Adobe Lightroom

Brilliant Lightroom Shortcuts and Hacks You Never Knew

Adobe Lightroom is an image manipulation software invented by Adobe Inc. It edits images in a manner that is non-destructive, meaning that the original image and the edits are saved in separate files, allowing you to re-edit the original in the event that you’re not happy with your previous edit.  It’s comprehensive nature, coupled with a myriad of Lightroom hacks and Lightroom shortcuts make it the perfect choice for edits that don’t require layers, and thus can come in very handy given that we live in a world dominated by social media. The fact that Lightroom is a simpler software when compared to its big brother makes it easier to use, but there are several Lightroom hacks that can be of further help. There are also a few Lightroom keyboard shortcuts that can come in handy. 

Lightroom Hacks that You Must Know

While the software offers a simpler User Interface, making it easier to navigate and learn, there are some Lightroom shortcuts and hacks that you must know if you want to quicken the pace of your editing or implement simple operations that can go a long way in improving the appearance of your image. Some of these hacks are listed below. 

Brighten a face in a portrait: Adobe Lightroom offers a variety of features that help you manipulate the lighting and colour of an image. This Lightroom hack especially comes handy when you’re editing a portrait in which the face of the subject isn’t as brightly lit as you’d want it. To increase the exposure on the face, you need to create a circle around the face using the radial tool. Ensure that the box next to ‘Invert’ is ticked. This ensures that the adjustments you make only apply within the circle. All that’s left for you to do now is increase the exposure in order to brighten the face and bring your portrait to life. 

Making the subject pop: Whether your subject is a person or an object, it’s possible that it doesn’t really stand out among the other elements in the image. There is a very simple Lightroom hack that can help you make the subject pop. Doing this involves the radial tool, with which you need to make a circle or an oval around your subject. However, unlike the previous tip, ensure that the box next to ‘Invert’ isn’t ticked. This will help you make the background duller, thus making the subject. You could also tick the Invert option if you feel like your subject could do with a few enhancements. 

Giving sunlight that peach-ish tint: Landscapes during sunsets make for beautiful photographs. However, sometimes, your sunset might just need a tint of peach to make it pop. Achieving such a tint is simple, and ups the attractiveness of your image significantly. To do so, you can use a very simple Lightroom hack: select the graduated filter and point it upwards, such that it’s in line with the horizon. Now, increase the warmth and accentuate the pink until you achieve the exact tint you’re looking for. This simple Lightroom hack can vastly improve the appearance of sunsets. 

Solo Mode: Heavy editing often leads to several panels being open at the same time, making it rather complicated when you need to find a specific tool. However, the use of the Lightroom hack called Solo Mode can help tidy up the develop panel to the right of your screen, such that only the necessary panels are open at any given time.

To activate this Lightroom hack, right click on any of the adjustment panels and select Solo Mode from the dialog box. Once activated, only the panel you select will be displayed, de-cluttering the develop panel. 

Lightroom Shortcuts that you Must Know:

Changing the colour of the mask: Masking is the ability to be able to select a part of an image that you want to make changes to, meaning that the rest of the image remains untouched. However, on some occasions, the colour of the mask might coincide with the colour of the image background, making it hard to see where the masking starts or ends. Shouldn’t there ideally be a Lightroom hack to help you solve this? 

A Lightroom hack allows you to be able to change the colour of the mask so that you are certain about the borders within or outside of which you need to edit. When you apply a mask using either the radial or the graduated filter, or the adjustment brush, it will appear in red by default. However, you can change the colour to green, grey and black by simply pressing Shift+O. This allows you to toggle between the available colours, enabling you to choose the clearest. 

Auto Mask: Masking can be a tedious process that often takes a lot of time and effort, especially when you’re trying to mask a subject with a straight edge. Luckily, there is a Lightroom shortcut that can help you with this. In such a situation, pressing Ctrl on Windows or Cmd on Mac activates Auto Mask. When you now try to mask along a straight edge, the auto mask will ensure that your brush stroke stays along the edge, preventing it from spilling over. This simple Lightroom shortcut key is a boon when you need to mask your subject. 

Dim Lightroom: Hours of staring into a bright screen can strain your eyes. Often, this leads to people hoping there was some way to dim the background of Lightroom such that only the image was in focus. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to these woes that lets you dim Lightroom. All you need to do is click ‘L’, making this a very simple Lightroom keyboard shortcut.

A single click can dim Lightroom by 80%, a second click completely darkens this, while a third brings it back to normal. This Lightroom shortcut can help when you feel like you only need the image in focus without any background distractions. 

Final Word

Image editing is a must-have on anyone’s portfolio. It opens a window of opportunities that would otherwise have been out of reach. If you want to be able to master the skills required to edit images with Adobe Lightroom, alongside such handy Lightroom hacks and Lightroom keyboard shortcuts, sign up for this comprehensive course here and be ready to widen your professional horizon. 

Looking to sharpen your Lightroom skills? Join our top-rated professional diploma in adobe lightroom today!

Shaw Academy

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

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