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Lightroom - Some basics to get you going.

July 21, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Lightroom is extremely important in my day to day processing of images.  I have worked with Lightroom since its first version and we are now of version 5 and I'm still learning.

Its a fairly good priced application for processing and editing your images.  At around £150 its a snip compared to the more expense Photoshop.  Elements is a bridge between the two, however I've never really warmed to Elements.   Other apps such as Picasa are very similar to the Lightroom set up however no where near as powerful and flexible. 

I'm not going to overload you with too much.  If you are interested in learning more about editing your images using Lightroom then please do get in touch to arrange a Training Session. 


You should initially have been expected to set up your library, this is just a file that logs exactly were everything is on your pc (or external devices) and which tweaks you may have made to the VIEW in lightroom.  Note - It does not alter the original file, to save the changes you need to export the image and we will talk about that later.  

Ok, you have your camera hooked up, or memory card plugged in or another external device holding your images.  


GO TO - FILE and click on import Photos and Video

This screen will appear.  Don't worry that you can't probably read what mine says but all I will do is draw your attention to the 3 circled sections below - 

On the left is the memory card, hard drive, external drive locations of files that can be imported in to lightroom, expend them for more info and select the folder to be imported.  Then the main layout should appear with thumbnails of images you want to import.  Ensure Copy is selected from the top options as this will copy the files to a new location (indicated on the right circled section above, which you can change if you want to copy them to another location instead) and import them in to Lightroom for viewing and updating.  


Now lets get on with the fun stuff.  

The intro to Lightroom that comes up when you install Lightroom should have made you familiar with the workflow tabs !!    I am also assuming you are using RAW (NEF or TIFF) files. If you are using jpeg images then you may not be able to perform some of the tasks as well in that RAW is a much better quality file/image format to work with. 


Double click on a thumbnail to bring it in to full view. 

Click on DEVELOP from the tabs options top right of your application window (as shown below)

On the left (above) are some excellent filters (these are known as presets) that can very much improve/change your images in very different ways.  If you hover over each one you should see a sample of the change in the small window above them). On the right are the main tools to improve exposure, bring out colour, sharpen, even change the white balance, (sometimes used if there is an orange tone or blue tone to the image you want to get rid of, if taken in RAW (NEFor TIFF) the changes will be amazing.  


Along the bottom are some other files you have imported so you can always change the image you want to update.

Below is an example of some very minor change to an image, I have altered the white balance, Exposure, contrast, clarity, saturation and vibrance.

You can use the before and after views (circled red on left) to look at the changes you have made just tweaking the settings of the image (shown circled right).  I have also cropped the image to improve composition.

If you like the change you have made you are ready to export the updated file and create a jpeg image somewhere you can print, upload and simply save. 


GO TO - FILE and click on Export

You should be presented with the screen below, I have circled the most important elements that suite me, but you can taylor them to suite you.  I create a subfolder (ART - Splash Art) within the original file folder so I can see my updated images separately to the originals.

I have kept the original file name but sometimes add additional details like print size if I export more than one version.   It will warn you if a file already exists with that name and give you further options. 

File settings are important because they determine the quality of your image and the format in which it can be read. 

Image sizing can vary, however I save at 300ppi for printing and 72ppi for displaying on web pages (resize 600 longest edge). You can always choose the Watermarking option to help people identify you as the photographer of the image. 

There are so many more ways of using lightroom, but this should get you started. 

NEXT SESSION - Spot removal, noise reduction, selective colour changes. 

please feel free to ask questions



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