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Advanced Tips and Tricks

Lesson 19 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

19. Advanced Tips and Tricks

Lightroom can be used by beginners -- and advanced photo editors. In this learn, discuss topics like working on two computers. Then launch into some advanced tips and tricks to get the most out of your Lightroom subscription.

Lesson Info

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Welcome to another installment of Lightroom Classic, the complete guide. Let's take a look back at what we've covered thus far. For those of you that haven't been here since the beginning, we've done quite a bit. Up until now, we had a whole week where we talked about creating a firm foundation of knowledge about Lightroom where you start learning about how does Lightroom deal with your images differently than other programs. The next week, we went on to starting to organize and adjust our pictures and kind of get a foundation there of how can we think differently about organization in a way that's much more useful than what most people I find use. In the third week, we talked about special features in Lightroom; therefore, we'd be able to merge more than one images together into let's say a panorama or view our images on a map or make a book. Then, this week, on the first day, we looked at some start-to-finish examples where you see me use all of Lightroom's features to really transfo...

rm images from what might look kind of mediocre to something that's really polished. In the second day, we showed you how to get your images over to Photoshop and make some changes there, get 'em back to Lightroom, and go back and forth and round trip as many times as you want to while still making changes in both programs. Then, on the third day of this week, we talked about troubleshooting, 'cause everything doesn't always go exactly as you expect in Lightroom. So we talked about some of the issues you might encounter. And then today, we're gonna get into tips and tricks about Lightroom. But we're gonna actually start the day with a little bit more of an in-depth idea, and that is, what are some of the thoughts I can use about working on two computers? What if I have a desktop machine at home or in my studio, and I have a laptop that I wanna travel with, and when I get back from my travels and I get back to my desktop machine, well, I've made changes on my laptop. How do I get those changes incorporated into that desktop copy of Lightroom? Well, there are many options we have. Let's take a look at what they are and what it takes to implement them. So I'm gonna give you a few different scenarios, and one of those scenarios is just something simple, and that's having a pure travel catalog. We're gonna also talk about intermediate ideas, and that's gonna be having your master catalog on external hard drive, and I'll show you what that involves, and then advanced setup, where you have two master catalogs, the one on your main machine, and the one that you travel with, and then an alternative, which is when you travel, you completely ignore Lightroom and use Bridge instead. There would be a few advantages and just things that would become more simple if you were to do that. So, let's look at these four different choices, when might you use them, and what are some of the tips you would use when trying to implement them. So, first, there's the simplest setup, and that is a pure travel catalog. That means whenever you leave to go shoot additional pictures, you create a brand-new Lightroom catalog that starts out empty. And as you're out shooting, you add pictures to that catalog as you're traveling. Your catalog remains nice and small. It's easy to move between machines, because, unlike my main catalog which contains many hundreds of thousands of pictures, this catalog would only contain what you've captured during the trip that you're currently on. Now, the disadvantages of creating a brand-new empty catalog every time you travel is you will not have access to your photo archives. You won't be able to look at photos you shot two, three, or 10 years ago, because they just won't be in that catalog. But that can be fine, depending on your workflow, if you mainly wanna concentrate on the images that you capture while traveling. Now, a tip related to that is creating a brand-new Lightroom catalog file does not necessarily guarantee that everything you're used to having in a catalog will be there. You might wanna create a template, a kind of empty catalog that you feed certain settings into just to make sure you have all that you need. You might wanna make sure your presets are loaded in a catalog, that if you use a certain keyword list, that it's been loaded and all that. Then, all you're gonna do is take that template of a catalog, and you'll copy it each time you're gonna travel. So that template always remains empty, and you just copy it, make a fresh copy for each trip. Therefore, you have everything built into it that you really need. So that's what I would call the simplest way, and that would be a pure travel catalog. Now, if we think about that, what would we need to do to implement a pure travel catalog? Well, you're gonna have a master catalog only on your main desktop machine. That's where ultimately, when you return from your trips, you're gonna try to move things to, and you're gonna create a new catalog on your laptop every time you travel. So, new trip, new catalog. Then, when you return to your desktop, you're gonna copy that catalog file that you've been using on your laptop machine. You'll go to your desktop. You go to the file menu, and there's a choice called import from another catalog. You'll choose that, and you'll feed it that catalog file that you have been traveling with. Since there are no duplicates in that file versus your main Lightroom catalog because there are only newly-shot pictures in there, it's a really clean and simple process to import from another catalog and feed it your travel catalog. Then everything that's in the travel catalog will get transferred over to your desktop. In the process, you even have an option to tell it to move the files. You can tell it to move them to your main photo storage. Now, let's talk about more of an intermediate workflow, and that would be to have one Lightroom catalog, I'll call that your master catalog, and just store it on an external hard drive. And so therefore, whenever you're gonna leave your desktop machine, you just take that external hard drive with you. Just make sure you quit Lightroom before unplugging it, because Lightroom needs to do some things to kind of finalize that catalog, make it ready to be used on another machine. So you quit Lightroom before you leave the office, you grab that little hard drive, and then you can travel with it. The advantages of that is really easy file management, because you're always adding things to the exact same Lightroom catalog. You can have access to all of your previously-shot images, even those images that are 10 years old. As long as you've imported then into Lightroom, they'll be in that catalog file. And it's easy to keep in sync, because there's generally nothing to sync. There's only one catalog file, so it's very easy to manage. The difficulty with this setup is that external hard drive, you could easily drop it, lose it, or do something else when traveling. Maybe your backpack gets stolen, and there's your main hard drive with your Lightroom catalog on it. And therefore, backups become very important when working in that way. It's also sometimes a little difficult to work when you have to plug in an external drive. If I'm in a taxi cab and I'm opening my laptop, it's kind of fumble-y to pull out a hard drive and connect it. A little tip, though, is why not get a small travel hard drive