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Lightroom Classic for Beginners — Free Video Tutorial (2hrs)

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Get started with photography in Adobe Lightroom Classic using this free 2-hour video course. You'll learn all the tools and techniques you need to edit photos with confidence.

Watch Lightroom Classic for Beginners for Free Here 

Table of Contents

This course contains 38 lessons organised into eight chapters. In total, the video runs two hours and ten minutes.


What You'll Learn

Adobe Lightroom Classic is an industry-standard photography file management and image processing suite. In this course you'll learn how to use Lightroom to organize, correct, enhance, and share your photos, with lessons on all the Lightroom skills you need to get started editing photos. We outline the most efficient workflows, unpack how to manage a photo archive, ask creative photography questions, and touch on a few of the best ways to use Lightroom in your photographic art practice or business.

About the Instructor

I believe that life is too short to do just one thing. In college, I studied accounting and finance, and by day I enjoy my career in corporate finance, using data and analysis to make decisions. By night, I do creative work for Envato Tuts+ (and other clients), where I teach a variety of topics including Lightroom, PowerPoint, Keynote, and more. What I enjoy most is helping people to use software to solve everyday problems, excel in their career, and complete their work efficiently.

I started writing about Lightroom on this website way back in 2012, so you might say this course was a decade in the making! 

Lesson Notes

1. Why Pick Lightroom Classic for Your Photos?

We start this course with a look at what Lightroom can do, the different versions, and do a quick introduction with some of my favorite tips. If you've already decided that Lightroom is for you go ahead and skip to Chapter 2, which is about how to set up Adobe Lightroom Classic.

1.1 Why Lightroom Exists and How It Works

(3 minutes)

You need a way to manage and develop your photos; Lightroom Classic is one of the leading choices. Our opening lesson looks at why you might choose Lightroom over other options, and introduces a few key concepts in photo management and post-production.

Related Tutorials: We explored the main requirements for archival photo software in How to Choose Asset Management Software for Your Picture Archive. We've also reviewed the ten top alternatives to Lightroom Classic, and recently took a look at 12 no-subscription and free Lightroom alternatives.

1.2 Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC?

(3 minutes)

There are two main versions of Lightroom, "Classic" and the newer "CC." This lesson will help you choose between them.

Related Tutorial: Are you considering choosing CC over Classic? There are a few reasons why you might prefer Lightroom CC, depending on your needs.

1.3 10 Quick and Easy Tips for Every Lightroom User

(4 minutes)

To get things rolling in Lightroom Classic we start with ten top tips; Check these out to get a taste of what Lightroom can do.

Related Tutorials: Take a different kind of introduction with The A-Z of Lightroom Classic. You can also start learning a few of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Lightroom.

2. How to Set Up Adobe Lightroom Classic

In this chapter you'll learn how to configure Lightroom Classic for your needs.

2.1 How to Save Your Photos: Physical Storage Suggestions for Lightroom Users

(3 minutes)

How can you be sure you are storing your images safely? It's as easy as 3-2-1.

Related Tutorials: A few basic digital asset management habits are the basis of a healthy archive. Here's How to Build a Photo Library That Works With Any Application and How to Safely Manage Images and Video from Capture to Archive, plus our 7 Golden Rules of Digital Asset Management.

2.2 How to Use Lightroom Classic Catalogs

(5 minutes)

Whether you're starting a new image library or cleaning up your existing one, use this tutorial to set up your photo archive in Lightroom.

2.3 How to Move Photo Files and Organize Folders From Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

What if you already have photos in a few different folders? In this lesson you'll learn how to consolidate your pictures into Lightroom catalogs.

2.4 Rules-Based Renaming for Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Lightroom can rename your photo files according to rules you set. You can use this small but powerful archival feature to add a few key details to all your photos.

Related Tutorial: Learn more about how a bit of basic information in your file names can help keep your archived organized as it grows.

2.5 How to Build Smart Previews in Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Smart Previews add useful offline work features to Lightroom, and they can help speed up the program, too.

Related Tutorial: There's more power in Smart Previews than we cover in this course, see our in-depth tutorial on building a highly portable catalog based on smart previews for more details.

3. How to Review and Sort Photos in Lightroom

Learn how to structure and navigate your growing library of photo files with the digital asset management techniques in this chapter.

