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 While choice is deemed good, it’s actually hard to distinguish newer, better Photoshop methods from the out-of-date techniques they have replaced.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.

Workflow smart collections

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

10 tips for new users

It was interesting to read Scott Kelby’s 10 Things I Would Tell New Lightroom Users and I was a little surprised to see how many of his points would also be on my list. I’d say items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 are good, 10 is dubious and I’m with David Marx’s demolition of point 9.

Scott’s post was actually inspired by another article, recent Aperture refugee Scott Bourne’s 10 Things I Wish I Could Tell Every New Lightroom User which was mainly a run through of learning resources.

At the time, I was preparing a “Lightroom not Photoshop” talk for Richmond and Twickenham Photographic Society, and I thought a top 10 would be a good way to structure the evening, as well as a useful exercise for me too. So…. hello, I’m Scott John, and here are….

10 Things I Wish I Could Tell A Slightly Less New Lightroom User: Until you more...

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?

Moving from Aperture to Lightroom

overview-aperture-20110302Moving 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?

Using more than one catalogue

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

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?

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

panel-end-markersLightroom'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!

Luckily Lightroom’s menus show the keyboard shortcuts so you can memorize those you need most, but here is my suggestion of those most worth learning.

I do not aim to provide a comprehensive list. After all, Lightroom offers shortcuts for almost every activity and life’s too short to bother remembering the more obscure ones.

Essential shortcuts