to use for that, and just put Velcro on it, and some people actually Velcro it to the back of their computer screen. And therefore when you get in a taxi, sure, you can open it up, just Velcro that drive to the back, and plug it on in. And you can work just fine. But the most important thing there is back up that drive before you end up leaving on your trips, just in case something happens to the drive. If it gets stolen, dropped, or something else, you need something to be able to go back to. So, how do we went up implementing that if we haven't yet done it? Well, the first thing we wanna do is, if you go into your preferences, one of the headings in preferences is presets. And in there, there's a choice to store your presets with your catalog file. Since you're gonna be moving that catalog file between more than one machine, if you make a new preset on one machine, you wanna have it available on the other as well. So, changing this preference file will make it so your presets moving along with your catalog. Then, you wanna quit Lightroom, and you copy the entire catalog folder that you've been using, and you copy it to an external drive, usually a travel drive so it's nice and convenient to move around. Then after you've copied your entire Lightroom catalog file to that external drive, you now wanna delete any existing Lightroom catalogs from your desktop machine and your laptop so you don't accidentally open that, those old catalog files, because now, your master resides on that travel hard drive, and you wanna ignore any other catalog files. So you might as well delete any extras that you have. Then you're gonna move that external drive between different machines as you use it. Just make sure, before you disconnect, that you quit Lightroom. Then you can disconnect it, move it to another machine, launch Lightroom, and get into that catalog file. Also, since we have that on an external drive, usually, you can find a drive, even a travel one, that's known as being bus powered, where it doesn't need a power cord. You can find one large enough to contain most of the pictures that you capture while you're traveling. Therefore, you have your catalog file, and you also have the actual images you're capturing when you're traveling on that same drive. Then, if you're storing things on a different drive on your desktop, maybe you have a big external drive you need to use, then when you return, you can just look in your folder list in Lightroom and drag the newly-captured folders' worth of images over to your archive drive, whatever the big drive is you might have when you get back home that you wouldn't necessarily travel with. For me, I have a RAID system that holds my 200+ thousand pictures in it, and then I can have that travel drive. When I get back to my RAID system, I can just use the Lightroom folder list. I grab all the folders that I've added to the travel drive, and I drag it on top of the RAID system that I use to store all my pictures, and it would transfer 'em for me within Lightroom itself. Now, you gotta watch out for little things like if the drive letter changes, if you're on Windows, 'cause if you hook a different drive to your machine before you plug this one in, the drive letter could change, and sometimes that messes it up where it thinks your images are missing. So look at the troubleshooting lesson if you ever run into that. So, then, there's an advanced setup you could work with. And I try to work with this, but even me, I can easily get it to get out of sync. So I don't necessarily suggest this, but I am gonna show it to you, 'cause on occasion, it's something that you might need. Here's the advanced one. You're gonna have two master catalogs. You have your master catalog on your desktop machine, and you're gonna have a copy of that master catalog on your laptop machine that you add additional images to as you travel. So you have two master catalogs. Then, you can access your full archive of images, and all those images can live on your internal laptop drive if you want to, but the problem is, you've gotta keep two catalogs in sync. If you happen to return from a trip and you don't pull your laptop out instantly and do something to sync it up with your desktop version, you can very easily get on your desktop version, start processing pictures, adding keywords, and you're like, wait a minute, I forgot to add the pictures that were on my laptop. Well, what if you work on the exact same picture on both devices? Now you're gonna try to get 'em synced up. Things become more complicated here. So the challenge is to keep both of them in sync, and you can end up with issues there. So, to keep it cleanest, the problem is, if you have a large number of images in those two master catalogs, for me, over 200,000 images, there is a command under the file menu called import from another catalog, and I could be on my desktop machine and choose that and feed it what I've been traveling with. But those 220,000 pictures are in both of those catalogs. So when it does a comparison of the two catalogs, it will look for anything that's different between the two. It'll say, hey, here's so many newly-shot images. Do you wanna move those over to this catalog? But it also has to compare all of the other photographs to see, did you happen to adjust them or add keywords or do anything else to them, and that can be time-consuming. You can sit there and watch a progress bar continue along for a very long time as it compares that huge number of images. So to simplify, if you know that you mainly just shot images and added 'em to the catalog, when you're on your laptop, before you get back to your desktop machine, you could select just the folders that you newly captured when you were traveling. Then, if you go to the file menu, there's a choice called export as a catalog, or the actual wording I'd have to look up. But it's under the File menu, and it's called export as catalog or something similar. That'll produce a brand-new catalog file that only has the images that you had selected at the moment you used that command, and if those are only the images you shot while you were traveling, now when you go back to your desktop machine, I still go to the File menu, I still choose import from another catalog, but now what I'm feeding it is not the massive catalog file that was on the laptop that contains my full photo archive. Instead, it's a smaller version that contains only what I shot when I was traveling with that. And I choose import from another catalog and feed it that. It goes much faster, and it can simplify things a bit. So, how do I end up implementing this? So, we're gonna have a copy of the master catalog on both my desktop and my travel machine. Now, I personally need something like that, because I come and teach at classes like this, and when I do, it's useful for me to have my entire photo archive with me. So I wanna have that whole thing there. Then, there is a Smart Previews file, and if you have that on your desktop machine, I usually copy it over and replace what's on my laptop; therefore, if there's any images that I wanna be able to adjust when that drive is not connected, that contains the originals, I could do it, and oftentimes, I'm ending up creating those while I'm on my desktop. So I transfer that file to my laptop. When I return, I export my new captures as a separate catalog. I mentioned that, where you can select them and go to the File menu. There's an option to export as a new catalog. I import that newly exported catalog into my desktop machine to get those files added, and then if I change my archive images, meaning I added keywords or I adjusted photos that were not shot on that trip, then instead, I'm gonna have to feed my desktop machine my entire catalog I've been traveling with, and that's when it takes a bit of time for it