Learning Lightroom Pt. 1: The Library Module | David Miller | Skillshare

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Learning Lightroom Pt. 1: The Library Module

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction to Adobe Lightroom

    • 2. The Creative Cloud + Non Destructive Editing

    • 3. Overview of the Modules

    • 4. The Library Module Workspace

    • 5. Importing Images

    • 6. The Library Module Panels

    • 7. Exporting Options

    • 8. The Center Panel Pt 1

    • 9. The Center Panel Pt 2

    • 10. Searching Your Library

    • 11. Virtual Copies and Stacking

    • 12. Putting it all together

    • 13. Wrap Up + Project

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About This Class

Adobe Lightroom is the industry standard program for cataloging, editing, and finalizing digital photographs; its modules accomodate the creative workflow in the same manner traditional photographers would build a library, develop their work with craft and skill, and create prints or books or slideshows.  

In this series "Learning Lightroom" we tackle the modules one by one, breaking down all the features and explaining how they may be relevant to any photographer.  This particular lesson focuses on the Library module, an amazing organizational tool with its own development features and special capabilities.  At the end I show you how an experienced Lightroom user would utilize all the components in a real world scenario.

Part 2 of our Learning Lightroom series, the Develop module, is here!

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Introduction to Adobe Lightroom: Hey out there. I'm David Miller. I mean, Phoenix, Arizona multimedia artist, photographer and an educator. I'm gonna talk to you about Adobe Light Room, and this is the first in our series of learning light room. So this tutorial is going to focus on the library module. Light room is broken up into distinct modules that correspond to the workflow that were supposed to do when we do photography, which is you photograph, you organize it, you develop it and you finish it. Now, that was really commonly understood when I was in college and we were darker photographers . But a lot of times today, people just photographed things. They forget about it on their card. They never get around to organizing it. They never get around to developing it or finishing it in any particular way. So I hope in this class where we focus on the organizational aspect of light room, So its my wish that in this lesson that focuses on the library, you're gonna pick up a lot of skills that become routine to you. And you're going to get used to the light room workspace on when you have things organize is gonna make it a lot simpler when you want to develop or finalize your work in any of the other lighter modules. So your project for this class is super simple. You're going to sort your images two distinct collections that you will carry over to your other modules screenshot that posted to the skill share product page so we can all see what you're 2. The Creative Cloud + Non Destructive Editing: So at the time of this recording, 2017. If you pay $10 a month to Adobe, you have access to both light room and photo shop. It used to be a question of which program you wanted to purchase or if you wanted to make an investment in both. But now it's a photography package, so you get both for that subscription fee. Why a photographer would choose light room over a photo shop. Well, Adobe Light Room is a powerful program for working with photographs that has two distinct advantages over the other programs. It is nondestructive and neatly accommodates workflow. But nondestructive essentially means that changes to files are made in program and you're not overriding your original files. This means you have access to the original work. Always. If I make an alteration in 2017 and I decide in 2020 that I don't like the way edited in 2017 I can always return to the original file. Same with if a client requests a change, that is something I could do All the alterations you making light room are within the program, and don't overwrite the actual photograph the way this is possible is light room creates a small data file called a sidecar file or ex MP file, so the extension is ex MP. This tiny file contains all of your alterations and metadata information and is attached to your raw image or other images once you make the alterations in light room. 3. Overview of the Modules: It is also simpler, faster than working in photo shopper Kamerad and less memory intensive. In this lesson, we are going to look at the light room workspace and there are multiple modules that you have to choose from. The great thing about light room is it's organized in a way that accommodates workflow. So workflow is the process of fully developing and finishing a photograph. We have the library module. There is the left panel, which involves importing exporting folders and collections, and we will get into the difference between folders and collections. A little bit later, you have the right panel which is your basic develop and tagging areas. And then you have the filmstrip which is going to stay consistent throughout all of the modules that you operate in light room. The second module is the develop module. So once again you have a right panel that has development settings. Of course, this being the develop module, they are a lot more specific and a lot more things that you conduce you here, you once again have your left panel which has organization areas. But it also has presets and history. And then, once again, you have the filmstrip on the bottom. Next is the map module. So the map module is something that allows you to geo tag your photos meeting. You look up where you shot them and place the coordinates on them. You need Internet access to use the map module, and it's going to be very similar to Google maps. So if you've used that