Adobe® Lightroom® CC Photo Editing: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Useful Lightroom Plug-ins and Tips

We're back with another day in Lightroom CC Photo Editing. This is our bootcamp, 20 Full Days Over Four Weeks and we're getting quite deep into it. Let's look back at what we've done thus far. During the first week we tried to establish a firm foundation. Not everybody is starting joining us today. So if you didn't see the first week then you don't have the big picture. You don't know how to think about what a Lightroom catalog is. You don't have the picture of how do you think about Lightroom as a whole. What's different about it than other programs? But during that first week we talked about features like collections, adjustments, exporting and printing. Then on the second week we covered organizing and adjusting our pictures and that's where we talked about managing projects. We talked about key wording our images so that that they can be searchable. Very easy to find then. We also talked about things such as retouching and using the adjustment brush. After that we got into the thir...

d week and we talked about special features in Lightroom. That's where we learned how to do facial recognition where Lightroom can search all of our photographs looking for all the faces found within them and possible actually recognizing who is in those photos. We looked at how to get our photos to appear on a map and we talked about special features like being able to stitch a panorama or merge multiple exposures into a single image which is known as high dynamic range imaging. Then this week on the first day of the week we ended up talking about searching and we covered all of the various features we have related to searching. Very quickly finding our images where in the end once you get good at those features the hope is that you can find any image that is memorable or important in about five seconds or less. In fact, five seconds is quite a bit of time. Should take you two or three. Then on the second day of the last week we ended up covering start to finish examples. So instead of looking at features in isolation each day we started combine them together so you could see how an image progressed from it's original to something that was dramatically better. We that brings us to today. This is when we're gonna cover Lightroom tips and tricks as well as plugins. Meaning ways of extending Lightroom adding more features. So we're gonna get into Lightroom and let's take a look at tips and tricks. First let's start with a dumb one. I know we shouldn't start with dumb ones we should start with a really strong one, but we're just gonna let you know about sometimes the people that are making Lightroom do the tiniest tweaks to the program that's kind of ridiculous. Have you ever noticed that at the bottom of some of these side panels. Sometimes there's a triangle down there in the middle and sometimes there's not. That simply tells you when you're at the bottom of this list or not. If you ever see a triangle down there it means there's more stuff below. If the triangle ever goes away it means you've reached the bottom. To me that's kind of absurd as far as the level of detail within the interface. But let's take a look at a few bigger tips than that. I'm gonna go to our preferences and if I go to the Lightroom menu there's actually two settings for preferences. There's a choice called Preferences and there's a choice called Catalog Settings. Now if you're in Windows you won't have a Lightroom menu on the top of your screen instead you'll find there choices under the edit menu. Well, I'm gonna go to Catalog Preferences and there's a few things to think about in here. The first one is that right here it says Backup and this tells Lightroom how often it should make a backup of your catalog file. Now remember your catalog file is where Lightroom keeps track of all the various changes you've made to your images. So if you adjusted a picture it's stored in your catalog file. And it's important to keep that backed up because if you lose some of that data it'd be a big deal. Well, I like to set this, if you look at the choices here. I set this to Every time Lightroom exits. Now that doesn't mean I'm actually gonna backup Lightroom's catalog file that often but every time I quit Lightroom it will ask me if I want to. And therefore all I do is every time I'm quitting Lightroom it asks me if I wanna backup and I just think in my head. Did I do anything important to my images today and if the answer is yes I back it up and if the answer if no, I was just browsing my pictures or something like that, then I would say no because it wasn't sufficient enough. But the problem is if you don't have it set to that then I find most people have this set to backup once a week. Well, what if you just spent a day, a full day adjusting a whole bunch of pictures and you would hate losing all that work? A lot of people end up coming into this dialog box and then choose this. When Lightroom next exits and therefore they'd quite Lightroom and only that one time would it ask. This is a one time choice, after it asks you the next time Lightroom quits it would switch back to whatever setting you had in here previously and to me that's just a little cumbersome. So I have mine just ask me every time I exit and therefore I can decide. Is it worth backing up right now or not? Then if I come over to some of these other settings. Let's see, it's also gonna ask if I go into my normal preferences which catalog it should open. Take me a moment to find it. Yeah, so if you go to the Lightroom menu on a Mac edit menu window and choose preferences there's a choice under General right here and this will be important to those people that use more than one catalog. We had a whole day talking about pretty much what a catalog file is. Should you have multiple catalogs or just one and all that. But we didn't discuss this preference and it says when starting up which catalog file should it open? If you use a single catalog file, and that's the one you always use then down here you could choose the name of that particular catalog file. So it always, every time you open Lightroom, opens that same catalog. Whatever your master catalog is. Then if you happen to have opened somebody else's catalog, like let's say a friend stopped by. They plugged in their hard drive and just for a moment you used their catalog, the next time you restart Lightroom it would go back to your normal one. But this is where if I do a multi-catalog workflow. Where I use a separate catalog for each project, then I'm gonna have this prompt me when I'm starting Lightroom. Therefore, I launch Lightroom and right as it launches it asks me which catalog would you like me to work on? So that's what I would use if I work on multiple catalogs. Then, let's see, other preferences. If I go back to my Preferences and I go to a section called Interface. Under Interface there is a section up here called End Marks. I think the default setting for End Marks is none and let's change it, I'll click here. I have more choices in this menu then what you will find. You will probably only find the choice of Small Flourish. I'll choose that and let's see what it does. Now if I go to Lightroom and I scroll to the end of my left or right panel, do you see there is now a small flourish right there at the bottom? Well, that sounds like another one of those interface tweaks where