Powerful toolbar in Lightroom for sorting all of your photographs.

Can you guess what that would be? When Lightroom was designed in the initial stages, it was not meant for image developing, though it does the developing part now far better than necessary for a photographer. It is meant for the Image management, which is the library part kept in mind while developing. Now I hope you got a close guess in finding out the most powerful toolbar in Lightroom. The toolbar in the library module, which can be made visible by pressing “T”, pressing again will make it hidden and vice versa. Let’s look into this toolbar in detail in this post.

Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-1 Grid viewImage – 1: The above view is the complete appearance of the toolbar from Library module in grid view.

The main purpose of this toolbar is to help you organize your 10’s of 1000’s of images and it does the job well. If you know the tools, you will be in a better position to make use of it. The first tool from leftmost is the grid view tool; you can also press ‘G’ to enable this grid tool(this is the default view of Library module). This tool is nothing but to see all your images in that particular folder or collection or for that matter a whole year’s folders or your complete catalog even.

Loupe view(E)

To view/inspect one image at once, pressing “E” will make the selected photograph to occupy the workspace. From here, you can rate your image, sort based on colour, flagging.  The key difference here is once you go to the Loupe view, the painter tool will go off (you don’t need it in Loupe view) and Zoom & Grid tool starts appearing in the same tool bar. Zoom tool is to view your image in 1:1 ratio or you can set the amount of zoom. Grid tool will enable you to activate grid overlay on your image, with the help of grid overlay you can inspect the horizon or verticality of the image closely.

Powerful Toolbar in Lightroom Loupe view-2

Image -2: The above is the complete appearance of the toolbar from Library module in loupe view.

Tip: Pressing enter from grid view will take the most selected image to Loupe view, pressing esc from Loupe view will take you back to grid view.

Compare tool (C)

After selecting any two images from gridview and hit “C” will enable this tool putting both the images in side by side in order to compare as the name goes. The most selected image (select Image) on your left and the next image (Candidate image) on the right side by side. Both the photographs will be displayed with their star, flag and colour ratings if any, you have applied earlier. Clicking the cross mark on the bottom of the image will deselect the photograph respectively.

Pressing the lock symbol on the toolbar will lock the zoom function, so both the photograph can be zoomed equally at once. If you have zoomed in the image independently, press the sync button to bring back the other image to tandem. Pressing the XY button will swap the Candidate and select images.  Clicking the next XY button will make the Candidate image become Select image.

Powerful Toolbar in Lightroom Survey view-3

Image-3: Screenshot of compare view

The arrow marks will navigate through the folder or collections which you have selected. The Select stays the same and the candidate image changes. Clicking done will take you to the Loupe view with select image.

Tip: Selecting more than two images before pressing “C” will enable you to compare two at a time within the selected images.

Survey Tool(N)

The next tool in the main toolbar is Survey tool. To compare more than 2 images on a single window, survey tool will help. The most selected image will have a white border; you can apply the ratings, flag status, colour ratings. This tool will help in selecting that one particular shot from the range of shots made in burst mode while shooting.

Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Survey view-4

Image – 4: Screenshot of Survey tool

As you press the left and right arrow marks, the selection will go through only with the selected images in grid view, not with the whole selected folder/collection. The selected image will display a cross mark on the right bottom. If you click that, it will remove that particular image from the survey mode.

Note: The difference between Compare and Survey tool is, Compare tool will let you compare only two images at a time, but in survey mode you can compare many images at once.

Tip: Press tab to hide both the right and left side panels to provide more workspace.

Painter tool (Ctrl+Alt+K)

The painter tool is the one which looks like a paint can, the fifth tool displayed in the toolbar. This is one of the very helpful tools in classifying your photographs. The purpose of this tool is to apply specifically to particular images a Keyword, Label, Flag, Rating, Metadata, Settings, Rotation, Target collection (attributes).

The most Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Painter tool-5

Image-5a: The painter tool between the survey sign and sort order (encircled in red)

The most powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Painter tool

Image-5b: Once you click the painter tool the cursor will change into a spray paint can and you have to spray the parameters (click) you have selected onto the images you wish.

