The Lightroom Tutorials section on PhotoTraces is one of the most popular parts of the site. Why? Regardless of whether you are a professional photographer or an aspiring beginner, Lightroom is the best tool for the job and you need to know how to use it.
Lightroom is only 10 years old but, in such short period of time, it has become the most important tool in photography. Its biggest advantages are its easier learning curve compared to Photoshop and its ability to edit a larger number of photos in a very short period of time.
The Truth: Lightroom covers every aspect of modern photography: image organization, photo editing, and publishing. Lightroom is like the Swiss knife of modern photography.
Over the years, the list of editing tools I use in my photography has drastically changed. In the beginning, the center of my workflow was Photoshop. Plus, I used a variety of plugins and dedicated applications to perform specific tasks (HDR, for example) in my photo editing. Since the introduction of Lightroom, I have noticed a great reduction in the number of tools I use in my photo editing because Lightroom has replaced most of them.
Even my use of Photoshop is minimal. If 100% of my editing was performed in Photoshop 10 years ago, I now use it in less than 10% of cases because the rest of my editing is covered by Lightroom.
The Lightroom Tutorials section of PhotoTraces.com covers different aspects of the program starting with general concepts like organization and progressing to more advanced topics like portrait retouching.
If you are a beginner, I suggest starting with my very first tutorial titled "What is Lightroom?"
This collection represents 10 years of my experience of editing and processing photos and reflects my personal style and my artistic vision.
Just download the collection and I promise that it will help you to improve your photography, save time on processing but, most importantly, it will demonstrate how I approach the process of editing photos.
What is Lightroom?
Today’s article is my attempt to answer the following questions, in simple terms and without going into any specifics.
What is Photoshop Lightroom?
What is Adobe Lightroom used for?
I believe the main issue with Lightroom is that it has so many options for organizing photos and, as a result, multiple options bring unnecessary complexity.
In today's tutorial I want to share my simplified organizational system and show you how it has evolved over the years.
It’s rare when we take a photograph the geometry of the shot doesn’t require any corrections or tweaking. In fact, it is almost a certainty that, with most photos, we will have to correct various types of distortions and imperfections.
The good is thing is that Lightroom gives us more than enough tools to deal with these issues.
Today, I want to address three main types of geometric imperfections that we face most often in our photographs and how I approach them in my editing workflow.
Moving a Lightroom Catalog to a new computer might sound like a scary proposition to many photographers. But, since we change computers every three to five years, it is unavoidable. That is why I treat it as part of my photography workflow.
And, if you follow the outlined steps, the process will be painless and can be completed in no time at all!
The biggest problem with Lightroom’s editing workflow is that I am forced to constantly switch from the Library Module to the Develop Module and back on multiple occasions. Since Lightroom is not a fast-running graphics program, the jump from module to module takes time.
Fortunately, there are some useful features in Lightroom that can help us overcome many unnecessary steps and speed up the entire editing workflow.
Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to overcome some of Lightroom’s navigational issues.
I highly recommend creating your own Export Presets that reflect your photography workflow. But, for now, you can see my recommended Export Settings for different photography workflow scenarios. I even created an Export Presets for you to download. They are entirely free!
Use my presets as a foundation for creating your own Export Presets.
The Range Mask functionality in Lightroom is another step that boosts selective editing capability of the program. It helps us to create sophisticated masking that further and further blurs the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop, allowing photographers to stay longer in a nondestractive RAW editing environment.
How to zoom is the last thing we worry about when we start using Lightroom. We treat it as a trivial and self-evident process.
But, if you evaluate your Lightroom editing workflow, you realize it is an intricate multistep process interrupted by an endless number of zooms in and out.
I believe that if you learn how to purposefully use the zoom functionality in different areas of Lightroom that you can save time and improve your editing by making it more fluid and less interrupted.
For years, I used photoshop for editing all my photos. The process of fixing skin tone in Photoshop is complex and time-consuming. First, I had to evaluate the RGB values for each color channel and after I would adjust each color channel separately.
