Lightroom (I): Basic info + Set up

Remember we’ve talked about RAW files and JPEG filesAnd how do we need a special program to edit and run the RAWs so we can watch them and work with them to make our photography to look the way we want them too.

Today I am presenting you Lightroom as it is the most used by photographers to edit their shoots. This program was designed by Adobe, like Photoshop and it was thought and created having photographers in mind. This program allow us to work on our RAW files having in mind the basic photography tunes, the easy of use and the workflow. As long as we don’t want to do a lot of retouching (like erasing blemishes, doing photo manipulation, or having to take things out of the background, for example) it’ll work faster, and better than Photoshop. In this cases, Lightroom is your way to go.

Lets then talk about the basic things we’ve to know about Lightroom, and how to get it started!

First of all, you’ve to know that Lightroom is a none destructive program. What the f*** does it mean exactly!? Easy. This means that our pictures will be saved in Lightroom on a catalog, that will tell the program where our original picture is, but from there, all the changes we apply in Lightroom, won’t save in the original picture. We will have to export the picture to be able to get the final result and the look we’ve worked on so hard. And that’s so awesome! You can play around, do, re-do, do once more… without being scared of ruining your original picture, or overwrite it without realizing!

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Therefore, the first thing we’ll have to do it will be setting up our catalog. There are a couple choices here, you can have one catalog, or you could create more than one. I work with just one catalog, as Lightroom doesn’t allow to work with more than one catalogue at once, and bending back and forward to change catalogues each time it’s just annoying for me. But I do know photographers that use more than one, so it’ll depend on your style. Either way, you’ll have folders and tags to organize all your files in Lightroom so you don’t have to worry about it, even with one catalogue.

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As you can see there’s one catalogue + tons of folders

Once we’ve set up our catalogue the next step would be to import our pictures! You can do this from the memory card, the external hard drive, or wherever they are on your inner drive. Doing that is really easy! You just have to hit the IMPORT button at the end of the page, on the Library section.

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This will open the Source panel, in which you can select the source where the photos are stocked. It can have as many sources as devices and hard drives you’ve attached to your computer at the moment. Once you’ve selected the files folder, it’ll show as thumbnails on the screen and you’ll be able to select the ones you want to import (which will show a little bit lighter and with a white tick on the upper left side).

At the top of the Import dialogue you can select if you want to Copy the photos from the memory card or the external hard drive to your computer’s hard disk. Move will move the pictures from the original source, to a new location during the import, while Add while just add the pictures to your catalogue, leaving the original files location untouched.

If we hit the Copy or Move buttons a little panel will come on the left side, with TONS of options for the import and changes you can apply to the file. This will go from changing the name of the files, where would it be located, adding metadata (such as copyright or tags)

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It is important to check the Don’t import suspected duplicates box, as we don’t need to have the same file on the library duplicated bazillion times. In the File renaming panel, you will be able to change the name of the photos as you are importing them (“Liza’s wedding”, “Summer holidays”, “Loren photoshoot”, will be cool file names for some important shoots, or clients).

You can also Apply on import some of your favourite presets, if you’re going with a certain specific look for a collection, or even add Metadata, which can keep your copyright information, among others, it’s nice to have at least one metadata preset to apply easily to your pack of pictures. You can do that really easily hitting the metadata button, and then New. You fill up all the blanks and info you want to cover up and then save it. That’s it!

Happy set up! If you have any doubts you want to share and ask, don’t hesitate to do it on the comment section below! I’ll be more than glad to try to help ;)

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