you're like, "Really, do they have that much time on their hands? "They put that tiny little triangle "to tell us when we're at the bottom of a list "and they let us be able to choose "what kind of flourish we have?" Well, you can actually put your own graphics in there. So I have one in here called the Ben Badge and that's where I have this little badge. I occasionally use this badge to watermark images. If I want people identify who shot it, that type of thing and I can put that in there. Or if you purchase this class you will also get some special end marks that remind you of things like what are the standard folder names that I use and if you have gone through the class that talks about naming your folders and coming up with a system, this reminds you of the exact wording that I use in my folder system and it's easy to be consistent when it's reminding you at the end of each panel like this. We've also included, when you've purchased the class, Library Shortcuts, so when you're just getting started with the Library Module you could load those in to remind you what shortcuts you'd like to use. We have also a guide to how, at least I think about Star Ratings, which are the top three levels are the most important. And you can create your own files to put in here. You can save them in PNG format. That's, you call it a ping file. You can do that by, if you're in Photoshop, you choose save for web. That's one place you can find PNG, or you can also use jpeg files. So I believe you can use jpeg's. Yeah, here's a whole photograph put in there. It's kinda weird. But the main thing is why not put in some keyboard shortcuts there so that you start getting better at your keyboard shortcuts and if you happen to have Photoshop, why not make your own for whatever it is you need to track so you can have them in your sidebars? Now, that will appear on both sides whenever you get to the bottom. You might have to expand it out depending how big of a file it is, but you can find it throughout Lightroom. They are called End Marks and the way I got to the feature is I went to the Lightroom menu, which is the Edit menu in Windows, went to Preferences and it's under Interface. All right, we're going to be taking somewhat of a random tour through Lightroom. Right now we're looking at general tips that apply, but then we'll start concentrating on various areas like the Library Module and the Develop Module, but let's take a look at others. I'm going to now want to show you a slideshow of these images. To very quickly show a slideshow of images you'll find a menu command under the Window menu called Impromptu Slideshow. It's nice because it has a keyboard shortcut. The keyboard shortcut on a Macintosh is command + return. On Windows that would be most likely control + return, or it might be enter. That means, at any time if I ever want to do a slideshow I do command + return and it should bring me right into a slideshow. So I can quickly show my images. Now, that's not a tip because that's always there, but let me show you a tip related to it. If I go to the Slideshow Module in Lightroom, I can customize my slideshows and let's say I came up with this one that has gray around my images and the star rating on top, whatever it happens to be that I like. Well, if you save the settings that you like for your slideshow, in the template area hit this little plus sign and give it a name, then it'll be in here and if you right-click on it, there you're gonna find a choice called Use for Impromptu Slideshow. Therefore, you can control the style of your slideshow. So if you want it so it auto plays with certain music and all that kind of stuff, you set it up here in the Slideshow Module, save it as a template on the left side of your screen, finally, right-click on it and make sure you set it to use it as your Impromptu Slideshow. All right, then one general tip, and that is, if you're on a Macintosh and you use a feature they built into your Mac called Time Machine to backup your computer, then Time Machine usually backs up, I don't remember the exact frequency, but it's like it backs up, maybe it's every 10 minutes or something like that. It creates a new backup and then every hour and then every month it keeps these backups. Well, the problem is if it does that and it's doing it to your entire hard drive, then if you come in here and look at your Lightroom folder. Here's my Lightroom folder. If every few minutes it's trying to make a backup, then do you think it's very effective to backup this file right here? That's 161 gigabytes in size. That means if I make an adjustment to a single picture in Lightroom and it has to update the preview for that particular image, that file will be updated and my backup software might try to back it up. Isn't that gonna fill up my backup hard drive pretty darn quick as it tries to do that? So, what I would end up doing is go into Time Machine and tell it to ignore that particular folder. Here's my Time Machine. I'll say open Time Machine Preferences. Usually it's in your menu bar and down here there's a choice called Options. You wanna click there and right there I have my Lightroom Catalog being ignored. Here you can say Exclude these items from your backup. I hit the little plus sign and I feed it my Lightroom catalog folder to say don't back that up every single time you perform a backup otherwise it's going to fill up my backup hard drive so quickly with that. Now, related to that, we gotta make sure the backup we do create, if our Lightroom Catalog file is in a good location. So I'm gonna force Lightroom right now to do this, I haven't changed any pictures, so when I quit it might not ask me to backup, but I just forced it to. When I quit this will come up often and right here it asks how often should it save it and more importantly right, where is it saved? Make it so this is not saved on the same hard drive as Lightroom in your normal catalog file. Make it so this is saved on an external drive. It might even be a little stick drive that you put it on if you have space, but if it's on the same internal hard drive on your laptop when you're traveling, if this laptop gets dropped and the hard drive within it dies, suddenly not only is the normal catalog file that I'm working with dead because the drive is dead, but so is the backup. Backup is not very effective unless it's on a separate hard drive. So right there, when you're quitting Lightroom and it asks you if you wanna backup, on the right side you hit the Choose button. Then here I have an external drive. I would tell it to save to that. You could also do it so it's a stick drive. That, you know, every time you know you wanna backup, you pull it out of your pocket. You put it in there and at least you have it on a separate kind of media. If you get a lot of pictures in your Lightroom Catalog, I have over 200,000 in mine, you're gonna find that on occasion you'll be annoyed with how large your Lightroom Catalog file can become. If you wanna take steps to make your Lightroom Catalog file smaller, because then when it performs a backup it happens faster, less information to backup. You might want to do the following. The first thing you might want to do is create a Collection. A Smart Collection that searches for all the images that are not that great on your hard drive. Well, how do you do that? If you end up using the system that I talked about when we talked about naming your folders, then you would have