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Basic editing in Lightroom- Folders, importing, basic editing tools and exporting the photo

Lightroom is my favorite editing program since I got it last year. Photoshop is a great set of programs and Lightroom is the one that I love the most in the series. The other day a friend bought the lightroom program and asked me the important question on basics off handling your folders in this program. Off course, this friend is (an almost) professional on photoediting and does all her edits in Photoshop (the mother program).

But Lightroom is an asset both for beginners and professionals and somewhat different from Photoshop. IT has a lot of the features that Photoshop has, is easier and handles editing several photos at a time with grace. All the editing program you need if you have to choose.

I will show you my process of editing. Everyone does it differently and there are no rights and wrongs so use the tips you like, add some from other guides or loose some. It is your choice! This weekend have been all about editing, I have used both lightroom and photoshop for some photos and just lightroom for some. Will show you my photos and tell you the difference for me. In two months I am to hand in some photos for two yearly photocompetions, just for fun. These are the photos that I have been working with this weekend.

Handling your folders

The handling of your folders and picture space on your computer is a chapter of it´s own. I´ll make this part short.

Before editing I import the folder wih my raw files into my lightroom program. You can keep all pictures in Lightroom but I prefer saving it in good old fashionable folders on the Mac that I name: 141130- Walk forest Grythyttan, coffee with friends etc. I don´t either use keywords or tags, but that is possible in lightroom and lightroom also backs up your photos so this stepp isn´t necessary. I do it because I do everything like this, I keep my videos like this and I keep my written documents like this as well. This makes it easy when backing up. I just back up all my folders on an external hardrive and remove them from the computer a couple of times a year.


Folders — Pictures – 2014- November – 141130 Name of folder


Import your pictures

(I have my program in Swedish.)

You import by clicking on/being in the library in Lightroom. You then have the import button down to the left. Choose the folder you want and import. Then click on ”develop”. You have now arrived at your editing space.

Then I start my editing process.

Photo example: Portrait of a boy in Peru


The above photo is the original photo with no editing.

+ What I love with this photo is that it is a bit out of focus and therefore comes to life.

– Some minus with the photo is that the boy have shadows in the face and that behind the boys left shoulder is to much light (the sun reflects on the car). Another problem is that another child behind the boy have a very strong coloured sweather.

So the minuses is also what we are going to fix. There is nothing wrong with keeping the colors in the photo though but with this photo I decided to go for a black and white photo, because I love black and white and because black and white is it´s own category in the competitions. This is the result —


I think that you agree that the color of the other boys sweather is no longer a problem when you switch the photo into black and white?


Basic editing

Before starting the editing process i check something called lens corrections (objektiv korrigeringar). I have a lens that is wideangle and this function take care of the problems of wide angle lenses as vignetting (vinjettering), dark corners, but also the problem of oval forms. So I just push the button activate profile corrections (aktivera profilkorrigeringar) and mostly it goes automatically/ the program knows which lens you have. You find this funktion in the right editing space down below the basic editing tools between details and effects. After doing this I continue with the editing process.

Editing the photo of a boy-

Make sure you are in the develop space.

1. I began with converting the photo into black and white by pushing the black and white button in the top of the editing space below the histogram. The histogram is a cool tool where you can see the settings of your original photo like iso, shutterspeed and aperture.

2. To the right in the ”develop” space you have your basic editing tools of all sorts. The most used is on the top, as temperature and exposure. In this photo I enhanced exposure +0,45, shadows +26 (it removes some of the shadows in the boys face) and +20 in clarity.

3. The next menu is curve. I skipped this one in this photo and continued to the color sections where you can make the colours lighter etc. I have learned that you should keep the original curve/ or not go extreme on the different colores, but I gave the colores overall some more light by dragging the settings more to the right in the photo.

4. I skipped the next menu called ”split tone” (delad toning) and went to detail. Here I enhanced sharpness to 25 and luminans/ noice reduction to 8. I don´t know why I do this, but sometimes it just feels better. :).

That is all in the basic menu. In this photo I also added a filter why my fifth move is to add a filter. But before doing so I copy the edits so I don´t have to redo them if something happens. Click Mac button+C or go to the edit menu and choose Copy (for pasting the settings if necessary I use Mac button+V or edit menu and paste. The copy feature is very good to know when editing more than one photo at a time. Just paste on all photos that need the basic editing.

5. Below the histogram you have different icons. Here I choose to click on the gradient filter (övertoningsfilter). With this filter you can get rid of reflections or make a horizon darker etc. Just click in the top of the picture and drag (a bit tricky at first, but who said it was easy). Then you can change the settings for the filter. You don’t have to do that before dragging the filter. In my photo i clicked and drag the filter just over the part where it is lighter. Then I set the exposure to -1 and highlights (högdagrar) to -28. 


When you are satisfied it is time to export the picture.

Export the picture

Exporting is easy. If you have edited more than one picture you can always export them all at the same time. I keep it simple, click on all photos I want to export and then choose Archive/ Export. In the export window you can choose which folder to export to, to resize the picture (I choose pixels 1200 x 800 and then you can add a watermark if you want to. Then hit export!

That´s all folks.



Summary, This is all you need to do!

1. Import to lightroom

2. Go to the workspace Develop. To the right you have your basic editing tools.

3. Work with exposure, highlighs, clarity and whatever you like in one picture. You don´t have to use any of the other editing tools to begin with. Macbutton + C to copy your settings and Macbutton + V to paste in the same settings in another picture. 

4. Export several pictures at once through Macbutton + clicking with your mouse on the pictures you want and then export (Menu archive/ Export) – choose folder, size of picture and export.


Edited in a similar way in Lightroom. Converting into black and white, adjusting colors and adding a gradient filter.



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