I did the first Lightroom Q&A session over a year ago and I think it is about time I do one again. As before, you are welcome to ask any question you like about Lightroom. I very much hope to answer all of them by updating this article. I will run this session for up to a week and update the article regularly with answers. If there are any questions very specific to a certain case, I may answer them in the comments section. Specific, to-the-point questions will be answered in this article, while questions requiring more extensive explanation may be covered in separate articles in the near future. As always, our readers are very much welcome to pitch in and participate actively in this Q&A session by helping with the inquiries (I doubt I will know all the answers!). If you are new to Adobe’s Lightroom and find it difficult learning what’s what, this is the time and place to ask for help!
Questions about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
- Can I add EXIF information to files that were captured when mounted with an adapter on a compact system camera? (Thanks, Axel!)
As far as I know, most mirrorless cameras allow the user to enter information about lenses that do not communicate with the camera. Search the menu – you should be able to input focal length and widest available aperture setting. So long as you do that, all the necessary EXIF information will be imprinted as you import the RAW files.
Out of the box, Lightroom does not allow one to edit such EXIF information as camera model, ISO speed, shutter speed, aperture, focal length and so on. It can be done using various plugins – LensTagger springs to mind – or you can use other fields in the EXIF, like the “User Comment” section, and add the information there manually.
- Prior to Lightroom, I’ve been using different software for manage and post-processing my work. How should I handle my old image files as I move to Lightroom? (Thank you, Janet!)
A good question! And there is a simple answer to that. No matter which software you are using for managing and organizing your image files, they should always be properly organized into folders and subfolders in your system. Placing your RAW files in a separate directory from JPEG images is also a good idea (I tend to create a JPEG folder within specific destination to store exported images). We have a pretty thorough article on the subject, too. You will find plenty of advice there. There is no need to store images that you post-process with different software separately, as that will only make your archives more confusing.
As for moving to Lightroom for your photo managing, organizing and post-processing needs, if you’ve not used the software before, take your time with the transition, don’t throw your old tools away. Despite what many photographers might say – our team here at Photography Life included – you may not even like it, and that is alright.
- What ways are there to quickly select a number of files in Lightroom? (Thank you for the question, Steve!)
If you need to select all the files from a certain event, the easiest way to do it is to navigate to the source directory or Collection in the Library and just hit Ctrl + A (Command + A for Mac OS users). Another good way is to use filters if the images you need to select have something in common – a keyword, lens used, flag, rating or colour label. This is especially practical if you need to select a specific set of images within a folder or directory, but not all the files.
If, however, the files that you need to select don’t have any common filters to distinguish them from other files that you don’t need at the moment, the quickest way to select such images is by using the Ctrl + Left Mouse Click (Command + Left Mouse Click for Mac OS) when the files are not side by side to one another (quite tedious if you need to select a lot of files), and Shift + Left Mouse Click (I’ve not tried this selection method with Mac OS, but it should work the same) when they are. What Shift + Left Mouse Click allows you to do is select all the images in-between the two you selected. So, select the file where the succession start, then hold down the Shift key and left-click on the last file of the succession to select all the images in-between. Even if there are a few files within the sequence that you don’t need, selecting the whole sequence using the Shift + Left Mouse Click method, and then deselecting unwanted files with Ctrl + Left Mouse Click (Command + Left Click for Mac OS) can be much quicker.
If you find yourself needing to perform some sort of action with the same files over and over again, I strongly suggest you apply some sort of a filter (colour label, rating, etc) or moving them to a separate Collection to make the selection process that much quicker.
- Does Lightroom apply any default corrections to an imported TIFF file? (Thanks, Bill!)
No – unless you are importing a RAW or DNG file, Lightroom applies no corrections to TIFF or JPEG files upon import, be it sharpening, noise reduction or tone curve. All settings are at their default zero values.
- I had to move some of the images on the hard drive to a new directory. I’d rather not post-process them from the start with Lightroom – how do I relocate the files in the Library Module? (Thanks, Dale!)