standardized the name of the folders that you have so that if it wasn't a great image you would've put it in a folder called Outtakes. I don't know if you remember it from that particular section, but right now I'm gonna tell it to find all of the images that are in my Outtakes. Hit create, so now Lightroom, it'll take it a while to search, but so far it's found 3231 images. If I find my Lightroom Catalog's getting a little bit bloated, what I'm gonna do is take these 3231 images that are in my Outtakes, I'm gonna type command + A to select all and I'm gonna go to the Develop Module. When I'm in the Develop Module, at the top of my screen is a special menu called Develop. If I click on it I'm gonna choose the choice called Clear History. What Clear History is going to do is make it so in the Develop Module, on the left side of my screen, where it usually gives me a history that tells me exactly everything I've done to all these pictures, that's gonna be cleared out. So the only thing it remembers is what the end result looked like, but in doing so it's gonna clear out a lot of the clutter that's in my Lightroom Catalog File. It's gonna make it there for when I back it up both will the file size be smaller and the process will go by faster. So anytime I end up having a boatload of images, great picture for a boatload of images. (laughter) Then I'm going to consider doing that. Why not cake all your Outtakes and clear their history because you're not gonna need to remember how you got to the end result that you have since those are the pictures that you're probably not gonna need to work with again. Now, let's start looking at tips that are specific to various modules within Lightroom. We'll start thinking about the Library Module. If I want to import new pictures into Lightroom one way of doing that that a lot of people use is they click the import button. Well, if you do that then you might need to navigate to the particular folder you wanna import. A faster method of importing something into Lightroom is to grab the folder of images you want to import and just drag it on top of the Lightroom icon and let go. If you do that it will do two things. One, is it will bring up the import dialogue. And the second thing is, it will navigate to that particular folder so that instead of having to manually navigate, it will do it automatically. Then, let's talk about a little prank you could do on your friends. This one will be kinda weird. If you go to the view menu there is a weird option. I mainly wanna show it to you in case somebody else turns it on on you because otherwise you'll have no idea what's going on. If you go to the view menu, the bottom most choice is called Enable Mirror Image Mode. If you enable mirror image mode all of your pictures will look backwards. They'll be reflected horizontally. And it can be useful if you want to evaluate your pictures in a different way or see what would happen if like an art director in a particular publication is literally gonna flip an image for a better composition in their publication, but it's gonna take every single image and make it so it's backwards. So if you ever come into Lightroom, as part of your trouble shooting and things, and things just don't look right, too bad it's after April Fools Day right now because you coulda walked into your co-workers and turn that on on them. But that flips your images horizontally. When I'm going through a folder of images rating my images, there's a little tip related to that. Well, let's say I hit the space bar to get my image to fill a lot of the screen and I'm gonna start pressing the number keys to rate these images. So I rate one image and then I usually have to use the right arrow key to go to the next image and then I'll rate it. Right arrow key to go to the next image. There is a way to speed up that process. You can do it by holding down the caps lock key. If you just press caps lock so that the little light on my keyboard is lit up, now if I press a number key on my keyboard to rate a photograph it will automatically advance to the next photograph. Hit it again and it will automatically advance to the next. So you can very quickly switch between the images. That works not only with ratings. It also works with doing labels and also with flags. If you're not familiar with the keyboard shortcuts to switch between those, go to the photo menu and here you'll find the keyboard shortcuts for flagging your images, rating your images, and also adding color labels. Just so you know, that particular feature is found also under the Library menu and I think it's the Library menu. And it's called Auto Advance. There's a small chance it's under the Photo menu. Yeah, it's under the Photo menu. Right there, Auto Advance, you can turn it on manually if you'd like, but the caps lock key causes it to give you the opposite of... It's actually turned on here. So caps lock, most of the time you have Auto Advance turned off, you hit caps lock and it's enabled. If you ever inherit somebody else's Lightroom Catalog and you find that their keyword list has a gazillion keywords, and you're like, this is not my style. I don't want to come in here and see all this stuff in here. Me, look, if I go to activity, look at how many activities this person has listed. It's crazy. And you find that it's just too cluttered, you can go to the Metadata menu and choose Purge Unused Keywords. Now don't do that just off the top of your head. Think about it first because if you spent time organizing your keywords and you have some keywords in place that you plan to use in the future, but have not yet used, choosing Purge Unused Keywords will get rid of any keywords that have not been assigned to a picture. But it's more or less if you went and structured your keywords, you tried keywording your images and in the end you decided, no. I don't want to have all that, as much structure. You could purge your unused keywords and then any keywords that would have the number zero next to it, would be removed. It's just nice to know about it. When you're thinking about deleting a picture, before you delete it because you could click on a picture, hit the delete key and if you were viewing it in a folder, you can delete it. Just so you know, if you're looking at a collection, which is what I'm currently viewing, hitting delete means just remove it from this collection. It would never delete it from your hard drive. To delete it from your hard drive you'd have to right-click on it and say, you know, go to that folder. I actually have to be viewing it in the folder and now if I hit the delete key it'll ask me, do I want to delete this from disk, or just remove it from Lightroom. Any time you ever consider doing that I would suggest you first do the following, right-click on the picture and choose this choice called Go To Collection. Make sure that that picture is not in one of your collections where you've organized a project and that particular image is needed because here I can see that this particular image is in Australia slideshow. It's in my slideshows, as well. It's in a lot of places and it might give me a hint as to why I might want to keep that picture. Whenever I think I want to delete an image I right-click on it and choose Go To Collection and see if it's in any of my collections. If so, I'd have to decide how would it affect those collections. Those are probably projects that I was organizing. If you have an image, and