Whether you’ve just started using Adobe Lightroom or you’re an experienced hand, knowing how to organize your photos sensibly is a must. In this quick guide we show you a common-sense way of setting up your Lightroom library.
For those of us used to a standard folder-based image library, Lightroom 4’s approach to image organisation requires a shift in mentality.
At its core, the Adobe Lightroom Library is simply a database that assigns and remembers things about your image – where it is on your hard drive, which keywords and ratings are assigned, if any tonal adjustments have been made and so on.
It’s perfectly suited to the demands of image libraries that can run into the thousands.
However fastidiously you organise your images, problems arise with standard folder-based libraries when one image can be classified in several ways.
Say, for example, you have a shot of a classic car taken during a wedding. Should it go in a wedding folder, a classic car folder, or both?
Lightroom offers a solution: you can create collections for each category that an image falls under without having to move the file around or create memory-crippling duplicates on your hard drive. It does for images what playlists do for music.
Building a Lightroom library begins with the import. This may seem laborious at first, but it quickly pays off when you begin to reap the rewards of an organised library.
A few tweaks during the import can save you hours in the long run. Here, we’ll start at the very beginning: plugging a memory card into your card reader and using Lightroom’s Import command to assign copyright data and keywords.
We’ll go on to flag favourite shots, make quick tonal tweaks, and finally export images as JPEGs. Learn these key skills and you’ll be well on the way to having the kind of organised image library you’ve always wanted.
Making a Lightroom Library: 01 Stick in your memory card
Open Lightroom 4, then stick your memory card into your card reader (if you’re using our files, copy them to your hard drive, then go to the Library Module, hit Import and use the Source panel to find them).
Either hit Check All or manually check the files you want. Check Copy as DNG at the top middle.
PAGE 1: Making a Lightroom Library – 01 Stick in your memory card
PAGE 2: Making a Lightroom Library – 02 Choose Import options
PAGE 3: Making a Lightroom Library – 03 Pick your favourites
PAGE 4: Making a Lightroom Library – 04 Make a collection
PAGE 5: Making a Lightroom Library – 05 Quick tonal tweaks
PAGE 6: Making a Lightroom Library – 06 Export the files
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