Skip to main content

Lightroom Overview

Lesson 3 from: Lightroom Desktop for the Photo Enthusiast

Jared Platt

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. Lightroom Overview

Learn the basics of how Lightroom operates and where everything is located. By the end of this lesson you will know where everything is and why it is there.

Lesson Info

Lightroom Overview

So let's begin by taking a tour of Lightroom desktop and we're going to work mostly in Lightroom desktop because it is the most robust of all three of lightroom desktop. Lightroom web or Lightroom mobile, it's the most robust. However, uh, Lightroom mobile is not all that much different than Lightroom desktop. They actually were designed to be very, very, very similar and they're also designed to be very easy to figure out. And so the, the Ui or the user interface is super simple. That's everything is based on trying to be very simple so that anybody can just pick it up and start using it. Um I'm going to give you a tour of lightroom desktop and then I'll give you a tour of Lightroom Mobile so that you can see how it's a little bit different. So let's start here in Lightroom desktop and on the left hand side is our photos. So at the top is adding photos and then kind of right below that is learn and discover. So if you want to learn some things more things about Lightroom you can there...

. But then right below that is all photographs. This area here is where we find photographs based on search criteria like what people are in it or when we shot it or last time we edited it, things like that. And then below that we will find our albums area. Albums are not folders, they're not like folders on your computer. Albums are virtual places where we can put photographs. And so you'll notice that there are three photos of the Grand Tetons here in an album called Travel Images. And you'll also notice that those same images are right here in a, in an album called to do. And so you can see there are the same three images. But there's not six images. There's only the three because those images are references. So each album is a virtual location that references three images that are in the same place on the hard drive and the same place in the cloud. So when we put an an image into lightroom, it just throws it in a big pot with all the other images and then it finds them based on the criteria that you give it. So if I want to find something based on date, it will find the images based on date. If I want to find it based on who's in it, it will find it. If I want to find it based on visual information, it will find it. And so albums are just another way to sort your images, but it doesn't move your images around your images. Always stay in that one big pot. That is where Lightroom puts all of your images. So you can make as many albums as you want and you can add as many photos to as many albums as you want. And it will never increase the size of the images because it's not duplicating them. So, uh, that is the left hand panel. It is all about your photos and where they happen to be and how to find them. Now, right in the middle is the grid. And that grid is where we look at our photos and we can scroll through those images and and take a look at the images. And then if we want to look at a particular image, we just simply click on that image and double click it, it will increase it to a full sized image. But when we do that, you notice down below, there's a film strip that allows us to see all of those photos that are inside of this album so that we can quickly change from one image to another really quickly. Um So we don't have to go back to the grid. However, if we would like to go back to the grid, we can just simply hit the G key for grid and it will take us back to the grid and there are different versions of the grid. If you look down at the bottom where that film strip used to be, you can look at your images in kind of a masonry style where always sees images or you can look at them in a grid style which allows you to see all the information about the photos, how we started them, whether we flagged them. Um all of that kind of information is right here on the photos themselves or we can look at them one at a time and again the filmstrip comes up again and then we can also, if we're in one of these modes we can sort them and that's what this little line icon is all about. If I click on that, I can choose how I want to organize them. Do want to see them by capture, day, import, Datemodified file names, star rating, custom order etcetera. So I can choose how I want them to be organized so that when I'm looking at them I can find them really easily. And in the middle of that tool bar down below is the star rating and the flag. So if I'm on an image like this one and I want to give it a star rating, I can either just click on one of these ratings of stars down here at the bottom middle. So I can go over and say three stars for this one, It's already flagged. Or I can just hit the keystrokes one 234 or five or zero. And that will give it back to zero stars. So that's the different ways that we can rate an image. And then of course if we go to that grid version, you can see that it's start as three. I can find it as three. Um And so that's how I can add star ratings and flags. So if I want to change the flag status on this from no flag to a flag or a reject. Um If I hit the D key that takes me to the detail view which is also where we'll be editing but we'll talk about that in a minute. Um You can see that it has no stars and no flags. Again if I if I really like the image I can give it a four star but if I want to pick it I'm going to hit the Z key for pick now, don't ask me why they used Zi qi. And the only thing I can figure is it's right next to the X. Key and X's reject. So Zia's pick X. Is reject but they also gave you one extra key which is way up at the top. The Yuki is unpick so I don't know why they didn't congregate them all together. They just congregated