Nine lesser-known Lightroom tricks to improve your editing experience

Feb 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Nine lesser-known Lightroom tricks to improve your editing experience

Feb 7, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Lightroom is filled with little “tricks” that can help you speed up your workflow and make the editing process more efficient and accurate. If you use Lightroom to edit your photos, then you probably already know what it’s capable of. But photographer Chris Eyre-Walker shares some of the lesser-known features you might not have heard of, and they can be extremely useful for all the Lightroom users out there.

YouTube video

You may notice that the title of the video suggests there are “10 hacks” and we mention nine. Well, Chris has accidentally skipped a number, so there are actually nine of them. Nevertheless, there are plenty of shortcuts and extra tips, and I believe you’ll find them useful.

1. Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make the editing workflow much faster. There are plenty of them in Lightroom, but here are some Chris uses most often.

  • I and D: switch between the Library module and the develop module
  • Ctrl/Cmd + L: turn the Library Filters on and off
  • L or Shift+L: turn off the lights and look at the photo without distractions
  • Tab or Shift + Tab: remove all panels around the photo
  • Ctrl/Cmd + ‘: creating a virtual copy of the photo you’re currently editing (another .xmp file)
  • Right click on triangles in panels: you can choose when you want the panels to show.
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + E: export file
  • B: add a photo to target collection. It’s “Quick Collection” by default, but you can change it. If you want to set another collection to be the default, right-click on it and select “Set as Target Collection.”
  • Ctrl/Cmd + B: switching between the current collection and the target collection
  • Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + S: synchronize settings
  • Double-click on the sliders: if you double-click on a slider, you will reset it to zero. If you double-click on the name of the panel, all sliders within that panel will be reset.
  • J: highlight the shadows and highlights where you’re losing detail. Shadows will be blue, highlights will be red.

2. Smart Previews

Smart Previews are low-res DNG files that sit next to your catalog and they are fully editable. They are much smaller than the original RAW files. If you keep the original files on an external drive and Smart Previews on your SSD drive, you’ll have much more free space and speed up the editing process.

3. Expanding panels

If you need some fine-tuning with the sliders, you can expand the panels by dragging them. But, you can expand them even more if you hold the Alt/Option key while you’re dragging,

4. Changing guidelines in the Crop Tool

When you open the Crop Tool in Lightroom, the lines are set to the Rule of Thirds. But if you press O within the Crop Tool, you can switch between different composition patterns. You can also press Shift + O and rotate the guidelines.

5. Changing the mask color

With Graduated Filter, Radial Filter or Brush Tool, if you press O within the tool, you’ll turn the mask on and off. If you press Shift + O, it will change the color of the mask. You can switch between green, red and grey.

6. Split toning masks

With split toning, you can see where your mask is being applied by holding the Alt/Option key while shifting the balance slider.

7. Changing the background color

Right-clicking on the grey area behind the photo lets you change the background color of the editing screen.

8. Solo Mode

When you click on any of the sliders in Lightroom, all the others remain expanded which can look messy. To organize the panels a bit, right-click on any of the panels and select Solo Mode. Now, only one panel will be expanded. When you need to expand another one, the first one will automatically collapse.

9. All shortcuts in one place

If you need a quick reminder of the shortcuts or you want to learn new ones, press Ctrl/Cmd + /. You’ll get a window with all the shortcuts you can think of. Also, Lightroom will always show you the shortcuts for the module you’re currently in.

Did you know of these Lightroom’s features? Personally, I’ve heard about most of them and I use some of them regularly. But I’ve also learned something new, such as rotating the crop guidelines, split toning masks, or the shortcuts “cheat sheet.” These are all handy tricks to help you out, and if you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to do it in the comments.

[10 LIGHTROOM HACKS You Probably Didn’t Know | Chris Eyre-Walker]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “Nine lesser-known Lightroom tricks to improve your editing experience”

  1. lewisfrancis Avatar
    lewisfrancis

    Wow, #9, thanks!