it compare. Now, here's an alternative you can use, which is ignore Lightroom when you're traveling and just look at your images using Bridge and adjust them using Adobe Camera Raw. Now, if you do that, then there's these little files that you can get created. It's called .xmp files. So any changes that you make within Adobe Camera Raw will be stored as little text files. And so you can adjust all the pictures while you're traveling. You view the images using Bridge, you adjust them using Camera Raw, and these little text files called .xmp files are created every time you make a change. It ends up being really simple. You have zero problems syncing when you return, because those images are not in Lightroom yet at all, and the disadvantage are, there are certain features that are available in Lightroom that you can't use in Bridge, and that is things like virtual copies and Smart Previews. We just can't use those. Also, I find that the Adobe Camera Raw interface is just not all that familiar to me. I'm so used to Lightroom and the way it's laid out that every time I have to switch between the two, there's a little bit of a mental adjustment, which I don't necessarily prefer. And it used to be, but within the last week this has changed, Adobe Camera Raw used to not show you any previews when you had presets, and I rely on a lot of presets when I adjust things. And in Lightroom, if you hover over the names of presets, you can see a preview updating to show you what would it look like if you applied that to your picture, and Adobe Camera Raw used to not have that. But in like the last week, they updated it, so now you can hover over presets and your image actually updates to preview what it would look like. So that last bullet point under disadvantages is no longer true. Then there's one tip I give you if you happen to want to use Bridge when you're traveling like that, and that is simply in the preferences for Bridge, 'cause there's, go up to the File menu and choose Preferences, or actually, go up to the Bridge menu and choose Preferences. There is a setting within it that you wanna tell it to save the changes you make to what's called a sidecar file, and that means every time you make a change in the adjustment sliders, a little text file is created that ends with the letters .xmp and in there is stored those adjustments you've made. Then when you get over to your desktop machine, you just take your folder of images, and you say import into Lightroom, and it reads in all those little .xmp files and can notice exactly when any image has been adjusted, and therefore, those adjustments are reflected in Lightroom. So, here's the setup for this. You're gonna have Lightroom on your desktop. You're gonna have Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw on your laptop. You're gonna change your preference for Adobe Camera Raw, 'cause there's two places where it could save your adjustments. One is in what's known as the Camera Raw Database. The problem is if it's stored there, Lightroom won't know about 'em. And the other is to save them as .xmp files, also known as sidecar files. And if you do that, then when you load the images into Lightroom, it will know exactly the changes you made with Adobe Camera Raw. Once you return, you just copy the folders of images that you've captured, get 'em wherever you need them to end up, and in Lightroom, you choose import, and you tell it to add those photos to your Lightroom catalog on your desktop. It reads in all the .xmp files to know about all the adjustments, and it works nice and clean. So these are the four setups you might consider, from the simplest, which is a pure travel catalog, brand-new catalog each time you travel, but there, you can't see your archives of images. I would say the most suggested I would give you would probably be the intermediate setup, which would be store your master catalog on an external drive, and just any time you leave the office, quit Lightroom and bring that drive with you. Travel with it. When you get home, just plug it right back into your home or office machine. Launch up Lightroom, you're good to go. The main thing there, though, that I say is critical, is backups, 'cause you can drop that drive when you're traveling, or it could get stolen, and I would hate to have it where you'd lose any of the changes you made in Lightroom. Then we have an advanced setup, which I often use myself, but I don't look forward to using, so I don't suggest it to most people, and then the alternative is you could use Bridge when you're traveling. All right, let's jump into Lightroom and start talking about some tips and tricks. Let's start with some simple things and move into some more complex. Here's one of the simplest things you'll ever notice in Lightroom. If you ever are unsure, have you made it to the bottom of the panel that you're currently viewing, they were so nice to add a tiny little triangle right down here to tell you there's more to come, and if you continue scrolling, only once you get to the bottom does that little triangle disappear. You'd never know about that unless I told you, 'cause who cares? But, just so you know, it's there. Here's something you might use a little bit more often. What if there's a keyboard shortcut I'd like to use, but I can't remember it? Well, if I go up to the various menus, sure, it'll list some keyboard shortcuts to the right of each command, but some of those keyboard shortcuts relate to tools, and the only way I can figure out what those are are to hover over a tool, and I see a tool tip showing up. And to the right of the name of whatever it tells me I'm hovering over, it will tell me a keyboard shortcut. It'd be real nice, though, if there would be another way to see what all the keyboard shortcuts are. Check this out. I'm gonna hold down the Command key. That's Control in Windows. And I'm gonna press the forward slash key. And when I do, I get a list of keyboard shortcuts for the module that I'm currently in. And therefore, if I wanna get used to keyboard shortcuts, it's a really nice thing to refer to on a regular basis. So once you get used to one keyboard shortcut, just pop this up again and see if there's another one that'll be useful. The more times you access this, the more you'll start to hopefully remember the keyboard shortcuts. 'Cause it's only when you have 'em in your head that you can be really fast. So we can have this. Now, that says library keyboard shortcuts. Remember, I did that with Command + /, and to get rid of it, I just click within it. If I go to the Develop module, again, Command + /, I get a different list. This one is specific to the Develop module. And so you can do that for each of your modules. It can be a nice way to remember how to do certain things. All right, what else? Well, let's go to our preferences. If I go to the Lightroom menu and I choose Preferences, and by the way, in Windows, this would be under the Edit menu that you find your preferences. Then, under the General setting, this setting right here's pretty important. It says when starting up, which catalog should it use? If I click here, this has a list of recently-used catalogs I can tell it to use but then there are two special choices up here. If you choose Load most recent catalog, then it's just whatever catalog filed you last used that will open, and if you happen to have multiple catalogs, on some days, you might not realize that you're working with a catalog different than what you expect to be in, 'cause you just don't remember what the last catalog is you had open. But, if you end up using one catalog for each client, that might be convenient. The next time you open up, you could have it be on the same one. Or if you switch between catalogs all the time, because again, you have one for each shoot or one for each client, here, you can