Photo editing is the art of reviewing, selecting, and sequencing photographs. Because it is invisible to the viewer, editing is often misunderstood or overlooked. It's also challenging to edit your own pictures!

Photo editing is about seeing the hidden potential in images, so it's a powerful step. From a practical perspective, careful editing is also the stage of post-production that can save you the most time.

3.1 Lightroom Metadata: What Can It Do For Us? (What Can’t It Do For Us?!)

(2 minutes)

Adding information to your files helps you find them when you need them, and this lesson covers the basics.

3.2 Metadata Workflows in Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Lightroom makes working with metadata easy! In this lesson we take a look at all the tools available.

Related Tutorial: It's especially challenging to asses your own photographs. The strategy we show in this course is based on our tutorial about how to review your own photos.

3.3 How to Organize Your Images With Keywords in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Useful keywords are one pillar of an organized Lightroom catalog. Learn how to add them in this lesson.

Related Tutorial: Defining for yourself a clear and repeatable way to add keywords will help keep things organized over the long term.

3.4 How to Sort Your Images With Color Labels and Flags in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Colour labels and flags are a quick and flexible way to sort and segment your photos, especially while reviewing. 

3.5 How to Rank Your Images With Star Ratings in Lightroom Classic

(2 minutes)

Ranking images in passes is another great way to create useful filters, especially over time.

3.6 How to Use Search Filters to Find Photos in Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

In this quick lesson you'll learn how to search and filter photos into sets based on criteria that you choose, like keywords, flags, stars, and locations.

3.7 How to Make Image Collections Using Lightroom Classic

(2 minutes)

In this lesson, you'll learn how to quickly add photos to custom sets.

Related Tutorials: Quick collections are a handy way to make sets of images; making a quick collection is a great way to cull photos. Combine with auto-advance to review and cull at high speed.

3.8 How to Use Smart Collections in Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Like saved searches, Smart Collections allow you to sort photos into a virtual folder according to criteria.

3.9 How to Make a Custom Sequence of Photos in Lightroom Classic

(2 minutes)

This lesson leverages the tools we just learned into a practical example, showing how to sort photos into an order of your choosing.

3.10 How to Sync Image Metadata Between Photos in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Learn a small but essential trick for working with multiple images at once in Lightroom: copying metadata.

4. How to Correct Photos in Lightroom

Correcting photos is the process of bringing the image to a not-too-anything state before you make any creative changes. This important step helps you see the potential in your photographs.

In Lightroom, image correction includes actions like white balancing, applying lens corrections, camera profiles, noise reduction, highlight and shadow recovery, and bringing up or down exposure. 

4.1 How to Post-Process Photos Efficiently in Lightroom

(3 minutes)

A small amount of planning goes a long way in Lightroom, and in this lesson we introduce the basic post-processing steps and strategies.

Related Tutorial: the approach we present here is based on doing your post-production in a repeatable order to reproducibly create the best-possible photos.

4.2 Essentials of Photo Correction in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Great photos start with measured corrections: you need to see the potential first. In this quick intro lesson we preview the rest of this chapter by looking what a correctly neutralized photo looks like and how we can make those corrections in Lightroom.

Related Tutorial: A simple set-and-forget trick to improve your photos is to set the background in Lightroom to neutral grey.

4.3 How to Correct Exposure in Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

After metadata, sorting, and culling, correcting exposure is usually our first step in working with the contents of a photo. In this lesson you'll learn how to make a basic exposure adjustment to a raw photo.

Related Tutorial: Our lesson covers the basics, however adjusting exposure can get very precise.

4.4 How to Recover and Adjust Highlight and Shadow Detail in Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

It's a common problem to have loss of detail in "blown" highlights or "clipped" black areas. In this lesson you'll learn what can be done to compensate.

4.5 How to Correct White Balance in Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

White balance is the next major correction. In this lesson you'll learn ways to set and refine white balance in a raw image file.

Related Tutorial: If you want to refine the white balance or if you have an especially tricky photo to correct (like from mixed lighting), curves provide a very precise way to color balance

4.6 How to Correct Tone and Contrast in Photos With Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Raw photos tend to be a bit flat out of camera, by design. In this lesson you'll learn how to restore natural tone and contrast to images.

Related Tutorial: The Curves tool also gives you an intuitive and precise way to control tone and contrast in a photo.