before, you understand you can type in a location and then drag photos from the filmstrip onto the map module. It will geo tag them accordingly. Then you have four finishing modules, which are book, slideshow, print and web. Now the Web module is considered very outdated, and it is not something that I'm going to cover much in this class. There are so many other options for presenting your photographs on websites on logs on social media that creating a Web galleries in light room is quite old fashioned, and it actually looks unprofessional by comparison to all the other options there are for you. The slideshow, eBook and print modules all utilize collections that you create, so we will talk about those after we discuss what collections are in the library module 4. The Library Module Workspace: So now we're going to cover specific modules, and we're going to talk about the library first. But it is incredibly important to learn about what you can do in the library module because organizing your photos, having them properly tagged and assembled in the right collections is a way that makes life simpler for you, makes your editing workflow simpler. And it is going to be something that you'll need to utilize once you have a very large library of photos were talking thousands and thousands of photos. You can see which module you're in at the top of the screen. And if this is something you don't need to access quickly, you can use this middle triangle and flip it away. You can always mouse over the space and have that panel return. The left panel, as we mentioned before, is where the organization happens, and you have folders, which are the physical location of your photos and collections, which are the virtual locations of photos so you can select images from multiple folders and place him in a collection. First we need to talk about the film strip, so when you click on a folder in the left panel. The images inside appear on the bottom portion of your screen that is the filmstrip. Within this, you can select the photos you want to work with, and you can work with multiple photos at once. It's just a matter of highlighting through, holding down shift and clicking or holding control. This is the same with any program in Mac or Windows. 5. Importing Images: The main functions of the library module are importing photos, placing them in folders, organizing collections, doing basic editing, tagging rating or flagging your photos. Using a compare view to select the best image from a set of images, sinking the metadata and creating new versions of photos any size. Any format, with or without a watermark with automatic edits using the export function. Of course, the first step in light room would be importing photographs. This could be done from the computer's hard drive or a memory card, so click import in the lower left panel. This opens a new window, the import dialog window. In the left panel of the import dialog window, there is a list of sources to import from. If you have a memory card plugged into the computer, it will be listed here. Once you've chosen your source, you have. The option is to add copy or move listed on the top panel of the important dialogue window . Since our photos air in a folder on her hard drive, click add. This keeps the files at their current location. You can always move files and create new folders and light room at a later time. If you are importing a memory card, you will choose copy so that files will be copied ear hard. Drive to the folder of your choosing, and when you copy, it is not going to take those photos off of the memory card. If you select move, you are moving the files from location A to location B, and they will no longer be in location. A. So I always advise people to utilize copy when you are importing a memory card in case something goes wrong. And it does not get copied either because the card is corrupt or you run out of hard drive space and your import is disrupted. When you import, you can automatically add metadata such as copyright or tags, or develop all the images using in preset. We'll talk about presets in the develop module. This information could be handled in the right panel of the import window, so when you import photos, you have several options as to which photos you import. Whatever is checked will be imported into light room simply unchecked, the ones you don't want imported and, as a general rule, keep the box. Do not import suspected duplicates checked. If you're copying photos from memory card or external hard drive, then you choose the place to import them on the right panel. Click import and your photos will appear in your library. As you gain greater understanding of the library and develop modules, you'll find you can do many of your workflow tasks like tagging, copyrighting and developing images during this import sequence. This significantly reduces time spent on the computer. 6. The Library Module Panels: Now let's look at the panels in the library module. The filmstrip refers to the bottom panel light room space where the small thumbnails of images appear. These images refer to the folder of your library you are working in, or a collection or your most recent import. It specifies which source above the filmstrip. The folders and collections are on the left panel of Light room Scroll through the panel to view folders. They function the same way Folders function and Windows and Mac Explorer collections are useful way of organizing images spread across different folders. So to give you examples of how I utilize collections, I might have a best of a certain subject. Or I might have photos that are originally in different folders organized for submissions to galleries, team magazines. I have all of my websites images in a particular collection. Collections are what you access when you're in. Other modules do not have access to all of your folders in those modules. If that's the way you want to work, you need