Once the painter tool is activated, the cursor will turn into a spray paint can and you can apply any one of the 8 attributes at a time displayed in the screenshot below.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Library Painter options

Image-6: Painter tool options

If you decided to apply a keyword (e.g. – Monochrome) to few of the photographs/collection, you can do so by typing the text on the field which will appear immediately you select “keywords” from the drop-down menu next to the painter tool. After that, you only need to click on the thumbnails of the photographs which need the keyword to be applied. By the very same way, you can apply Colour label, Flag status, Star ratings, Metadata, Settings, Rotation and target collection.

Sort order

The sort order tool will help you make a visual search of a particular photo from the folder/collection based on the name, edited time, added order etc. as displayed in the screenshot below.

Lightroom-Sort order

Image-7: Sort order options

This is another interesting tool available in Library module. As you see the screenshot, you have got many options to sort the photographs to select the photograph which you wish to.

Flag tool

The easiest way, to use this tool is to use the keyboard. Navigate the photographs through arrow keys and press “X” to set reject mark and press “P” to mark the photograph as selected. Pressing “U” will remove any flag marks from the photograph.

Star Rating

The star rating tool is easy to use via numeric keyboard. Press 1 to apply one star and press 5 to apply five star rating, zero to remove any star rating from the photograph. Simple tool but very helpful in classifying your photographs.

Tip: To reduce the star rating (for example 4 to 3) press [ square bracket. If you want to increase the rating, you can press ].

Colour Labels

You can have your own set of meaning to the colour labels as it does not come with any meaning by default. To set the colour labels, press 6, 7, 8 & 9 for Red, Yellow, Green, Blue respectively and Purple cannot be applied via any numbers/shortcuts.

Rotate buttons

This tool is also a straightforward tool. To see your portrait photographs in vertical mode (as it is supposed to be) this tool will come into use. To turn the photograph Counter Clockwise (Rotate left), you need to press the first button or the shortcut to do this is Ctrl+[.  To turn the photograph Clockwise, you can press the next rotate button or use the shortcut Ctrl +].

Tip – If you have set the display mode in camera itself, Lightroom will automatically do this.

Navigate buttons

This tool will do the same function as if you pressed the left & right arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the present folder/collection.

Play button

Clicking this tool will enable an Impromptu Slideshow with the photographs in the folder/collection. As you might expect, the slideshow will take up the whole screen to play the slideshow. Will come in handy when you have made a collection of final processed photographs from a shoot for client’s review.

Thumbnails

Drag this tool to your right-hand side to make the thumbnails bigger and drag it to left-hand side to make the thumbnail smaller. Alternatively you can press “+” symbol key to make the thumbnails bigger and “-” symbol key to make the thumbnails smaller.

Inverted triangle

This tool will enable you to select which tools you wish to be displayed on the toolbar; you can deselect few tools if you don’t want to see them on your toolbar.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom-Library

Image-8: Customisations of the tools you want to see on the toolbar.

Tip: In Loupe view, the Opacity and the density of the grid lines can be changed by holding the Ctrl key, when the Grid is activated. You can increase/decrease the size of the grid and reduce/increase the opacity of the lines by mouse.

Library Toolbar in Lightroom

Image-9: Screenshot showing the image in Loupe view and Ctrl key Pressed & hold down to display the options. The options are marked in red colour.

This toolbar and all the tools on it are the ones which will help the photographer to sort, classify, select, order the 10’s of 1000’s of photographs into a proper understandable way, so that any point in future, he/she can get the photographs in no time from his/her Library. And that’s the reason I have said it as a most powerful toolbar in Lightroom.

Have I missed something here or do you think some other toolbar is much more powerful than the one we saw above? If so, put it in comments and let me know. Does this article helped you? do let me know in comments.

Cheers & Happy Photographing.

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Loving Landscapes – A review

Are you new to photography? Do you roam around everywhere with your camera equipment to get that one amazing looking landscape photo? Are you disappointed about the fact that your photos aren’t that compelling enough? Well, to begin with, watch this TED talk video by Angela Lee Duckworth. She clearly states the fact that the key to success is not in the IQ or good looks or talents. It is the grit, the perseverance, the passion for long term goals and the willingness to start over again upon a probable failure. Before going ahead, please watch the video.