ask it to actually prompt you when you launch Lightroom. Then every single time you launch Lightroom, it would ask you what catalog do you wanna work with. Or, if you're like me and you have one master catalog that you're in 98% of the time, why not just choose it from this list so that it always defaults to that particular catalog? I can always go to the File menu and say open and tell it to open another catalog. It's just if I quit Lightroom and start it back up again, it would revert to this particular one that I've chosen. It's a nice preference to know about. Also, if I remember correctly, you can hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows, when you launch Lightroom, and as long as you have it held down at the moment you launch, it would ask you which catalog file you'd like to open. So, therefore, if you're making an unusual, you know, you wanna deviate from your normal plan, you can just hold Option when you're launching it, and it would ask you. Now, other things that are in here, let's see. A couple things would be nice. Whenever you import your images into Lightroom, you might have noticed, up until now, whenever it was done importing, it always brought me to an area in Lightroom that was called previous import. And sometimes, I don't want that. In fact, most of the time, it's kind of annoying that it takes me away from whatever it was I was viewing, especially if the last thing I did was try to synchronize a folder, where I'm already viewing a folder of images, and there just seems to be a few images that aren't showing up. So I right-click on it, I choose Synchronize, it inspects my hard drive, looking to see if there's any extra files in that folder that aren't showing up in Lightroom. Then it imports them. Well, I wanna be looking at that same folder still and just see the additional files show up. So, right here, there's a check box. It's called Select the Current/Previous Import collection during import. I turn that off, and therefore, it stays on whatever folder I was viewing. Every time I import images, it just doesn't move me away from the folder I was previously viewing. Here's a choice called Show import dialog when memory card is detected, and that means if Lightroom is already running and you put a camera card into your card reader, the import screen would automatically come up, and on the left side, it would automatically navigate to that particular card. That's really useful, 'cause most of the time when I put a card in my computer, I wanna import things into Lightroom. On the other hand, if you use SD cards for other purposes, maybe you shoot a lot of video and you don't use Lightroom to manage your video, you use some video-related program to do so, that might be annoying, so you might want to turn this off. Here is another choice. It's called Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos. Well, if you happen to have your camera set up to capture not just raw files but raw plus JPEG. Some people have done that, and that happens to be the way they work. Well, if this thing here is turned off, then if you ever import a folder of images that contain a mix of both raw and JPEGs, and the filenames are identical with the exception of file extension on the end, then it's only gonna show one version of the file, and it will say raw plus JPEG next to it to indicate that there's actually two files there, even though it's only showing you one image. And it will mainly refer to the, the raw file when you're doing everything in Lightroom, 'cause that's the file that has the most info. Well, if you turn this on, now, if you ever have any of those folders that have both raw and JPEG with the exact same file names, you'd actually see two versions of each one of those images. One would be the raw file; the other would be the JPEG. Then, if you wanted to, you could probably delete the JPEGs if you didn't need them, that kind of stuff. But it's really nice to know about that particular preference. Then you should know that there's more than one preference area in Lightroom. This is the preference area for Lightroom in general. If I close it and go back to the Lightroom menu, there's also a choice called Catalog Settings, and that means these are settings specific to this catalog file. And so if I choose Catalog Settings, this comes up. We have various choices here. This is where I can figure out where my catalog file is located, and down here, how often I should save a backup. Now, I personally set this to Every time Lightroom exits. Some people find that to be annoying, 'cause every single time you quit Lightroom, it asks do you wanna back up, but the reason I have it set up that way is so that every time I leave Lightroom and I quit it, I can mentally think about, do I need a backup of what I've just accomplished? So if whatever I did to this Lightroom catalog was considerable, I just adjusted 200 photographs today and I went nuts to do it all, well, I would probably want that backed up so that if anything happened, I would have it in more than one spot. Or, if I just came back from traveling and I ended up importing from my travel catalog and got everything moved over there, then I might wanna back it up again. It's whenever I've made a significant enough change in Lightroom or there's just been a good amount of time. Maybe it's been, you know, a week or two since my last backup. But I usually have it set to every time Lightroom exits. Some people find that to be annoying, because each time you quit, you see a screen come up asking about a backup, but I can just choose ignore, or actually, it's called skip this time, or back up. And if you wanna force something to back up, you can choose this choice. Then, the next time you quit Lightroom, it will ask you to back up, regardless of what you usually have set here. Therefore, if you have this set to maybe once a month, just 'cause you don't like being annoyed every time it quits and you know you just made a significant change to Lightroom, you can come into Lightroom, here to Catalog Settings, and just pop it over to that setting, just for a moment. That is only used once, and then it reverts back to whatever you had this set to previously. But I use mine set to every time. All right, then let's just talk about generally working in Photoshop. Oftentimes, I find I need to do a quick slideshow. Somebody asked me, have I ever been to Iceland? Have I been to, in this case, Morocco? And if so, can I show them the images? Well, for that, I like to do what is called an impromptu slideshow. If I go to the Window menu, right here is the choice of Impromptu Slideshow, and it has a nice keyboard shortcut of just Command + Return. I'm not sure what that's gonna be listed as Windows. I'm assuming it will be Control and either Enter or Return there, but you'll see the keyboard shortcut, and that means if I just wanna show a slideshow, I hold down Command, and I hit Return, and as quickly as Lightroom is able to, it should start up a slideshow. Now, this won't usually show up, but this just means that I have some presets in my slideshow module that involve music, and I've deleted the file that it relies on for that. But look at this. You see how right now, it's showing this kind of a screen in the back thing of my name? And as it shows this slideshow, it's not just a generic one. It has my name down at the bottom, and it goes through. This can have music as well. But how do I get it to have this stylistic look where it has my logo and can be used by simply doing Command + Return to apply it? Well, let me show you. So, to define which slideshow or what that slideshow's gonna look like, what we wanna do is go to the Slideshow module, and in the Slideshow module, you can set up any kind of settings you want for the right side of your screen. There's all sorts of settings where you can