8 Lightroom Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

For those who have come to use lightroom as their bread and butter as far as final image processing is concerned, we often find new and better ways to do things in the software as we learn more. Let me share a few tips, tricks and lightroom hacks that may be of use to you if you are not familiar with them already.

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1. Quickly find and eliminate spots: You may be familiar with the spot removal tool in lightroom. Right below the view window that you get to while removing spots, you will see an option that says “visual Spots” and a slider to set the sensitivity. Putting a checkmark in it will paint the image in black and white. The high contrast areas are painted white, so you can easily locate and remove spots that display easily as white patches.

2. Smart previews:Would you like your RAW files be accessible while your hard disk containing them is disconnected but in smaller file sizes and be able to still export JPEGs in decent resolution? Well smart preview is an option to lighten editing burden on your processor while still synchronising with the larger source files when the HDD is connected back. This option can be turned on in my catalog area by clicking “build smart previews” option.

3. Toggle last filter: Ok, we may use a lot of filters and sit deciding for couple of minutes on one, thinking if we want it on or off. Just press CTRL (Command in mac) +L and this will toggle your last filter. So press and press again to see how it looks with or without your filter that you just applied. Easier to make a decision now!

4. Adjusting the Tone curve: Just below histogram area in the right, you will find the tone curve which is kind of going from bottom left to top right in a straight line. You can pick a point just around the middle and raise it for highlights. The point will depend on the image profile as to where the exact ranges are. So you can experiment a bit with the point. Raising the mid level picks the highlights up and going to the lower quarter of the curve, depressing a new point further down will push the shadows a bit low. You can achieve good contrast and a dynamic look with the highlights raised and shadows deepened thus forming a "S curve". Similarly, you can adjust tones and temperature along with exposure. You can also manipulate individual channels so as to achieve the right tone that you are looking for.

5. Using auto tone: A notorious little tool, this button is a go to button if you know how to use it properly. It would work for some images perfectly while in most cases will leave you with an overexposed image. So a great tip is to hit the auto tone and turn the dial down on exposure for overexposed results. Then see if this is the image you desire. In any case you can always undo the 2 step process.

6. Presets: You may be using one type of processing for most of your images, say you want a specific color balance to your images as it may be your style, or you may want to batch apply a setting to a series of images, then saving the settings as presets to save time and effort. You can save your preset by going to the develop preset panel, click create new preset and choose the settings you need to save, give it a name and save it to a folder. You can have the folder saved to a central location for files and settings in case you move between computers or need to restore backup to a new machine. Of course in order to do so, you first have to finalise and apply settings to an image.

Tips and tricks as helpful information on computer keyboard enter button

7. Crop overlay composition guides: Want to crop your image and retain (or improve) your composition in the process? Press R to enter crop mode, Press O to bring up compositional guides, pressing O again switches between different ones like rule of thirds, golden ratio, golden triangles etc. Want to choose what overlays are presented when you cycle? Go to Crop Guide overlay then select Choose overlays to cycle. Explore some more options on your own in Tools> Tool Overlay and see what they do!

8. New in Lightroom CC: Now you can stitch a panorama with your series of photos that you shot for the purpose without having to use photoshop. Choose all the images you want stitched, then go to develop. Synch the settings to keep the output similar as these images will be part of the same photo, select all the images again in develop mode and press CTRL + M. Check the preview and choose stitch options like spherical, cylindrical etc (if auto does not work well). Hit merge when done. Note that more power beyond this basic stitching is only available with PS installed.

Those were 8 Lightroom Tips, Tricks, and Hacks that i felt might help. Please do share your own favourite tricks in the comments below, it’s always good to know more!

Photo credits: Adrian825, Mohamed Ahmed Soliman.

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April 23, 2019


Thanks for the tips! I didn't know about "visualize spots." That will come in handy!

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