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How to Use Lightroom 5

Apart from its popular photo editing features, Lightroom can be a valuable organizational tool for photographers. When using Adobe’s Lightroom 5 the first time, it’s tempting to get going with giving you better images without delay. However, finding the time to get organized and configure settings before importing any photos will assist you to get the most from the powerful software.

Tim Grey details the important steps to take when coming to grips with Lightroom 5 on this helpful introduction directed at photographers who're new to the software:


To avoid frustration, Grey discusses the importance of being able to obtain the image you want when you need it. To accomplish this goal, take the following considerations before even opening Lightroom:

  • Store your photos in a single general location. You need organization outside of Lightroom to get the most out of its features. This is best accomplished if you store all of your images in a folder, one external hard disk drive, etc. (You’ll, needless to say, wish to back up all your images.)

  • Organize your image files into individual folders as part of your main storage location. Give each folder a title with real words depending on what you’re likely to search for when trying to locate a specific photo.

Catalog Settings

One of Lightroom’s greatest assets is its catalog. Grey shows that you go ahead and take time to examine your Lightroom catalog settings before importing photos:

  • Store Lightroom’s catalog on the computer’s internal harddrive. External computer drives often have latency issues. Using the internal hard disk drive will improve Lightroom’s speed and satisfaction.

  • Use a unitary catalog. Other photographers have different preferences (e.g. a new catalog for each and every calendar year; separate personal and professional images), but images might be filtered within Lightroom, so there’s not much benefit to separating your images into separate catalogs.

  • Back up weekly. But remember, Lightroom’s backup only backs up the catalog-not your photos.

  • Automatically write changes onto the XMP sidecar file. This metadata option saves some good info about how you’ve altered folders (e.g. Develop module adjustments).


Preferences in Lightroom 5 are merely that-your personal preferences. These settings are mainly just for customizing this program to your liking, but Grey features a few of their own recommendations:

  • Automatically look for updates. Adobe periodically provides fixes and updates to Lightroom.

  • Do not check “treat JPEG files beside raw files as separate photos”. If you shoot RAW + JPEG, Lightroom only works with the raw files by default, and Grey doesn’t use whatever need for JPEGs in Lightroom.

  • Store presets while using catalog. When you save a preset it keep with your catalog and might be found easily if your catalog ever needs to be moved.


Importing Images

Once you finally get to importing images, Grey has a lot more suggestions to optimize your Lightroom experience:

  • Import existing images which might be already where they belong. Turn on the include subfolders check box in order that all folders and images as part of your main storage location are imported on the catalog at the same time.

  • Don’t import suspected duplicates. Check this box to eliminate the chance of accidentally importing the identical image twice.

  • The copy choices for images which are not yet stored where they belong. Choose your main location since your copy destination.

  • Assign metadata presets for a images. Make sure the information you’re using in the general preset will apply to your images.

Lightroom 5 is an impressive photo editing program, just about all touts useful organizational capabilities. Do some prep work before importing and developing your images in order to look at advantage of all the application has to offer.

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