I am no Lightroom expert but I’ve learned a lot from editing thousands of photos in Lightroom and watching tons of Lightroom YouTube videos. After using Lightroom for a few years now I want to share some tips I’ve learned along the way that have improved my editing and sped up my workflow.
What you need
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There are a few different versions of Lightroom but today I will be talking about Adobe Lightroom Classic for Desktop. If you don’t have it installed I highly recommend you do so. You can download Lightroom Classic for Windows or Mac by clicking here.
Applying presets on import
This is not for your typical “preset”. A preset can be anything you do to all your photos even if its not the entire edit. My favorite way to use this tool is by enabling “lens corrections” on import. But feel free to use this however you would like.
I used to go through every photo and manually select “Remove chromatic aberration” and “Enable profile corrections”. I wasted so much time doing this because I never knew I could have Lightroom apply it to every photo on import.
Okay, this is great but how can I do this? Here’s the great part! It’s very simple to set up! First start out with an unedited photo in Lightroom and apply only the edits you want to save for your import “preset”. Once you are done with that go to the develop panel at the top of the page and look for “New Preset”.
Alternatively you could use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+Shift+N” to save a new preset (I use windows so I am not sure if these keyboard shortcuts are the same for Mac).
Once you click “New Preset” you will need to assign a name and select which settings you want included in the preset. Click “Create” when you are ready to save.
Now there is only one step left to apply a preset on import. Next time you import photos there will be an area on the right side that says, “Apply During Import” once you click on that you should see, “Develop Settings” and that’s where you will select your preset that will automatically apply to every photo during import.
I love the range mask tool because it allows you to fine select a certain part of the image to edit. Range mask works when using the Graduated filter, radial filter, and the adjustment brush tool. My favorite is the radial filter but you can use whichever one you prefer.
Click on the “Radial Filter” and apply it to your image.
Scroll down until you see “Range Mask” and click on it. Choose color, luminance, or depth depending on what you want to select in the image. My favorite is “Color”.
Now click on the color range selector tool.
Find a spot on the photo to take a sample color. (Tip) You can either pick one specific spot by right clicking or you can sample a larger part of the image by clicking and dragging over an area.
Once you have made a selection you can adjust the selection by dragging the “Amount” slider left and right.
That’s it! Now you can make adjustments on your selection without affecting the rest of the image by using the range mask tool.
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One of my favorite tips for editing in Lightroom is using the previous button when I have similar images to batch edit. The “Previous” button is similar to a preset but you don’t save it like you would with a preset. Once you have edited one image you can then select a new photo and press the previous button to “paste” your edit onto the new photo.
You can also do the same thing to multiple photos. If you want to pick and choose which photos to apply edits to you can click and hold “Ctrl” to select multiple images. If you want to select a row of images you can press and hold the “Shift” key and select the first and last images and Lightrom will automatically include all the images in between the two selections.
When we select multiple photos in Lightroom it’s called “Sync” instead of “Previous”. This is a great way to speed up your workflow and helps give unity between multiple photos.
Edit in Photoshop
I know, I know, this is 5 tips about Lightroom, so why did I include Photoshop? Because sometimes Lightroom isn’t enough and we need to export to Photoshop. It’s your choice whether you edit in Lightroom or Photoshop but this tip comes in handy when you need to flip between editing in LIghtroom and Photoshop.
If you have Photoshop installed which hopefully you do, because you can get Lightroom and Photoshop bundled together for the same price as Lighroom by clicking here. You can select “Edit In” to send your files from Lightroom to Photoshop.
You can also use keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + E” to edit in Photoshop.
When you select edit in Photoshop you will be given the choice to edit with Lightroom adjustments or edit the original file. Select whichever is best for you and Photoshop will open up with your file ready to be edited.
Once you’re done editing in Photoshop you can hit save or keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + S” and your adjustments in Photoshop will be updated in Lightroom.
Whenever you use sharpening on a photo you need to use the masking slider for the best results. The great thing is it’s very simple to use. First adjust the sharpening slider to your desire then press and hold the “Alt” key while dragging the masking slider.
The image will turn completely black and white and the white parts represent what’s being sharpened. The more you drag the slider to the right the more you target what is in focus.
It’s best to use masking because most of the time we don’t want the whole photo sharp. Using the masking slider helps us to select what we want to be sharp in the photo.
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