 A few weeks ago, while browsing through dPS, I bumped into this e-book which was dedicated to Landscape photography. It was quite intriguing to find a book which focussed only on one particular genre. I went on to read the book with a notion that the photographic idea in the book can be applied according to one’s perception on one’s style of photography. The contents page of the book clearly stated that the book is strictly for landscape photography but with a good understanding, one can apply the concepts to other genres of photography.

The book starts with a clear introduction and it speaks about what is covered in the book and what is not too. The entire book is divided into 12 chapters. The first chapter covers the basics of image capturing and attributes which play an important role in getting the right exposure in a given situation and in attaining an optimum sharpness for a decent landscape photograph. It also touches upon the negatives of a higher ISO, White Balance, Histograms and Focusing. The above attributes have been touched upon in a simple way, in a way not to confuse the readers with extremely technical terminologies.

 The second chapter is “Computers and backups” and this chapter deals with techniques that Sarah and Todd follow in their studios and is pretty straight forward. This topic is by far the most discussed on the internet and one of the most important in this era of digital photography. The next chapter talks about the power of RAW and why it is important to shoot in RAW format, every time! I have covered this topic in an earlier blog and you can check that out here!

 The fourth covers File management and using Lightroom to organize images. This chapter is very useful for those who would like to keep tab on their huge collection of images with ease. The uses of key wording are dealt with in detail along with the advanced search techniques in Lightroom which enables searching of images using the multiple filters. This chapter also explains about the collections and smart collections in Library module and how it works to help you finding the image you are looking for.

Todd

The sixth and seventh chapters explain about the export option in Lightroom which lets you export your image to different social media platforms like flickr or your own website. This chapters emphasize on the develop module’s functions and on how the sliders can be used to enhance your photograph by adjusting the exposure, opening up the shadows, bringing out the colours, enhancing the colours from the raw data your camera has recorded on field.

In the next chapter Sarah explains her work flow in detail. She starts with explaining the crop tool, goes on to the dust removal, applying sharpness, removing Chromatic aberration and also touches upon the basic panel adjustments. The importance of following the mentioned order during post production is explained clearly in the book. All the necessary tools in the develop module are touched upon in this chapter.

Chapter nine talks about the other tools in develop module. The noise corrections panel, HSL panel, Split toning panel, Effects panel and a few other local correction tools in develop module are explained in detail. The uses of these tools and they can be used to enhance the photograph is explained clearly.

Chapter ten touches upon some camera techniques which can be used in creating some effects, namely Photo impressionism, Camera spin and techniques on how to photograph the Milky Way in detail. The next chapter goes on to explain the use of Photoshop for landscape photography. All the important panels and necessary basic tools are explained clearly. Lightroom and photoshop has been explained in such ways that even a first timer (I mean it) can follow and get the results as in the book. The last chapter talks about the Multi exposure workflow in Photoshop, explaining the tools which are required for taking multi exposure photographs, like star trails, light paintings and HDR.

Overall, the book is neatly presented with appropriate screen shots wherever necessary. The photographs used in the books are available along with the book and lets you try what’s being explained while reading, this makes the book a practical guide. Open the e-book along with Lightroom and Photoshop to make this a worthwhile exercise. If you want to enhance your skills in landscape photography you might have to get this book immediately.

Cheers, Happy Photographing. 🙂

 

Y Lightroom.

In a broad perspective,

 No layers – This is purely for people who are not good with the layers concept.

Non –linear editing – Which means you do any correction at any time, there is no order. Non-destructive – Yes, you do any correction you want, your original file is undisturbed. All the corrections are written as complex instruction files and applied over the originals.

Outstanding Image management – You can manage tens of thousands of your images in an unimaginable easy way via keywords, folders, color rating, star rating, flagging, unflagging, smart collections, quick collections and location tags.

Camera profiles – All the latest camera and lens profiles are preloaded and gets updated for the latest arrivals in the market periodically. Which means in one click you are fixing all the profile corrections. (Distortion, Vignette, Infringement etc, sometimes you have to fine tune manually because software are not smart enough as you are)

Presets – Any settings which you might be using repeatedly from importing photographs, local corrections, develop settings (global corrections), exporting images, can be saved as one single instruction called presets.