to start in library, choose a folder, then transfer over to the other modules. But I recommend creating as many collections that are suitable for your workflow as possible. If you have a wedding shoot, for example, you select the best images, place them in a collection, and now you have quick access to those as you travel over to your develop module or any other module. The right panel of the library module is where you enter tags viewing, alter metadata, do basic developments, add captions and set copyright. A lot of people overlook these important steps, but copyrighting your photos or placing captions and tags on them is a big deal when you want to sell your work when you want people to find your work on the Internet, and when you want to have other people understand what is actually happening in your work. So a lot of this is the equivalent to the old print days when people would write on the back of their photographs. Who was in the photo where, uh, photo was taken, how it's relevant. This is where you can do all of that work. Click on any photo in your film strip so it fills the center workspace of light room. Scroll the right panel until you see a space to add tags tagged the photo with any keywords you think can refer to it for example, not just what the subject is, but what prominent colors. Aaron The image. What prominent emotions air in the image, The location, the style like black and white or alternative? Process as many keywords as possible. This is how people find your work on the Internet. This is how you can cross reference your own work when you do a library search. So now we're going to talk more specifically about folders versus collection. Since your images can only exist in one space on computer hard drive, it helps to have some means of cross referencing images and putting photos that are not in the same physical location next to each other. Collections are, in a sense, virtual shoeboxes so you can sort them into as many different collections. For example, photos for website Best of the Kids magazine submissions animals without altering the actual physical location of the photograph. Collections are the only organizational tool available in other modules, so if you were in the develop module, you would have access to your collections. But if you want to access individual folders, you have to flip back to the library module. The quick collection is a special temporary group of photos to work within any module. A short cut to add photos to the quick collection is be so it's very convenient when you scroll through photos on the filmstrip to push, be in anything you might want to work on in the future. 7. Exporting Options: in the lower left side of the left panel, you see a button that says Export and exporting is where you create new versions of whatever photos you have highlighted on the filmstrip. Why do we need to export new versions? One reason is all of your adjustments to images are within the light room catalogue and not over written on the original file. Therefore, if you want to show any adjustments you need to create a new copy, another reason is whether you're going to create prints or post photos to a website or submit to a gallery magazine. There are usually specific requirements for size and pixel dimensions that you will have to follow. For example, a magazine submission might ask for all the names of your images to be first name, underscore last name, underscore name of the image or a number sequence. And if you're going to post things to the Internet, you might post a lower resolution version than you would. You were trying to print something so it is good to know how to export all these different sizes and custom names. We will be a little more specific about that later on, but I want you to know that these things exist. So the way that we export images is you select the image you want to export or, in the case of multiple images, highlight all the photos you want to export in the film strip bar. If the images are separated by folder, you can a highlight multiple folders collections to see the photos or be placed them together in a collection together or C, keep them within the quick collection. Now click export on the left panel. In the export dialog window, you can have your images renamed resized, sharpened and have developed effects added. Now what if you want to add a watermark to you exported photos. Watermarks can promote your work when it appears online and prevent people from essentially stealing your work. The way to do this is in the export dialog box. There is a drop down menu that allows you to edit a new copyright watermark. This could be a text watermark or an image watermark, and if you want to use an image, I would recommend using a PNG file, which can be transparent. If you use a JPEG image, it will appear as a block, and it will not be transparent, so you will not be able to see through to the image below you consent opacity of your watermark, and that is one way you could see through a little bit. But it's kind of unnecessary if you have a logo to have a white rectangle surrounding the logo. This is why I recommend using a PNG file that has no other elements to it but your logo. Another function you can do in the export phase is sharpening. Many people focus on sharpening during the developed phase. Sharpening for the appropriate media can be done during the export face, so there's really no reason when you're in the develop module to be sharpening your photo. 