Previous page Next page

Using Lightroom 3 - The basics

Lightroom 3 might be a considerably changed, improved program over earlier versions, but structurally, it is more or less the same. As a photographer using Lightroom, your workflow is defined by the module picker - a mini taskbar on the top-right hand side of the main window. This is where the program switches from being an organizational tool (Library) to a an image manipulation platform (Develop). The final three tabs, Slideshow, Print and Web, provide the means to publish your images as a slideshow, print presentation or (you guessed it) webpage. Navigating Lightroom becomes a lot easier once you've mastered the various keyboard shortcuts. Some of the most important are mentioned on this page, but here is a complete list.

Importing Images into Lightroom 3 (Ctrl*+ Shift + I)

With Lightroom 3 open, inserting a memory card into your computer's card reader automatically brings up the import dialogue. This window is new, and replaces the more basic file-browser type import window of the previous generation.

There is a lot of information in this window, and a lot of options. If you'd prefer a less cluttered interface, the tiny arrow button in the lower left of this screen collapses the Import window to its essentials - copy options, origin folder, destination folder/s, metadata and keywording.

When importing images into Lightroom 3's catalogue from a memory card, they must be copied to a new location either on your computer's hard drive or on external storage device.

Images that are already on your computer or an external drive can be added to the catalogue without being moved from their original location.

As images are imported, they can also be tagged and/or renamed either en-masse or individually.

During import, it is also possible to apply any of Lightroom 3's 'Development settings' for a particular effect. There are several development settings built in, and you can also create your own.

Browsing images: Library module (Ctrl*+Alt+1)

After images have been imported into the Lightroom catalogue, they appear in the filmstrip (F6 to toggle filmstrip on/off) and can be browsed from the Library module in a grid, in Loupe view (shown here), or compared side by side. In loupe view, images can be magnified to 100% simply by clicking into them with your mouse.

A 'Quick develop' pane on the right of the window allows you to quickly make basic adjustments such as white balance and exposure to single images or as a batch process. You can fine-tune anything that you do here later in the 'Develop' module.

The side-by-side compare view is useful when deciding between similar images. The two windows are marked as 'select' and 'candidate' and the images can be swapped. The 'candidate' image can be changed using the left and right arrows. Images can be flagged and rated in two ways - with star ratings, or colored labels. Star ratings (from 1-5) are applied from the filmstrip simply by pressing the relevant number key, and colored labels are applied using numbers 6-9.

Rated/flagged/labeled images can easily be filtered using the filter option dropdown.

 Editing images: Develop module (Ctrl*+Alt+2)

The Develop module is where you make adjustments to your images. Lightroom 3's Develop module will be familiar to anyone that has ever edited raw images using Adobe Photoshop's Camera Raw plugin. The core controls are much the same, and Lightroom 3 now offers the same lens correction feature as Photoshop CS5.


Lightroom 3 uses the same version of Adobe's raw conversion engine as Camera Raw 6.1. The various controls and sliders available look much the same as previous versions, but 'under the hood' it is completely new.

At the top of this image you can see the cropping tool, spot removal, red-eye removal, neutral density graduated filter and the multi-purpose adjustment brush.

New in Lightroom 3 is a lens corrections profiling tool. Support is limited to a relatively small number of lenses from Canon and Nikon, but profiles are present for Sigma's entire current range, and one Tamron (the 28-75mm F2.8 Di) is thrown in for good measure.

Lightroom 3 also supports user-created lens profiles, and of course manual (unprofiled) lens corrections are also possible using the familiar distortion, CA and vignetting sliders.

Exporting and publishing images from Lightroom 3

The final stage in the Lightroom 3 workflow is exporting images. Images can be exported to disc as DNG, TIFF or JPEG files, to an online gallery, as a slideshow, or as a webpage. Support for Flickr is built directly into Lightroom, but a number of plugins are available too, by which images can be uploaded to other online gallery services, including dpreview's own galleries. If you're a Lightroom user, you can download the dpreview galleries plugin here.

The Slideshow (Ctrl*+Alt+3) functionality has been improved, and now includes options for adding a soundtrack using files from your own music collection. Slideshows can be exported either as .PDF or as .MP4 video files, at up to 1080p.

Print options (Ctrl*+Alt+4) include a range of presets for printing, including watermarks and color management.

Web output options (Ctrl*+Alt+5) consist of a range of Flash and HTML-only preset designs, as well as an option for creating new, custom templates of your own.

* On a Macintosh computer, use the Apple/Command key instead of Ctrl.

Previous page Next page


Total comments: 3

So the three computers had 3 gigabits, 5 gigabits, and 8 gigabits of RAM did they?

Maybe try using gigabytes (GB) and everything will run faster...


Very clever book! Iam so happy to read it. Thanks to author.

mody hector20

nice program

Total comments: 3