147 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything

Tip 121. Streamline your layers

If you’ve used a lot of layers, you may find yourself scrolling up and down to find the appropriate one. 

To get more of them on-screen and avoid wasting time scrolling, click on the flyout menu at the top right, select Panel Options and reduce Thumbnail Size to the smallest option. 

In cases where you have a lot of layers, you can also pick None to show no thumbnails in the panel at all. Click this and you’ll return to your starting point without having to exit the palette and reopen it.

Tip 122. Fill with colour the quick way

To flood-fill a layer or selection with your foreground colour, press Alt+Backspace. Use Ctrl/Cmd +Backspace to fill with the background colour.

Tip 123. Check your colours will print

Not all colours captured by a camera can be printed, as a mix of CMYK inks can’t reproduce the RGB light that created the image. 

To get a good idea of what will or won’t print, press Ctrl/Cmd+Y to view the image in a CMYK preview. You can work on the image in this mode too, so you’re always aware of the colours that are out of range.

Tip 124. Sharpen in style

To sharpen a pic in Lightroom or Camera Raw, go to the Detail panel and set the Amount that gives a crisp result on a detailed, in-focus area on the preview. (Radius and Detail are often fine on their defaults of 1.0 and 25.) 

Now hold Alt and increase Masking until only the edges show in white. This prevents you sharpening areas that don’t need it.

Tip 125. Switch Lasso tools on the fly

When making a selection with the Polygonal Lasso tool, you can quickly switch to the Freehand Lasso by holding the Alt key. 

Draw around your area, and when you release Alt, you’ll be returned to the Polygonal Lasso.

Tip 126. Make new layers without fuss

To create a new layer above the one that’s currently active, press Ctrl/ Cmd+Shift+N and you can give it a name in the dialog box before clicking OK. 

To do it even quicker without a custom name, press Ctrl/ Cmd+Alt+Shift+N.

Tip 127. Build up grads gradually

After applying a Graduated Filter to darken a sky in Lightroom or Camera Raw, use gentle settings at first, then right-click on the Pin and select Duplicate. 

This gives you a second grad and a stronger effect, which you can drag into position and edit further, This is faster than creating new grads from scratch.

Tip 128. Warm up a shot the fast way

To add a swift warm-up effect on a landscape, press Ctrl/Cmd+L to open the Levels palette, and click RGB. 

Select the Red Channel from the list, and move the middle slider a little to the left. 

Now select the Blue channel and move it a little to the right. This creates an amber colour cast to the whole image, giving an instant warm-up effect.

Tip 129. Balance your colours

Colour temperature isn’t fixed in a raw file, and both Lightroom and Camera Raw make it easy to warm up or cool down your shots. 

The best starting point is to pick the appropriate preset (such as Daylight or Cloudy) from the drop-down menu next to White Balance in the Basic panel. Then, you can fine-tune the results to your liking using the Temperature slider. 

Tip 130. Change your mind on filter settings

If you’ve gone too far with a filter effect and want to dial back the settings, press Ctrl/Cmd+Z to undo the filter. 

You’ll see the image return to its pre-filtered state. If you now press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+F, you’ll bring up the Filter dialog box without having to reselect it. Change the settings and click OK.