Lightroom is packed full of fantastic tools that make photo editing a breeze and instantly give life and depth to your images. Here are 5 of my personal favorites that I just couldn’t live without.
Located under the “White Balance” section (at the top of the “Basic” develop panel), the “Temperatures” slider instantly give mores warmth (or coolness) to your images. If you move the slide to the left (towards the blue coloration) you will cool the image down, and if you move it to the right (towards the yellow coloration) you will give it richness and warmth.
After fixing the temperature, you can fine tune the white balance using the “Tint” slider, which adds/removes any unwanted green or magenta tints left in the image (particularly useful if you are trying to correct skin tones!)
Star Photo Ratings
Assigning star ratings to a collection allows you to display and work on selected photos, improving your work flow and organization within Lightroom. To add a rating, select one or more photos in the Grid view of the “Library” module, and from the menu at the top click on “Photo” and scroll down until you find “Set Rating” in the drop down menu. You’ll see the option to select from 1-5 stars, as well as assign “no rating” and increase or decrease the currently selected rating. Or easier still, just type in the number of stars you want (1-5) and it will automatically assign that rating to the image(s) for you!
Side by Side View
To see exactly how the edits you are making affect the image you are working on, you can view the original and edited version side by side using Lightroom’s “Compare” option. Select the “Develop” window and click on the Y|Y symbol, which will show the original image on the left (“Before”) and edited version on the right (“After”). Use the drop down menu to alter the layout of the two images, splitting them to see half of each if you need.
Tone Curve Tool
Beneath the “Basic” tab in the “Develop” module you’ll see “Tone Curve” - one of the most useful tools in Lightroom. It basically controls the lightness and darkness of your image, within a certain range of tones. The bottom (X) axis represents tone, with shadows towards the left-hand side and highlights to the right, while the vertical (Y) axis represents tone lightness, with tones getting darker as you move down and brighter towards the top of the axis.
So if you want to make the shadows in your image brighter, click towards the bottom of the curve line and drag it up until you get the desired effect. Similarly, if you want to reduce the highlights, gently drag the top of the tone curve down. As you move the tone curve, you’ll see the “Highlights”, “Lights”, “Darks” and “Shadows” sliders moving below, and you can also adjust the “Point Curve” to get a “Medium Contrast” or “Strong Contrast” in the effect.
Going through each and every photo and editing them to get the results you want can be incredibly time consuming. But presets allow you to apply selected changes with one simple click, whilst tweaking them to perfectly match each and every photo. While you’ll find a selection of standard Lightroom presets under the “Presets tab” on the lefthand side of the “Develop” module, you can also download your own choice of high quality, professional presets from the web and add them yourself.
Once downloaded, simply unzip the folder and go to the “Library” module of Lightroom. Click on “Lightroom” from the top menu and scroll down to “Preferences”. Select the “Presets” tab from the top menu and then click on “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”. Open the “Lightroom” folder and then the “Develop Presets” folder and copy and paste your downloaded presets here.
You’ll then find your new presets in the “Develop" module under the “Presets” section, all ready to go!
This selection of Lightroom tools is really just scratching the surface of the software’s editing capabilities, and the creative potential it offers is only limited by your imagination!