add your graphics, your backdrops, and everything else. But when you're done experimenting with those, and that was covered in a different lesson, over on the left side of your screen, here's the template browser, and if you click on the plus sign that's there, you can add a brand-new template. I've done that, and these are a list of the templates that I have, so I can come in here and very quickly click between them to see what it would look like with various choices, and if I wanna control which one of those is used for an impromptu slideshow, I right-click on the preset and right there is Use for Impromptu Slideshow, and therefore, instead of getting whatever the default happens to be for your slideshow, you can get a really customized one. It can even include music if you like. Once you've done that, you'll find there'll be a plus sign to the right of that template, and then the next time you do a slideshow with Command + Return or you go to the Window menu and choose Impromptu Slideshow, that is gonna determine what it looks like. It will use that particular template. All right, then, let's look at some adjustment and rating-related things. If I come in here, and let's say I hit space bar to view one of my images, and down here, we have our little ratings. Well, let's say I wanna change the rating for this image. I'm gonna bring it up to two stars, and I just click. Well, then, to go to the next picture, usually I have to hit the arrow key, and let's say I wanna give this one two stars as well. Well, this becomes a two-step process. Click on the rating, then go to the next picture. Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to use the arrow key to go to each next photograph? Instead, the moment I click on the rating, it could advance to the next image. Well, let's see if I can get that to happen. Let's make this three stars. Do you notice, it instantly went to the next photo? I'll make this one two stars. That one's three, and so on. Now it's a much faster process to be able to rate my images. So how am I doing that? Well, if you add the Shift key. So I'm just holding down the Shift key when I'm clicking on the rating. The same is true if you add a label to your photograph. In fact, if you wanna keep that Shift key held down, we always have Caps Lock, and that will do it for you. So now with Caps Lock on, I can quickly advance through as I'm rating my photographs. Now, that's related to a feature in Lightroom that's found under the Photo menu. Under the Photo menu is a choice down here called Auto Advance. That's what I'm been using just now. You can turn it on here so it becomes the default setting. So now if I go to the Photo menu, you see the check box next to it, and therefore, I don't have to hold down any key on my keyboard. If I just rate this two stars, or here, four stars, and so on, it will automatically advance, and if I were to hold Shift, it should do the opposite. So now, that would be, if I am unsure of my rating and I might wanna change it, it won't auto advance. So therefore, if you press Shift or Caps Lock, you're gonna get the opposite of whatever this is set to. It will disable this if it already has the check box turned on, or it will enable it temporarily if it was turned off. I personally hate auto advance because, it's not that I hate it. It's that I hate not knowing that it's turned on, not realizing it, and I just rated something, and it disappeared, and I just can't think of, mentally, where did that come from, how can I get back to it. It can be jarring for me. So I just like holding Shift or hitting Caps Lock to enable it; therefore, I have to mentally think about it, and it never surprises me. Let's get back to our Library module, and let's talk about working with multiple images. We were just rating some, but what if I wanted to rate five or six of these the same rating? Well, I can click on one image, and I can hold Shift and click on another image way down below, and it will select all of the images in between. Here's something I can run into. When I have more than one image selected, I'll think, I wanna work on this picture right here, and I just click on it. But all that does is make it so that becomes the most selected image, meaning I still have multiple images selected, and when I'm clicking, it is simply changing which one is the most selected. That's the one that I would be working on if I went to the Develop module. That's the one I'd be viewing. Well, here's a little tip for getting out of this, where you have more than one image selected. I just wanna click on this image and have only that one selected. How do you do it? Well, stop clicking on the image itself. Instead, click on the gray surround that is around your image. If I click on the image, it just changes which one is the most selected. But if I click on the surround that's there, it makes it so that's the only image within there that is currently selected, and therefore, it can just be a pleasant way of being able to do that. Otherwise, there are many things you have to get around in order to get down to a single picture. When it comes to adjustments and just having your Lightroom catalog file both be small and be fast, there's something to think about. If I go over here to my folder list, and I come up to the very top, it tells me I have 229,000 pictures. Each one of those pictures, if I've ever made an adjustment to them, or any kind of change, has a history. So if I click on one of these pictures and I go to my Develop module, on the left side of my screen will be a history. And this history tells me everything I've done to this picture since I imported it. Here, I can see the date and time that I imported it, and then exactly what I did to the picture to progress to this particular end result, and then I happen to have exported this image a few times as well. Well, having this information for 200,000 pictures does start adding up. It's just like having text emails. They might seem to be really small contained on your hard drive, but once you get a half a million of 'em, it starts adding up. So, as you have more and more history added to more and more pictures, your Lightroom catalog file starts getting a little bigger, a little bigger, and it might also get a little bit slower. So, we can actually clear out the history of our images, and if I were to do that, I can do it just with this little check, what do you call it, X on the right side here. That's gonna clear the whole history. Then it's only gonna remember what the end result looked like and where all the sliders were located at that moment. It won't recall what order they were done in, like this. Well, I wouldn't usually do that for nice pictures that I really like, but that's great for my outtakes. Outtakes are pictures that I think I never need to look at again, and so if I wanna speed up my Lightroom catalog and I want my Lightroom catalog file to get smaller, then here's what I can end up doing. I'm gonna first go in here to the Collections list, and I'm gonna create a brand-new collection that is known as a Smart Collection. So here, I'm gonna say Create Smart Collection. Then, I'm gonna call this Outtakes, and I can go over here and put it in a particular set, or I'll turn that off so it's on the base level. Then down here, somehow, I have to get it to find all my outtakes files. Well, if you use my particular folder system, all you have to do is tell it that the source, it's in a folder that contains all the words or sometimes I just say starts with the words, outtakes. And I hit Create. Now, we're gonna have a special collection here. It searches my entire photo archive for any picture that is sitting in a folder called outtakes. It says it find 9,758 of them. Well, if I were to click on one of these, I might find that some of these images have been adjusted, and