Lightroom workflow tips

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Pia Lopez
  By Pia Lopez
Lightroom workflow tips www.sleeklens.com

Do you want to master post-production software, for example Adobe Lightroom? In order to become truly proficient, you have to know it inside and out, which will happen only after working with the software. However, you might not think you can learn how to use Lightroom – especially if you are switching from Photoshop, knowing already, what is needed to create stunning post-production work. But if you want to help yourself, you should get started ASAP.

Image editing or background editing is like winning the first part of the war. After that, you have to import and export your images by choosing it.

Today, we are going to review the essential tips and tricks that every user must know if wanting to boost workflow performance. Say goodbye to those sessions lasting more than half an hour per picture, and take your post-production skills to the next level!

Lightroom and Catalog

Consider cataloging your pictures after importing them from folders of the hard drive of your computer. Lightroom offers various options, such as tags, flags and much more, for sorting your images in the perfect way possible.

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You may ask: “how does this apply to me?” Well, let me tell you that when you import collections of more than 2k pictures into Lightroom, things can start to get a little messy, especially if you happen to want to locate a picture you took a years ago, having only a vague idea of how it looked.

By using metadata and keywords, you can save yourself an incredible amount of time for future post-production, while reviewing the job you did in the process.

Output Sharpening helps you add extra sharpening when you want it. While exporting for web, select lower quality and set standard or low but when you are exporting for printing or archival purposes, disable this setting. Sharpening can be done further, however, the removal of digital sharpening can be tricky.

Working with Virtual Copies

Ever heard of Virtual Copy mode in adobe photoshop Lightroom? No? You have been missing a marvellous feature offered by Lightroom for testing different possibilities of post-production work. With it and using Lightroom, some pretty amazing things can be done.

Imagine wanting to apply some lightroom presets to a picture, you took, but you’re not sure which effect appeals to you the most. On top of that, you also have to work with a combination of presets for each desired effect, so moving backwards with CTRL+Z doesn’t seem an efficient option… This is where Virtual Copies are a lifesaver!

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Right-click on the preview (or even on the actual picture) while operating in Develop Module and apply the option “Create Virtual Copy”. Lightroom will then create an extra copy of the raw files, which you can tweak and edit as much as you want while keeping the original file intact after import (don’t confuse this with Lightroom’s non-destructive workflow, it operates the exact same way, but for testing several options on the same file).

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Master Batch Processing

In the life of photographers, there comes a time when you don’t go through every single photo you shoot for a job, especially if you tend to multitask, handling many jobs simultaneously, because of time constraints between deadlines.

Just like having your way with presets for applying effects in only a few seconds, you can process a large batch of photos while doing another task, if you use the Batch Processing mode within Lightroom.

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In order to use this function, all you need to do is to select or choose a picture with the desired post-production work already completed and then select or choose all the photos you need to post-produce. Right-click, and in the displayed menu, go to ‘Develop Settings’ and then to ‘Sync Settings’. This will synchronize the options applied to the picture you have already post-produced with the images you need, regardless how many photos you have to process. It is very handy, and the excellent thing about it is that you can grab a cup of coffee, while Lightroom does all the work for you.

You don’t need to switch modules to export images

Unless you really need to work with printed images, or if you need to create books/slideshows with Lightroom, don’t switch modules just to save your work as an image file. Right click on one image and select ‘Export’. You will end up saving an amazing amount of time by not waiting for Lightroom to adjust the UI after each picture finished by you. Such adjustments at times are very slow.

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Learn to work with Shortcuts

Just as you know from Photoshop, the Adobe guys thought of everything in order to make sure a quick, reliable work interface. Therefore, the best way to speed up your post-production process is by learning the essential shortcuts for the most commonly used commands.

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Take a tour at Adobe site, locate the documentation with the shortcut list, and print it out with just one click. After using shortcuts for a couple of weeks, they will come naturally to you, and you will enhance your post-production speed by more than 100%.

If, against all odds, you don’t wind up learning most of the shortcuts, don’t worry, there are other ways to achieve this. Simply buy an overlay for your laptop keyboard, and you will have every single shortcut displayed – this option, as far as I know, works only for Mac users, so if you work with Windows like I do, then stick to the first method and start wondering why you haven’t switched to Mac yet 🙂

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Work with Presets and Brushes

Several designer companies work hard to provide quality products that can make our post-production sessions as short as possible, while getting professional results. Presets and brushes are must-have tools for every dedicated Lightroom user, so the sooner you get used to applying them, the better your job is going to turn out.

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Another possibility is to get your very own preset with the parameters you use in your photo editing sessions, and the great thing is that they will stay there as long as you need to use them, as well as be available for use in the Library module for editing your pictures with the Quick Edit mode.

As you can see, there are various ways for you to boost your performance inside Lightroom – it takes some dedication to master this versatile software while having fun in the process. Good luck and keep editing!

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Pia Lopez

Pia Lopez

Pia Lopez is a self-taught photographer, architecture student and ArchViz artist. As Editor in Chief of Sleeklens.com, technology and art are two of her passions, which take active part in her professional training. Being an authentic Montevidean, travelling is daily routine; enjoying both the green meadows and urban surroundings as well as the beautiful beaches that are so characteristic in Uruguay's landscape.

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