Optimize your Lightroom photo editing with these tips and tools

As computer technology advances, you might think that editing photos is faster than ever before. It’s just not like that. Software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic has become much more sophisticated, and as file sizes increase, improving speed and productivity becomes a necessity.

This article shows how some basic tools can help raise the Lightroom workflow challenge and the fatigue you can face. With these tools, with a little practice and know-how, you will become much more efficient in your editing work.

Photo: Szabo Viktor.

Forget the mouse: Learn keyboard shortcuts

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a powerful tool after unlocking keyboard shortcuts. For example, if you’re a party business owner and have a team, locating work is a breeze for an editor who can invoke keyboard shortcuts. In the Catalog and Develop module, where they spend most of their time, the workflow increases as it reduces the number of mouse movements and precise clicks. If you find yourself in this category or as a wedding photo editor, these four shortcuts are worth remembering for your next edition:

Copy / Paste Development Settings

Quickly copy all image adjustments then apply them to another photo.

Windows: Ctrl + Shift + C / Ctrl + Shift + V
MacOS: Command + Shift + C / Command + Shift + V

Sync your settings bypassing the Sync Settings dialog box

Cut out a step by copying and pasting your desired image settings and applying them to a batch of photos.

Windows: Ctrl + Alt + S
MacOS: Command + Option + S

Select the reported photos

After evaluating photos from a session, you can quickly select only tagged photos and ignore the appearance of all invaluable photos.

Windows: Ctrl + Alt + A
MacOS: Command + Option + A

Copy / Paste Metadata

A very efficient way to quickly add IPTC metadata to photos for easy search on compatible web platforms.

Windows: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + C / Ctrl + Alt + Shift + V
MacOS: Command + Option + Shift + C / Command + Option + Shift + V

Photo of Claudio Schwarz

While these are a few shortcuts you can apply to your workflow, there are hundreds of others to learn. With Adobe, you can download a handy PDF guide that lists all the shortcuts to the different areas in Lightroom Classic, including shortcuts to:

  • Working with panels
  • Navigating the modules
  • Photo and catalog management
  • Working in the Develop module
  • Compare photos in the Library module
  • Working with metadata and keywords in the Library module
  • Rating and filtering of photos
  • Work in collections
  • Work in the slide show module
  • Work in the printing module
  • Work in a network module
  • Change views and screen modes
  • Using an additional window
  • Using Help

You can watch and download it here:

Faster editing in Lightroom with a custom console

There are keyboard skins that help Lightroom users by adding colorful mat overlays that re-label the keys with easy-to-read Lightroom shortcuts. Getting one of these inexpensive items is a good way to increase Lightroom’s performance; however, this is not the best approach for serious editors.

Lightroom shortcut keyboard skin by XSKN, which retails on Amazon for $ 15.

Hours of editing can put a repetitive strain on your wrists from all the micro adjustments on the sliders. Fortunately, there is a good solution to solve the daily editor fatigue. Enter the Loupedeck. These products stand out by introducing custom features, controls, buttons (some have eight dedicated buttons for Lightroom presets), spinners, and mouse clicks that can then be used to perform serious editing tasks.

Photo: Loupedeck

Different models in the market support different solutions; however, what makes them ideal for editors is their compatibility with a range of Adobe products, including Lightroom. Programming buttons couldn’t be easier with plug-in software. Loupedeck provides a virtual copy of the hardware for easy programming. These settings can then be quickly applied to a running product, increasing the output level of the workflow.

Other photo editing consoles you can look at are the Loupedeck CT, Monogram (formerly known as Palette Gear), Studio Console, and TourBox.

Increase your workflow with a plugin

Plug-in integration allows third-party software to run flawlessly in Lightroom. There is no need to export a photo from Lightroom and then open the image in another software package. With a quick Google search, you will find hundreds of paid and free Lightroom plugins in the market that will greatly improve your workflow.

For example, Wordroom is a neat keyword tagging plugin that saves you hours of manual work. Instead of manually adding keywords, the AI ​​tool specializes in machine learning to “see” and identify the image content. A series of keywords will be generated automatically, allowing you to select and apply the series of words to your image. Then you can use the Copy / Paste Metadata hotkeys (mentioned at the beginning of this article) to apply these keywords to similar images in your Lightroom catalog.

There’s a universe of Lightroom plugins out there, so take a look around and you’re sure to find something you never knew you needed to take your workflow to the next level.

What else can you do to improve your Lightroom workflow?

With no AI in cameras to get ahead of the editing process (perhaps in the distant future), we have to rely on ourselves to sort and edit our work. While this process can be laborious for some, there are a few other tools and ideas you can implement to improve your Lightroom workflow.

Have you thought about outsourcing an editing job to an agency that specializes in your genre of photography? With ‘pay per picture’ photo editing services, your mental health and productivity jump to lightning levels so you can spend your time doing the things you want to do. For many, this may mean more time with family or friends, and for some, the opportunity to take up additional photo work. Whatever the case may be, check the style and quality of your editing to make sure it meets quality standards.

Photo of Jason Strull

Another alternative would be to upgrade your workstation. As one of the most expensive options for increasing your Lightroom workflow, it isn’t for everyone. However, by investing in a faster processor, you increase the speed of your hardware, which has a huge impact on your workflow when processing large batches of RAW files or exporting.

Finally, if you want to become a better editor and increase your work speed, you need to invest in yourself. Take an online Lightroom course, watch Lightroom editing tutorials on YouTube, or attend a editing workshop in person. By learning Lightroom shortcuts, understanding plugins, and putting your knowledge into practice, you’ll be well on your way to being a faster editor.


About the author: Leigh Diprose is a business owner and full-time writer in the imaging industry passionate about sharing knowledge. Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. His work has been recognized by leading imaging wholesalers and leading retailers in more than 14 countries.


Image credits: Header photo by Donatello Trisolino

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