Getting Started with Lightroom

Have you thought about using Lightroom for your editing process but not sure where to start? It might seem like an overwhelming program to jump into, but once you make the switch you won’t regret it. While Photoshop is still essential for doing major editing (removing objects, liquifying, etc.), Lightroom is easily one of the best tools when it comes to culling and doing the main processing your images.

Here’s a basic run through of how to get started in Lightroom (I’ll be referring to version 5 in this post):

Import your photos from your cards into a folder the files will be staying the entire time you are working on them. I always like to import my images before I create a Lightroom catalog. There is the option to import into Lightroom and copy them into a folder, but I like knowing where all my images are and that they are backed up before I begin working on them. NOTE: Do not change the name of the folder or move it once you start working on your images. Otherwise the link will be broken, and you’ll have to find them again through Lightroom on your computer.

Create a Lightroom catalog and build 1:1 previews. Create a new catalog for your current project and be sure to select build 1:1 previews. This will take a while depending on the speed of your computer. But this will make it quicker as you move through each image later. All you need to do to create a new catalog is:

Make sure you are in Library Mode. In the bottom left corner, click Import.


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You’ll see a screen pop open. Next select the folder you would like to import from the drop down on the left hand screen. I always make sure that “Build 1:1 previews” is selected on the upper right hand side as well as the “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates”.  You can also apply one of your presets within this mode to the images as they import, but if you don’t have any yet don’t worry about it. Click Import and sit back while Lightroom brings them in.

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As you start to go through your images, you only have to worry about two sections. Library and Develop. 

Library Module

This is where you will cull through your images. I like to use a star system rating them a 1 or 2 for whether to get rid of them or keep them. You can also zoom in to make sure they are sharp.

Develop Module:

This is where the magic happens! You can do all of your basic image corrections within the Develop module. To get there, click on Develop on the top of your screen.

lightroom, beginners, workflow, editing, software, photographers

(If you already have presets, you apply those to your image within this screen from the left hand side. The company you bought the presets from should have instructions for how to install included with them.)

Then as you move through each image you can edit white balance, exposure, contrast, etc. You also have tools just under the histogram that you can use to crop, dodge and burn using the brush tool, remove red eye, etc.


And those are the basics of how to get started in Lightroom! The best piece of advice I can give is to jump in and start exploring. It’s very intuitive once you get the hang of it. Check back in as we’ll be continuing this series with more Lightroom tips!

What is your favorite Lightroom feature? How has it helped your editing process?


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