episode 5

5 Useful Lightroom Tips

In this



episode of the Sleeklens Photography Podcast, we talk about 5 real easy Adobe Lightroom Tips and Tricks that can really help improve your workflow. Featured Item of the Week | myTracks iOS App Easily tracks your GPS location on your iPhone with the myTracks app. Find information at http://www.mytracks4mac.info

This episode will cover 5 of my favorite tips and tricks which you can use in Lightroom tips and tricks. These are basically shortcuts that you can type on your keyboard and get different things to pop-up in Lightroom. these are kind of different things around the modules and settings that you can apply to kind of enhance or maybe better your workflow. Below are the 5 favorite tips and tricks that I use in Lightroom:

Smart preview enablement

If you are in a hurry to edit your photos and maybe you notice that Lightroom is running a bit slow than it should be, one thing you can do is to enable what is called smart previews.  A lot of people don’t know about this but it’s a very important feature. What exactly smart previews are is a way for Lightroom to build kind of a lower resolution image that you edit on. This will allow your Lightroom catalogue to respond faster and kind of be speedy. So, if you happen to have an older machine that has Lightroom installed, this might be one of the features you can turn on. As such, when you import a photo into Lightroom, the software will basically be creating a smaller lower resolution version of your image that you can apply the edits to. That way the edits are applied faster, your Lightroom catalogue will be running faster as well but the best thing about it is that Lightroom will still do the final full resolution output of whatever file you choose. Thus, even if it creates a file that you edit on and that has a lower resolution and lower quality, when you do a final export, you still are going to get the full resolution file that you originally imported.  As such, you are not importing a lower resolution file and losing all the capabilities or anything like that. You are basically allowing Lightroom to create a smaller preview of that image that you can apply your edits to and then when it has the edits you can apply those edits to the original file that you imported and then go ahead and export a full resolution version of whatever size you want be it jpeg or photoshop file and it will still do the output. So, if you want to turn that on, just go to Preferences>performance tab> and then click on the checkbox that says “use smart preview instead of the originals for image editing”. That setting will turn this on and every time you import, it will go ahead and create a small preview of the file and offer faster system response as well.

Lights-Out feature

This is another small feature which is a shortcut on your keyboard and not a tip or trick. It allows you to focus only on your image when you are editing. Lights Out will basically turn your Lightroom interface dark but only keep the color of the image that’s in the development module. So, you can hit the “L” key on your keyboard and that will toggle your Lightroom interface to completely go dark. When you have your interface dark like this, it still shows the image in full color, full brightness so you can focus on the edits that are going on, in your image. This is also a great way to make sure that you’re not staring at the screen over and over again where you are getting the “editors’ fog” when applying all these edits. If you have ever had that editors’ fog, where you look and edit an image and things are really great, you walk away and come back after 5 minutes and you find out that you really don’t like something, maybe the exposure was too bright or too dark, this kind of helps a little bit so that it allows you to focus just on the image itself.

Smart Collections

This is another feature in Lightroom. Many people use the collection and it’s a really popular way of organizing multiple files in your Lightroom catalogue so that they are stored in a kind of virtual folder thus making it quick and easy to pull out an image that you want to. However, smart collections kind of taking the regular collection a step further. What it does is that it set parameters that will automatically add to the collection based on whatever parameters you set. One of the most popular ones is actually a parameter that will allow you to choose the best photos from particular years. I truly believe that every photographer out there whether you are brand new or seasoned and have been in the industry for a number of years, you should always have a collection of the best photos in your mind and which you have taken over time. One of the ways to do this without having to wade through your catalogue over and over at the end of the year is to basically create a smart collection that is called the best of the year. What you will do is make a smart collection and you set every image the way you want. Personally, every image that I set for example if it has the year and has a 5-star rating, that means it is one of the best photos I have taken that year and so when I go to the smart collection, it will show all the photos from that particular year with a 5-star rating. This will, therefore, make it a lot easier for you to go through your smart collections and choose the best photos from the year. You can take them down after that and maybe give then 4 stars and that way you will narrow down on your collections and this is one of the best ways to have Lightroom automatically do this for you.