I'm not sure if this one does, but if you have an image that has GPS Data, and I'll have to go back a few years to back when I had a GPS always on my camera to find an image with GPS Data. Let's see if these do. No, but if you do there is a way to view the location. Here's one. Over here on the right side I'm in the Metadata section and that's where you'll find GPS. If you ever do have GPS Data attached to a picture you can get that data entered in many different ways. What I did to get this particular GPS Data in there is I had a little device that I slid into the hot shoe of my camera that was a GPS receiver. It automatically tagged my pictures. Well, if you click on this little arrow on the right side that's going to take you to the Map Module and it's going to show you where that particular photo was taken. That was just clicking this little arrow to the right next to the word GPS. But you could also hold down the Option key that's alt in Windows and click the same arrow and that's gonna send you within Google Maps to the same location. Therefore, if you wanted to share with a friend where that photo was taken, it's much easier to share where it was taken by sending them a link to a Google Map then to just copying and pasting things within Lightroom. So option clicking on that arrow will actually send you to a Google Map. If, when you're working on your images, you find a particular image and you would like to have a virtual copy of it where you have more than one version. Maybe in this particular case I want both a color and a black and white version of this picture. If I right-click on this there's a choice called Create Virtual Copy, which would make it look as if I have two versions of the image and the lower left corner would have a little upturned page. We've talked about that on another session, but what I want to talk about here is a tip related to people that like to manage their backups in a particular way. When you're done adjusting a picture, if you type command + S, it's going to save the changes that you've made to that particular picture into what's known as an XMP file. Command + S will do that. But if it's a virtual copy it's not included in that XMP file. If you like to backup your pictures by backing up those little XMP files, this is when you would actually want to duplicate the original. If you need two versions of the picture and you need both of them to be recording as XMP files, be sure to duplicate it because virtual copies are not saved that way. That tip will only apply to those of you that know how to backup XMP files and think about it. Not everybody knows that. Okay, now let's say that I just had a problem with my computer, my main hard drive that I usually use just failed. It just died and it will not mount and I can't do anything. That doesn't mean in Lightroom I can't view my pictures. Doesn't mean I can't adjust them if I have Smart Previews. It just means if I try to do something that would move them between folders, if I tried to print them high resolution or something else, that's when it needs to look back at the original file. It would not be able to do that. Let me show you what I do in that instance. I'm gonna have to switch catalogs to try to get a catalog that would have that problem. Take me just a moment to do so. This is what my catalog looked like the moment I left home. When I left home I had my big hard drive sitting there connected to my computer and it had all my photos on it. The moment I disconnected that and I got on a plane and came out here, the next time I looked at my folder list this is what I saw. In my folder list it thinks that this hard drive is not there. This little area would be green if it was and it is gray to indicate the drive's not connected. Every one of the folders on that drive have a question mark and so it didn't know where those folders were because the hard drive simply was not attached. Well now here on my desk I have my backup hard drive. It's an exact copy, in general, of what's on my main hard drive, but let's say my main hard drive just failed. Something happened and I cannot get it to mount and now I must switch to this backup and I need to do it in a hurry. Well, the problem is if I look here in my folder list it tells me all these folders are missing. I just want to tell it where is this missing hard drive. If I right-click on it there's no menu that appears. If there was I could say find missing hard drive and point it at this drive, but it just doesn't have that. Sure I can do it for individual folders. I can right-click and say Find Missing Folder, but I'd have to do it for each one of these folders. So how could I quickly switch to this backup drive? Here's the key. I'm gonna right-click on any folder that's here and I'm gonna say Show Parent Folder. Meaning, show the folder that this folder is contained within. Since it's on the base level of this hard drive, called DroboPro, suddenly up here is now the name of that hard drive. That's the name of the drive. Same as what's up here and now I can right-click on it and say Find Missing Folder. And all I'm gonna do is point it at this backup drive. I happen to have it on a sub folder called DroboPro Backup. I'll hit choose and now it just recognized that we no longer have a drive called DroboPro. We now have this drive, it's called LaCie and there is my files. It thinks they're all there. The only thing is it still has the name of the drive sitting here. I can right-click on that then and say, Hide This Parent because I only want to see the folders that are within it, not the actual containing folder. So I choose Hide This Parent and now it looks just as if I'm on a different drive. So if my drive ever totally dies and I need to switch to another, I click on one of the folders that's in the base level of the drive. I right-click and say Show The Parent Folder. That will be the name of the hard drive, right there. I right-click on it and say, if it was missing that is, there'd be a choice of Find Missing and I point it at my other drive. When I'm done I right-click again and say Hide That Parent because I only need it there for the moment to tell it where has it been moved to, which is my backup. That could save you a bunch of time. Especially if you had dozens and dozens of folders within there that it suddenly needed to realize are on a different drive. Let's look at a few other tips here. I'm just looking at my list to make sure that I don't skip anything. Ah, here's a fun one. Let's say that what you needed to do is merge some HDR images. Here I have some HDRs. I'm gonna select these three images. I'm gonna go to the Photo menu, choose Photo Merge and choose HDR. Notice that in this menu is a keyboard shortcut. On the right edge of it it lists the keyboard shortcut and if you're not familiar with this particular key because it's not used very often on a Macintosh is this little up pointing triangle means the control key. So control + H is the keyboard shortcut. It does the exact same thing as choosing this menu item. So I'm gonna use that, control + H. When I do it's gonna start to combine together those three exposures into an HDR file and I'm gonna concentrate on exactly what settings I'd like to use over here and this particular time I'm gonna have Deghost set to None just to speed things up. Usually I would evaluate it based on the picture, but in this case I'll have it set to None. I'm gonna click on Merge in the lower right