Dade Freeman
Photographer & Trainer


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Keyboard Secrets for Lightroom

Learn the secrets of Lightroom

I have been using Lightroom (LR) as my photo editor of choice now for several years. Other applications have been and gone, but Lightroom has gone from strength to strength. Is it perfect? No. However, it is damn close and is a fantastic storage library and editing tool. For those people who were using Aperture and would like to move over to Lightroom, Adobe have released this free and simple migration tool - CLICK HERE.

As everyone seems to have their own way of using LR and their own workflow, I am not going to go through that aspect. I do know however, that several people who use LR, haven't discovered some of it's secrets, that will make your use of Lightroom so much better and faster.

I like to keep things as simple as possible when editing as takes long enough. I find moving your cursor around the screen constantly is a tireless pursuit. So I urge you to use the great shortcuts and keyboard secrets, if you know what they are, built inside of Lightroom. The following options work in Lightroom 5 and may not apply to previous versions. Please note:  CTRL (Windows) = CMD (Mac) & ALT (Windows) = OPT (Mac).

Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts 

  • G – will bring up the GRID view in the Library module.
  • D – will bring up the DEVELOP module.
  • \ – will show you a Before / After view (in the Develop Module).
  • SHIFT+TAB – I use this option when making my selections. It will Hide / Show all panels (this combined with 'L' means fullscreen & no distractions).
  • L – will make your screen darker around your image. Keep pressing L for Lights dim / Lights out / Lights on.
  • N - will enable 'Survey mode' - this is great for comparing batches of similar shots and finding your favourites, instead of flicking back and forth.
  • I - will display the 'info' - such as time, date, lens, camera, etc.
  • V - a quick option to convert to grayscale.
  • CMD+E - opens your image in Photoshop ready to edit.
  • CMD+/ - will show you all the keyboard shortcuts for the module you are in.

Secret options within options -

  • O - pressing 'O' when the 'Crop Tool' is open will cycle through the crop grid overlay options, showing you many different cropping tools - such as Golden Ratio. Pressing SHIFT+O will enable the orientation of the crop to be changed.
  • A - when the 'Spot Healing' is selected, pressing 'A' will help you visually see dust spots on your image. There is also a small check box on the bottom of the screen you can enable. The slider next to this check box makes seeing the spots easier and you slide it left and right.
  • Sharpening - go to 'DETAIL' in the right hand panel, under the sharpening section select 'MASKING' with the ALT key pressed, move the slider to help define where you want your sharpening to be applied.
  • Auto Advance - when in the Library Module, go to menu at the top of the screen, select PHOTO, and then AUTO ADVANCE, this will mean once you flag, rate or label an image it moves on to the next one automatically, making the process quicker. 
  • Black / White Point - in the Develop Module, to set your black and white point, simply hold down SHIFT and double click the word WHITES or BLACKS.

Right clicking - 

  • On the top panel (where the modules are) right clicking will enable you to turn off the modules you do not use.
  • On the right hand panel, right clicking will allow you to disable tools you don't use and select SOLO mode. This means only one panel is open at a time (much better imo).
  • If you right click the space around your image, it will allow you to change the background colour. 

And one last thing...

By selecting 'Camera Calibration' in the right hand panel and clicking 'Process' you can choose a previous RAW process, should you not like the current one or how it works.

Oh, and here's a bonus tip! - Most people didn't realise that clicking the word 'FILTER' on the bottom panel, opens up the options dialogue! Don't click the drop down menu next to it, but the actual word FILTER.

I hope that information has helped some of you and will enable your editing to be a much smoother, simpler process. :)

If you liked this tutorial, check out my TOP TIPS FOR LIGHTROOM

Dade Freeman is a Brighton photographer producing portraits and headshots for actors, musicians, corporate business and other professional industries.