if they've been adjusted, then they have a history. Well, what I could do is just type Command + A to select all. I can go to the Develop module, and over here where it's History, I can clear those out by just clicking right there, clear all. Since I have all the images currently selected, then, when I end up clicking that, it should do that for every single one of the pictures. And therefore, all of my outtakes will still have the end result, whatever the result of the adjustment happens to look like, but it'll no longer keep track of the individual steps that were used along the way and what order they were in, and therefore, it will make my Lightroom catalog file smaller, and therefore, because of that, Lightroom can run a bit faster. And so it's a combination of creating this Smart Collection to very quickly collect all your outtakes, and then, whenever you find you wanna free up some space, clearing the history on all those outtakes. Some people consider deleting their outtakes when they're done processing a folder. I personally don't, 'cause I just never now when I'm gonna need some images, and oftentimes, it has to do with teaching, where I want bad-looking photos as well as good ones, and so I might end up keeping around files moreso than others would. But I wanna show you something that I consider before I ever delete a photograph. If there's a photo I'm considering to delete, I could first need to, I need to view that photograph in the folder that it's stored in. So I right-click on the folder or the photo, and I choose Go to Folder in Library so I can see where it's located. In this case, it's in my Outtakes of Ft. Lauderdale, and before I consider actually hitting the Delete key to get rid of it, I right-click on the picture, and I choose this option, Go to Collection. And I make sure that this list is empty before I delete a picture. And it's not that I have to empty it out if it's in some collections, but this will just give me an idea of why might I not want to delete something. Oh, it's in a collection for teaching a particular technique, and therefore if I delete it, it will no longer be in that collection, and I can no longer teach some compositing ideas related to it. So, usually if I right-click on any photo, let's say this one, I say Go to Collection, and if it says, hey, it's not in any collections, then I know at least I'm not using it for some other project where I might miss it if it gets deleted. And if it is in a collection like this one is, I just need to think through mentally, do I still wanna delete it, considering that I'm using it for some other project? So that's one little tip that I use, because before I found I accidentally deleted some pictures without thinking of some other uses other than the main one I was looking at at the time I decided to delete it. All right, then, let's take a look at other little tips. Sometimes there are things that are not all that obvious, and there are little icons that you might not notice, one of which is related to GPS. And so with GPS, let's say I have an image, and that image ends up having GPS coordinates on it. Here I think I should have some images. This one we actually put on a map in a previous lesson. If I go over here to the right side of my screen to the metadata section, and I scroll down, I'll see that right here is a GPS, and it tells me. If there's some sort of number in there, that means that this has a location. Well, you'll notice there's a little icon pointing towards the right. If I wanna see this particular image on a map in the precise location where it was taken, all you need to do is click that icon, and that should automatically send me to the Map module in Lightroom, and it will navigate to where the photo was taken. So, I can get a better idea of it. It was taken right here, and I can see that four other photographs were taken in that general location. And here, I can arrow over to see which other ones were taken nearby. So, that's nice to know, but let's go back to our Library module, and let's go back to that icon, and here's the trick. This is what I clicked on to bring me to the map in Lightroom. But, if I hold down the Option key and I click on it, it will bring me to my web browser, and it will bring me to Google Maps to that exact same location. Therefore, in Google Maps, I can hit the Get Directions choice, and I can get driving directions to wherever that photo was taken. But that's only gonna work for those images that have GPS data attached. It's a really nice way, though, to figure out how to get back to a location you've been at, if you wanna drive there. Now let's look at a tip that can speed up either stitching panoramas or combining multiple exposures into an HDR image. If you've already merged multiple images into an HDR, which is, I've recently done. here I selected three images. I went to the Photo menu. I choose Photo Merge, and I chose HDR. Then, at the time you merge those together, Lightroom will actually remember the settings that you used. So whichever settings you used to produce your end result, maybe you had the auto-alignment turned on, auto adjustment. There was a setting called Ghost Reduction. Maybe you had it turned on to a particular setting. Once you've set it up for one picture, you can then start getting Lightroom to process images in the background as you're doing other things, because if you've already set up the settings once, now why not just tell it to merge some other images using the exact same settings? So to show you that, I'm gonna grab a few images here, and I'm gonna merge these. All I need to do then is hold down the Shift key. Shift means use the last settings that I used. I come down here to Photo Merge, and I say HDR. Now, usually, that would cause it to come up with a screen full of settings, but because I have Shift held down, now it's doing it in the background. See here it says creating HDR. So that means right away after that, I can select my next set of images, and if I could like to merge all of these together, then I again hold down Shift, go to the Photo menu, and say Photo Merge > HDR. In fact, I can use this keyboard shortcut. If you're not used to that symbol, that's the control key on a Mac. I'm not sure the exact equivalent on Windows, but you can look right in the menu yourself if you have a Windows machine. So, if I do Control + Shift + H, then I can just take this set of images, do Shift + Control + H, and it's gonna start merging them. I can grab another set of images and do the same thing. I can have it getting maybe 20 sets of images, working on it in the background. Then, while it's doing that, I can click on one that it's finished with, go to the Develop module, and start working on it, processing the image as I care to, and I don't have to wait every time I wanna get those things to merge, because I only need to specify the settings once, and now I can have it do all that stuff in the background as I'm working on my pictures. So, let's look at a few things related to working on your pictures in the Develop module if I want to make something look the same as a JPEG file would have looked in my camera. I'm shooting raw, but I like the way my JPEGs look, and I find my, my raw files looking a little bit dull. Well, if that's the case, what you wanna do is take an image and send it over to the Develop module. At the top of our Develop settings, there is this area here called Profile. If you click on this popup menu, you wanna choose Browse. Browse does the same thing as clicking on these four little squares here. So you could just click there. Then, there's gonna be something here called Camera Matching, and that means match the appearance of JPEG files that my camera would create. If I open that up, I just need to know which setting is my camera set to, 'cause if you go into the menu