and have it create that HDR file. Now you see a progress bar up here and you might think I gotta wait for that thing before I can really do more work, but while it's still merging that together what I might consider doing now is coming in here and why not select another series of images to merge and with that other series of images all I'm gonna do is type the keyboard shortcut that you see right there which is control + H, but I'm gonna add the shift key. So shift + control + H and now it's actually doing it in the background without having to bring up that dialogue box, which requires my attention. Therefore, I can grab another series of images here. Shift + control + H and now you see it says there are two operations in progress. I've had this say 12 operations in progress as it's behind the scenes, merging multiple HDR images. It's only the first one that you need to open in the actual dialogue box to specify the settings that you want used. Then when you hold down the shift key and use that keyboard shortcut it will use those same settings the rest of the time. The same thing works with merging panoramas. You notice the keyboard shortcut for Panoramas is control + M. It's currently grayed out because I don't have multiple images selected, but if you do shift + control + M it means merge the images I currently have selected using the last settings I used and do it in the background. Therefore, you can go in there and be merging 12 different panos at the same time. And that can speed you up dramatically. All right, then let's get into the Develop Module. When we're in any folder of images you might find that the images can look a little bit dull to begin with if what you have is a RAW file. So I'm gonna go in here and grab an image. Gonna hit D to go to Develop and I'm gonna show you how to make it so it doesn't look so dull to begin with. I'm in the Develop Module and if you were to compare this to a jpeg that came out of the same camera you might find that the jpeg has more vivid colors, has more contrast, looks sharper and all that and that's because jpeg files are processed in camera. RAW files, on the other hand, come in here usually with default settings and therefore they could look a little bit dull. Let me reset this to defaults. If you would like this to come in starting at the very beginning to look more similar to what a jpeg file would look like, so it might have more contrast. It might be more colorful and so on, here's what you need to do. Go to the Develop Module, scroll all the way down to the bottom. At the bottom is where you're going to find an area called Camera Calibration. In Camera Calibration is where you're gonna find a pop-up menu called Profile. When you click there these choices here will be different depending on what manufacturer of camera you have. So if you have a Sony you'll get different choices than if you have a Nikon. And you'll get different choices than if you have a Cannon. These are what you might call the picture styles that you would find in your camera. If you actually went in the menu system for your camera and you tried to adjust what your pictures look like, you have various picture styles to switch between. Well, these are the ones that are for a Cannon and if I click on one you'll see the image change, so if I go in here to landscape you'll see it looks quite different. Go in here to portrait it'll shift, but whatever setting you like to use on your camera you could set here so that you're gonna get a similar end result and therefore your RAW files will look like a jpeg would to begin with. Or sometimes I just switch between them to see which one makes the colors render a little better. The other thing you can do to make your RAW files look better when you first open them is to change your default settings. Here's how you do that. First, I'm gonna dial in some settings I might want to use as new defaults. I'm gonna bring my highlight slider down maybe to -30 or -40 to bring more detail into my highlights. Darken up the highlights. I'm gonna bring this shadow slider up to bring in more shadow detail, maybe to +50. I'm gonna come down here to clarity and I'm gonna crank it up a little bit to make the image pop more. I'm gonna do the same thing with vibrance. Bring it up a bit to make this more colorful. And I might even bring up contrast. Then if I find I use those settings on most images, meaning on most images I almost always bring the highlights down to darken the highlights. I almost always bring the shadows up to get more shadow detail, why not save these as default settings? Before we really do that let's look at a few other settings you might want to put in there with it. If I go to Lens Corrections, I like having this turned on, which gets rid of these little greenish and magenta colored halos that can be around the edges of things. And I often need to have that turned on as well. These two I have turned on for the vast majority of pictures I open. Other things you might consider putting into your new preference is under the Detail tab. I almost always have my masking turned up a little bit. If masking is turned all the way down, Lightroom sharpens absolutely everything. If you bring it up it will only sharpen where you see a more dramatic difference in things and where there's very subtle differences like up here where it's strictly blue sky, it wouldn't sharpen. Or on people's faces where there's very little variation in the skin, it would not sharpen. So I usually bring that up to at least 10. To make sure that any areas like smooth blue skies, it doesn't sharpen them because if it is sharpening anything there's just noise in the sky. It exaggerates them. All right, after doing that, after dialing in what you think might be a little bit better of an end result, I can go up to the Develop menu and I'm gonna find the choice of Set Default Settings. If I choose Set Default Settings this comes up and it sounds kind of scary because it says right here, Please note that these changes are not undoable. And you might be thinking, well wait? If it's not undoable then that means that I might screw it up and if so, I'm stuck with it. No, what it's saying what's really not undoable is if I already had some custom settings put in here and I click this button to say Update to the Current Settings. Those previous custom settings that I have, I won't be able to get back to, but I can always get back to the defaults that you have when you first install Photoshop Lightroom by clicking here so it's not a big, scary thing when you read this. It's just a matter of if you've ever done this process in the past, you won't be able to get back to your previous custom defaults. So if I click Update to Current Settings, now any pictures that I've never adjusted before, those are the pictures that would be under default settings will now take on these defaults. Therefore, my pictures might look better to begin with. Now, I'm not gonna do that here just because they want you guys to see pictures the way they would usually look. I don't want the advantage of having them look better. I want them to look... So when I show you a before and after, you see the terrible original instead of an enhanced original. But if I was not teaching a class right now I would click that button and then from then on my RAW files would most likely look better. They'll show a little bit more highlight and shadow detail, they'll pop a little bit more because