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Photography Basics: A Beginner's Guide on Lightroom

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Do you have a passion for photography and thereby wondering about the best possible way to give a unique look to the captured images? Have you ever come across the term Lightroom but isn’t sure whether it will help you in fulfilling your expectations and goals in the field of photography?

Lightroom is otherwise referred to a unique tool developed by Adobe Systems which will enable the users in editing, organizing and sharing the images in a smart way. Whether you are a professional or an amateur, make sure to go through the further lines to gather vital facts and even learn how to use it to give a perfect look to your captured images.

What is Lightroom and How does it help the Users?

In simple words, the adobe lightroom is a wonderful program which gives you the opportunity to edit the captured images and even manage or organize them in an easier way. In actual sense, the photoshop lightroom in no way hampers the original image that you have stored in your device but it only offers you ample amount of instructions by which you can easily enhance its sharpness and brightness and even share it with your friends and family members.

Learn how to use Lightroom
Using Lightroom to Edit Images (Source)

The Importance of Adobe Camera Raw

Before going any further to the Beginner's Guide to Lightroom, it will certainly be wise to gather some knowledge about Adobe Camera Raw or ACR that has been favorite photo editing software for the professionals since 2003. In actual sense, the various types of editing which are done with the help of Lightroom on the raw images are accomplished by the Adobe Camera Raw software.

Why is Lightroom Unique and Superior?

Since now you have gained a little amount of knowledge about adobe lightroom few questions that must have been arising in your mind are- What’s so special about this software? What unique feature that this software has compared to other photo editing software available in the market?

According to an analysis, it has been found that when you edit a specific image with the help of Lightroom 6, the changes can only be viewed in the Lightroom platform. In other words, compared to various other photo editing software Adobe Lightroom doesn’t affect the original image in any way. It not just only preserves the original image but also enables the users to export the edited one from Lightroom platform and save it to your computer’s hard-drive. So, go on editing your captured image with the help of this unique software as many times as possible without being worrying about the original image getting destructed.

What is Referred to as Lightroom Catalog?

As we have discussed earlier, each and every image that you have edited with the help of this software is stored in the Lightroom and this storage space is otherwise referred to as Lightroom catalog. The photoshop lightroom catalog is a small file which stores a copy of the adjustment or changes that you have made in your original captured images.

Beginner's Guide to Lightroom
Creating Lightroom Catalog

One of the unique features of this catalog is that even though it has the capability to store thousands of edited images but still, it takes up only a very small portion of computer’s hard-drive.

Importing a Photo into Lightroom or the Lightroom Workflow

This is certainly a very important point of Beginner's Guide to Lightroom because it’s the first step to enhance the look of the various captured images. Consider the below easy steps to import images in Lightroom-

  • Ensure to put the memory card of your camera on your computer.
  • Once you have inserted the memory card, the import window automatically opens on your computer.
  • Select the folder in which images have been stored.
  • Click on the “Add” button to import photos in adobe lightroom.
  • Make sure to uncheck the photos which you don’t wish to import.

Explaining the layout of the Library and Develop modules

The overall layout of the Lightroom has been divided into two major sections- Library Module and Develop Module.

- Library Module

The Library module is otherwise referred to the place where you can easily view, manage, sort, rate and compare the various photos in the adobe lightroom catalog. This module is further divided in the following manner-

  • The Left-hand tab of Library Module

In this tab, you will be able to see the file structure or the actual source of your computer in which the images have been stored. Just at the bottom left-hand side, you will come across a label referred to as “Collections”. This is the most important section of Lightroom as it will help you in organizing the images smartly.

Beginner's Guide to Lightroom
Library Module (Source)
  • The Options at the top of Library Module

While going through the top portion of the Library module, you will come across a “Library Filter” tab just below the Library/Develop/Map/etc. modules. The “Library Filter” is an important tool because it will help you in finding a photo that you have lost for some reasons.

  • The Tab at the Right-Hand Side

The tab at the right-hand side of the Library module offers some options to the users such as Histogram, Quick Develop, Keywording, Keyword List, and Metadata. Among the various options, “Metadata” will help you to gain vital information about the image that you have captured using your camera. Some of the information that you will be able to gain is Capture Time, Capture Date, Dimension, Focal Length and much more.

  • The Bottom Toolbar

It is also an important toolbar because it will help you to choose as to how the various images must look in the Library Module. For an instance, the “Thumbnails” will help you to view multiple images simultaneously on the screen and while the “Loupe View” will give you the opportunity to view a photo in a detailed manner. You can also go through the “Survey” and “Compare” views to compare multiple images against each other smartly.

  • The Filmstrip at the bottom of Library Module

This section of library module will help you to view a series of photos in the adobe lightroom. The film strip will help you to easily choose a photo which is available at a later stage in the folder.

- The Develop Module

As the name suggests, this module will help you in editing various photos which you have been captured in the “Raw” mode of your camera. Some of the major pop-out tabs of this module are discussed below.

  • The Post-processing Option at the Right-hand Side

This option has been divided into two major sections such as –

1. Global Adjustment” section - It will enable you to edit the entire photo at once. Make sure to use the 3 major groups of sliders discussed below to enhance the look of a photo.

  • White Balance- To give a white or neutral grey color to a specific part of a photo.
  • Tone- Use this slider group to make a portion of an image darker or lighter conveniently.
  • Presence- To add grittiness or ruggedness and even enhance the color of a photo.