pick and reject together. So the unpick is you pick is Z and X. Is reject. Now let's go back to the grid and let's look over on the right hand side and you'll see a little slider here. This is the size of your images. So bigger or smaller and you can use this also in the normal masonry style as well. We can make them as big or as small as we like. Um and that's what that tool does over there. Now on the right hand side you will find another panel and that panel has an info right at the very very very bottom right hand side. If I click on I for info or just click on that little I button, it gives me all the info about any particular photo and you can see up at the top these are all the camera settings, you can see that I can enter a title, a caption or a copyright, there's the file name and the time and date it was captured. And then I can also enter information about where it was captured. If for any reason I have a GPS enabled camera like my phone or say a Canon five D mark four is actually a GPS enabled camera. Or if I just happen to have one of my cameras tied to my smartphone and it's registering GPS information that gPS information will come in automatically. And so some places you will see that information come in automatically because I already have it. So for instance here you can see that this image was shot with a camera that had GPS enabled. And so you can see there's the actual coordinates of the photograph itself and a map to that information. So as you were shooting, if you turn on your Gps tracking on your camera, you can actually have a map to exactly where you were. When you shot that image, if you'd like below that, you'll see a sync status and sink is really important because when we put images in, whether we put them in our ipad or whether we photograph them with our our phone. So anything we photograph with the phone can also go directly into lightroom or if we brought them on a card and we put them into light room no matter what, they're going to go into lightroom and then they're immediately going to want to go up to the cloud and so you can set your devices so that they'll only go to the cloud once they get connected to wifi, so that you're not spending a lot of data on your on your data plans. Um But it will automatically try and go to the cloud and once it goes to the cloud, then when you're looking at the photos in the info area you can see is this backed up. If it is then we're safe and once it's backed up in the cloud, it's actually going to then send that image out to all of your other devices and you you can actually choose on your other devices whether you want it to just show you previews of it or whether you actually wanted to download the entire file so that you have another duplicate of it somewhere else. Um And most of the time I prefer to just keep a copy on one computer, one in the cloud and then all the other devices simply get a preview of that file so that I'm not wasting a lot of space. Um But you might want to have a desktop computer that's always downloading all of the photos and then everything else is kind of like your laptop and your ipad and your iphone can all just be things that upload photos to the cloud and then the real photos end up down at the at the desktop computer. So you can kind of choose which devices are going to have the entire real file and which ones are just going to be kind of a dummy computer that can just look at the files but doesn't actually have them. Then below that you'll find a list of albums where this particular image is housed. So I can see okay this particular images in all of these different albums here. And if I click on any of them it will take me to that album. So the next thing you'll see over on this right hand panel and this is just a contextual panel. Um the next thing I can do is I can click on this little tag. So if I click on it you can see that I can add keywords to any of these images. So if I click on an image and I want to add a keyword. So I can say well this is in Prague, So there I've added a keyword. And so now I can search for that keyword when I'm looking for these photos and I can do that to all of these images. So if I shift click so I'm clicking one image and shift clicking to those images. And now I'm just going to type in Prague and so now it is added to all of those and some of those have been applied. So Czech Republic was actually on some of them and so I can add that. See this is applied to some and so I'm going to say well all of these exist. So now they're all tied into all of these images, which is a really handy way two add keywords to your images if you happen to have added them to one. So this is the key word area and keywords help you find images a little bit faster. Then the next thing that we have up here is a little quote bubble. And if we click on that quote quote bubble, this is where we would see activity about this particular photo. Remember I told you that you can use Lightroom to share images out. Well those images can go out to the public and the public can comment on them and it will come back to you there. Then we have the editing area up here and the editing area can only be seen if we double click an image so that we're looking at the full sized image. And that's when we can start editing those images. And then our editing area appears and you'll see that there are different sections where we can work and we'll talk about these in much more depth later, there's a crop area. So this is for general adjustments. Then there's a crop and then there's a retouching tool for called the healing brush and then there's a masking area that allows us to do detailed work on specific areas inside of the photograph. And then below that you will find a triple dot button. That triple dot button allows you to do things like copy and paste settings. It allows you to see the original. It allows you to show the hissed a gram like that. Um and it also allows you to edit in Photoshop and there's keyboard shortcuts