they have clarity and vibrance and other settings that will be on any pictures that I have not already adjusted. While we're in here I'll remind you of something just because we're in the tip section and that is I've mentioned in other sessions that you can double-click on any slider to reset it to defaults. One thing a lot of people don't realize is you can double click on the heading for any particular section to reset all the sliders for that section. So if you notice that any section has settings that you don't want, double-click on the heading for the section and that will reset them all. The other thing is there's an Auto button here and that would try to automatically adjust my picture by moving these various sliders. Let me reset that. If you wanna use Auto only on a few sliders, hold down the shift key and double-click on the name of the slider. If you do, it will only use Auto for that particular slider. That's holding down shift and double-clicking on the name and it means don't do Auto for everything. Do Auto only for this. When you're working with adjustments know that the width of this panel will determine how precise you can be with your adjustment. If you end up getting this really tight, so that your picture takes up a good amount of space, well then moving a slider one pixel to the right may make this number go up a good amount. But if you expand this as wide as it can go, now moving it one pixel to the right is probably gonna make a smaller change to your image because you have a more granular control over it. If that makes sense because moving it the smallest amount on the screen is now a less of a change overall. So oftentimes you'll find me having this right side expanded all the way out just so I can be more precise when I'm moving my sliders. Up here at the top when you're in the Develop Module you have a histogram. In case you're not aware, you can move your mouse on top of the histogram. With the histogram, the left side represents the dark areas of your picture and as you move towards the right it's thinking about brighter and brighter areas and if you hover over it you'll find a word that appears below the histogram. That tells you which slider underneath would affect that area the most. So to affect the darkest part of your image it would be the blacks. To affect medium brightness it would be shadows. Here it would be exposure and you can actually click on the histogram and drag and it's going to be dragging the slider it was mentioning down below. So here you see that it's moving the exposure slider? And so on, so in this case I might decide I want to take my highlights down. Try to get that mountain a little darker. So you don't have to come down here to the sliders. You could just go to the histogram and drag it. When I'm in the adjustment brush, if I grab that adjustment brush and I dial in the effect that I might want and I'll come over here and start painting it into my image. In this case I'm bringing the exposure down. Although what I probably want to do up there is bring contrast up and bring blacks down. I'm just trying to guesstimate what I'd like in there to try to get that to be enhanced. But anyway, I'll paint this in. Anytime you're in the adjustment brush, if you ever go over too much of your image like you went down here by accident, you know how you can usually go to the right side of your screen? You do have the choice called Erase. Then you could paint on your image to remove that change and then to further affect your image more you'd have to go back over here to start painting again. Well, you should know that if you hold down the Option key when you're in the adjustment brush, for the length of time you have the Option key held down, which is alt + Windows, you're on the Erase setting. If you look down here, watch what happens when I hold Option. Watch that word. Just for the length of time I have Option held down it switches to Erase then I let go and you're back in the brush you were using previously. But that can be nice so when I'm painting on my image, if I quickly wanna erase parts I just hold down Option and I come down here and paint. But if you don't realize that then you're always going to the right side of your screen to constantly switch back and forth. When I'm in a tool if I hover over, in this case, this pen, I can see a red overlay. Well, red overlays aren't always useful. What if you had a red firetruck? Or this is a picture of flames? Red is hard to see on top of that kind of subject matter. Well, you should know that when you're in most of the tools that you find in the Develop Module at the top of your screen will be a Tools menu. In there, one of the choices will be Tool Overlay and even more important right down here, Adjustment Mask Overlay, this is where I can choose what color that overlay is. There's a keyboard shortcut for cycling between them. You can type O to just toggle the overlay on and off, but shift + O cycles between the colors. So I'll type O to get my overlay and then let's do shift + O. Do you see how it's changing the color of the overlay? If you get used to that, if you just remember O means overlay and then you think about what key do you add to that? It can be really nice any time you're using the adjustment brush, if this color just doesn't, blends in too much with the image, shift + O to switch between them. Now you're gonna find there's other choices that are available up there for the other tools. And every time you come up here you'll be able to see right here. It says Tool Overlay, this is the same setting as what's down below, but right here, Crop Guide Overlay, this means when I'm in the Crop tool adjusting it, what will I see on top of my image. Right now it's set to thirds, which means if I adjust this crop I see a rule of thirds grid, but if I go up here and say I wanna change my overlay I could go here to something as fancy as a golden spiral, where you have that, but most of the time I find I like either the rule of thirds or just grid. But a lot of people just don't realize that you can actually control what you see. Get in the tool first, then go up to the top of your screen to the Tools menu. Then if I'm in my adjustment area within Lightroom, if I ever end up creating presets, I might wanna think about how I name those presets because it could make a big difference in how you work and so let's take a look at how I name my presets and see if you find the ideas to be helpful. I'm just gonna hit D to go to Develop. Let's look on the left side of my screen. Here are our presets. In order to make a preset you adjust your picture and once you're done you go on the left side of your screen and you hit the little plus sign that's next to the word Presets. Right here, and when you do it asks you what to name your preset and what folder you'd like to put it in. Then below that it asks you what precise settings do you want to save within that preset? If you click Check All, that means if I apply this preset to an image that's already been adjusted, it's going to throw away that old adjustment and completely replace everything with whatever I currently have dialed in. But if the effect that I'm trying to create only requires me to use white balance and maybe the color settings that were in there, like the HSL and other things, maybe a little Split Toning. If I were to turn this on then when I save this preset and apply it to another picture it wouldn't override every single