Plug ins – You can install external plug ins for further enhancement as well for exporting, HDR processing, backups etc., (Nik Efex, Enfuse, Mogrify, TPG Back up and many more)

Virtual copies – You make some standard corrections than you wish to make some experimental processing, you would love this virtual copies. Lr creates a small DNG file of exactly where you are now and you can do all your experiment there. I just love this.

No Layers

Whatever the enhancement you do to an image in Lr, it won’t make a layer and you don’t even know what exactly Lr does. What you see is the image gets adjusted according to the sliders movement. I just do not like the layers concept and this is purely personal, and I seen some of my friends who says Lr is confusing, it is because they might be started with Ps and they feel difficult to switch, it is also personal. On the above all this is not a post about which one is superior or inferior, you work in any of the one both goes to “adobe” and adobe is not the only one who makes layer based editing software. Or people who started photography before Lr are forced to use Ps, those all are difficult to change now the way they work, but as of now they might be having a huge collection which might require an outstanding organizing. Both has got its own uniqueness, thing is you don’t have to work on a pixel based editing software (Ps) for photography now (least processing).

Non-linear editing

It is a term derived from film editing world. To understand this properly we should know first what is linear editing. Linear editing is something you can do on a pre laid path you should start from the very first point and finish it at end only. You cannot do it otherwise. Non linear editing is you do anything at any point, no harm made to the originals. That is the reason it is non-destructive.

Outstanding Image management

In order to feel the power of this portion you should use this software. Few think that Lr is basically image management software but Lr got some outstanding image editing capabilities as well, way beyond. The filter options are highly customable from star ratings, flagging’s etc, it is very easy to find the very picture you want within seconds provided you also organized Lr well in a proper folder hierarchy, keywords, shoot name etc,

Presets

Whatever you do in Lr repeatedly you can create a preset and apply it whenever and wherever you want.  Like when you import your files you can apply the presets like the metadata presets which will be applying the copyright details, author name and all the metadata details. When you import you can actually apply develop presets as well like camera, lens profiling, standard sharpening (you can fine tune while working on the very image), White balance correction for a particular shoot, Camera sensor dust cleaning, Standard crops (aspect ratio corrections) if any, Tonal value adjustments these all you can do it while importing itself. Local corrections presets like skin smoothening, teeth whitening, eyebrow darkening, few are now pre loaded in the latest versions of Lr. When you work on your image you find some interesting process outcome save it and share it with friends. Make more virtual copies and try a lot. When it comes to Export presets you can configure the presets for different requirements, like image in Adobe RGB gamut for Prints, sRGB gamut for screen version, file sizes, different watermarks, and file output sizes.

Plug-ins

You can install external plug-ins for further enhancement of image or where Lr lacks that particular facility. I use Nik Silver Efex  for Black & white images and it is one of the smartest plug-in out there, that is why google has acquired Nik recently. I use Mogrify for borders and further sharpening which is a pretty decent plug-in and most importantly you do not have to go to Ps for borers. Enfuse is to make HDR images, very straight forward one, and there are lot of plug-ins now in the market.

The above are not an exhaustive list of what library & Develop module can do for you, it is more powerful that what you may think. I did not utter a word about Split toning section in develop module where you can add two colours in the form of Highlights and Shadows interestingly, Effects panel where you can add vignetting and grains to make the image more compelling. Before and after effects of an image in a click, before and after effects of a particular panel in a click. Detail panel where you do all the noise correction and sharpening (noise correction is one of the industry’s best apart from special softwares), Color panel where you can affect the individual colors by its Hue, saturation and luminescence values and an another tool called TAT (Target adjustment tool).

There are so many other features apart from Library and develop module like Map, Slideshow, Print, Book, and Web. I will write about it once I am well versed about that particular module.

Finally Lr would be loved by photographers who do not want to sit in front of computer for a long time.

If you are looking for to buy Lr, buy  good books to learn Lr, buy Nik, buy plug-ins click respectively.

Do grab this free ebook from Victoria Bambton, an ebook spreaded for 76 pages with a pretty decent intro into every module and every panels of Lr.

 

Thanks for reading, do share after you like this.

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