Lightroom is the main program I use when editing photos. The advanced capabilities of Lightroom that actually save me time when editing is incredible and allows me to spend more of my precious minutes behind the camera doing what brings my soul joy, instead of spending countless hours behind my computer screen.
Let’s be honest. Editing photos is not the favorite task of most photographers. Our soul is set on fire by capturing the moments of love and joy and desire between lovers, friends, and families. If we can find ways to do more of that, we always will. Sometimes finding more time can mean sessions waiting to be edited can begin to pile up. These Lightroom tips will ensure you can edit your photos efficiently and to your impeccable standards, so you can avoid the pile up of edits and even bring back the joy of when you first realized all the incredible capabilities of what editing software can do for your unique style of photography.
Tip 1 – Range Masking
A recent addition to Lightroom is Luminance and Color Range Masking. This feature has been the answer to a lot of photographers time-consuming work in Lightroom. Range masking allows you to select and limit the area of your image that is being affected by local adjustments based on the range you select of colors or tones within your image. You can watch a video tutorial of me utilizing this feature here!
One of the best parts of this feature is that the masking is non-destructive, re-editable, and allows even the smallest of fine-tune adjustments to ensure you get the edit you are truly after and the image comes out perfect.
Tip 2 – Batch Editing
If you haven’t been batch editing in Lightroom, you need to. It’s a simple way to apply the same settings from one photo to all the images from a session that are taken in the same location with similar lighting. Once you batch edit, you can still go into each image and make any final adjustments. I remember when I used to sit at my computer for what felt like ages editing. Batch editing means I can spend less time at my computer editing and more time turning the edited images into gorgeous deliverables, like slideshows, for my clients.
Tip 3 – Applying Settings on Import
Once you’ve been editing images in Lightroom for a while, you realize there are some edits you are consistently making to every single image you import. One of the most wonderful settings I realized was possible on Lightroom was the ability to create default settings when you import images into the program. This means those little edits you are constantly doing to every image can be done to ALL of them as you import! A fun tip is to take the time to create some default styles for each camera you use!
Tip 4 – Creating Presets
As a photographer, creating presets for your images in Lightroom will save you time and will help you add your unique style to your images every single time you edit. What is especially valuable about presets is how they can become a profit source once you really define them and make them unique. Presets make great items in your online shop. I have created a number of presets depending on my location and lighting, as well as black and white presets. With a variety of presets available to me, I can choose the one that best suits the images I captured during my sessions. Taking your time to create a variety of presets is crucial. Applying the same preset for an emotive couples session in a house with dim light, and a family session outdoors in harsh light, would not give my images their signature look which make them unique to the way I choose to tell their story. Having a variety is a necessity. Once you save a set of presets, all you do is apply them to your images. It sounds easy because it really is!
Currently, in the shop I have five different presets available for purchase. These five are classics I find myself returning to over and over again. I recommend developing presets that speak to you– ones that make your images stand out and resonate with the work you want to create for your clients.
Tip 5 – Creating Smart Previews
If you haven’t been using Smart Previews, this may be the best tip you’ll read on the blog today! When using smart previews, you can edit your files in the Develop module. When the hard drive containing the original files is disconnected from Lightroom, smart previews are used. When you reconnect the hard drive containing the original files, Lightroom updates the original files automatically. This was revolutionary for me to learn. I love traveling to share my passion with others through different avenues of mentoring and workshops, so being able to edit on-the-go without my hard drive always plugged in made working in airports or at cafes in Europe accessible. If you’re tired of feeling tied to your hard drive, creating smart previews for editing is going to dramatically change the way you edit photos.
While there are so many more tips I could share about Lightroom, these are my top five that have completely changed my relationship with editing. I spend less time behind the computer and more time focused on intentionally living my life with my eyes, ears, and heart open for the little moments of connection that bring my heart to life so that I can bring those same moments to life when I capture my clients living their most authentic story. More stories, more capturing moments, more small intimate moments and less time behind a computer is a way I determine to live my life.