights or blacks in your image. When you’re playing with the exposure, it’s sometimes hard to see whether you’ve gone too far in either direction. The clipping tool overlays a red element for parts that are overexposed and blue one for those that are underexposed.
8. Radial Adjustment Brush
When you’re editing, you may find that you want to highlight a specific area of your shot. One of the tools that can allow you to do this is the radial brush adjustment tool. This allows you to isolate one particular area of the photo and make adjustments that affect just this area.
9. Menu Sizes
The default settings of Lightroom mean that the adjustment panel is very narrow. However, it’s possible to drag this out to give you a greater level of control over your adjustments. All you need to do is click and drag the edge of the menu to expand it.
10. Organise Your Photos
Lightroom makes it very easy to categorise your pictures. For example, using numbers 1-5, you can rate your pictures with a star rating. Similarly, numbers 6-9 will give you coloured outlines in the interface. You can also press ‘P’ to mark a certain photo as a top pick. This allows you to have your images organised in a way that is clear and intuitive.