Lightroom has five distinct sections, known as workspace modules. They are:
Each of the five modules in the Lightroom workspace include panels that contain options and controls for working on your photos that are specific to each. Within each of these modules you’ll find a set of tools to help you with the different phases of your digital photography workflow. So for instance, the Library module lets you organise the images in your library (where you import your pictures) and offers you several viewing modes to browse through, rank, compare and select images easily. The Develop module is for adjusting color and tone, or creatively processing photos; and the Slideshow and Print modules are for presenting your photos. The Web module has tools which help you build, preview, and export or upload your own website to showcase your photos.
It quite literally only takes a mouse click to move between the modules as the name of each one appears in the top-right corner of Lightroom in the Module Picker and these are links which take you from module to module.
You can click on each link, or you can do things the fast way and learn the keyboard shortcuts (which are very easy).
Holding down Ctrl+Alt/Command+Option + 1 takes you to the Library module.
Holding down Ctrl+Alt/Command+Option + 2 takes you to the Develop module.
Holding down Ctrl+Alt/Command+Option + 3 takes you to the Slideshow module.
Holding down Ctrl+Alt/Command+Option + 4 takes you to the Print module.
Holding down Ctrl+Alt/Command+Option + 5 takes you to the Web module.
If you accidentally switch modules, press Ctrl + Z / Cmd + Z to go back to where you were.
It’s well worth the time and (minimal) effort to learn these shortcuts. You’ll find that pretty quickly you’re jumping to and fro without even having to think about moving your mouse up to click on the link.
So let’s continue with a quick run through the modules.
You’ll see that there are two new sets of panels on either side of the screen and there is now a large version of the thumbnail photo you picked in the Library module. One thing that stays consistent throughout each module is the filmstrip running along the bottom of the window. Use the keyboard shortcuts to jump into Slideshow, Print and Web modules and you’ll see the filmstrip stays with you the whole time. This is a nice feature because it means you can always have access to all the photos you have in the Library without having to jump back into the actual Library module.
2. You can scroll through the filmstrip in two ways
· Drag the scroll bar at the bottom of the Filmstrip, click the arrows on the sides, or drag the top edge of a thumbnail frame.
· Press the Left and Right Arrow keys to navigate through thumbnails in the Filmstrip.
Again I highly recommend the keyboard shortcuts, so you’re working with one hand on the mouse or pen and one hand pressing keys, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you speed up.
If you’re a Photoshop user you’re probably very familiar with the Save, Save As and Save For Web And Devices options which all allow you to save an image as a JPEG. It’s not surprising then that when you start using Lightroom, you might be wondering what the equivalent command is. Well there is no Save command, but there is an Export command which allows you to export a file as a JPEG, TIFF, DNG or a Photoshop PSD. The process is fairly straightforward and as well as just exporting, there are a number of automated features you can set-up as your photo is exported.
1. In the Library module in Lightroom, select the photographs you want to export. You can select your images in the Grid View. Ctrl + Click / Cmd + Click to select more than one image. You can also select photographs in the Filmstrip in ANY of the modules in the same way.
2. In the Library module, click on the Export button which sits at the bottom left side of the Panels. In any other module, if you’ve selected your images with the Filmstrip, you can use a shortcut by pressing Ctrl + Shift + E / Cmd + Shift + E, either way you’ll see the same Export dialog box below.
3. At first glance the Export dialog box looks pretty hectic, but when you have worked through it once and understand what each section is for, you’ll be flying along the next time you’re exporting. Adobe provides a number of Export presents but you can also create your own and reuse them over and over.
First, tell Lightroom where you want to export to. At the top of the dialog box you’ll have the option of exporting to a Hard Drive (as highlighted above) and there may be other options such as CD or DVD. For this example, choose Hard Drive.
4. Now you’ll specify exactly where on the hard drive you want to export to. Click on the Export To drop-down menu and select your choice. Choose Specific folder when you know exactly where you want your JPEGs to go. Navigate to the folder you want by clicking on the Choose button. If you’re creating a preset, Choose folder later is a good option because it lets you pick a folder as you go.
You can save the files into a separate sub-folder by clicking the Put In Folder checkbox and then giving the subfolder a name. In this example, my images will appear in a folder called “Mills Fixed” inside the main folder I specified.
If you want these exported JPEGs added into Lightroom, turn on the Add to This Catalog checkbox.