system for your camera, you will find there's something that's usually called a picture style, although other manufacturers sometimes use other names. But these will be the same choices you had available in your camera, and all you need to do is click on one of these. They're known as camera matching profiles, and that's gonna get your raw files to look very similar to what a JPEG would have looked in how they're rendered. Now if, for some reason, you really like that setting, if you haven't changed any other settings at all that are found here, you should then be able to go up to the Develop menu, and there's a setting here called Set Default Settings. And that means from now on, use that setting as my default. So know, though, that when you set your default settings, it's not only thinking about this setting that is called the profile setting; it's thinking about every single one of the adjustment sliders that are here. So make sure that they're zeroed out at their defaults. That means if I wanted to change only that one part of my default settings, I'd first click down here on Reset, just to make sure that none of the other settings in here are turned on. Then I would come up here to my profile. I would choose the camera matching profile I wanted to use, hit Close, and then I'd think about, is there anything else in my settings that I would like to change the defaults of? And oftentimes, what I'd like to do is go here to Lens Corrections and just make sure those two are turned on. I've already changed my defaults once to have them on. And I might go here to Detail and turn up my masking a little bit so it doesn't default at zero, and then I go to my Develop module and say Set Default Settings. This comes up. If you actually read it, it sounds a little bit scary, 'cause it says these changes are not undoable. All that means is these changes are easily undoable in that you can get back to the factory defaults that Adobe has. What you can't get back to is a previously-set custom default like what we're doing right now. If I previously tweaked those settings and saved them as new defaults, when I go in here right now and say update the current settings, whatever previous custom ones were in there get wiped out. And I can't get back to them. I'd have to respecify them in here. But that's why, in my defaults, I have my lens corrections turned on, and under my Detail, I have masking turned up a little bit, so it doesn't sharpen absolutely everything in my picture. And I might have up here in the basic settings the profile chosen of whatever may favorite one is. I'm not saying camera landscape is that, but I was just giving you that as an example so that you can work with it. Other things related to adjustment is if I end up making any kind of a change to my image, and I decide I don't like one of the changes that I've made, if you wanna get any of these adjustment sliders back to their default settings, all you need to do is double-click on the slider itself, or double-click on the word, the name of the slider, and that will bring it back to the default settings. Then you can experiment again. The other thing you can do related to double clicking is if you hold down the Shift key and you double-click on a slider. Let's say first I reset this one called Shadows. Now I hold down Shift and I double-click. That's the equivalent to having Lightroom intelligently figure out what it thinks is the best setting for that. It's really the same as clicking this button that's called Auto, but not letting it control every slider, only letting the Auto button control the one slider that I'm holding down the Shift key and double-clicking on. I use that most commonly when working on the Blacks slider, because Shift + Double-Click will ensure that there's a small area of solid black within my picture, and I want that for the vast majority of pictures I work on, and that's a very quick way of getting it. So whenever I think I'm done with a picture, I usually hold down the Shift key, and I double-click on the word Blacks to get it to automatically make sure that we have a small area of black. Other tips related to adjustments is when I'm working on a laptop screen, I often have this really skinny. I just click on the left edge of it, pull it over, so that I can make my image take up a lot of space. But if you do that, then moving one of these sliders the tiniest amount will actually make a somewhat considerable change to your image, just because there's not very much width in the total width of that slider. When I'm on a desktop machine or I need more precision, I always grab this edge and pull it way out. That gets this to be not quite double the width, and now, if I move this just one pixel over, I'm actually making a smaller change to my image, 'cause I'm moving it the same distance that I was before, but the slider itself is wider, and therefore, I moved a shorter distance across it. So I can have a more granular control over that. Let's talk a little bit about using the adjustment brush. I use the adjustment brush all the time, and there are some things that speed me up when using it. The first thing is let's say I made an adjustment. In this case, I'm just gonna make one that's obvious. I'm going to try to make my image black and white and maybe add a lot of clarity, just so it should be relatively obvious when I paint somewhere. Well, if I paint within my image, like this, you see the image changing. If I decide I need to take away from that, 'cause I've gone over too large of an area, then there's a choice over here on the right called erase. I could click on that to get into Erase mode, and then I could paint on my image to remove the adjustment wherever I got overspray where I didn't want it. But I find it to be much faster to instead hold down the Option key on my keyboard. When I hold down the Option key, only for the length of time that I have it held down will it have the option called Erase showing up. So therefore, if I don't have it held down, I can add to the area I'm working on. I hold down the Option key, and now, as I paint, I'm taking away. And so that's how I usually get Erase to work. Another thing that I use is there's an option here called Auto Mask, which I find to be rather useful with it. If I turn it on, it looked at the crosshair that is in the center of my brush, and whatever color is underneath that crosshair is where it's primarily gonna put the change in. And anything that's different than the color that's underneath that crosshair, it's gonna try not to change, and therefore, it will help to automatically mask what I'm doing. So, I commonly switch Auto Mask on and off all the time. The tip I wanna give you is that if you hold down the Command key when you move your mouse on top of the image, it doesn't visually show you, but holding down Command gives you the opposite of what you currently have Auto Mask set to. So if Auto Mask was turned off, you hold down the Command key, click within your image, and it will act as if Auto Mask was on. And it does the opposite if the check box is actually turned on. Those two things really sped me up a lot when I was working with the adjustment brush. Other than that, the only other obvious things here are is if you wanna change your brush size, I use the scroll wheel on a mouse, or if I'm on a trackpad like this one, two fingers moving up or down. And if I wanna change how soft the edge is, I add Shift. That'll give me a softer edge or a harder edge when I'm using the scroll wheel or two fingers on a trackpad like this one. Okay, another tip related to using the adjustment brush. Let's say I took an image, went to the Develop module, and I used my adjustment brush. Well, if, let's say I had Auto Mask turned on, and I painted across my sky, it'll remember the last setting I had preloaded, so in this