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, such as 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 for a considerable amount of time. However, you might not think you have the time to learn how to use a new software from scratch – especially if you are switching from Photoshop, knowing already, what is needed to create stunning post-production work.

Today, we are going to review the essential tips 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. Lightroom offers several options, such as tags, flags and much more, for sorting your images in the best way possible.


You may ask: “how does this apply to me?” Well, let me tell you that after importing 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 while ago, having only a vague idea of how it looked.

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

Work with Virtual Copies

Ever heard of Virtual Copy mode in Lightroom? No? You have been missing a marvelous feature offered by Lightroom for testing several possibilities of post-production work.

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


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

Master Batch Processing

In every photographer’s life, there comes a time when you don’t have enough time to go through every single photo you took for a job, especially if you tend to multitask, handling several jobs simultaneously, because of time constraints between deadlines.

Just like working 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 in Lightroom.


In order to use this function, all you need to do is to select a picture with the desired post-production work already completed, and then select all the pictures 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 pictures you need, regardless how many pictures you need to process. It is very handy, and the best 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 your image and select ‘Export’. You will end up saving an amazing amount of time by not waiting for Lightroom to adjust the UI every time you finish a picture.


Learn to work with Shortcuts

Just as you know from Photoshop, the Adobe guys thought of everything in order to ensure 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.


Take a tour at Adobe site, locate the documentation with the shortcut list, and print it out. 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 all time – 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 🙂

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.


Another possibility is to create your very own presets with the parameters you use in your 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 several ways for you to boost your performance inside Lightroom – it takes just a little dedication to master this versatile software in a short time 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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