5. The next section on the dialog box is File Naming. If you don’t want to rename the JPEG files you’re exporting, and simply want to retain their current names, leave the Rename To checkbox turned off.
If you do want to rename the files, make sure the checkbox is ticked, then choose one of the templates from the drop-down menu. In my case, I chose “Custom Name – Sequence”, this automatically adds a sequential number, starting at 1 to the end of the custom name, which you set up in the Custom Text box. You’ll see an example of how your new filename will appear. A new option in Lightroom 3 is a drop-down menu which lets you choose if your file extension is all uppercase uppercase (.JPG) or lowercase (.jpg).
6. Under File Settings, use the drop-down menu to choose which file format to save your photos in. You have a choice of JPEG, TIFF, PSD, DNG, or if you shoot in RAW, you could choose Original to export the original RAW photo.
If you are saving a JPEG, you can adjust the quality using a slider. The higher the quality number, the larger the file size. You’re generally looking for a compromise between quality and file size – I tend to set quality between 75 – 80%. You can also set the color space in this section. The sRGB color space is a good choice for images intended to be viewed on the web — or in other circumstances where you are unsure what form of color management is used, if any at all.
Depending on which File Format you chose, you get to choose things like bit depth and compression settings.
If you’re exporting a collection of images that happens to include some video shot with your camera, you can tell Lightroom to include those videos in the export by turning on the Include Video Files checkbox – another new feature in Lightroom 3. There is also a little chunk of text letting you know that when it comes to exporting those video clips, they won’t have any of those things like output sharpening, watermarking, file format changes because Lightroom doesn’t edit video.
7. Lightroom assumes that you want to export your photos at the same size you imported them at. However, if you want to resize them you can use the Image Sizing section.
If you want to make them smaller, click on the Resize to Fit checkbox, then type in the Width, Height, and Resolution you want. You can resize by pixel dimensions, the long edge of your image, the short edge of your image or the number of megapixels in your image from the drop-down menu. Activate Don’t Enlarge to avoid smaller images being upsampled.
8. Another optional section is Output Sharpening. You can use this section to apply a suitable amount of sharpening, based on whether your image will be used onscreen or printed. If you’re printing, the amount of sharpening can be affected depending on the type of paper it will be printed on. Sometimes the sharpening will look too much onscreen but will be just right for paper. As a rule of thumb, I use High for the Amount when printing and Standard for the web.
9. Turn on the Minimize Embedded Metadata checkbox in the Metadata section to hide all your exposure settings, camera serial numbers and other bits and pieces of EXIF data that you may not want to share with others. Your copyright information remains intact.
10. The Watermarking section lets you add a visible watermark to the images you’re exporting. Simply turn on the Watermark checkbox, then choose a simple copyright or your saved watermark from the drop-down menu.
11. The final section in the Export dialog box is Post-Processing. This is where you set up what happens after the files are exported from Lightroom. Choosing Do Nothing from the After Export drop-down menu means the files are saved into that folder you chose at the top of the dialog box. Choosing Open in Adobe Photoshop, means the images will automatically be opened in Photoshop after they’re exported. You can open your photographs in other applications or plug-ins too.
Phew! OK so that’s the full set of options available in the Export dialog box.
How To Make A Preset
Now you probably don’t want to run through all of those options every single time you want to export. Most of the time you’ll have the same settings and only need to change the folder you’re saving into, so now let’s look at how to save a preset so you don’t have to go through the rigmarole.
You need to do a small bit of customization, so go back to the Export Location section. Instead of choosing a Specific folder for your Lightroom exports, select Choose Folder Later.
On the Existing Files drop down menu, you tell Lightroom how to deal with files with the same name. You can set up the export so that Lightroom will ask you to Choose a new name for the exported file, Overwrite WITHOUT WARNING (this is probably a very bad idea) or simply Skip. When you choose Skip, if it sees a file already in that folder with the same name, it doesn’t export the JPEG image, it just skips it. Personally I use Choose a new name for the exported file.
To save your custom settings as a reusable, click the Add button at the bottom-left corner of the Export dialog and then give your new preset a name. In this example I used JPEG 80% Quality so that I’ll know what kind of files and quality I’m exporting.
Click on the Create button and your brand new Lightroom Export preset is added to the Preset section on the left side of the dialog box under User Presets.
And now, here’s the really cool part. If you take the time to make your own presets you won’t need to use the Export dialog box again. You can simply choose File > Export With Preset. As you can imagine this is a major time saver.