Dual Screen Uses

This feature is for dual screen uses. I have 2 screens attached to my computer and this will be a great help for those people who do have multiple screens attached to their computers. This could even be for people who have a laptop that is pulled to another display because technically you do have 2 screens there. This allows you to have 2 different things on Lightroom showing on 2 different screens. We all know that we pull Lightroom up on the main screen and you have all the information in Lightroom including the development module, the library and everything that you typically see. But you can actually enable what is called ‘Dual Screen Uses’ and this will help you pull up something else on a separate screen. One of my favorite options is to actually pull up a grid view of the images that I am editing. If you’ve ever seen the grid view in the Library catalogue, instead of having a timeline view at the bottom and you kind of scroll from left to right, you can turn on the grid view which basically looks like a thumbnail view of your images. So how you can have this happen on your second screen is pull up a grid view of your images on the second screen. That way you can still have your edits on the main screen and have all your edits (7.46) on the main screen. But you can have a grid view of all the images so you can easily go back and forth, pull up an image on your second screen and it’ll automatically pop up on the main screen and you can kind of go back and forth and that way you can have the full use of your Lightroom on both screens. If you really want to zone in on your editing because maybe you have a project that is due, this is one of the great ways to blackout everything else on your computer so you can completely focus on your editing. Again, if you want to turn that on and have two screens, you can go to windows> secondary display and turn on the grid in there. There is also another couple of options like the loop but I usually use grid display and it works very well.


This is the last small item that I want to touch a little bit on. It is a well-known feature but I like to retaliate it because it is a super popular and useful feature if you haven’t used it yet. We all know presets which are also very popular and Sleeklens sells tons of quality presets and you can check them out. However, snapshots are more like presets but they are for a particular image. What this basically means is that if you were to apply presets to an image, you will have to select the preset from your presets panel and then apply them to an image but if you want to have several edits to that particular photo, you will have to use snapshots. The reasons you will have to use snapshots over making a virtual copy of a photo because what you are trying to do is to actually make a couple of different edits to one photo. Maybe you have one photo and you are not sure whether maybe to go black and white, or color, or really saturated with color, you don’t want to keep creating multiple copies of one particular photo because that will junk up your catalogue, making it hard for you to go through your photos. This is where snapshots come into play as they will allow you to make an edit to one particular photo, save that snapshot in the snapshot panel and then you can kind of reset that photo and make another edit to that same photo, save it and then make another edit to that photo and on and on. You can keep editing that same photo over and over again so that what you are basically doing is that when you go that photo, you can see all the edits you have done under the snapshot panel and this will allow you to kind of wind out the best photo editing styles that you did to this particular photo. It’s a really great way to do that as you definitely want to make virtual copies all over the place as this can mess up your Lightroom catalogue especially if you have a well-organized catalogue and starting to make copies and copy and pasting will mess up your catalogue. So, you need snapshots to create multiple edits for one particular photo and this is really a great way to do that.

Those are the 5 most popular tips and tricks for Lightroom to really help you get a better workflow and speed up your system. These are not just shortcuts but great ways to utilize different features you might not be aware of.

Featured item of the week

The featured item of this week is a new one I came across known as My Tracks app. This is an app for iOS and unfortunately, it’s not available on Android. I searched for it to see whether the makers have it for android but couldn’t find but in case you come across it you can let me know. There are other apps just like this one but this one is a purple icon with a globe in the middle of it. What this basically does is that it allows you to track your GPS location. If you are a photographer and you go on a cool adventure and you want to keep track of where you are going, or you have a photo location where you go all the time, and just want to make sure that you’ve captured all the scenes around there or just show where you’ve been over and over again, My Tracks is a great app to do that. It basically runs in the background and tracks the GPS location without you even noticing that it’s there. It tracks your GPS location, your altitude, and tracks everything on where you’ve been and when you stop it you can actually see your really great visualizations on a map of where you’ve been and you can save those for viewing later. It does not use your battery but basically uses your GPS and that’s it.

If you want to view this app, you can go to mytracks4mac.info. It is a great app and I have used it a couple of times already. It is fun to see the different places where you have been on a map as far as your photo location so you can play around with different locations that you have or haven’t been to.

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