case, we're making it black and white. Down at the bottom of my screen, there's a checkbox called Show Selected Mask Overlay. If I turn that on, you see a colored overlay wherever I've painted; therefore, it becomes a little easier to figure out where exactly you are affecting the image. But I find green is not always the best color. So, I wanna show you how you could change that color. Well, when you're in the adjustment brush, you can go up to the Tools menu at the top of your screen. You don't always see a Tools menu, but when you're in that tool, you'll have one. And if I come down here, right here is a choice called Adjustment Mask Overlay, and I can switch between four different colors. And here, it mentions the keyboard shortcuts for hiding the overlay, it's letter O for overlay, and then cycling between these colors, which is Shift and the letter O. So, if you get used to the fact that O means overlay when you're in your adjustment brush, that's pretty easy to remember, O for overlay, well, if you do Shift + O, you can change the color of that overlay, because sometimes, green or red or blue or whatever color it is happens to blend in too much with your picture, and so therefore, it's nice to know exactly how you can change that. And you can change it as much as you want, either going to the Tools menu to do it manually, or if you can remember the keyboard shortcut of going to O for overlay and then Shift + O for changing the color. Let's get back out of our adjustment brush, and let's think of just one last tip. That last tip is that when you import images into Lightroom, you remember, when I went to the import screen, there was a setting called standard for preview size, and you should know that there's a preference. And I can't remember if it's under normal preferences or catalog preferences. I'm thinking it might be under catalog. It's right here under File Handling. Right here it says Standard Preview Size. Most of the time, I have this set to Auto. And this relates to importing pictures. When you import a picture, there's an option in the upper right of the screen called what size preview would you like. Would you like standard or one-to-one, and I mentioned that I usually use standard. Well, this defines what standard means, and when this is set to Auto, what it does is it looks at the screen that you're currently using, and it says, let's make a standard size preview, let's make that equal, the approximate size of your screen. Well, here is when you wanna change that. If you ever work on a laptop and you have a small laptop, let's say that laptop has a relatively low resolution screen. Well, if you import your images when you're traveling with the laptop, you have that set to the default setting, which I believe is Auto, now it's gonna create previews based on your small screen. Then when you stop traveling, you get home, and you have a much larger screen on your desktop machine. Then you import those images or you import from a catalog to get those in your desktop machine, all the previews for it are going to be smaller than your screen. So here's when you wanna change it. Any time you have a laptop with a small screen, it's a low resolution screen, and you know in the end these pictures are gonna and up on your desktop, or you have a much bigger screen. Then on your laptop machine, change the setting, and change it to a setting that is close to the resolution of your desktop machine. And if you know you have a relatively big screen on your desktop, just set it to the highest setting that's available. And therefore, even though you're traveling with a small laptop screen, as you import images into Lightroom, it's gonna generate previews that are a little bit more appropriate for when you get back home onto your desktop. So we've been looking at kind of a random collection of tips. We've been jumping all over Lightroom, and that's because there's so much you can do in Lightroom and so many small options that I thought I'd share quite a good collection of them with you here. I don't expect you to remember most of those, but what I'd like you to do is just think through what we just covered and what were maybe the top three things that really connected with that way you work in Lightroom, 'cause those are probably the things that would affect your workflow the most, and so try to implement those first. Then return to this video. Watch it again maybe about every three or four months, because then, you'll be used to the tips that were new to you the first time you viewed it, and with each viewing, you'll pick up more and become better at using Lightroom. So, tomorrow, we're gonna talk about workflow refinements, which means just, how can we think about the general process we use to go through Lightroom, and how can we refine the way we work. We'll also talk about just some features we didn't have a chance to cover in the previous sessions, and then we'll go into a summary, wrap things up. We only have one day left. Well, before that day comes around, why don't you head over to Facebook, because that's where I'd love to hear your own tips about using Lightroom. We have a group that's got over 8,000 people in it. I'm sure you guys have some tips that I didn't cover here, and if so, why not share them with the rest of the group, because then you can learn from other people as well. Know that if you purchase a class, it's really the best way to learn Lightroom, because with that, you get things like homework, you get handbook that reminds you of how everything was done, and you get things like Develop presets, a starter keyword list, and a bunch of other additions that really make you get the full advantage of Lightroom. But the main advantage is being able to pause and remind me, play me back. This has been another installment of Lightroom Classic: The Complete Guide. I'll see you for one last episode tomorrow.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Week 1 Workbook
Week 1 Homework
Week 2 Workbook
Week 2 Homework
Week 3 Workbook
Week 3 Homework
Week 4 Workbook
Week 4 Homework
Week 4 Catalog
Develop Presets
Develop Presets Pre 7.3
Lightroom Endmarks
Develop Presets Guide
Lightroom Keywords Guide
Lightroom Keywords Sampler
Lightroom Endmarks Guide
Ben's Smart Collections
Lightroom Classic Q&A (very large 3+ gb zip file)

Ratings and Reviews

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Just wow! Ben is such an amazing instructor - he is able to explain everything very succinctly and in just enough detail that your eyes don't start glazing over. I've used Photoshop for over 20 years and have been afraid (and didn't really want to learn yet another program) of using Lightroom, until I've heard how awesome it is from my fellow photographer friends. This course is extremely comprehensive and if you're a more experienced user, you can skip some of the lessons and just watch the ones you want - but even experienced users might get at least a few nuggets of information that they didn't know in every lesson. Highly recommend! And thank you, Ben. P.S. You're wife and her yoga poses are amazing. I just got into yoga a few months ago and can only hope to be half as good as she is! :o)


I was taking a lightroom course from another provider and decided to give Creative live a shot as I wasn't happy with the other class. This class blows that one out of the water! I love the detailed instructions, he goes at a good pace and I love the transcription (I didn't even know that was there until I scrolled down). I would definitely recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn lightroom. Thank you Ben for giving this great class!


I have been searching for something to help me with my images. I am fairly confident with my ability to take nice photos but sometimes they need help. I might actually enjoy editing now!

Student Work