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Lightroom: 3 Helpful Tools I Wish I Knew When I Started



I’ve been editing in Lightroom for over 4 years now, so I think it’s safe to say I know my way around it pretty well. There a lot of cool tips and tricks that I’ve discovered along the way that when I did discover, I wish I’d known sooner because they help me speed up and simplify my editing workflow! I kinda just figured it all out as I went along, but if I can help you discover these cool tricks sooner, I’ll be happy! So let’s dive right in…






1. Saving Snapshots

My first mind-blowing discovery is with using snapshots. Snapshots allow you to view different edited versions of a single photo without having to duplicate that image. Here’s what I mean…

When I wasn’t sure how I wanted to edit a certain photo, I’d create copies of each image and apply my different settings on each. I’d then be able to click on each image and find the one I preferred. This created many duplicates and was just a waste of time because yes, there is a better way! Here it is…

In the left-hand sidebar, you should see a box called Snapshots.

Note: If you don’t see this box, it might be hidden. This is how mine was for the longest time, so I didn’t even know this option existed! To unhide it, simply right click in that area and check off the Snapshot option.

If you click the little + symbol beside the Snapshots title, another box will open up where you can create and rename your snapshot. This will save all your current settings on that particular image. Now you could continue editing that photo or change it completely, knowing that your past settings are saved within that first snapshot. You can save as many snapshots as you want in order to swap back and forth between settings in order to choose your favourite edit.

If you right-click on a Snapshot in the list, you have the option to rename it or even update that snapshot with your current settings.



2. Dragging Your Cursor To Adjust The HSL

The second feature I recently discovered is the option to modify the HSL sliders by dragging your cursor across the image. HSL stands for Hue, Saturation and Luminance and these sliders are great for adjusting specific parts of your image while leaving others intact.

I often use these sliders to make changes to specific colours of my photo. However, before discovering this dragging trick, I would have to guess what slider would affect each part.

If you look closely in the HSL box, you will find a little circle in the top left-hand corner. If you click on this circle the dragging feature will be activated. Now, click on the part of your image that you want to adjust. Lightroom will read what colours are present there and when you drag your cursor up and down on the image, the sliders will move accordingly.

This method of adjusting the HSL sliders gives you much more precision that trying to manually bring each colour up and down yourself!





3. Auto-Mask With The Brush Tool

I keep thinking that each new discovery is better than the last but guyssss… this one is the bee’s knees! It’s a simple keyboard shortcut that allows you to find edges automagically with the brush tool. Whaaaaa

When using the brush to mask or paint certain areas of your image, it can get very tedious and time-consuming to zoom in really close to find each edge and mask it perfectly to eliminate spill. But, this feature called auto-mask will do it for you! Simply press the command key (Mac) or the control key (PC) to activate the auto mask (you can also just check the box off in the brush panel). Now when you brush over the image, Lightroom will find the edges of what it thinks you are trying to brush – it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good!

You can always start with the auto-mask and then go in and perfect the little bits that the software might have missed it manually if needed.

Tip: To see exactly what you are masking, check the box below your image called “Show Selected Mask Overlay”. This will turn your mask red and make it easier for you to see what is being painted on.



Wow! Those are pretty nifty tricks, aren’t they! Do you have favourite tools or tricks in Lightroom that you want to share? Leave them in the comments below or let me know which one of these three was a new discovery for you.




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    Emilie Smith is based in Edmonton, Alberta // Edmonton Wedding Photographers, Mountain Adventure Wedding Photographers and Edmonton Elopement Photographers

    Serving: Alberta // British-Columbia // Canadian Rockies // National Parks // Okanagan // West Coast // Northern Canada

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