70 Adobe Lightroom Classic Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts for Beginners

Adobe Lightroom Classic is an incredibly powerful raw processing tool, but it has so many layers and features that users, especially beginners, can take a long time to discover them all.

Many of these tools are even hidden behind a layer of keyboard shortcuts or obscure multilevel menus that can make it confusing to use, even for a seasoned professional. But while it can be overwhelming at first, mastering Lightroom is an important first step to creating professional-looking images.

In this fourteen-minute video, photographer Christian Möhrle has compiled a long list of 70 tips and tricks for Lightroom beginners looking to tackle the giant app and make their editing life easier which he has also provided. to browse below, written in his words. Hopefully these tips will help users learn something new or at least save time and effort navigating the app to find the tools they need.

Histogram

1. You can drag the histogram with the mouse to adjust the photo exposure
2. Clicking on the small up arrows in the corners of the histogram will make the overexposure or underexposure visible (you can also press ‘J’ for this)

Crop tool

3. You can change the crop tool overlay by pressing O. So instead of a 3×3 grid, you get different lines to help you frame the shot.
4. With the straighten tool (round icon with ruler inside), create a line along the horizon (e.g. water surface) to level your photo

5. Clicking on the “Original” button reveals a bunch of different cropping presets such as 1×1 which works great for Instagram for example

Spot removal tool

6. With smudge removal tool, you can enable “visualize smudges” to make sensor smudges more visible
7. By changing the spot removal tool from “clone” to “cure”, you can remove smaller objects from your photo

Masking

8. Select subject or select sky Masks attempt to automatically select subject or sky. It’s a huge time saver and works great even on more complex images
9. To quickly select the landscape, I use the Select Sky mask and just reverse it
10. An inverted “Select subject” mask works great for making a subject pop by removing exposure for example. It works better with photos of wild animals than with photos of landscapes
11. You can choose multiple colors with the “color range mask” by holding shift and clicking on the photo
12. Although the “Luma Range Mask” does not have a dropper icon, you can still click on the photo to select the luminance range you want to target.
13. Masks can be further modified by adding or subtracting other masks

14. Quickly toggle mask overlay on or off by pressing O
15. Brush mask has an auto mask setting which helps to quickly select objects
16. With the radial gradient mask, hold down the control key and double click on the photo to create a radial gradient as large as your photo.
17. Invert this radial gradient and lower the exposure to create a vignetting effect
18. With a radial gradient you can add a very cool glow by boosting the blacks and dropping the blur

19. For a fake polarization effect, you can use the color range mask, select the blue part of the sky, then remove the exposure

Basic panel

20. Quickly go black and white by changing the processing
21. There are many other profiles to choose from under “Browse” in the profile drop-down menu
22. You can add new profiles to the profiles drop-down menu by clicking on the small star icon in the upper right corner of the profile preview thumbnail.
23. Profile strength is adjustable with the slider at the very top in the profile menu
24. A flat profile like Adobe Neutral can give you more dynamic range in some situations, I love using it on high contrast sunset or sunrise photos for example
25. Get a proper white balance using the eyedropper tool on a neutral area (RGB values ​​close to each other, these are shown in the small preview window when you hover over the image with the white balance eyedropper)

26. Increasing the white balance temperature can give your photo an awesome golden hour look (you don’t always have to use “correct” white balance)
27. Likewise, turning down the temperature can make your image look cold and scary.
28. If you don’t know how to expose the photo, you can click the “auto” button to let Lightroom do it automatically. This might help you get a better idea of ​​the photo you’re working on.
29. When Shift-double-clicking a slider like blacks or whites, Lightroom tries to push them as far as possible without overexposure or underexposure
30. Hold the alt key and drag the tone sliders to see the overexposure or underexposure enter
31. Instead of the contrast slider, try removing shadows or blacks while increasing highlights or whites. This way you add contrast, but you also have more control over the contrast
32. For a dreamy look, try using negative clarity, but be careful not to lose too much detail
33. Negative veiling can be used to add artificial fog to your photo

Tone Curve panel

34. The tone curve has two presets, one for medium contrast and one for high contrast. They can be found under the tone curve by clicking on the ‘point curve’ button

35. Increasing the black point gives your photos a softer, low-contrast look
36. Holding down the Alt key while dragging a point allows you to make finer curve adjustments
37. For sunset or sunrise photos, try bringing the highlight point in the red channel to the left for warmer colors

HSL panel

38. Looking for stronger fall foliage? Try reducing the green and yellow colors in the Tint tab
39. Reducing the blue color in the luminance tab will make the blue part of the sky darker and give you more contrast, similar to a polarizing filter
40. A similar increase in green or yellow luminance can make foliage stand out in some situations
41. Keep in mind: increasing luminance will decrease color saturation while decreasing it will also increase saturation
42. Using the small pin in the upper left corner of the panel allows you to control the hue, saturation or luminance of a color directly in the photo

43. If there is a subtle purple color in the sky, try lowering the purple color in the Tint tab to get rid of it

Color calibration panel

44. Manage shadows, midtones and highlights individually for better control over split tone by clicking on the little circles in the top menu
45. For intense sunset or sunrise colors, apply a warm color to highlights with high saturation and sometimes even midtones work great
46. ​​Deep Blue shadows in my opinion are perfect for dark scenes like nightscapes or forests, although green works well in this case too
47. You can further adjust the brightness of highlights, midtones, and shadows with the luminance slider. It might help to add a bit more contrast

48. Once you’ve set up the split tone, play around with the blend and balance sliders. It can inspire you for a different look

Sharpening board

49. Apply sharpening only to the important parts using the masking slider
50. Holding down the alt key while dragging the masking slider lets you see which parts will be accentuated

51. For general sharpening settings, reduce radius completely, increase detail completely, add masking to your liking, then increase the amount of sharpening.

Lens correction panel

52. Check the Remove chromatic aberration box to remove strange borders
53. This can also be done manually using the fringe color picker (eyedropper icon) on these borders under the manual tab of the lens corrections panel
54. In the manual tab you will also find a vignetting slider if you want to add this effect (although this one is not really useful)
55. Enabling profile corrections will help you reduce weird lens effects like vignetting or distortion

Transform panel

56. To better counter lens distortion, you can use the auto button in the transform panel. Lightroom will try to automatically correct the “geometry” of the image
57. There are also buttons to auto level right, or just auto fix vertical lines
58. This can also be done manually using the sliders below or the guided tool by creating lines building edges for example

Effects panel

59. Not much going on here, but you can achieve a more advanced vignetting effect in this panel

Calibration panel

60. You can try to correct the color cast with the “shadows” slider
61. You can achieve more autumnal colors by reducing the blue primary tint and increasing the saturation
62. Reducing the blue primary tint also results in more intense and warmer sunsets or sunrises. I use this one a lot!
63. Increasing the red primary tint can give you more intense foliage colors

General

64. To get a before/after comparison, you can press the button in the lower left corner
65. Using a reference photo helps you achieve the same look on different shots. Just activate the reference view (button next to before / after in the lower left corner) and drag a photo from the bottom into the empty space

66. Stretching the dev panel on the right gives you larger and therefore more precisely adjustable sliders
67. You can also hold down the Shift key and move the sliders for finer adjustments
68. To quickly reset a cursor, double click on the small pin
69. Hold the Alt key and click on the section title to reset all section settings
70. To be able to edit multiple versions of the same photo, you can create virtual copies of the image. Right-click and press “Create Virtual Copy”.

For more videos by Christian Möhrle, visit his YouTube channel and website.

Leave a Comment