10 Lightroom Secrets You Probably Don’t Know

In this Post, I will be showing  some of the best kept Lightroom secrets even long time users may not be aware of. For the sake of some Newby Photographers who are still planning or starting to use Lightroom as part of their workflow, here is a brief  description of what Lightroom is.

Lightroom is packed with so many Digital Photography Tools from simple one-click adjustments to more advanced controls. Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom does not allow you to work with multi layered files, but it helps you work faster and more efficiently with a single image or a large  image library.

It is a more intuitive way to import, organize, process, export, and share photos both on print and the web. Although two different programs,Lightroom and Photoshop work pretty well with each other . Some Photographers do their basic Photo editing and sorting in Lightroom especially when working with RAW files but use Photoshop for Advanced Retouching and image manipulation.

With that being said, here are some tips that will surely make you work faster  in Lightroom whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user .

1. Quickly Switch Between Color and Grayscale

If you want to quickly check if an image would look better in Black and White, just select the image and press the “V” button. You can use this to switch back and forth between color and grayscale.

This works both in the Library and Develop modules.

In the Library Module, you can use the Grid Mode, select multiple images, press “V” and instantly see which ones work well in Grayscale.

2. View the original image before any Adjustments

It’s always nice to be able to compare the original image with the current adjustments that you have made so far.

So when in the Develop Module, by clicking the \ button, you are able to view the original image before any adjustments were made. To go back to the adjusted or final version just click the \ button again.

Notice that you will see the label “before” at the upper right hand corner of the original image once you have clicked the \ button to view the original version.

3. View all of the shortcuts in a module

With so many tools and so many shortcuts, it may require years of Lightroom user experience to memorize all of them. So if you ever want to see all of the Keyboard Shortcuts for the module you are in(ie: Library, Develop, Slide show, Print, Web) just click Ctrl / for Windows, and Command / for Mac.

The image below shows the Pop-Up window that would appear. Just click on the window to hide it again.

4. Adjust Multiple Images in the Grid Mode

This feature makes it easy to apply the same adjustments to a group of images at one time. It has always been with Lightroom since the early versions although some may not know how to use it.

First you need to enable Grid Mode in the Library Module, select multiple images, and in the Quick Develop Module, the White balance, Tone Control, Exposure, Clarity, and Vibrance can be adjusted in one go.

corercting multiple images in lightroom

5.  Dim All Items/Menus Surrounding an Image

For a distraction free image Editing, click the L button to dim those items around an image (ie: photos, menus,). Note that the Menus are still accessible even if they are dimmed.  Press the L button twice to make the surroundings totally black and press L again to get it back to its normal visibility.

This could be very useful when evaluating the final results of a photo after several adjustments have been made.

dimming the surroundings in lightroom

6.  Comparing  Photos

Sometimes you need to put two similar photos side by side to easily compare the details and progress against each other. This will come handy especially when you have cloned a photo and you want to compare it with the original image.

Just click the C button on your keyboard if you want to compare two photos side by side. Then by pressing the Z button you are able to zoom in and compare the two images in detail. To go back to a single image view, just hit the C button again.

The image below shows the original image marked as Select and the cloned image marked as Candidate.

comparing two photos in lightroom

7.  Speed Up Editing by Using “Enable Painting” on the Library Grid

By using the “Enable Painting” option from the Metadata main Drop down Menu, you are able to paint several  Paintable options from the toolbar as shown below. Simply click on the Spraycan symbol, choose which effect or option you want to paint, and apply it to as many images as you want by hovering over an image and clicking unto it to apply the effect.

Options like Keywords, Metadata and Settings can be easily applied to several images in the Grid speeding up editing in the process.

using the paint tool in lightroom


8.  Quickly Change Thumbnail Size in the Library Module

Most users use the slider on the Toolbar to change the size of the thumbnails in the Library. But in some cases, the slider may be hidden or turned off that you have to activate or make it visible first before you are able to change the thumbnail size.

A faster and easier way is to click on the keyboard shortcut of (+) plus to increase the Thumbnail size ,and (-) minus to make it smaller. Surprisingly, this is one of the most used actions in Lightroom.

quickly change lightroom thumbnail size


9.  Press the J key to Change the Thumbnail Views

In the Library Module, you have the option to show or hide the information shown under each image namely Tags, Ratings and Metadata.

The J key enables you to easily have it shown or hidden. Repeated clicking of the J key will instantly cycle you thru various thumbnail views shown below.

1. None

lightroom clean thumbnail view 03

2. Ratings and Flags

lightroom clean thumbnail view

3. Ratings, Flags, Metadata

lightroom clean thumbnail view 02


10.  Using Auto Advance for Faster Rating and Flagging

By turning on Auto Advance option in the Photo Drop Down Menu, Lightroom will automatically advance to the next image after you have Rated or Flagged an image thereby reducing your effort  and therefore saving time.

This works both in the Library and Develop Modules.

Auto Advance Option in Lightroom


Lightroom has provided Photographers with a number of tools to make Photo Editing and Management  faster and easier. But like any other sophisticated software, it has its own share of secrets, and it’s always good to know at least a few of them. If you happen to know some Lightroom tricks that are really useful, or if you find these tips useful in your own workflow, then please feel free to share it with us.

One Response
  1. June 9, 2013

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