2. Local Edit section - It is extremely useful during post-processing of various captured images in Lightroom.

  • The Tab at the Left-Hand Side

This tab can be further divided into various sections which are equally important and useful for the users.

  1. Presets section- This section will help you to apply various Lightroom pre-set edits to your captured photos.
  2. Snapshots section- This section will enable you to return to the post-processing settings which you have applied before.
  3. History section- This unique section will help you to get a snapshot of the various edits that you have made on various photos. The “History” section will enable you to compare various edited images with that of the originals ones.
  • The Develop Toolbar

The layout of this toolbar can be divided into two unique ways-

  1. View mode option- This section will help you to view 1 or 2 photos on the screen.
  2. Soft Proofing- This option is generally used if you wish to print a specific photo. By using Soft Proofing, you will be able to become aware of how a photo will look after getting printed.

How can Lightroom help you in Organizing your Photos?

One of the major advantages of using the adobe lightroom is the ability to manage or organize the various photos smartly. Below we have discussed some of the basic tools that will help you in organizing your photos.

  • Stars

This wonderful tool will help you to rate each and every photo from 1 to 5 stars in an easier way.

  • Flags

With the help of this tool, you can either flag a specific photo as “Pick”, the one which you wish to keep or “Reject”, the ones which you may delete in the future.

  • Colour Labels

This tool will help you in organizing a group of photos with a specific color label.

lightoom basics
Organizing pictures in Lightroom (Source)
  • Labeling using Keywords

As the name suggests, with the help of this tool you can easily manage various photos by using a separate Keyword for each one of them.

  • Filter Bar

This tool will enable you to sort various photos in an easier way. You can sort the photos by different labels such as Star, Color, Flags, Aperture setting, Lens, Camera and much more.

  • Lightroom Collections

It is referred to a collection of photos which are similar to that of the file structure of various photos that have been saved on your computer. With the help of this tool, you can easily add a specific photo to various collections as and when required.

  • Virtual Copy

By using this wonderful tool, you can easily duplicate a specific version of a photo within the adobe lightroom and thereby get the opportunity to edit them in multiple ways.

  • Smart Previews

Smart previews are otherwise referred to the duplicate copies of your photos at a very low resolution. The Smart previews exist in the Lightroom catalog and can also be easily edited as that of the normal photos.

How to Edit or Post-Process your Photos in Lightroom?

Below are briefly discussed about major ways or tools using which you can easily enhance the look of a photo.

1. The Develop Sliders

It exists on the right-hand side of the Lightroom 6 develop module and will enable you to change the contrast, brightness, saturation and color of the photos in an easier way.

2. Local Adjustment

The local adjustment bar will help you to highlight or edit a specific part of a photo in a convenient way.

3. Spot Removal

With the help of this tool, you can easily remove the unnecessary blobs on the images that have resulted due to dust specks on the camera sensor.

Beginner's Guide to Lightroom
Editing in Lightroom (Source)

4. Red Eye Correction

As the name suggests, it is a tool that will help you to correct red-eye in the captured images.

5. Graduated Filter

It’s a versatile tool which will help you to adjust the local settings of a part of an image along a very smooth gradient.

6. Radial Filter

It is similar to that of Graduated Filter tool but the only difference lies in its “gradient” which is oval or circular in shape.

7. Adjustment Brush

This tool is similar to the one which you have used in Microsoft paint and hence, will help you in adjusting various parts of your photo in an easier way. Just make sure to press the “O” key in order to become aware of the area that you are going to select for editing.

8. Sync Develop Settings

With the help of this tool, you can easily edit two different photos in an exactly similar way.

9. Photo Merge

This is a wonderful tool available in Lightroom 6 version. It will enable you to merge two different photos as panorama or HDR.

10. Editing Externally

If you are still not satisfied with the above editing tools then Lightroom gives you the opportunity to edit the images further by using external editing applications or software.

How to export images from Lightroom?

In order to export, you just need to right click on a single or multiple images and then click on “Export” dialogue. Some of the important things that you must note while exporting your photos are-

  • Image Sizing Tab- Help you to choose dimension of the photo.
  • Metadata- Give you the option to include or not include various associated data of a photo.
  • Preset Option- Enable you to save specific settings as a Preset that can be smartly used in the future.

Steps to Create a Desaturated Cinema Effect in Lightroom?

Make sure to consider the below steps to give desaturated cinema effect to a photo in Lightroom.-

  1. Go to the basic section of Lightroom’s Develop Module
  2. Choose the Tone label and change the Contrast to +5
  3. Go to Presence label and change the Vibrance to -10 and Saturation to -50.
  4. Next, you need to go to the Tone curve section and select the “Medium Contrast option”.
  5. Lastly, you need to go to the “Post Crop Vignetting settings under “Effects” Section and then set the “Amount” to -15 and “Midpoint” to 60 in order to get the desired look in the image.
Beginner's Guide to Lightroom
Creating Desaturated Cinema Effect (Source)

What is meant by Backing up your catalog?

The Backup dialogue in photoshop lightroom will help you to back up the Lightroom’s catalog file which contains the various Ratings, Edits, Stars and Labels that you have chosen for organizing different captured images.

We hope that the above information will help you to gather some basic knowledge about Lightroom which is not just only a unique application to edit captured images but will also help you in managing or organizing them in a convenient way. Please feel free to convey any information or your opinion about adobe lightroom that can be helpful for the beginners in the field of photography.

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