8. The Center Panel Pt 1: Now we want to address the center workspace and the filmstrip of the library module. When you cycle through your images on the filmstrip, you can correct the orientation. So if something is sideways or upside down, you can correct that flagged them as a pick or reject. You can rate them. You can filter which images are shown by metadata, tags, keywords, picks, flags, exposure information. Which camera took them? You can compare photos side by side, and you can view them as a survey, which means multiple images at once. Flagging a photo is a way of basically saying this is a pick on rejecting. A photo is a way of saying this one has so many flaws, or it's irrelevant. We don't need it to flag a photo. You hit P, and that puts the flag in the corner to reject a photo hit X on your keyboard. And not only will it gray out the photo, but once you have multiple photos rejected, you can hit commander control delete, and it will ask you if you want to throw away all of your rejects, and you can either have them removed in the library or removed from your computer. So if something is a reject to me, it's usually because it's so far gone. There's no salvaging it. There's parts cut off that I need in the photo or it's totally blurry or some other reason that I will never use this photo. So command deletes after I rejected these, and now my hard drive is clean from those. If you choose to rate your photos, it's just a matter of selecting the photo in the filmstrip and hitting on the numeric key. Which number of stars you want to rate it? It goes one through five. So when you get into the numbers 6789 you are placing a color tag on the photo. And often, time color tags are useful when you are just trying to organize what you might want to send to somebody. It's not a matter of saying this is five stars or three stars and quality. It's a matter of saying I wanna send this photo on a send this photo. I want to send this photo and use the rest of the numeric keys to color. Tag your images next to the ratings and the color tags there is a drop down menu. This is where you can sort your photos based on the rating the color, whether it's a picker, reject. When you are doing digital photography and you have hundreds, possibly thousands, of photos in a particular folder, these organization tools are massively helpful. 9. The Center Panel Pt 2: so I just want to show you a couple more features in this center panel. One involves orientation, and that is where you flip the photo from side to sign. It's these arrows that points to the left and the right. Certainly you could highlight a bunch of photos and correct orientation of all of them at once. Using shift or control, click. You can Also, you can also put face recognition on people. So this is useful. If you have subjects that you photographed quite a bit and you wanna have them tagged throughout your library catalog, you draw the box around their face. You name the person, and in the upper right corner of your library module bar, there is an option for face detection, so we will start indexing the photos as you bring them in. Also indexing your existing catalogue. This is similar to something that you can already do on social networks like Facebook. 10. Searching Your Library: so very briefly I'm gonna show you how we can do a search through our library. So if you have all photographs chosen, this particular catalogue, it only has 1665 images. But I have other catalogues that have upwards of 70,000, 150,000 images in them. We go library, find, and then we type words into them. So let's type Old West. And then these six photos are ones I have tagged Old Weston. I might not have take every single photo that actually has something that's kind of old Westie in it. But these six I have tagged at Let's see what comes up. If I type dogs, so too overexposed pictures of Chihuahuas show up when I type dogs. Now I have other photos that have dogs in them. They're not showing up because they're not tagged. This is why you need to kind of stay on top of your tagging, or at least save it as a sort of monthly ritual where you go in and you make sure everything has proper tax because you're not able to search for them. If they don't have the, you can also search by when things were shot. So if we go into metadata, all the dates are listed the kinds of cameras that things were shot on the types of lenses that were used, what kind of labels air filters you have on them. Let's see everything that was shot in 2008. So all these animal images and you can be more specific down to the month if you 11. Virtual Copies and Stacking: Now I want to introduce you to the concept of virtual copies and stacking. Whether you are working with a raw file, a tiff or JPEG, you can create a virtual copy by right clicking the photo in the filmstrip and selecting create virtual copy. And I should note that whenever you want to right click an image I'm talking about right clicking the actual image, not the grey area around your images. Ah, lot of effects or things you might want to do in light room won't work unless you're right clicking inside this image. Getting back to virtual copies, They allow you to make new iterations of images with alternate editing while keeping the original version visible. For example, a greedy black and white version. Next to a high contrast color version, you can make a many virtual companies as you like, and because their virtual they take up no hard drive space. These are extremely useful when you are developing and have conflicting ideas on how to work with a photo, or you need to create alternate versions to show a client if needed. You can compare these variations using the compare view in the centre workspace now stacking is a means of putting variations of a photo into a stack on the filmstrip rather than multiple virtual copies floating around. This is also useful for keeping images that are segments of a panorama or HDR. Exposures in one space to stack images highlight the group of images on the filmstrip and right click, so the menu goes to stacking group into stack. Really, this is just a method of clearing up some visual clutter. A number appears on the filmstrip thumbnail to indicate how many images air in this stack. 