4.7 How to Use the Histogram and Sliders for Accurate Tone Control in Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

The histogram is a scope gives a readout of the tones in your image. It's a very useful tool for fast and precise corrections. 

4.8 How to Correct Saturation in Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Adding contrast, and other changes, can add unwanted saturation to your images. In this lesson you'll learn how to fix saturation.

Related Tutorial: We also have a quick tutorial on how to use vibrance in portrait photos, specifically.

4.9 How to Crop a Photo in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Lightroom makes cropping your photos easy and intuitive, with helpful presets.

4.10 Batch Processing Photos Made Easy in Lightroom Classic

(5 minutes)

Working on many images at once? Batch processing in Lightroom is a breeze.

5. How to Add Creative Color Adjustments in Lightroom

With corrections complete, now it's time to start to add emphasis and style to your images. In this chapter you'll learn how to create expressive colors in your photos.

At this stage our aim is creating a desired look and feel in a group of photographs. When you adjust, process each photo in the group together through the stages of adjustment so that all the pictures in the group continue to have the same look and feel.

A significant part of adjustment is about looking at your pictures and considering their potential. What changes do the photographs need? What aspects do you want to emphasize, and what do you want to de-emphasize? What are you trying to communicate with your images?

5.1 How to Apply Creative Contrast and Color Adjustments to Photos With Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

With corrections complete, it's time to get creative. In this lesson we'll look at adding tone and colour to images for style and emphasis.

Related Tutorials: Another useful tool for nuanced saturation adjustments is the Clarity slider.

5.2 How to Use Color Curves to Create Expressive Images in Lightroom Classic

(2 minutes)

Not just for corrections, Curves are also a tool you can use to add tone and color to photos. 

5.3 How to Make Creative Black & White Photo Conversions With Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Lightroom has many ways to convert to monochrome, we look at our favourites in this lesson.

6. How to Refine Photos in Lightroom

In this chapter you'll learn how to change the look of specific areas and details in your photos.

6.1 How to Use the Adjustment Brush to  Change an Area in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Learn how to make quick and accurate local adjustments with the help of color masking and brushes in Lightroom.

Related Tutorials: There are two more tools to help retouch areas and details in your photo, Healing Brush and Visualize Spots.

6.2 How to Reduce Noise in Pictures with Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

Noise is the natural result of amplifying the signal from your camera's sensor, though it's not noticeable in every image. Lightroom has powerful ways to reduce or change the look of noise in photos.

6.3 How to Add Emphasis to Parts of a Photo Using Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Apply tonal adjustments to an area of an image in less time than before thanks to luminance masking in Lightroom.

7. How to Craft a Look in Lightroom Classic

What makes your photos look like your photos? In this chapter we learn how to add a coherent look to across your images. This is what most people imagine when they think of "photo editing," but by now you know it takes some preparation to get your photos ready for this stage.

7.1 What is a Signature Look, and How Do You Find One?

(4 minutes)

Learn how to start building an editing look that is recognizably a style of your own with the help of this Lightroom tutorial.

7.2 How to Create Presets in Lightroom Classic

(4 minutes)

Presets are a time-saver. Learn how to get started with presets in this lesson.

Related Tutorials:

8. How to Export Your Photos From Lightroom

With post-processing complete, it's time to get your pictures out of Lightroom Classic.

8.1 How to Export Photos From Lightroom Classic

(5 minutes)

Once your pictures are ready, it's time to get them out into the world! Learn how to export photos from Lightroom in this lesson.

Related Tutorials: Just the right amount of Sharpening is one of the last steps in outputting the final, shareable photo.

8.2 Best Practices for Delivering Photos to Clients From Lightroom Classic

(3 minutes)

If you have a client your export needs might be more specific. In this lesson we look at best practices for getting finished photos into your client's hands.

9. Conclusion

9.1 Conclusion

And you have reached the end! This course has a lot packed in, so congrats to you on tackling it all. In this final lesson we recap the key things you've learned.

Course Credits

This course was written and presented by Andrew Childress, with supporting tutorials by Jamie Evan, Amy Touchette, Dawn Oosterhoff, Harry Guinness, Josh Johnson, and Daniel Sone. Production and editing was done by Jackson Couse. Motion graphics and music selection by Marco Korelli.

Ready to learn more about Lightroom Classic? Here are more great tutorials from Envato Tuts+ to take you there.

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