Lightroom is a killer program that combines photo organization tools with raw development tools. And while it’s generally easy and intuitive to use there are a lot of features hidden under Lightroom’s hood that will make your experience with the program that much more enjoyable. Here are 5 of my favorite Lightroom Hacks, Tips, and Best Practices.

Video: 5 Favorite Lightroom Hacks, Tips, and Best Practices

1) Use Keywords and Smart Collections to Have Lightning Fast Access to Your Photos

Lightroom has lots of wonderful tools for organization. One of my favorite best practices is to combine diligent keywording with Smart Collections. This allows me to do things like find all sunset photos taken in Wanaka, New Zealand in a couple of clicks.

2) Add Your Logo or Other Custom Display to Lightroom

Want to impress your photog friends? Easy, have your logo appear in the Develop Module tool panels. At 3:17 in the video I show you how to exactly do that, or to display any other custom graphic. Me personally, I display a list of my favorite Develop keyboard shortcuts.

3) Create Develop Defaults to Shortcut Your Editing

Do you start every photo with the exact same edits? For example, maybe you change the camera profile to Vivid, add a certain amount of noise reduction, and set the WB to Auto. By creating Develop Defaults you can have Lightroom apply these edits every single time you import a new photo to the catalog. See 4:49 in the video to see how.

4) Show Clipped Highlights and Shadows When Adjusting Tone

In the Develop Module the histogram display gives you the option of seeing clipped highlights or shadows. The only problem is if you turn on these visualizations they are always on. It’s annoying and can obscure the details of your photo. Instead, hold the Alt / Option key on your keyboard when making any tone adjustment (Exposure, Whites, Blacks, etc.) to see any clipping. See 8:15 in the video to see what I mean.

5) Increase or Decrease the Strength of Every Local Adjustment at Once

When you add a local adjustment to a photo it’s common to combine multiple adjustments into a single tool. For example, you might add a Gradient Filter to the sky that darkens, adds clarity, warms the color balance, and increases saturation. If you later decide the effect you created was too strong you have to go back through and individually slide each of those adjustments back toward zero. Or do you?? Check out this super simple keyboard shortcut that allows you to make each of those individual adjustments stronger or weaker all together. Watch from 10:19 in the video.

6) Bonus Tip: My Favorite Keyboard Shortcut

There’s one key on the keyboard that allows tons of additional functionality within Lightroom. It’s the Alt / Option key. In some panels it allows you to reset all your adjustments in one click. In other panels it helps you visualize sharpening and noise reduction. It has a lot of power but I’ll leave you to discover some of the other fun things you can do with the Alt / Option key. Watch from 12:25 in the video.

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About the Author

Josh Cripps is a wilderness landscape photographer living in beautiful Mammoth Lakes, California. He shoots campaigns and gives presentations for Nikon. His work has been featured in publications like Outdoor Photographer, Pop Photo, and Landscape Photography Magazine. Josh also runs photography workshops, teaches online courses, and runs the popular YouTube channel Pro Photo Tips. Sometimes he talks like a cowboy and can grow an enormous beard when the need arises.

You can read more about Josh here.

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