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10 Things I Would Tell New Lightroom Users /2009/10-things-i-would-tell-new-lightroom-users/

I got the idea f or this post f rom an excellent post f rom Rob Sylvan (Rob is one of our Photoshop Help Desk gurus, as well as a Lightroom author and instructor), called “10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Lightroom User.” Rob’s article ran on Scott Bourne’s must-visit site, and he had lots of really great tips f or new users (here’s the direct link). I thought his idea was brillliant, and I sat down and started thinking about what I would tell new users, and then I thought I oughta do a similar post (with a dif f erent list of ten). I was thinking of using a dif f erent name f or mine, but then Rob wound up coming to to my Boston “Photoshop f or Digital Photographers” seminar, and af terward he even gave me a ride to the airport. During that ride to the airport, although we didn’t talk about his post, I f elt that somehow there was an implicit permission to run with his idea [ ;-) ] so with apologies (and f ull credit) to Rob (and Scott Bourne), here’s my own list, called:. 10 T hings I Would Tell New Lightroom Users: (1) Use Solo Mode To Tame All T hose Panels New users can get really f lustered by scrolling up and down the list of open panels in Lightroom, which is why you should turn on “Solo Mode.” T hat way, the only panel you’ll see is the one you’re working on (and the rest all automatically collapse). T his not only saves time, but cuts the clutter big time, and makes it easier to f ocus on just what you’re working with. You turn this on by Ctrl-clicking (PC: Right-clicking) on the title of any panel and choose “Solo Mode” f rom the pop-up menu that appears. (2) Use Collections instead of Folders Folders are where the actual photos you imported f rom a particular shoot are stored. Your good photos f rom that shoot, bad photos—the whole ball of wax. But once we import photos, are most of us really care about are the good ones, and that’s why Collections were invented (well, it’s one of the reasons anyway). Matt and I always joke that “Folders are where we go when we want to see the shots that weren’t any good” because we put all our “keepers” in a collection right away. Collections are saf e, and will keep most users out of trouble. (3) Store all your photos inside one main folder You can have as many sub-f olders inside that one main f older as you want, but if you want to have peace, calm, and order in your Lightroom, the key is not to import photos f rom all over your computer. Choose one main f older (like your Pictures f older on a Mac, or your My Pictures f older on a Windows PC),

Every time I run into someone who’s Lightroom lif e is a mess. take the time to learn these tools. it’s totally f ine to store your photos on an external drive.). or to do something that Lightroom just can’t do (like collaging images with layers. rather than on your laptop. You can do an amazing amount of your everyday work within Lightroom’s Develop Module (especially since the addition of the Adjustment Brush and Gradient Filter). so it’s always just one click away. (5) Create Presets and Templates whenever possible T he key to working ef f iciently in Lightroom is to make Presets and Templates f or the things you do every day (even though a lot of users never take the f ew seconds it takes to create even one). Once you start making presets and templates. Unless you’re charging by the hour. Have a printing set-up you use pretty of ten? Save it as a template. it’s because they didn’t f ollow this one simple rule. (4) Do as much work in Lightroom as possible I now do about 80% of my work in Lightroom in itself . if you’re working on a laptop. So. applying certain f ilters. T HEN import them into Lightroom (and if you’re importing f rom a memory card.and put all your photos inside that f older.. and I only go over to Photoshop in case of an emergency. etc. or creating prof essional level type. your ef f iciency will go through the roof . make a Develop Module preset f or it. Also. have those images copied f rom the card inf o a f older within your main f older). If you f ind yourself making a particular edit more than just a couple of times. by staying in Lightroom as much as possible. and you will speed your workf low (and simplif y your lif e) in ways you can’t imagine. this makes backing up your image library a breeze. or using the pen tool. this is how to up your ROI big time! Presets . Plus.

because there is no “Save As” or even just “Save” command under the File Menu (like almost every other app on earth). there is.(6) How to Save Your Image as a JPEG Matt reminded me about this one and it’s a good one. F6 f or the f ilmstrip at the bottom. However.” when the dialog appears. F7 f or the lef t side panels. you’ll have the Option to save your selected image (or images) as a JPEG. because I get asked this question again and again at my Lightroom seminars. or if you press the Tab key it will hide all the panels). I have users literally begging me. so go to your backups f older and . A pop-up menu will appear—-just choose “Manual” and now the panels will only open when you click on that little arrow (or if you press the F-key keyboard shortcuts [F5 to show/hide the top navigation panel. if you’ve got a lot of photos. If you do go under the File menu. but none of them say “Export as JPEG” so again —it’s not real obvious. (8) T hrow away your old backups If you back-up your catalogs on a regular basis (once a day. Af ter a while. It’s because it’s not totally obvious how to do it. Ctrl-click (PC: Right-click) on the little arrows on the center edge of each panel. and F8 f or the right side panels]. you can just choose the one called “Export. you’ll f ind f our dif f erent Export commands. those old outdated back-ups are going to start eating up a lot of space on your hard disc. “Please tell me there’s a way to stop the panels f rom popping in and out on me all day long!” T hankf ully. (7) Turn off Auto Show for panels I get more emails f rom new Lightroom users asking if there’s a way to turn of f this “f eature” than you can stick a shake at. or weekly) bef ore long you’re going to have a whole bunch of back-ups stored on your computer.

Creating a new f resh. .delete the ones that are more than a couple of weeks old. and they need to all be in vertical orientation. this is an absolute must. you might not need to go through all your photos and assign keywords. [Code: IAARRWTAW] So there ya have it—-the 10 T hings I would Tell new Lightroom Users. and I only need one’s where you can see the driver. Ask yourself this question: When was the last time I couldn’t f ind the photos I need by just going to my Collections panel? If you’re not having problems getting your hands on the photos you need in just seconds. If you’re selling stock photography. I have separate catalogs f or portraits. empty catalog is easy—just go under the File menu and choose New Catalog (don’t worry—it doesn’t erase your old catalog— it just saves and closes it).000 images in one catalog). f or weddings. f or sports photos. f or travel photos. or last week? Right—those old ones are pretty much useless. Af ter all. and I hope those 10 ideas (along with Rob’s) help to make your Lightroom lif e easier. (10) Ask yourself whether you need lots of keywords or not We were all originally taught to invest a reasonable amount of time adding global and specif ic keywords (search terms) to all the photos we import. (9) Its OK to have multiple Catalogs You don’t have to keep everything in just one catalog—you can create as many catalogs as you want (and you might want to create multiple catalogs if you’re going to have more than 40. I’m not telling you not to keyword—I’m just asking you to consider whether you need to add a bunch of keywords or not. and if you have a client base that might call you up and ask. T hanks again to Rob Sylvan f or the original idea (and to Scott Bourne f or publishing Rob’s original post). because most users probably don’t need many (or any). I know a wedding photographer that creates a brand new f resh catalog f or every wedding he shoots. f or f amily photos. just go under Lightroom’s File menu and choose Open Recent. For example. and the driver has to be f emale” then you’ll want to keyword like a pro. you might be able to skip all the keywording stuf f . However. if you’re just keeping track of the photos f rom your vacation to Paris last year. and so on. if your catalog got messed up.000 or 50. “Send me all your photos of red car. would you want to go back months in time. He likes the speed and cleanliness of of a f resh catalog with nothing it in but the photos f rom that one particular wedding. To open one of your previously open catalogs.