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Posted by James Maynard – March 15, 2013 browse all

Top 10 Easy Tips To Be A Lightroom Rock Star

Lightroom from Adobe is a program which can have a little bit of a learning curve for some new users, as not everything is presented in a traditional user interface. One of the things you will learn as you continue to use the program however, is that Lightroom is set up differently because it is designed to do things using more versatile methods than most other digital photo editors. However, using just a few simple tips, and by learning a few hot keys and shortcuts to streamline your performance, you will be able to create great results, even if you are new to the photo-editing program.

1) Deepen your sky with luminance – On bright days, digital cameras will do their best to record detail in shadows. This can cause skies to become washed out, looking pale and lifeless. In many other programs, the saturation control is used to deepen the blues naturally present in the sky, but this adjustment offers limited control, due to the nature of the the way the color is intensified. Lightroom, on the other hand, offers a setting called luminance, located within the develop module. You will find the control panel for it next to the ones for hue and saturation. There are a number of sliders here for each component color. Bring the luminance setting for blue down, which will darken the blues within your image. This will make your sky look deeper and richer.

2) Make skin look great – If you are taking photos of people, a good skin tone is essential for an attractive photograph. There are lighting and exposure issues, and we also have to work with real life detail that cameras do pick up – tiny marks and enlarged pores, for instance. Lightroom comes with a feature called “soften skin” that works wonders on selected areas. (Develop Module > Filter Brush > Effect > Soften Skin) Alternatively, both of these challenges can be improved by bringing down the brightness control a little within Lightroom. Don’t go too far, however. Then raise the luminance setting for red and orange to help with skin color, but don’t go too far with this adjustment, either, as it can look unnatural if you do.

3) While you are within the develop module of Lightroom, use the “\” button to toggle between the original image before any adjustments and its current form. Being able to do this is one of the big advantages of non-destructive editing, and is one of the features that makes Lightroom so powerful. Also, hitting the “Y” key can display your before/after versions of the photos.

4) Explore different views in your library – You can quickly change your views with the click of a button within your library module. Enter grid mode with “G”, “C” for compare, typing “N” gets you to a survey view, use “E” for loupe and “D” to edit or develop your image.

5) Lightroom can also go quickly between color and black and white versions of your picture – use “V” to toggle between the two forms. Some photos really benefit from a black and white format, especially portraits and photographs of old buildings or natural features.

6) Perhaps you are examining your work, but you find the panels at the left and right of your picture to be distracting. They can be easily hidden away through the use of the Tab button on your keyboard. The command “L” will turn the brightness of the panels down, off and back on again.

7) You can adjust sliders by using the arrow buttons on your keyboard. Plus, you can make the adjustments go faster by pressing shift at the same time, or slower by using the alt button along with the slider. The alt button, used by itself, will reset the slider to its original position, as will double-clicking the adjustment.

8) Don’t be afraid to try new plugins – these small add-ons to Lightroom help users edit, manage and store photos. Generally speaking, plugins operate like like apps within Lightroom, allowing you new capabilities within the photo-management software. Many of these are free, or available at very little cost. (Read More: The Top Six Reasons to Use Lightroom Plugins)

9) Don’t be afraid to try new presets – Whereas plugins allow Lightroom additional capabilities, presets allow you to easily give photos high-quality effects quickly and easily. Examples might be an old-western look or a glass-plate effect. These are also widely available for little to no cost. (Read More: Top Six Reasons to Use Lightroom Presets)

10) Feel free to experiment as well, and customize and effects that you may get from your chosen presets and plugins. Because edits to photographs in Lightroom are non-destructive, you can experiment away without needing to be concerned about losing your original photo!

Using the simple Lightroom tips you can go from Lightroom novice to rock star status. Rock on!