setting on the image, it would only override those settings that are checked here. So here's how I go about using that idea along with naming. Your presets are sorted alphabetically. So if I want to control what order they're in I put a number at the beginning. Then if I wanna have kind of a sub category I'll do an A, B, or C after that. Then I have the name of, in this case, a folder of presets. Do you see what I put at the end of my folder names? This one says Basic. This one says Tone Curve. This one says HSL. This one says Split Toning. That's telling me what section of adjustments over here are used. So that means any of the folders that I have that end with the word Basic, only use settings that are found in this section of my adjustments. Therefore, I know that if I apply one of these presets first that ends with the word Basic, then later on I could always apply any other preset as long as it does not end with the word Basic. Then I know it won't undo the first preset, it won't override it. Does that make sense? Because you know this is only using the HSL sliders and therefore it shouldn't mess with Basic adjustments that were applied previously. Then the other thing I do is if I open a folder and I look at my individual presets on the end there I also put something. What that tells me is within the Basic section, which is what this is using, which specific sliders did it use? So here if I see ESH that stands for Exposure, Shadows and Highlights. Those are the sliders used. So that means that if I come in here and apply this preset first which used only a slider called Exposure, afterwards if I were to apply this preset, wouldn't it also use the Exposure slider and therefore it will cancel out what that first preset did? But if I used any of these in here I could afterwards apply any of these. You know why? Because it's not using the same sliders and I can tell by just looking at the letters that are on the end. Does that make sense? I'm telling you which letters are used and therefore I can tell would this preset overlap this preset or not? Would it cancel it out? If you ever see me use a lowercase letter it means it is using that slider, but it's setting it to zero. Meaning it's not actually needed for that effect and it's just resetting it. Usually that's because I might apply a preset and then decide no, that was too much and I back off on it and I could back all the way off to zero. That's not important, but just so you know in my presets that's how they're set up. When you purchase this class know that you get a set of presets. I don't recall off the top of my head exactly which ones they are, but if memory serves me, you'll get my Tonal Brighten, Tonal Darken and I think you might get my Tonal Range Compressing and Expanding. All that kind of stuff, but they will have this naming convention and therefore you'll have some idea of how to think about them. Is there a question? Yes, getting back to your presets. If you use a preset that was, was it EHB? And decided to use the preset with just the E, just for the exposure. Would it just change the Exposure in your previous or would it cancel out the EHB? If there's any letters in here, ESH kind of thing, this is going to change blatantly the exposure, shadow and highlight sliders, but that's the only thing it would change on the image. Any other settings that did not involve these three sliders will be retained. But if you just used the E, just for exposure? Would it change all three? This particular, no, only if I came down to one of these that only have the letter E on it. Those only do Exposure, that's the only slider they will move. But if I apply this one first and then this one, the Exposure slider will end up being changed twice. Once to whatever this preset used and once to what this preset used. Therefore the second preset is canceling out the first because the Exposure slider's not ending up where it started. So pretty much if you see an overlap in those letters between the first one you apply and the second, the second one will be canceling out just that letter, just that slider of whatever the previous one was doing. Thank you. The other thing is when using these know that you can open up the navigator and it previews them. If you hover over the presets the navigator will preview what would it look like if I were to apply the particular preset that you're hovering over. If you happen to like the look of it then click the mouse and it actually applies to your picture. That navigator that we have up there is useful for more than just mousing over presets. It's also useful when you have the history listed here. It lists everything you've done to your picture and if you mouse over it you'll see what it looked like in the past. If you click on one of the steps you'll go back to that stage what the image looked like, but it's also useful in association with the filmstrip because it can preview what you're hovering over in the filmstrip. So if you ever leave the filmstrip really tiny like this so you can see a lot of pictures, but you have the navigator open, you can go down here to the bottom of your screen and now if the filmstrip just seems to be too small to be useful. Well, the navigator is its little supplement. So you can just hover over those various images to see what's in each one. If you find that doesn't happen, there is a preference in your preferences where you can turn that off. So you can go looking in your preferences. All right, then we've been looking at tips and tricks. Let's talk about extending Lightroom a little bit. It'll take me just a moment to find my images for this, but extending Lightroom means adding features to it that don't come with Lightroom and we can do that using plugins. There's a website you can visit and I'll tell you how to find where it is in a moment when I'm done showing you what's there, but when you go to this particular website this is what you'll find. This is an older screenshot though, so there'll be slightly different choices when you get there, but there is a particular individual that creates plugins for Lightroom that I find to be the most useful and he loves to update them on a regular basis and everything. If you go to his website and download some of his plugins, most of the plugins you can use temporarily for free to try them out and then if you want to keep them I don't remember if they're a donation ware or if there's a straight up pre-prescribed amount, but he has something that is a relatively friendly way of acquiring them. Well, this is an example of what one of his plugins can do. Let's say you're thinking you might wanna buy a new lens and you're not sure what you wanna get. You got some money, maybe it's for Christmas or something, somehow you got a windfall of money. You feel like spending it on a lens. Well, wouldn't it be nice to be able to look at your entire Lightroom Catalog and have something analyze your catalog to tell you what focal length range do you shoot at most commonly? Therefore, I could look at this and say, wait a minute. If I look at this list these are the focal lengths on the left side and this is how frequently I use that. Do you notice how often I shoot in the wider range? And do you notice how the most frequent and close to most frequent is at the widest of the wide range? Maybe this is how I can convince my wife that I should get that wider, wide angle lens. (laughter) I did get the 11 to, what's it called? The 