that come with all of those as well. So that is the right hand panel. So to search images, we're going to go to the grid and go up to the top area here, the top panel inside of Lightroom and we're gonna click inside of this search area and you'll notice that the first criteria for search is already already enabled because we happen to be selecting this travel image folder And so it shows us, hey, we're looking inside of travel images for this photo, then I can choose other things like for instance star ratings and flags ratings or even things like camera focal length shutter speed etcetera. So I could say, well I want to see everything that is coming from a specific camera. So if I click on camera, it's going to show me the two cameras that are involved in this folder. And I'm just going to choose those images from the EOSR five. And so now I've got a very specific set of images because these are ones that were shot with the R5. Now I can even add more search capabilities by clicking on this little filter. So when I click on this little funnel I can see star ratings, flag ratings. I can also see whether it was edited or not. So I want to look at only images that have not been edited. I also just want to look at raw images and I only want to look at images where I have the original here on the computer because let's say I'm traveling on an airplane or something like that and I want to work on images, but I just want to work on the ones that actually have the original file with me. So I'm gonna click on that. There we go. So I was able to find a very specific set of images and maybe we'll even sort by one star and above. Let's see if I've got three stars there. So these are all my three star and above images. So these are the ones that I like the water patterns and things like that. So I found a set of images and now I can scroll through and find the one that I like the most because I've been able to sort and find images really quickly by using the search feature up above the grid. So now you've been introduced to the Lightroom desktop interface and there's nothing more to it than that. It is just simply a panel on the right which is all about the photos and where they are, a panel on the bottom, which is mostly about how you're going to view those images. And sometimes it turns into a little uh film strips so that you can see them all when you're looking at one image at a time, a panel on the right, which is contextual, that's where you get your information about the image. That's where you add keywords, that's where you see how people have commented on your photos and that's where you edit your photos and then a panel on the top and that's where you search for photos. Now there's one thing that we haven't mentioned yet and that's the preferences and preferences inside of Lightroom is very, very simple. Just simply click on your preferences button and go in and you'll find that there are very few preferences to even choose the first is your account. So you have to be logged in in order to be working inside of Lightroom. So first we log in then we want to choose where those photos are going to be stored. You'll notice that I have several options. First off here is the file area. So the Macintosh hard drive is telling me how much space is required for my Lightroom catalog gigabytes and how much space I have available, which I have plenty of space available. And then also how much space the photo cash is taking up. So this is just informational then below that are my options and you'll see that I can use cash size equal to how much of the remaining disk space. I've put zero Now, the reason I put 0% is because I'm actually working right now on a very small laptop that only has a very small flash drive on it. So I don't want to fill up my flash drive with a bunch of photo cash to work on them. So it's only bringing down the files as needed for me to work on them. If I was working on a desktop computer with huge hard drives, then I could say, well, you know, you can certainly use disk space for the cash, you know, and you could do 25% of my total hard drive or 50% of my whole total hard drive and it will download tons of information. But I'm on a laptop And I want to spare my space because it's very valuable to me. And so I've got it at 0%. Also, you'll notice that this checkbox that says store a copy of all smart previews locally on the hard drive. I've got that checked off why? Because I want to save space. If I had all of my smart previews coming down to there and I've got 95,000 images. That's going to take up quite a bit of space. Not as much as the original files because a smart preview is a very, very small raw version of the original file, but I don't want all of those on the computer. I just want to see the previews forum right now. And as I work on them, it will bring what I need down to the computer so I can work on it. And then when I'm done and I'm not using them anymore, it'll kind of release those images back up into the cloud. Then we have another option here which is store a copy of the originals on a specific location. So if I wanted to, I could have a specific location where all photos are stored over here. So every photo could be stored on a different location. But I have that unchecked as well because again, I'm on this little laptop, I'm not carrying a lot of disk with me and then I can have my main desktop computer somewhere else that's storing all the files. But you'll notice that I have chosen a storage location. So storage location for the originals. So these are the images that I'm putting into Lightroom. I need a place to store those and you'll notice that I've stored them in a drive called photos. So if I click on browse, you'll see that this is where I choose that location. So I choose the photos drive and I tell it to put them inside of my Lightroom photos here. There it is. Lightroom CC. It's going to add this folder and then all of those photos are going to be stored in these crazy weird folders