Basic concepts of Adobe LightRoom

Light Room

Are you an amateur photographer? I'll try to give you an initial look at this great tool.

First of all, we need download on our computer any version of Adobe LightRoom, in my case I'm using LightRoom 5.

When we already installed LR, we will open it and we will be able to see our work scenario.

LightRoom is too big so in this post, I will focus only on the first steps to import a photo and start to edit it using the develop tab.


Create new catalog and import

Open LightRoom and go to File > New Catalog, then select a folder to save your catalog, add a name and click on create button. After that, LR created a folder with your catalog name and added some files on it, those files are not important for us at this moment.

Create a new Catalog on LightRoom


Now, you can import the files: File > Import Photos and Video.

A window will open with our directory tree on the left column. I will select the desired folder and, in the center column, all images will be displayed with a preview and a checkbox for each. Mark the photos you want to import on this occasion and click Import.

Import photos on lightroom


Develop Tab

Now the game begins. We need move our environment to develop tab, you need to click Develop on the top right menu (1). Now you can see a different work area divided into 3 columns, the left column is for the navigation options (history, presets, collections, etc). Center Column is the image area, you can see the after/before cycles clicking on the options below de image (3). 

The right column is for the actions, next step is work with the basic block options on this column (2).

Develop view on LightRoom
Develop view of LightRoom.

On the basic block we have 4 basic settings:

Temperature, tint, exposure, and contrast

Temperature is used to give the photo a colder appearance (blue) or warm (yellow).
Tint is for the photo to appear in a different tone, it is used for effects rather than to modify an image
Exposure is used to correct the original exposure of an image. Basically, you can darken or lighten the image.
The contrast is the difference between the clearest area and the darkest area.

The previous options are usually used with minimal changes, you can play with them for a while to see their function, but any drastic changes can cause "noise" in the image

Highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, and saturation

These are the options with which we can play and retouch an image, always talking about basic configurations.

As a general rule, I usually move the "highlight" to the minimum, this is, for example, a perfect touch for skies with clouds.
Shadows, whites, and blacks depend on the image, but the names are clear.

I do not remember using the clarify option at some point, this is to add or remove details on the image. I always leave it at 0.

Vibrance gives the image strength of color, you can remove all the color or increase it gradually. Usually, I use it between 0 and 20. And the saturation is similar, you should use vibrance and saturation in combination.

You can check the before and after on the following image.

Example of a simple arrangement to a photograph
Example of a simple arrangement to a photograph


Here I leave to you the original image used in this post, please work on it and send yours result in the comments, with your doubts or advice about Lightroom! Click here to get the original image.

Soon I will write another post to describe a little better how to work with each color separately and how to use the same set of parameters to several photos.