How to Use Lightroom

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Lightroom is a management and editing program for digital photographs. It has five different modules. The library module is the program’s organizational system, which allows a photographer to download his images and classify them by keywords or a star rating system. The develop mode is the program’s editing function, where photographers can crop photos, convert them to black and white and adjust contrast, brightness and color saturation. These are the two modules used most. Other modules allow photographers to make slide shows, print and post images to the web.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
  • Digital photos
  • Download photos into Lightroom by going to “File” and choosing “Import Photos from Disk” if the images are on the computer or “Import Photos from Device” if you are using a card reader. Check the photos you want to put into Lightroom and click the “Import” button.

  • Sort the imported photos. Mark the photos you want to keep as picks by pressing the letter “P.” Mark the photos you want to delete by pressing the letter “X.”

  • Delete the rejects by going to the “Photo Menu” and choosing “Delete Rejected Photos.” The computer will ask if you want to delete them from the computer or just from Lightroom. Choose “Delete From Disc” if you do not want to keep them.

  • Add keywords to the images so you can find them later. Click on the photo and go to the panel on the right side. Click on “Click here to add keywords.” Click in that field and type in the keyword. If you want to add more than one keyword, separate them with a comma.

  • Back up the Lightroom catalog to an external hard drive by going to the “Edit” menu and choosing “Catalog Settings.” Click on the “General” tab on the top. Click and hold the “Back Up Catalog” pop-up menu. Choose one of the options presented.

  • Click on the photo you want to edit and press the letter “D” on your keyboard to move to the edit module.

  • Adjust the photo’s overall exposure by going to the tone section of the basic panel on the right. To make the photo brighter, click on the “Exposure” slider and drag to the right. To make the photo darker, move the slider to the left.

  • Look at the triangle on the right of the histogram (which is in the upper, right-hand corner of the edit menu). If the triangle is white, click on the “Recovery” slider and move it to the right until the red warning dots on your picture disappear.

  • Add punch to the photograph by adjusting the clarity. Click on the “clarity” slider and drag it to the right to add more contrast to the mid-tones of the photograph. Most photographs need between 25 and 50 on the slider.

  • Add vibrancy to the colors by moving the vibrance slider to the right. The vibrance slider affects dull colors the most and colors that are already saturated the least.

  • Apply changes made to one photo to other photos by clicking on a photo and pressing “W” on the keyboard. A “Copy Settings” dialogue box appears. Check the settings to be copied.

  • Export photographs by going to the “File” menu and selecting “Export.” Lightroom will ask file type, the photo saved as, where you want it saved, its resolution and whether to add a watermark.

Tips & Warnings

  • When Lightroom automatically backs up the catalog, it does not back up the photographs. It only backs up the the information in the Lightroom data base.

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