Lightroom works around five modules, each of which is focused on a specific aspect of the workflow process. Two of them, Library and Develop, are where you will spend most of your time, while the Slideshow, Print, and Web modules are designed for functions that can be guessed from their names. The program is made up of a set of tools for categorization, organization and editing, which allow you to perform a wide variety of editing tasks. Switching from one module to another is an easy operation: you click on the name of a module or, in some cases, use a keyboard shortcut to automatically switch to a specific module. For example, pressing the D key will take you to the Develop module, while the G key takes you to the grid view of the Library module.
Lightroom’s contextual interface places images in the center of the screen with tools spread across various panels at the edges of the screen. You can view the images as a group in the previews section or as a small group of images in Survey mode (discards), or as a single image using various magnification scales. The panels that allow you to perform various tasks related to the modules are located on the left and right sides of the screen. At the bottom of the window there is a Filmstrip showing the selected group of images. At the bottom there is also the toolbar, which allows editing operations and selecting the images based on their rating, color label or discard / selection status. The toolbar also displays information about the image. In fact, there is a large amount of information scattered around the Lightroom interface, taking into account that Adobe has also done a good job of allowing you to decide which sections you want to see and which ones to hide.
Creating your library
The library (your collection of photos) is the centerpiece of Lightroom: in the Library module, you can view all photos on the screen or create subsets of images (such as albums in iPhoto or projects in Aperture) that allow you to focus on specific groups of photos. images for editing. From the moment you import the images into the program, you can apply information about them in order to organize them, as well as select images based on that information. Some of this data can be applied by yourself as part of this data, such as keywords and file names, while others correspond to the metadata created automatically by the camera when the image is stored.
The Import Image dialog box allows you to rename files with your own custom metadata and tags. You can also add keywords and apply predefined editing tasks on a group of photos, as well as tell Lightroom where you want to save them, and create a copy of the imported images over another location as a backup.
Lightroom provides you with a good number of methods that you can use to filter or apply labels to images. You can rate them (one to five stars), define them as Pick (selection) or Reject (discard), encode them with any of the five possible supported colors, apply keys or use a combination of all these methods. You can also apply most of these operations using keyboard shortcuts either on an image or a group of images. Lightroom’s keyword feature is quite flexible, allowing you to create new keywords on the fly and apply them to a selection in the library. You can also associate keywords on an image or group of images in various ways, including using the Keyword Stamper tool, which allows you to apply (or remove) keywords by just clicking on an image.
You can group images into a collection, thus allowing you to focus on a particular set of images based on your own criteria and style. Quick Collection mode lets you add an image or a group of images to a temporary collection. This is especially useful when you are working on a large group of images that you may want to add to any of your existing collections.
You can use Lightroom’s features to help you compare and order your photos. The Survey feature allows you to display multiple images simultaneously on the screen, making it easier for you to assess differences in lighting or exposure, for example, in the process of choosing which one best meets your needs. You can also group related images into stacks, a function by which the representation of a group is reduced to a single image representative of all of them. Stacks are represented by a number icon located in the corner of the image in the Library module or in the Filmstrip; Clicking on the number will automatically expand the Stack so that you can view and edit any of the images contained in that stack.
As you catalog and organize your library, you will be able to find subsets of your images based on the folder or collection in which they are stored, either based on their metadata information or through the use of keywords. Lightroom’s Metadata Browser, for example, allows you to find images based on the information embedded in that image at the time it was captured, including the camera model or lens used, the file type, the date, or any of the details related to the exhibition.
Once you have selected a subgroup from the library, you can use the toolbar to further filter the images based on their rating, selection status, and color. In summary, Lightroom’s work orientation in this regard for organizing and selecting images is the first step in the editing process.
Edit and enhance images
With Lightroom you will see that there is not just one way to make tonal adjustments to your images. Initially it can be confusing, but in the long run the variety of methods allows you to work with the images in the way that best fits your project.
Lightroom’s editing functionality is quite extensive and covers most of the basic operations, including editing the tonal range, adjusting color and saturation, accurately converting color images to grayscale (with the option to create grayscale color, sepia-style), sharpening operations, and noise reduction tools, as well as options for correcting lens chromatic aberrations and vignetting. You can also crop images and remove dust spots and other blemishes with the Spot Removal tool (this tool is very precise and has been very well integrated into the Develop module). However, there are no tools that allow us to create selections or masks, for which you will need to go to an image editor such as Adobe Photoshop. Lightroom integrates well with Photoshop, preserving the edits applied to the image as you switch between the two programs.
Lightroom’s Tone Curve panel and histogram provide information about the image as you move the cursor across these panels. This information is really helpful in determining the amount of adjustment needed.