Digital Asset Management

Lightroom Terms

Lightroom has all kind of wordings, especially in the Develop module. Some of it makes sense, but some of it…

  • Exposure: sets the image brightness.
  • Contrast: Separates the dark and the light tones from the middle tones.
  • Shadows: Adjusts dark image areas.
  • Highlights: Adjusts light image areas.
  • Whites: Adjusts the white clipping.
  • Blacks: Adjusts the black clipping.

Lightroom: Metadata Conflict

Some photographers like to live on the bleeding edge of the technology, and some other photographers like to wear both belt and suspenders. I'm more on the belt and suspenders side than on the bleeding edge. That's why I like to have the metadata stored in both the Lightroom catalog and the XMP files: Edit > Preferences > Metadata > Automatically write changes into XMP.

The problem is that sometimes Lightroom screws up, sometimes it's the user that screws up by not giving enough time for Lightroom to write the metadata to the XMP sidecar.

Lightroom: Useful Shortcuts

Some people like shortcuts, some people prefer using menus and the mouse. For the people that like using the shortcuts, Lightroom is full of it. The last I checked, the Adobe techie where at 300+ shortcuts. Every shortcut can be executed via the menus or some context menu. Here are the shortcuts that I use on regular basis, pretty much every time I use Lightroom 4.

Key Purpose
G Switch to the Library Grid view
E Switch to the Library Loupe view
D Switch to the Develop Module
R Switch to the Crop in the Develop Module
P In the Library view, flags the selected images as flagged (Pick)
X In the Library view, flags the selected images as Rejected
U In the Library view, remove any flag from the selected images
Tab Shows or hides the left and right panels
F5-F6 Shows or hides the left and right panels
F7-F8 Shows or hides the top and bottom panels/filmstrip
1-5 Assigns a star rating from 1 to 5 to the selected images
0 Removes any star rating to the selected images
6-9 Assigns a colors to the selected images
B Adds the selected images to the Quick Collection (the selected target collection)
Ctrl / All the available shortcuts for the current module (Windows)
Cmd / All the available shortcuts for the current module (Mac)

Copy External Images from Inside Lightroom

Question: Is it possible to create copies of original files (CR2, NEF, OTF…) within Lightroom

The first immediate answer is: Yes, of course, just create a virtual copy and you have your copy. But no, that's not what I want. I have a file IMG_1234.CR2, and I want to have 2 physical files: IMG_1234.CR2 and IMG_1234-2.CR2.

Lightroom doesn't have a physical copy image function. The “almost” solution is to Export and set the file type to Original.

Do Your Photos Have Any Value?

Photos can have 3 values:

  1. Sentimental
  2. Financial
  3. Historical
  • The vast majority of the photos only have a sentimental value. These are the photos the people take with them in case of floods, fire, disasters… When was the last time you looked at them? Do you even know where they are? Can you find them? In the old days, only 15 years ago, we would look through the albums and go through the shoe boxes full of photos. Today? I know where my photos are in Lightroom. I know my categories, I know my keywords, I know which directory/folder these photos are located in.

Lightroom: Controlling the Panels

Everything in Lightroom works with the panels. It's very easy to use, but the panels take a lot of screen real estate. Often, I only need some panel. Everybody knows (or should know) that all the panels can be toggled on or off the screen with the Shift-Tab.

But you can toggle every panel on and off with the F5, F6, F7 and F8 function keys.

Lightroom: Sorting Collections

Lightroom is “funny” in the way that it's such a powerful tool but in many ways it's missing some basic functionality. I'd like to sort the order of the collections. The programming code is already there, since Lightroom already provides the functionality in the Grid view where you can drag and drop the images to change the order of the photos within a collection.

Lightroom: Improve Your Photos

A photo session and 400 or 500 photos later… “Oh! I like that. Oops! I missed that. I really like that photo! This is portfolio material…” My first step after copying the photos from the memory card to the computer is to look for all the out of focus, the screw-ups, the person picking their nose. It's amazing what I get at 8 frames per second, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I also delete all the really ugly, the really bad ones like when the exposure is completely wrong, not even close and can't be rescued in Lightroom, the flash that reflects on a surface that I didn't expect to be reflective. I can already hear:

Check your LCD review

I rarely check the LCD playback for review. I use the LCD playback when using the flash during setup/testing, but in general I do not, because it interrupts the flow from my point of view and from the person that I make photos off.

2013 and Your Copyrights

2013 is only 2½ weeks away, if we make it pass the Mayan end of the world on 21-Dec-2012 aka 21/12/12 or 12/12/21. As a photographers, I have a list to prepare for the new 2013 year. One of the item on my list is to update my copyrights. My problems is that I need to change the copyright ©2012 to ©2013 in too many places:

  • My website in the footers
  • My cameras
  • My various software
  • My contracts

What used to take 15 minutes now is almost a full hour.


Lightroom: Thumbnail Sizes

One of the big strength of Lightroom is its flexibility. There's always more than one way of doing things in Lightroom. This flexibility is also one of the source of frustration with many users. Lightroom's flexibility allows for the almost infinite customization of your own workflow.

One of my most often used step is to clear the whole desktop, use Lightroom's Grid view (“g”) and pick, reject, grade with 1 star… Everything that looks “real bad” gets marked as rejected (“x”) in the first round.

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