11 to 24 is it, on a Cannon, but this could help you try to convince some of those folks, but all this does is when you run this particular plugin it starts chugging and it looks at your entire Lightroom Catalog and then it will plot this down where you can tell how often you use various focal length lenses, which can be rather useful information when you're trying to figure out which lenses to take with you when you go on a trip because you can see what you use most commonly and that type of thing. Or on the right side of your screen you know when you have this area called Metadata? That's where you can type in things like your filename or sometimes you have title and caption, creator, sub location. I betcha there's a could of those fields that you never use, just absolutely never use. But they're always there and you always have to look around them to see what you really do use. Sometimes you need to change this little menu at the top because there's more information that could be shown in there and maybe you have to switch here to this other choice to find the other settings you like to use and you're constantly switching back and forth between various views within this. Well, in that same website there's another plugin that allows you to customize the Metadata panel. When you customize the Metadata panel you can tell it whatever fields you want to have in here on each one of these. You can control the order of them as well and in some cases, I believe, you can even choose the wording. So that let's say there's the field called Caption and another one called Title, but you don't use them for that purposes. You use them for some other purpose like slideshow text. You could change the name. So if you want to be able to edit your Metadata panel to control exactly what information appears in there, what order it's in, and what the naming is then you wanna look at his Metadata Viewer Preset Editor, which can be really nice. You can also do other things. Here you can get folder status setup, so if you click on a folder and then you run this plugin it can tell you what the status of your various folders are. What happens is you can setup what these columns are called. Maybe this one is said that have been color corrected? This one said they've been reviewed by us internally. The next one says it's been reviewed by the client or whatever to say the progress of a folder. And if you click on this button called Edit Folder Status Fields you can come in and edit exactly what those particular columns are called and you can put in a description of them so that then you can kinda have a way of tracking what is the status of a folder. It's just another method to do that. But anyway, there are a bunch of plugins available for Lightroom, I find the most helpful ones to mainly be on this individuals website and so let's make sure you know how to get to his site. This is what I would search for on Google. If you search for this on Google then you will find that here's the result. I can actually go to... This is the result you get when you search for that exact search term and click on that top link and it will bring you to the exact page that I'm talking about. So today we've been thinking about semi random tips and tricks about using Lightroom and I think if you go through those and practice with them individually they can be quite helpful. If you wanna find me online here is where you can find me on various social media and, of course, my main website.

Welcome to CreativeLive’s comprehensive Lightroom® workshop! Join one of our best software instructors, Ben Willmore, to learn how to process and organize your images more efficiently - and have more time to spend doing the stuff that matters. In this series of lessons, you’ll learn how to:

  • Import and organize your images
  • Optimize your photos and workflow
  • Make your images searchable within the program
  • Exporting, printing, and troubleshooting

When you purchase this course you’ll gain access to both an enduring resource to build your skills and a community with which to share the fruits of your work. Ben will provide a workbook that acts as a reference guide.

Don't have Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.2 - 2015.3



  • Creative Live is a godsend and, in my opinion, Ben Willmore is one of their best instructors - if not the best. He is as natural and thoughtful a teacher as he must be a learner. He knows a lot! He is clear about what his students want and need to know, from basic to advanced concepts, and he is constantly aware that he has students watching who are of different knowledge levels. He never takes off, leaving the less experienced behind - instead he moves forward at a good pace while referring back to create mental links during the progression; good for all levels. I work with Lightroom already and so have both experience and questions about how to work more efficiently and creatively. This bootcamp is definitely helping me. I've watched others of Ben's classes, and they always help. Thank you, Ben and Creative Live.
  • Thanks again Ben, for your fabulous teaching and your ability to actually teach and not just show and tell...As other people have commented you have a gift to teach in the way that you do. I have purchased many of your courses and was not going to purchase this, thinking I have all your prior courses...alas, you are just too good!!! I had to buy it in the end and thanks again for all the goodies, so worth the money: Really looking forward to June for your Photoshop class. Once again, I have taken many of your photoshop courses but you keep adding such great info that I cannot resist...see you in June!! Keep up the fabulous work, byw, I love all the yoga poses, what fun you both have with this idea...
  • I have had the privilege of participating in this excellent class from the front row seat in the Creative Live San Francisco studios. After only a few of the 20 sessions, I quickly appreciated the many features and benefits of using LightRoom to organize and edit all of my images. If you're like me, you've had access to LR for a while, and have opened it and fumbled through the myriad of complex menus a few times, then have gone back to using Photoshop. After these classes with Ben Willmore, (and they're not even done yet), I have tackled the job of re-organizing and keywording tens of thousands of images that reside on various backup drives, many of which I've never even had time to look at. I now have a path forward to enjoying what is in my archives rather than letting them gather dust. I have made HDR images, panoramas, slide shows and Blurb books with ease based on the techniques learned in class. Throughout the class, we lobbed many questions at Ben, and every single time he knew the answer in an instant, or could give us a work-around or several ways to do what we're trying to accomplish in LR. His deep knowledge of LR (and PS) simply cannot be matched, and he's a natural trainer. The days have flown by, and after each day I can't wait to get home and start working on my images. Regardless of your type of photography - professional, avid amateur, or hobbyist - if you shoot and edit a lot of images, LR can be a huge benefit in your workflow. Even if you think you already sort of know how LR works, there is still plenty of useful info in this course that will help you to extract maximum benefit from Lightroom. For me it has been nothing short of transformative!