Three Lightroom Features You Should Use Every Time You Edit

I can hardly begin to describe in one blog post how much I have discovered about Lightroom in the past one year since I started editing professionally for other wedding photographers.  In hindsight, I can honestly see how what I know now about this program, would have completely altered my own photography business (in regards to time), but I wouldn't change a thing and I'm so thankful for where I am now!  The following three features are a g.a.m.e c.h.a.n.g.e.r for your editing workflow and the best part is they are all something you can easily start using today!

three features every photographer should use in lightroom

Edit By Camera & Lens Used

In 2016, when I was photographing weddings, I personally was using two camera bodies and AT LEAST two lenses, usually up to three or four lenses.  Add in a second shooter, and you now have possibly four camera bodies and four to six plus lenses being used all within one wedding.  If you were to only use one camera body, and switch out lenses you may not notice AS big of a difference between images.  That's because your settings are staying relatively similar, and the biggest change is between lens quality.  However, when you add in multiple camera bodies, multiple lenses, multiple settings, and different image quality and color - well you have a whole mess of images that may need individual adjustments.  

In the bottom right hand corner of your Lightroom screen, while in Library Grid mode - move your mouse cursor over to "Filters Off" - click and select "Camera Info."

Lightroom Tutorial for Photographers
Lightroom Tutorial for Photographers

Remember, you must be in GRID mode, which you can select by moving over to the left hand side of the screen and clicking the button made up of small squares, directly beside the Export option.

From there you will notice a Toolbar that appears at the top of the screen.  Move your mouse cursor directly over "Camera" - click, and a hidden drop down menu will appear that allows you to select by Camera Serial Number.  Click this option and every camera used within the time the images were taken will appear, with their coordinating lenses directly beside it.

Lightroom Tutorial for Photographers
Lightroom Tutorial for Photographers

To make this process work best for you, start by editing a small handful of images 5-10 from each camera serial number, look at them comparatively to make sure they are consistent and then return to the Camera Filter Mode to continue editing by Camera and Lens.

Lightroom Filter Feature

There are several filter features in Lightroom - one if which was just referenced.  But another favorite way to use Lightroom features, is to quickly color code or rate images in a gallery for later reference.  If you are not currently using Lightroom color coding or star rating, or you use either option half-hazardly, now is the time to set up a system.  Lightroom colors and star ratings are a very easy way to identify images for portfolio, black & white, blog/social media, etc.  

When I first started editing in Lightroom, I was simply editing B&W's as I went along, and then flagged favorite images for my photography blog/social media.  In the next gallery that I edited, rather than flagging images, I may have given them a five star rating.  I did not have a consistent system, and to be honest - I didn't really think that it mattered.  Images were imported for editing, and then exported and removed from Lightroom when I was done.   However, Lightroom is a program for Storage and Organization as well as high quality editing.  

To save yourself time in the future, create a system of identifying images within a single gallery for batch editing black and white edits, organizing portfolio favorites, and editing for your blog & social media.  This will help you tremendously with the next feature on the list.

Catalogs, Collection Sets and Collections

As I mentioned above, when I was photographing my own weddings, I simply imported each gallery, editing from the beginning to the end, and then exported to my external hard drive once they were completed.  Now however, things look much, much different.  When I import images into Lightroom, I understand that this is a perfect time to create a permanent location for the galleries RAW files, which I select upon import.  I then create Smart Previews to be used for editing.  You can read more about that here.  And I also create a new "collection set" or "collection" for each gallery, depending on what I am importing.  

Collection Sets and Collections are where your Smart Previews can live within a single Lightroom Catalog while the RAW files reside on an external hard drive.  Smart Previews take up a minimal amount of space and completely simplify your editing workflow for finding images, making editing adjustments, exporting for future use, etc.

Imagine Catalogs, Collection Sets, and Collections as a filing cabinet in your office.  Within each filing cabinet is a a set of "hanging folders" hanging on the bars of the drawers.  These hanging folders may be labeled with a primary label such as TAXES.  Within each hanging folder, are several manilla filing folders that are sub-labeled to further organize the taxes such as, "TAXES 2015" and "Taxes 2016,"

Catalog - The filing cabinet to house all of your hanging folders and filing folders
Collection Sets - The hanging folder within each cabinet drawer to Organize Galleries
Collections - The filing manilla folders within each hanging folder to Organize "Sections" of the wedding day

A new catalog can be created upon opening Lightroom.
A new Collection Set can be created in Library mode.
And Collections can also be created in Library Mode or upon Import of images.

I get it - Lightroom can be complicated, overwhelming and flat out frustrating. When I first started with this program, I honestly didn't understand the excitement?

Where on my computer were my files ACTUALLY located? Were they being saved? Not being saved? What's a catalog and why does Lightroom keep asking me to 'back it up.'

I can drop it like it's hot instead... Just kidding I can't dance.

All joking aside, I KNOW your frustrations with Lightroom because I've lived them. And with a serious lack of available education on this program, I spent the past three years piecing together bits and pieces of information, always learning most of it the hard way.

But not anymore.

On February 26th, I am kicking off a FREE 5-Day Lightroom video series.

In this series you'll learn...

  • How Lightroom is used as a Catalog System and can benefit ANY photographer with a streamlined workflow
  • Why the Histogram is SO valuable for a consistent editing
  • Why you should have a more thorough understanding of the Basic Panel & Tone Curve
  • Tips & Tricks for editing consistency (Part 1)
  • Tips & Tricks for editing consistency (Part 2)

Join me on February 26th so we cant start simplifying Lightroom... one step at a time!