My Lightroom Workflow – pt. 3

lrwf3.jpgBack in 1970, Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse. Thanks to him (and a few others), most of us are now able to do things with our computers that would have seemed miraculous just years ago. The mouse lets us point at things on the computer screen, press virtual buttons, move virtual sliders, paint virtual things.

But only the effective combination of both, mouse and keyboard will take your Lightroom editing skills to the next level.

The good thing is that you’ll only need to remember 5 of those shortcut keys to help you blaze through your image editing and have your friends lower their eyes in your presence and address you as “Oh Great Lightroom Master” from now on.

(Psssst! If you haven’t seen part 1 and part 2 of the Lightroom workflow series, this would be a great time to go have a look)

The Five Shortcuts:

#1: X them out! (aka the x key) – This will mark an image for deletion by adding the black flag of doom, errrrrm I mean by marking the image as rejected.

Bonus: the images are not deleted right away, which gives you time to think about things. As soon as you have decided to delete he marked images, just hit COMMAND-Backspace (Mac) or CTRL-Backspace (Win) to really delete them.

#2: It’s full of stars! (aka the 1 thru 5 keys) – Rate your images by pressing 1 for one star, 2 for two stars, and so forth. 5 is the highest rating.

Bonus: to remove the stars, press the 0 key and they’re gone.

#3: Get me home! (aka the g key) – This is the key I press when I’m lost. It takes me back to the grid view in the Library module and makes me feel very warm and cozy and at home.

Bonus: use e instead of g, Lightroom will take you to the opened version of the currently selected image in the Library instead of the grid view.

#4: Develop (aka the d key) – This opens the currently selected image right in the Develop module to allow you to do such fancy things as correct exposure, work on vibrance, tone curve, colors, and so on.

Bonus: if you do a lot of landscape photography and want to quickly add an ND Grad filter to your image, just press the M key while in the Develop module and you can quickly add one to any image with the drag of your mouse.

#5: Round and round (aka the r key) – Press this key and you can quickly rotate and crop an image. Essential to me, as I can’t seem to hold my camera straight at times.

Bonus: while in crop mode, Lightroom will show you a thirds grid by default. Hit the o key repeatedly for a little surprise!

These are obviously only a few of the essentials, but having this hand full in your repertoire and ready when you need them will go a long way and save you real time.

A few more of my favourites are: f (for those times you need more space on your screen, toggles between different screen modes), TAB (or shift-TAB, gives you even more space by hiding and unhiding the side and top/bottom panes), l (makes the background go dark to fade distracting user interface elements away), w (summons up the white balance tool to let you click on a neutral gray area in your image), n (shows you multiple selected images in the Compare view) and j (used in the Grid view will toggle between different thumbnail display modes)

Eager to learn more? Press COMMAND-/ (or CTRL-/) to bring up a shortcut overview for each of the Lightroom modules. (If your keyboard language is other than English, use the Help menu to find out what the shortcut is on your keyboard)

What are your favourite Lightroom shortcuts? Let us know in the comments!

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Author: Chris Marquardt

Chris Marquardt is an educator and podcaster. He wrote Wide-Angle Photography and is the co-author of The Film Photography Handbook and Absolut analog. He's the host of this podcast and a few others. Chris teaches photography all over the world. He is a regular on the TWiT Network.