Sunday, 20 March 2011

Adobe Lightroom 3: Tips and Tricks

Attended the recent Focus on Imaging event at the Birmingham NEC, where we were fortunate enough to sit in on a class about Adobe Lightroom. Here are the notes I made:

Adobe Lightroom is used for over 95% of photo editing by professionals - the rest can be completed in Photoshop (which integrates seamlessly into workflow of LR). Lightroom is "non-destructive", which means it doesn't touch the original file, but rather remembers what you have done with it and then you simply decide an export format.  So this would typically mean you shoot in RAW, process in Lightroom, the export into JPEGs.  I've done this recently with two wedding events and it works very well, especially when you utilise the "flag" tool to go through an select / de-select / or even remove the photos you wish to work with.

Short Cut Keys:
  • C = Compare Selected Images
  • P = Pick (see the flags)
  • U = Unpick (see the flags)
  • X = Reject (see the flags)
  • R = Crop - use the "ruler" tool to draw a line along anything in the image that represents the horizon to align straight before cropping. (O = change the gridlines for cropping)
  • N = Survey Mode
  • = White Balance (use the selector key to pick an area of the image that is neutral)
  • L = Lights Out
  • V = Black & White
  • TAB = Increase screen 
  • F = Full Screen Mode
  • J = Show Clipping (i.e. show's red / blue areas on histogram where detail has been lost so you can pull back from either side)
  • Auto Sync = synchronise multiple images to apply the same work, such as white balance or noise reduction if they are all shot in the same space.  Good if you like a pre-set that you want to apply to multiple shots.
  • T = show toolbars
Other stuff:
  • Smart Collections - e.g. noise reduction / High ISO images
  • Create Pre-sets if you want to apply the same noise reduction for example, and this can be applied on import also.
  • Spot Removal tool - handy way to make those unwanted spots disappear, such as a drop of oil on a white plate.
  • Adjustment Brush tool - fantastic when there is a particular area of the image than needs increased exposure - here is a great tutorial I found explaining this properly (the next page on Graduated Filter is great too):
  • Neutral Density Filter - for those over exposed skies, darken the sky from the top down using the above mentioned Graduated filter.
  • Virtual Copies - the beauty of Lightroom working on top of an image rather an inside it means that you can create virtual copies of an image without doing anything to the original file (usually quite big!).  For example, you can try a colour and b/w version of the same shot.
  • Black and White - use targeted filers (little round circle in corner of colour slide box) and apply each colour to test out which is best. Especially good with skies/clouds.
Open an image and go through the list - I found it very useful once I learned the above!

Thanks to Debbie Jones from Imaging Essence who delivered the presentation (

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pramal,

    Great post on LR3. I just upgraded actually and will find your hot keys guide very useful.

    Thanks also for the link to my tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions. :)