Lightroom Rapid Editing Plus – the Evolution

As you probably know, I have a background in graphic design and, for many years, Photoshop was the main tool I used as a professional.

When I first got interested in photography, the learning curve was not very steep because I continued using Photoshop to edit my photos after adding a few photography specific plugins.

But, since Adobe introduced Lightroom, the process of organizing and editing my photos gradually began to change. At first, I only used Lightroom for photo organization. But, as each version of Lightroom became more sophisticated and useful for me as a photographer, I noticed that I used Photoshop less and less while managing to complete more tasks in Lightroom.

The next big change occurred when the preset functionality was introduced in Lightroom. I initially started to develop my own presets and later came up with an entirely new editing approach called Lightroom Rapid Editing.

Lightroom 6 was a huge update that affected my editing workflow once again. I realized that I did not need any dedicated HDR programs since I could perform HDR merging in a nondestructive RAW environment. This was huge! Plus, I no longer needed Photoshop to create panoramas as, yet again, Lightroom offered a RAW environment for doing exactly that.

After I upgraded to Lightroom 6, I stopped using most of the usual plugins even though I always loved Nik plugins and used Color Effects, Viveza for years. I also liked the style plugins from ON1 and Topaz Labs. But, I stopped using those as well because the combination of new functionalities of Lightroom and my Lightroom Rapid Editing allowed me to achieve the same effects in a nondestructive RAW environment.

But, not everything was perfect in paradise.

The one functionality of Photoshop that I always missed was also huge for me – the ability to change the Opacity.

When working in Photoshop, I always apply a much stronger effect to the image than I need. Then, I change the opacity of the layer to dial down the effect so that I have more control over the look that any given effect produced.

This functionality is missing in Lightroom. For example, if I apply one of my presets to a photo and I see that the effect it produces is too strong, I cannot simply dial it down with one slider. Instead, I have to dig deep into the editing tools of Lightroom to change a gazillion different sliders. For me, this is not a complex process because I created the presets myself and, as a result, know them inside and out. It is just time-consuming. However, for people using my Lightroom Rapid Editing, changing the opacity becomes a very complex task.

But, not to worry. I have good news.

Lightroom Rapid Editing Plus

The problem was solved when I realized that I can hack the Opacity functionality in Lightroom.

I picked one of the presets from Landscape Collection (End of Summer) and created 9 extra variations, by reducing the strength of the effect by 10% for each consecutive version.

This is when the concept of Lightroom Rapid Editing Plus was born. It is not going to replace the existing Rapid Editing. It will be optional extensions for photographers who need more creative control over Lightroom editing.

Now if you like the effect of any given preset produces but it is too strong for your taste, you can dial it down by using “Virtual Opacity” functionality of Lightroom Rapid Editing Plus.


Please let me know what you think about this addition to Rapid Editing.

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.