and you see originals and then it's organizing them by date into a big pot of photos. All I need to do is choose the main folder which is this Lightroom photos folder and hit choose now. I've already done that. So I don't need to do that. Um so let's go to the next preference and that is general. So when I click on general preferences, There are two options. One is enabled. People view which yes, you want to do that. And number two is to prevent from sleep when you're synchronizing and you definitely want to do that because sometimes you want to synchronize your files overnight. You don't want it to just go to sleep and stop synchronizing. Next is your import options. And you have the ability to check this box, which is add copyright information to your images. And then you can put the copyright information here. However, you can also do that on your cameras. And so all of my cameras have my name and my copyright information so that the minute I take a photo it's already on the photos. So I don't need to do this, but you can do this if you'd like, you can add your copyright information to your photos on the way in to lightroom and then below that is a raw default option. As you bring images in, you have the ability to add some kind of adjustment to those images on the way in. So if you have a favorite way that you like to work on your images, you can actually choose that on the way in and you don't even have to add it. So you see here that the raw default is listed as camera setting. And that means that my lightroom is going to try and use the camera default setting. Like if I was using the landscape setting for my picture style in my Canon E O. S are, it would then try and give me a good approximation of that inside of Lightroom. So I can choose that. Or I can actually choose the adobe default, which is just every image looks the same. Whatever adobe thinks it should look like it's going to look like. Or I can choose a preset and I can choose a preset for any preset that's in my system. Currently. Now, if you have a preset, that is perfect for what you normally do to your images, say the contrast the the profile that you've chosen the grain amount and things like that. So if you know that you always use the same settings, you can set up a preset, which we'll show you how to do later. That will allow you to add that preset to every image. For instance if you're a black and white photographer you can actually choose black and white as your preset and every image will come in and be turned to black and white before you ever even look at it. However, that means that if you wanted to be back in color you'd have to go to the image and change it back to color, it doesn't throw away the color, it just adds a preset to it. There are also a number of interface options here that you can play with their fairly self explanatory and then in the performance area is an option for the graphics processor and so you can see that I'm using an apple M one pro right now and that allows me to use has two processors and so I'm allowing it to use one of the processors which is the graphics processor to to actually do other things besides just graphics processing. But I've got it on the setting of auto so it's doing what it thinks is best. Now if you notice a slowdown on your computer, you might want to come here and either turn it off and see if it speeds up because sometimes an older computer has a problem with using the graphics processor or you can customize it and if you customize it then you can choose what that Gpu is going to do. So you can say okay use the GPU for image processing or you can say just use it for the display. Don't use it for image processing or you can say don't use it for anything. So I choose to let it do auto because it seems to be doing a good job and so that is all of the settings. It's a very small set of preferences. But the most important of those preferences is where you store your photos and how much space you allow Lightroom to use for its cash on your computer, make sure that you choose the right place for those photos to go. Um I never want my photos on the main hard drive of the computer. I want them on a secondary outside source. I want them on a on a drive, a hard drive that's external and preferably a hard drive that actually has a backup system to it. Whether that's a raid system or some kind of a cloud backup system that would be better. However, keep in mind that the beauty of Lightroom as opposed to Lightroom classic, is that Lightroom is actually being backed up in the cloud all the time. And so that is your ultimate backup. You can take your images and put them into light room and know that they're going to be safe within minutes because they're going to be on the cloud and then those images are going to spread out to all of your other devices. And so it's going to be even more safe. So Lightroom is the one place where you don't actually have to be so overly concerned about. Did I back up this hard drive? Did I back up that hard drive? Make sure that you take each hard drive and back them up every month. You don't have to do that anymore because now the cloud is backing it up and then it's going to all of your other devices and especially if you set up to computers that have all of the original images on them, a desktop and say a laptop with an external hard drive, then you're always backed up. So Lightroom is a really great system, not just for uh looking at your photos and organizing and finding photos and developing photos, but it's a really great system for backing it all up.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Profiles + Presets

Ratings and Reviews

Jean McMillan

Thoroughly enjoyed your class, have learned so much about how take my Ipad to another level, now can't wait to put it all into practise!

Red Tulip

Sometimes it's hard to know what the instructor is pointing to so it's easy to get confused. Better job is needed in explaining what you are pointing to.

Student Work