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5.1 Make Lightroom Work for You

In this lesson we'll take a step back. You'll learn how to look at Lightroom as an essential part of a seamless digital imaging pipeline.

5.1 Make Lightroom Work for You

The goal of this course is to give you everything you need to make Lightroom work for you. In this lesson we'll take a step back and look at how all the tools fit together to create seamless digital imaging pipeline and a creative work flow. First Non-destructiveness is the heart of Lightroom's technology. All the data you add, all the organization you do and all changes you make are stored in a Lightroom catalog. The catalog is a big database stored separately from your image files. Making collections or adjusting sliders never changes the original images. Non-destructiveness is a good way to think about the creative features of Lightroom too. With Lightroom you're free to experiment, make virtual copies without penalty and play with the look of your pictures as much as you like. It's a great place to explore your mind's eye. However, the flexible nature of Lightroom images means that discipline is required to keep us from getting bogged down with infinite choices. A well-defined methodology for working with your pictures will help you get the most from Lightroom. Organizing your images is important to maintain a good library. Import them in a way that makes sense for the nature of your collection. This takes some planning in advance, an external hard drive is a great way to to keep your image files separate from the rest of your computer. Building smart previews can help you continue your work whether your drive is nearby or not. Lightroom is made up of a system of modules that let us work with images in different ways. In this course, we covered mostly the library and develop modules. Panels are where the individual tools live in each module. Customize Lightroom to your liking by dragging the panels to resize them or hide them by clicking the arrows. You use metadata to keep your catalog organized. You can add metadata like flags, ratings or color labels to help make sense of your library. This will keep your catalog healthy and easy to search. Collections are another great way to organize your images. Collections are a folder like structure perfect for sorting, choosing and saving all the pictures from a particular project or a shoot. It's important to have a system for the way you add metadata, use collections, and manage your digital image files. Like choosing a physical storage option, planning how you will tackle organization will go a long way to help your catalog stay healthy. Everyone's needs will be slightly different. The key is to identify yours, make yourself a system, and then stick to it. The develop module is where you help your images reach their potential, starting with image correction. The exposure sliders correct the tonal values and color in an image. The present sliders can help bring out the fine details. The goal is to create images that are not too anything and easy to evaluate fairly. Image correction is an essential step and I urge you not to skip it. Some of the best Lightroom magic happens between the library and the develop modules in the process of viewing and reviewing your pictures. Looking at pictures is a skill. It seems like photographers don't like to talk about it much, but it's actually pretty hard to consistently choose your best images. Lightroom makes it easier by giving you the tools you need to judge your pictures in a consistent way. Once you're sure you've chosen the right images, you can make adjustments and create your desired look. For some people, this means selecting a preset. For others, it may mean hours of careful consideration and retouching. Again, Lightroom is a great place for experimenting, whatever your style. Although you can do an incredible amount in Lightroom, sometimes you will need to finish your final adjustments in Photoshop. Export is the stage where you apply the corrections and adjustments you've made to your raw file to create a new copier image. One that can be used outside of Lightroom. Finally, this course gives you the basic tools to make Lightroom your own, but it's an incredibly powerful program and we've really only scratched the surface of what your Lightroom workflow might become. Hopefully, you see the potential in using Lightroom. More importantly, I hope you see the new potential in your photography that getting intimate with your pictures can unlock.

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