Top 10 Lightroom Tricks You Should Know


No one wants to waste time. For photographers, hobby, serious, or professional, Adobe's Lightroom is an excellent way to save time. Below are ten tips you can use within Lightroom to save you time to move on to other things!


1. Edit in Smart Previews:

One of the best things about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is that you don't have to be connected to the Internet to do your work. Smart Previews offers that by saving a version of your image within your catalog. You can continue editing even while even when the device containing your original photographs is disconnected! This means you can take any editing you need to do with you. There's no reason to be connected to your hard drive. As soon as the device is reconnected to your computer, Lightroom will automatically sync any edits made with Smart Preview files with your original photography files. Also, because these images are smaller than RAW, you'll be able to manipulate them easily and quickly without compromising original quality! To do this, choose the Performance tab under Preferences and click on: Use Smart Previews. 

smart preview option

2. Auto Advance:

You can save some significant time in your Library by clicking on your caps lock. The caps lock will allow you to automatically move to the following image after you have added any meta-data. You can:

  • Click on "U" to remove a flag or skip the image
  • Click on "P" to add a flag
  • Numbers 1 through 5 add equivalent number of stars
  • Numbers 6 through 9 will add a colored label
auto advance option in lightroom

3. Photo-Auto Advance:

There are two ways to auto advance through photos quickly and easily:
1. Press Caps Lock so you can quickly and automatically advance through photos.
2. Go to Photo Auto Advance menu and click on Auto Advance. 


4. Lightroom Slowing Down?

Photographers often complain that Lightroom is suddenly slowed down. There are several tricks you can try to improve its speed:

  • Under Preferences, go to File Handling and increase the size of Camera Raw Cache. 
  • It's a good idea to optimize your catalog every once in a while. Go to File then Optimize Catalog.
  • Under Preferences, go to Performance, and click on the "Use Graphics Process" to turn it off if you tend to use older GPUs or integrated graphics. Turning this off often improves Lightroom's speed.
camera raw cash size in lightroom

These tricks should improve Lightroom's speed and save you time.

5. Improving Your Cropping:

By pressing R in the Develop module, you get right into cropping mode. There you can make use of any number of grids and overlays to add some creativity to your cropping. Tap O to look through the options and the grids can make it easier to get creative as well. Play around with this and you'll see what you can do. 

crop your image in lr

6. Lights Out Mode:

For those of us who are easily distracted, it's possible to use Lights Out to focus just on a single image removing everything else. Simply press the L key while in Libary module. You'll see that everything except your image dims. If you want to blackout everything around the image rather than just dim it, press the L again and everything goes black around the picture. Voila! You can focus only on the image with no distractions. A third tap on the key sets everything back. 

There's another trick similar to Lights Out if you'd like to hide the panels and free up space on your screen. Right-click on the filmstrip or the left/right panels and select Auto Hide & Show. Hovering back over them brings them back up again.

light out in lightroom

7. Avoid Clipping:

One of the issues with post-production is overworking an image leading to loss of detail such as shadow or highlights. Press J while in the Develop module and it lets you watch for it. You can also do this from the Histogram by clicking on the upper corner triangles.

avoid image in clipping

8. Organizing Lightroom Presets:

Presets can be an enormously helpful feature of Lightroom, but if you don't keep them organized, you're wasting time. We suggest that you go through and organize them on a regular basis or you'll find your catalog stuffed full with Presets. You can do this pretty easily in the Presets panel by dragging and dropping them into folders you create much like organizing your office drawers! 

  • In the Presets panel, right-click and choose "new folder."
  • Name your folder and move Presets into the folder. Create and name whatever works best for your purposes. Every photographer's folders are personal to them!
new folder in lr

9. Fade Lightroom Presets:

Did you know you can fade a preset to suit your needs better? This means that you can apply them lightly rather than with full effect. Yes, you can actually dim a Preset. There's a great plug-in for Lightroom, The Fader, that allows you to do just that. Download it by going to File, Plug-in Manager, and installing. Once it's installed, you find it under Plug-in Extras to use it. There, choose any preset you want to dim and apply it to the image. Using the opacity slider, you can control how faded you want it. It's a simple trick that can have cool effects.

fade your lightroom presets

10. Use Lightroom Presets.

If you're an amateur or professional photographer, graphic designer or blogger you likely spend a lot of time in front of the screen, retouching photos. Pre-defined Lightroom Presets, Adobe Camera RAW Presets and Photoshop actions will speed up your workflow, give your images a fresh look and add a professional touch to your photos. Presets and Actions will make an ordinary photo outstanding with just the one-click.

use beart lightroom presets

Lightroom can be as useful as you know how to use it. The more you learn, the more time you'll save and the more you'll be able to do with it. As always, we say practice makes perfect and makes more creative photography!