Lightroom User Tips

I think one of the best general purpose digital post processing tools that a photographer can use is Adobe LR. I receive nothing free from Adobe, but I do like the tool. It is much easier to learn than Photoshop.

Here are a couple of pointers that may be useful to new LR users to check out:

Presets: Adobe gives you some, but if you find your self doing similar types of edits on photos you can create your own presets. Go to the Develop Preset panel (on the left side) and click the Create New Preset icon (top & right of the word “Presets”). This brings up the Preset window, choose select none, and then check only the specific items you want to save. Once save you can easily apply these to any new images, or a group of photos.

Adjustment Brush: This lets you apply specific changes to only a small portion of the image. Think of it as a Photoshop mask, without having to use a lot of layers. Layers are a good think in Photoshop, because you can turn on and off many changes with out affecting the base image. LR doesn’t break out the changes as layers, but you have the ability to make many small changes to different areas.

Clone / Heal: This tool will allow you to replace imperfections one of two ways. The clone option blends in pixels from the surrounding are, to hide some small unwanted blemish or object in the image. Clone basically replaces pixels with those from another area, but either one can remove something unwanted or a distraction from the image.

Lens / Camera Calibration: This is an area where you have a lot more options when shooting RAW images. LR has many automatic correction for most Nikon and Canon lenses, and well as camera profiles that can be applied to make the image look more natural by correcting wide angle distortion, or have the colors look more like the standard Nikon D2X.

Copyright Metadata Preset: If some of the meta data like copy right information is missing, you can use this to add it and apply it to multiple images.


  • Shift + Tab is an easy way to toggle between seeing the image your editing as large as possible or a smaller image with all the editing tools. This works in Library and Develop modules, but not during imports. This can be handy on a laptop with a smaller screen. You can arrow through to the next image without having to leave Develop and create a slide show.
  • In Library or Develop mode, the film strip at the bottom will list the folder name. If you are unsure of where this folder is located, from the Library module, go to folders on the left side. Simply right click with your mouse on the folder name. A menu will show up and one of the choices is “Show in Explorer”. If selected, a File Explore window will open and show you where on your PC’s hard drive those images are actually located.
  • At the top in Tools, the “View” selection has the option to show or hide the tool bar. This isn’t the top tool bar, it’s a bar below the photo that gives you the ability to zoom in and out. Also if you are using the adjustment brush, it gives you the option to “Show Selected Mask Overlay”, which at times is nice to be able to turn off.
  • If you’re interested in a work flow that has you only importing the keeper’s into LR, so your Catalog size stays reasonable. One way to do that is with Bridge if you happen to have it installed along with Photoshop. Bridge is a great viewer, but it also lets you set ratings.
  • You can create a collection right in Bridge, with all the photos that you set as three stars for example. Then you can export those three star photos from your Bridge collection by dragging or saving them into a preset “Edit” folder. Next simply open LR, import all the photos from your Bridge Edit folder, and the rating you applied follows each image with the metadata.