Lightroom is a photo management program that allows you to tag, organize, edit and tone your images. It’s easy to use if you follow the workflow.

Open Lightroom by double clicking the icon.

Creating a Catalog

You will need to create a new catalog.

Put it in your ‘Lightroom’ folder in your asset management folder. You can call the catalog ‘JO706’

Copy your images from your SD card into your ‘photo’ folder on your hard drive by dragging and dropping them into a new folder with the assignment name.  For example: ‘portraits’

Importing your images

Import your images into your Lightroom catalog. There are several ways you can do this, but for this class, it is most straightforward to leave the images in place and just add them to the catalog.

Make sure you are in the ‘Library’ tab in Lightroom. Click Import on the left side of your screen.

Navigate to the folder where you put your photos.  At the top of the page, ensure that you have selected ‘Add.’

On the right side, add your metadata settings at this time.

The most important thing is to add copyright to your images. Under copyright hit © “option g” and your name (i.e. © Peter Smith). Mark Copyright status as ‘copyrighted’. When you have entered this info, then save it as a preset using the ‘Preset Name’ box at the top of the dialog. This makes it easy to stamp your copyright on your images in future imports.

Click ‘Create’

Click ‘Import’ at the bottom right of the window to import your images into Lightroom.


Once they have been added to your catalog, view the images in the folder where you put them.

Adding keywords and caption

At this point you can add keywords, ids. You do all of this in the library tab in Lightroom.  

First, let’s add keywords. Click on the dropdown arrow next to keyword on the right side of the screen.

Highlight all of the images that you want to add the keywords to, using ‘command-a’ while you are in the library tab - this first image will be highlighted brighter than the others. Add the keywords to the box on the right.

Click ‘sync metadata’’ at the base of that column to add the keywords to all selected images.

You can add captions and ids to individual images by highlighting the image and adding the caption in the caption field on the right. Make sure your captions include complete ids and answer who, what, when, where, why.

Star edits

Next, we will start to edit the images. A star rating system works well. Select all of your images (cmd-a) and hit ‘2’ to set their rating to two stars. If any of the images are unusable you can highlight them and click 1 - to make them one star.

To see just the 2-star images, click at the bottom right of the page where it says ‘Filter’ - select Rated and then click to show two stars.  All of the one star images will be hidden from view. You can make the better images a 3 star.

Image editing

Before we complete our star edit, we will do some basic image editing in the ‘develop’ tab in Lightroom. Select ‘Develop’ (or hit d) from the menu bar at the top of the window. Your highlighted image will open up and the options on the right of the screen will change to allow you to edit your images.

You have many image controls in Lightroom, you can see them listed on the right side of the window. The tabs we will focus on are ‘Histogram’ and ‘Basic’.

The histogram shows the different tones in your image from blacks at the left of the histogram to whites at the right. It helps you to set the exposure of your photo and to ensure you are not losing detail in your highlights or shadows.

First, you should set your white balance. It imports as it was shot in the camera. Under the ‘basic’ tab, select the eyedropper tool. You will see a dialog box instructing you to ‘pick a neutral target - look for a grey. The small image in the upper left of the screen will preview your changes as you move your mouse over the image.  

When you are happy with your color balance click the dropper and the image color will adjust. You can also use the sliders next to the eye-dropper - you can adjust to yellow or blue, and green or magenta.  Once you are happy with your color, you should synchronize all of your images so they all have the same white balance.  To do this with the adjusted image highlighted, select all your images by using ‘cmd-a’, then click ‘sync’ at the bottom right of the window.  

A dialog box will open with your synchronization settings, because you are only changing your white balance, you can leave all of the other boxes checked - hit ‘synchronize’ when you are happy and Lightroom will sync the settings on all of your images.

Next set your exposure - use the exposure slider to make your image brighter (to the right) or darker (to the left). Watch your histogram to make sure you are not going too bright or dark.

You can also adjust your white point with the ‘highlights’ and ‘whites’ sliders and your black point with the ‘blacks’ and ‘shadows’ sliders.  Use these cautiously, as if you try to adjust your black and white point too much, then the image can start to look weird.

If your images all have a similar exposure, you can sync these settings too, as you did with your color. If the exposures are all different, you may need to adjust individually or in smaller batches.  

Once you are happy with the adjustments on the images, you can go through and pick your favorites, by making them three stars. You can continue to isolate you favorite images by making them a four or five star.

You will need to switch by to library mode to edit them. A quick way to switch between Library and Develop is to use the key commands - ‘g’ switches to library - think ‘g’ for grid - and ‘d’ switches back to Develop so you can make image adjustments.

To make the thumbnails bigger hit the + key and the - key to make them smaller. If you want to make the image full size to check focus, then click on the image or hit the enter key.

Once you have your final images you can give them a final edit and crop them.

The crop tool is under your histogram in Develop. Click on the dotted line box and it will put a crop around the image. You can also adjust the horizon by tilting the arrow in the grey area around the image.

When you are happy with your crop, then hit the enter key to complete the crop.

Exporting images

When you are happy with your images you can export them. You have a choice of file types - the most common you will use for an image is a jpg. Highlight the images you want to export and select File> Export…

The default for color space is srgb.

Select the folder where you want to put your images.  I would recommend putting them in a folder called edits in your ‘photo’ folder.

Under file settings, make sure that jpeg is selected. You can export as full res jpegs or you can compress them to make them smaller for the web. You can either shift the ‘Quality’ to 80 or limit the file size to the required size.

You can also reduce the window size of your image. I currently set the number of pixels for width and length at 1000x1000 pixels for the web and 3000x3000 for video.

When you are happy with your selections you can hit ‘Export.’