I never liked the Photoshop skin color adjustment workflow.
In Lightroom, the process of adjusting the skin color takes 10 seconds at most. And it is fun.
My approach to using Lightroom shortcuts is to only memorize what is essential - the shortcuts that can help me streamline and simplify my editing workflow. I ignore the rest.
Below is a list of Lightroom keyboard shortcuts that are most valuable for my workflow and reflect how I use Lightroom. Different photographers use Lightroom differently, so shortcuts will typically vary from person to person.
Lightroom Portrait Editing in 10 Minutes or Less
Retouching portraits is an important subdivision of photo editing. Typically a complex and time-consuming process, it requires an intimate knowledge of Photoshop with some unique techniques specific to the field.
But, you do not have to be intimidated by a scary word like "retouching" because you can beautify any portrait directly in Lightroom without using Photoshop. In fact, I've been using Lightroom in my portrait retouching workflow for all my travel portraits and family photos.
This is the second part of the Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts article. If you remember in the original post, I outlined my approach for using shortcuts in Lightroom and listed the ones I use most often in my editing workflow.
The original article resonated well with my blog readers and on social media in general, so I decided to extend the topic by putting together a cheatsheet of my favorite shortcuts. This is one you can download and use in Lightroom.
Lightroom performance is one of the hottest topics on the internet among photographers today. A simple search reveals hundreds of articles and discussions dedicated to different tips and tricks on how to speed up the Lightroom workflow. The recommendations often contradict each other.
Today, I want to share my top tweaks and changes that have been the most impactful in speeding up Lightroom’s performance.
Today, I want to share a feature in Lightroom that saves me an enormous amount of time but is often overlooked by many photographers.
Effective organization is the most important part of my simplified workflow because nearly all my photos are part of various sequences. Let me explain.
When shooting landscapes and especially seascapes, we, as photographers, are exposed to a variety of weather conditions and, sometimes, to even extreme conditions. The general rule of landscape photography is that bad weather equals more photo opportunities. It also means that the risk of environmental particles ruining our photos is much higher.
In today's tutorial, I demonstrate my editing workflow for cleaning landscape images using Lightroom Spot Removal tool.
Regardless of whether you use analog or digital graduated filters, both work well when your scene has an even horizon line. However, when the horizon is interrupted by mountains or an object such as a tree, the effect of Graduated Filters becomes unnatural by making the top of the object(s) darker.
Since Adobe folks always talk to photographers to better understand their needs and wants, they added a new feature to the Graduated Filter and Brush Tool that allows us to selectively remove the filter or brush effect from the image. This is called the Filter Brush. Let me show you how I use it.
I want to share with you how you can use Lightroom Histogram to simplifies editing workflow even further.
This technique allows you to use Lightroom Histogram as a visual interactive editing tool. This approach works well with Lightroom Rapid Editing and Lightroom Rapid Editing Plus workflows when you need to adjust the Exposure before or after applying Lightroom Style presets.
The 5 Second Landscape Editing process is only four adjustments that take around five seconds, at most, to apply.
By performing these simple edits, you can drastically improve any landscape photo. Trust me! I use these simple adjustments on 99% of the landscape images I edit and you should too!
Today, I want to demonstrate how I use multiple catalogs during my photography trips.
When I saw the actual place, I realized that capturing the entire scene in one composition would be more challenging than I expected. There was no way I could place both the bay and the mountain into the same composition, as the landscape was too wide.
This is when I decided to use panorama technique.
Everything changed when Lightroom introduced its new tool, SPLIT TONING. This is probably one of my favorite features of Lightroom. It allows you to experiment with a variety of different looks in seconds. The creative process becomes very intuitive and fun.
The Split Toning tool allows you to add a specific color to light areas of your photo and another color to the dark areas. The color combinations and settings are endless, thus letting you achieve any look you desire.