It wasn’t that long ago that it seems like our post-processing options were pretty limited both in terms of the programs we could use and the functionalities they offered.
Of course, I’m aging myself because I’m thinking of about 25 years ago…
Times have changed, though, and today we have an incredible array of powerful photo editing tools at our disposal.
One such tool is Adobe Lightroom.
If you ask me, Lightroom is an easier program to use for photo editing than Photoshop.
But there’s still a few hidden secrets lurking in there that you should be aware of.
I’m guessing that most of us do our editing on a laptop, which means a smaller screen to fit all of Lightroom’s tools and panels.
That can get a little hectic given that you have to scroll a lot, especially on the right side of the screen where the panels are displayed.
If you don’t want to scroll through each panel stacked on top of one another, simply click the triangle icon at the top of the panels window, right click on it, and select “Solo Mode.”
This automatically closes all panels with the exception of the active one, such that only one panel shows at a time.
That means that instead of having six or seven panels open, thus causing you the need to scroll up and down, you’ll only have one active panel that fits nicely on the screen.
Decrease Slider Sensitivity
In the default view of Lightroom, you might notice that the sliders that control basic elements like temperature, tint, exposure, contrast, and so forth, are a bit on the sensitive side.
In other words, the sliders are compressed, so the movements you make with the sliders have a ton of impact.
The good news is that you can decrease the slider sensitivity by expanding their range.
To do that, all you have to do is grab the left edge of the panels window and drag it to the left. As you can see in the screenshot above, this expands the slider range, giving you a greater ability to have pinpoint control.
Better yet, Lightroom will remember how far you’ve expanded each panel, so you can customize the size of each one to suit your needs.
Precise Fit a Radial Filter
Sometimes, a photo just needs a bit of a vignette to help make the subject stand out a bit from the rest of the shot.
To do that, you can use the Radial Filter found in the Develop Module.
However, doing so means you have to drag the filter around to get it just how you want it.
But what if you could make it fit the image precisely with a lot less work?
With the Radial Filter overlaid onto an image, simply press CMD/CTRL and double-click the pin in the middle of the filter.
As you’ll find, it makes the filter fit the precise size of the image, giving you a nice vignette effect like the one seen in the screenshot above.
The great thing about Lightroom is that there are all sorts of tools, controls, and modules at our disposal to help us create the best possible photos.
The problem, though, is that all of those tools can clutter your screen – especially a small one on a laptop.
But Lightroom gives you the option to hide modules that you seldom use or simply don’t need for the current task.
At the top of the toolbar, right click, and in the corresponding window, simply uncheck the modules that you don’t need.
You can do the same to hide unneeded modules in the panels window, too.
It’s a quick and easy way to clean up your workspace and improve your workflow in Lightroom!
Add Punch to Videos
If you’ve shot some video that’s lacking visual punch, you can use the tools in the Develop Module to give it a little more life.
But when you try to open a video in the Develop Module, Lightroom gives you a message that says “Video is not supported in Develop.”
You can get around that, though…
Go back to your library and select the video you wish to work on.
Use the slider to scroll to a frame, click on the box in the pop-up window just below the slider and click it, selecting Capture Frame, as seen above.
Doing so creates a photo of that frame, which you can then open in the Develop Module.
Use the tools in the Develop Module to punch up the contrast, colors, etc., in the image, and then select Sync to apply the settings from that single frame to the entire video, as seen above.
The result will be a video that has the same new punchy look that you created on just a single frame!
Putting Quick Selections Into a Collection
A nice feature about Lightroom is that you can make collections of photos simply by clicking on the dot that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the photos.
Doing so places the selected images into a quick collection that you can use to easily see the images you’ve selected.
But what if you want the images you’ve selected to be added to a permanent collection?
It’s simple – create a new collection, and when you do, select “Set as Target Collection.”
Then, go to your image library, select the desired images by clicking on the dots in the upper right-hand corner of each, and they’ll go right into the collection you’ve created rather than the quick collection folder.
To select a different collection as the target collection, simply right click on its name and select “Set as Target Collection.”
When you have a handful of photos selected and you want to view the metadata of each, you’ll probably notice that on the right side of the screen that some of that information isn’t displayed, and instead <mixed> is shown.
This is because not each photo you’ve selected will have the same details, so Lightroom simply displays <mixed> to indicate that there’s variability in the images for those particular data points.
To see each photo’s metadata, simply select Metadata from the top of the screen and select “Show Metadata for Target Photo Only.”
Then, as you select photos in your collection, the metadata from the selected image – and the selected image only – will display on the right side of the screen.
With that, you have seven Lightroom secrets that will help you improve your post-processing workflow!
Give each one a try, practice using them over the next few days, and you’ll find that Lightroom becomes a more enjoyable experience!