Lightroom is not Photoshop, which often provides many ways to achieve the same end result. While choice is deemed good, it’s actually hard to distinguish newer, better Photoshop methods from the out-of-date techniques they have replaced. For instance, when I last counted I found around 20 methods to make pictures black and white. Which is best? In that case I could tell you, but often with Photoshop you have to agree to disagree with a “your mileage may vary”, “whatever works for you”, “different strokes for different folks” or whatever.

Lightroom is different. It is intended for a narrowly-defined range of tasks and is designed so that there is often only one right way to do a certain job. When it does happen to offer more than one route – for instance, 3 ways to make pictures B&W – there is still only one right approach.

These articles are opinion pieces and I do phrase them a little controversially to shake you out of that Photoshop mindset. Even if you ultimately disagree with what I suggest, I hope they help you see for yourself the best way to work.

The "Lightroom Plan"?

After confusing everyone by renaming Lightroom as "Lightroom Classic" and, ike a cuckoo lays its eggs in another bird's nest, giving its name to the new cloud-dependent program which they now call "Lightroom", Adobe are now calling their subscription offerings the "Lightroom Plan" and the "Photography Plan". Which would you immediately select if you want to get "Lightroom"?

The 20 minute wow

What Lightroom features do you show a group of photographers - including existing Lightroom users - when you're allowed just 20 minutes?

10 tips for new users

I'd read Scott Bourne's and Scott Kelby's similar articles of Things To Tell New Lightroom Users and I thought a top 10 was a good way to structure some thoughts on getting started with Lightroom.

Complex File Renaming

Replacing text in filenames is a common need and for example Adobe Bridge's renaming dialog box does it with its "string substitution" option. But this capability has never been available in Lightroom. I suspect it is as simple as Bridge's "string substitution" only introduced during Lightroom's early days and it was overlooked when batch rename was designed. And sadly, this omission has never been rectified, even 13 years after I started whining to Adobe about it....

Workflow smart collections

This is a technique for managing your workflow with a system of smart collections (sample catalogue included)

Moving from Aperture to Lightroom

Moving your workflow from Aperture to Lightroom is not difficult, and it doesn't mean losing all the keywords and other metadata you've entered in Aperture. It just requires a little bit of thought and care. Where do you begin?

Avoid using more than one catalogue

Until you really know what you're doing, you should only use one Lightroom catalogue. But even then, why fragment control of your workflow?

If you have to use multiple catalogues

There are ways to use more than one catalogue, but each has disadvantages. First be sure you know what you're doing.

Keywording – a 3 phase approach

Without being too fancy about it, my goal is “the maximum number of relevant keywords in the time I think it’s worth spending” – which is intentionally a pretty elastic phrase – and I’ll do it in 3 passes.

Panel end markers

Lightroom's star ratings are for your long-term evaluation of a picture's quality, flags for much more temporary pick/reject decisions, and labels are for whatever makes sense to you.

Essential keyboard shortcuts

One trick to working at speed with Lightroom is to know a few essential keyboard shortcuts. But a command that’s essential to one user is something that another person might never require!