12. Putting it all together: Okay, guys, we're at the point where I want to show you what it's like when we put it all together, and I just So I just did a portrait shoot starting the memory card now. So everything I shot is of this particular person and I. It is difficult when you have multiple shoots on a card to tag them all. But when you have only one thing, highlight them all, make sure they're checked. Key words are going to be portrait's author individual. I put commercial because I kind of feel like a commercial to me. It's also not the arty kind of portrait's, and I'm mostly known for its more of something that's like a generic portrait thing. This is actually an author and easier for his book covers so male he is modeling. So I'm gonna call model, and that's good enough for now. Going to rename, then author Portrait. Choose my destination. It's going to pictures. It's going to its own folder. If you do not pick a folder, you're probably going to default to the date, which is fine, too. However, you organize things, is up to you and then develop settings just for the sake of showing you how to do this, I'm going Teoh, pick my black and white grainy. So it's going to automatically develop all of these photos using this preset. Now Just because it develops them during the import doesn't mean I can't go back and make changes or revert them back to color. It's just a quick way of handling photos if I already knew how I want them to look. So as you can see, it's applying those keywords and development settings to all 127 of the photos of importing it renamed Everything. And while they're importing, I'm gonna go ahead and start rating picking and deleting ones. So I already feel like this one is not flattering enough to keep some of these like, ah, striped on the middle of his nose but having the sides of his nose lit. I know he's not going to use that for any of his purposes, so I'm gonna reject that project that cut off his head, reject that this one's maybe his shirt. You can tell that it's ring clear in this one than this one. Someone picked this one. I'll go ahead and reject out of think we'll ever use that lighting is bad. Reject. When the lighting showcases the bottom of someone's eye socket, you know they're not going to use it. This one's a reject because there's an alternate version that's better centered. If I don't know if I want to pick it a rejected I just leave it. You never want to throw away something that unless you're sure that there's no purpose for it. Good expression. Now the reason why these haven't fully developed yet is because I'm going so fast that I'm not letting it load. If I let it load, this is gonna go straight to black and white. Grainy, I can usually tell even before it turns black and white. If it's a photo I want to use or not, the elements that make something a reject usually does not matter if it is black and white or in color, you comptel Oh, that's out of focus. Or that has the wrong thing cut off that has a bad expression. So if I do not want these versions with so if I realize that this import stage that things are showing up is black and white, I don't want them because this half I intended to be in color. There's a couple things that can do. One is under quick developed. Switch it over to defaults, and it reverts it to the way it originally Wes. Also, when you go on develop module, there's a button down here called Reset and you hit that on anything, and it sets all your sliders to zero and gets rid of any of these developed effects without a problem. In this authors case, I told him he was going to get two versions. He was going to get a black and white and he was going to get a color version. So I'll go ahead and create a virtual copy, and I'll look through these real quick even though this isn't my finalized at it. I would go in the develop module and do some touch up just for you guys. I'm going to boost exposure a little bit, so I have a colorized version and the black and white version. And then it's just a matter of doing a little bit of touch up, softening the skin in the develop module. So once I had my picks in my rejects going to delete the rejects so they don't eat it. My hard drive space. I'll turn my filters on to see my pics. There they are. And I'm going to highlight them all because these air all pics and I'm going to create a collection just for these under collections. The plus button create collection best. It's called author best. I'll remember that if I want to make new virtual copies at this stage, I can I don't really need to. There's my collection and now I'm ready to hop over the develop module. That is the majority of the work I would do in the library module. If at this stage I wanted to go back to the original file and, uh, add captions, set copyright, I could do that right. Click on the inside of the picture in the filmstrip go to folder and library filters air automatically off. I can highlight them all. Copyright status. Miller copyrighted. That's automatically been implied to every photo because Auto Sync has been turned on. Also, if I wanted to name the person I wanted to draw the box around their head, that would be the time to do it, and I'm ready to hop over the develop module and finalize my picks 13. Wrap Up + Project: guys, I want to thank you so much for sticking with this tutorial. You're going to find that you use the library module almost every single time. You open light room, and there's a lot more you can do besides importing and exporting your photos. Andi, Even within those portions of light room, there's a lot of hidden nooks and crannies and ways that you can save time. So I hope you picked up on those. I would love to see some of your work. We have a skill share product page if you have sorted your images into collections. If you have rated or done in any batch tagging, I want to see what you've done so screenshot that posted to the skill share product page as a JPEG check out the rest of my tutorials. There's quite a few on photography, light room photo editing, video editing and talk to you next time