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Tips & Tricks

Lightroom Can Quickly Show You What Gear You Need & Don’t Need

By Kishore Sawh on March 3rd 2017

In case this your first time on SLR Lounge, I’ll mention we do find Adobe Lightroom to be extremely capable and versatile. Combined with its intuitiveness and easy interface, it’s able to render the use of most other editing and archiving software as simply supplemental.

[REWIND: Make Your Own Sign Or Signature Into a Watermark in 10 Min (No Scanner Needed)]

Aside from its advertised uses, I’ve found its filtering options extremely good for helping decide what gear to bring to certain shoots, whether a sporting event, travel, wedding, or a portrait session, and even help decide what gear I have that I could do without and get rid of. It’s entirely simple, takes just moments, and may bring a new dimension to your metadata. Hopefully, this will make you a more efficient, precise photographer, and aid in culling your gear to make weight savings, or for gear better suited to your needs.

How To:

1. Open Lightroom and ensure you are within the Library Module. Note* This will work best if you have been using LR and have some folders already that you know have certain images from a certain type of shoot or event.

2. Within your Library in LR, highlight a selection of folders that pertain to one type of event – a wedding, or sports, for example. The purpose of this is to choose folders that contain images which are akin in subject matter to the next shoot you are about to do. This will allow the metadata offerings to be more pertinent. You can also select them all to get a general view of what gear you use most.

3. Ensure that your Filter Options Bar is visible. To do this to go View>Show Filter bar. Once the Filter Bar is visible, you’ll see four ‘tabs’ as Text, Attribute, Metadata, None. Select “Metadata.” Once you do that you’ll see a drop down column section with date, camera, lens, and label headings.

4. Once you’ve reached this point, you’re almost done. You can select each label heading in the top left of each column, and choose from a myriad of filtering options. Everything from ISO, to Lens, focal length, aperture, location, flash state, etc. See image below



I came upon this when a good friend of mine was considering his next purchase of lens, and we got into a discussion (read: argument), about him buying equipment he would not use. In order to show him, and win a beer, I used this metadata to show him what lenses he used most often, how many shots he took with each, and at what focal lengths. It helped him illuminate the gear he never used, and he sold it to get things he would really benefit from. Moreover for myself, I find it helpful to know what I use doing lifestyle shooting and travel shooting. I don’t like to carry a lot around with me, yet at the same time hate to be unprepared. This feeling is applicable to any shooting situation really, and knowing what you use, when, and how often, is hugely advantageous.

More Lightroom Tips:

Speed Up Lightroom | Important LR Performance News Flew Under Radar Amidst The Lightroom & Apple TV Fuss

Lightroom’s Dark Knight |The Alt/Opt Key Transforms Lightroom In Ways You Likely Don’t Know [Part 1]

Culling Is Critical & Lightroom Is The Tool To Do It With (If You Know How)

2 Tools That Open The Taps On Lightroom’s Develop Module & Presets

Lightroom, as mentioned above, can itself be deceptive. While it’s easy for a beginner to pick up a photo and start editing, there is just so much more to be taken from the program most people have, and yet don’t know how to use effectively. I love raw information and seeing what can be derived from it, and will continue to share what new findings I come about. We have an incredible amount of free Lightroom information available that we are always adding to on SLR Lounge, and if you want to really unleash the productivity capability of LR there isn’t a more comprehensive guide to understanding and using the ins and outs of the program like our Lightroom Workshop Collection, and others.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Eloise Speight

    Another use… if you’re thinking “should I buy a 85mm lens of 105mm lens” then you can add a column showing the exact focal length you’ve been shooting at.  So see if your pictures you take with your 24-105 or 70-200 are closer to particular focal lengths.

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  2. Griffin Conway

    Great article Kishore.  I never thought to use those filters to help decide what to bring to a shoot.  I have a tendency to overpack for everything, this definitely helps calm my nerves when I’m telling myself “I won’t need that lens for this shoot”.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Glad to be of help Griffin. I think you’re not alone there, that most of us want to pack it all ‘in case’ we need it, but honestly, there’s something to be said for putting restraints and seeing how you get on. Cheers

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  3. Ben

    But this means that you’ll continue to take the same gear time and again to the same type of gig. You might have used the wrong gear in the first place, or bought new more appropriate lenses in the mean time. The data is great to assist in making the decision to swap zooms for primes, as you can see what focal lengths you actually use.

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  4. Danielle

    Thank you very much for sharing this! It will definitely come in handy for me :)

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    • Kishore Sawh

      You’re more than welcome Danielle. There are other ways/metrics to use to see what you should carry, but this put the data in bold and shows you so quickly. Cheers

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  5. Dhanesh

    “It helped him illuminate the gear he never used”

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Dhanesh, thanks for joining! I did, however, mean ‘illuminate’. The process shed light on what he was not often using, and only some of which he then got rid of. ;-) Cheers mate.

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