If you’re new to Lightroom, you ought to know that there are plenty of features and tricks that will make your editing easier and speed up your workflow immensely. In this fun video, Ed Gregory of Photos In Color has compiled ten of his favorite features that do just that. They improve your editing and make you faster and more efficient in Lightroom.
1. Auto Tone in Lightroom Classic CC
Don’t be afraid of the Auto Tone button. You don’t have to keep the changes the software makes, but it can give you a direction. So, click the Auto Tone button, see what the settings are, and tone them down and alter them whichever way you like.
2. Angle Tool in the Lightroom Crop section
Leveling the horizon in Lightroom is easy and very accurate with Angle tool. Select the Crop Tool (or press R on your keyboard), and within that go to Angle Tool. Draw a line across the horizon, and the software will level the horizon perfectly.
3. Crop overlays
While we’re still at the Crop Tool, there’s another handy trick you can use: change the crop overlay. Go to the Crop Tool and press O. This will shift through several different crop overlays, and you can stick with the one that works best for your current shot. Also, if you wanna change the orientation of the grid overlay, just hit Shift + O.
4. Add focus using the Lightroom radial brush
Ed suggests using the Radial Brush tool to add fake bokeh to the image, and it’s especially useful for portraits. Go to the Radial Brush Tool and select the area around the model’s face. Then take the Brush Tool, hit Erase and erase the parts where the Radial Brush goes over the model’s eyes, face, and lips.
Next, take the sharpness of the Radial Brush to zero. Duplicate the selection and broaden it a little bit, and repeat this step a couple of times. You’ll create more and more layers of the blur and add some focus to the model’s face and eyes.
While we’re at this, make sure to also check out this tutorial for refocusing an image in Photoshop.
5. Before and after
This is a simple, yet effective tip, and I’ve used it all the time since I discovered it. You can quickly access the “before” version of your image by simply hitting the “/” key. Hit it again, and there will be the “after” version, with all the edits you’ve made so far.
6. Reset specific sliders or sections
If you want to reset all the settings, there’s the Reset button you can click. But, if you only want to reset specific sliders or sections, there’s another solution for that. Double-click any slider you want to reset (either the name of the slider, or the little handle), and it will immediately be reset to 0, without messing with other settings. You can also hide entire sections: just click on the toggle that each section has on the left.
7. Use the Lightroom HSL panel for Luminance
The Luminance Tool is hidden under the HSL settings in Lightroom. Ed suggests using this panel to toggle the luminance of specific colors. Personally, I use HSL sliders for tweaking all three values: hue, saturation, and luminance.
If you want to target a specific area and you’re not sure which colors you should tweak, click the little circle on the left of Hue, Saturation or Luminosity. Then click on the area of the image you want to adjust, and drag up or down.
8. How to draw straight lines in Lightroom Classic
If you’re using the Healing Brush Tool, for example, you can draw a straight line with it. Click on the point A, hold Shift, and then click on the point B. This way you’ll end up with a perfectly straight line rather than the hand-drawn, shaky one.
9. How to use Lightroom virtual copies
You can create a virtual copy of any image you edit in Lightroom, just right-click on it and select Virtual Copy. This will create, well, virtual copies in Lightroom, while your hard drive will still only have a single copy. Now you can apply different edits to different images, and quickly export as many different JPEGs as you need.
10. Use Lights Out (L) to help you visualize Lightroom edits
If you want to isolate your photo from all the panels and sliders, here’s a quick tip. Hit Tab to get rid of the side panels, and Shift +Tab to remove the film strip at the bottom. Now hit L (Lights Out), which will make the background gray (or black if you hit it once more). Now you can view your photo free from distractions.
These were some of Ed’s favorite features Lightroom has to offer, and personally, I also use almost all of them every time I edit my images. If you’d like to discover some lesser-known Lightroom features, go here and here. There are also some super-helpful shortcuts here, and a few more tips and tricks to speed you up here and here.
[10 LIGHTROOM tips to improve your PHOTOGRAPHY editing | Photos in Color]
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