If you move or rename images on your hard disk drive, Lightroom will lose track of them and will not relocate automatically because the specified path in the database no longer matches the location of the file. This means you will lose the ability to post-process those images until you show Lightroom where they’ve gone. There is absolutely no need to worry if you had to move some of your image files to a new location as, thankfully, relocating misplaced or renamed images can be done manually and is very easy.
To relocate misplaced image files simply select a missing photograph in Lightroom and click a small exclamation mark (question mark in Lightroom 4 and older) icon at the top-right corner of the thumbnail in the Filmstrip or Library. Then, click “Locate” and find the lost image. There’s no need to locate each and every one image individually – once you find one missing photograph, all photographs in that same folder will be automatically located. If a whole folder is missing, you can alternatively locate it instead of the images by right-clicking on it (“Folders” tab on the left-side panel in Library Module) and choosing “Find Missing Folder…”.
- What is the best way to restore highlights in a specific photograph without making it look like an obvious dodging? (Again, thanks for the question, Dale!)
Dodging can be a tricky technique to master well. For this, we have an actual tutorial. Basically, there are two ways to restore (within reason) highlights. The first one is to use the Highlights and Whites sliders whilst in Develop Module, Basic Tab. Mind you, this will apply the adjustment globally and affect all the highlights. If you want to be more local with the adjustment, you will have to use the Adjustment Brush and its own Highlights (or even Exposure) slider. We do not yet have an article dedicated to the Adjustment Brush (it is a very powerful tool), but I did describe it a little bit in this particular tutorial on post-processing portraits – give it a read!
- How do I preview images on white background using Lightroom? (Thanks, Zeph!)
There are three ways to do this. First one is best if you’d like the background to always be white or a shade of grey – while in Loupe View, simply right-click on the background and select the desired colour. If you’d rather work with a black background and just want the white background for previewing, it is made easy with the full-screen preview feature first introduced with Lightroom 5 (hit “F” to trigger). By default, full-screen preview has a black background, but you can change it by, as before, right-clicking on the background and selecting desired colour while in full-screen preview mode.
The third way is to use Lights Out mode which you can trigger by hitting “L” on your keyboard. It, too, is set to black by default. To set up Lights Out, go to Edit -> Preferences… and choose the Interface tab. There, you can adjust the background colour and the dim level.
- How do I find and remove duplicate images in my Catalog? (Thank you, Gregory!)
To start with, there is a way to avoid having duplicates in the first place. Upon import, simply mark the “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” checkbox on the right side of the Import dialogue, File Handling tab, and Lightroom will do its best to import only one photograph should there be any duplicates. If you suspect you already have duplicate image files in your Catalog, strangely enough, Lightroom has no way to identify such images out of the box. Luckily, though, a rather useful plug-in is available for such cases – it’s called Duplicate Finder and works just as you would expect it to. Click here to read more about the plug-in or purchase it (licensed version costs £8, which is around $12.50).
- Can you overlap Spot Removal Tool? (Thank you, Bernard!)
This is a good question that highlights an issue I’ve faced numerous times myself. Whenever you move the mouse cursor close to an already “healed” spot on the image, Lightroom will select the existing spot rather than let you place a new one, so overlapping two or more spots becomes tedious. However, there is a simple solution to the issue – to overlap two or more healing/cloning spots, simply place the second spot a little bit further away from the one you want to overlap it with, and then click-and-drag it into its due location.
- When printing photographs with Lightroom, is it possible to have it print EXIF or any other information on a separate sheet of paper for each photograph automatically? (Thanks, Peps!)
As of version 5.7, Lightroom has no such functionality. The only way to include such information is to print it on the same sheet, more than that – on the same side as the photograph itself. To do that, go to the Print Module and select the Page tab on the right-side panel. Then, select the Photo Info checkbox and specify what sort of information you want printed. That is hardly a viable option in most cases unless the format of your paper does not match the format of the photograph perfectly and you end up with white edges that you will need to cut off either way. Even then, Lightroom does not allow you to specify where the information is located on the sheet of paper. Best do it the old-fashioned way – with a piece of paper, a pencil and some stick glue.