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Tips & Tricks

3 Of The Best Lightroom Tips you’ll See this Year

By Guest Contributor on August 6th 2016

Hey guys, Mark from Shotkit here. Now wouldn’t you like an article where there’s no preamble, just a handful of meaty tips that you can implement right away to improve your photography post production workflow?!

Well, you’re in luck! Here’s a selection of mini Lightroom Tutorials to supercharge your Lightroom 6 experience.

How to reduce the size of your JPEGs

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A couple of years ago I wrote a review of JPEGMini Pro and how I use it in my workflow to reduce the size of my JPEGs. It’s a great piece of software, but since then I’ve found a good free alternative that integrates into the Lightroom Export workflow.

[Recommended Reading: JPEGMINI REDUCES FILE SIZE BY UP TO 5X WITH NO PERCEIVABLE REDUCTION IN QUALITY]

If you’re a Windows user you’ll have to use the web version, but for us Mac users, here’s what to do:

Step 1

Download and install Image Optim.

Step 2

In your Lightroom Export module, scroll down to ‘Post-Processing’ and select ‘Open in Other application’.

Step 3

Click the ‘Choose…’ button, then find the Image Optim app and select it.

Next time you export from Lightroom, Image Optim will shrink your image file sizes without altering how they look. You can see how much size was shaved off each image, with reductions of up to 50%

Smaller images mean faster transfer times, faster loading websites, saved disk space and less bandwidth consumption. Not bad for a free app!

How to significantly speed up Lightroom

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There are lots of little tweaks we can make to Lightroom 6 to make it run faster, but if you’re looking for the one change that will bring about the biggest difference, here’s what to do:

Step 1

Convert your images to Smart Previews. You can do this upon import (‘File Handling’ -> ‘Build Smart Previews’) or in the Library module (‘Library’ -> ‘Previews’ -> ‘Build Smart Previews’)

Step 2

Disassociate your original image files from Lightroom. You can do this by unplugging the external media used to store the original files, or changing the name of the folder containing the files on your hard drive. You’re essentially ‘hiding’ the files temporarily from Lightroom.

Then start culling and editing as normal. You’ll notice a dramatic speed difference, especially in the Library module where you can cull at speeds on par with Photo Mechanic, even on underpowered laptops.

When you’re ready to export your photos, simply reconnect your external drive or rename the folder to its original name. If you don’t require full resolution, you can actually export via Smart Previews which are lossy DNG files with a maximum size of 2540 pixels on the long edge.

[REWIND: DISK CLEANUP TIP TO RECOVER GIGABYTES THAT LIGHTROOM MAY BE HOARDING]

Cull From Your Sofa

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Whilst living in shared accommodation without access to a proper desk setup, I inadvertently discovered how to control Lightroom from my sofa.

Even now, when I’m back at my regular desk, I use this method of culling down a wedding from 2000 photos to 500 in relative comfort. It’s also a lot of fun, a word not usually associated with culling!

Step 1

Get hold of a Playstation 3 or 4 wireless controller. You can use any number of other controllers, but the PS3 ones are available cheaply and sync quickly via Bluetooth.

Step 2

Download Joystick Mapper.

Step 3

Map your controller’s buttons to the keys you use for culling in Lightroom. For example, I map the ‘O’ button to the number ‘1’ and the ‘X’ button to a ‘0’. Then I map the left and right cursor buttons to affect left and right scrolling, and the ‘L1’ button to ‘zoom to 100%’.

Step 4

Sync your Playstation controller to your computer via Bluetooth following the instructions on the Joystick Mapper website.

With this set up, I can relax on my sofa and cycle through my photos with the cursor buttons of the Playstation controller. Aside from being a lot more comfortable, the physical distance between me and my monitor allows me to assess my photos from a new perspective.

I prefer to cull ‘positively’, so press the O button to mark a keeper and simply skip over the other photos by using the right cursor button. If I change my mind, I hit the X button to mark a photo back to a zero.

Occasionally I’ll need to check the focus on a photo, so I use the L1 button to zoom in.

Finally, I filter by 1 star ratings (‘Filter:’ -> Rated ≥★  ) and bring those images into the Develop Module.

I find this process much faster and more comfortable than sitting at my desk in front of the screen, and like I said before, it’s actually quite fun!

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This was just a small taster of the 54 actionable Lightroom tips and tricks featured in the popular Lightroom Power User book. Be sure to use coupon code slrlounge for a 10% discount.

What are your favourite Lightroom tips?

About the Author:

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Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer living in Sydney shooting weddings worldwide. Mark also gives photography enthusiasts a peek at the camera gear of some of the world’s best photographers over at Shotkit.

If you’re interested in becoming a guest contributor, contact us!

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Hannes Nitzsche

    Just a thought – JPEGMini really had me intrigued when it first appeared on all platforms and forums so I went to their website and re-sized a full sized jpeg which I exported from Lightroom at 100% quality with their free, online one-off resizing tool. The result was that I saved about 46% in file size. I then exported the same JPEG from Lightroom at 85% quality the result was that I saved about 44% in file size – and that at no apparent loss in quality, viewed on my 4K monitor. So I doubt that we really need any of those fancy (and partially very expensive) plug-ins to save space on our hard drives. Simply export at 85% quality, like Pye demonstrates in many a tutorial does just as good a job :) … just my 2c…
    I will have to look into tip #2, though, that sounds very interesting!!

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    • Tom Stoecklein

      There are also free/open source alternatives. ImageOptim for Mac users is an option:

      https://imageoptim.com/mac

      Or, if you’re technically savvy, you can install the tools these apps use directly . Mozilla’s mozjpeg is an excellent encoder, for instance:

      https://github.com/mozilla/mozjpeg

      But using it can be a bit of a pain in the ass. A quick search on Github popped up this shell script, which combines mozjpeg with some other useful tools to help get the most out of adaptive compression like what JPEGmini does:

      https://github.com/technopagan/adept-jpg-compressor

      I only looked through the shell script briefly, but it looks quite useful. There are a few dependencies you need to install (one of which, mss-saliency, isn’t listed on the Homebrew package manager so you do it manually), and there’s a clear learning curve involved with this approach, but it might be of some interest to other users.

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  2. Greg Silver

    Great tips. I usually cull through Lightroom on the Ipad and then sync my flags over to the PC for a quick filter and delete. I find it much more comfortable than on the computer.

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    • Mark C

      that sounds like my kinda culling, Greg! Sitting somewhere comfortable and tapping on the ipad is perfect!

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