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10 Lightroom tips you MUST know — desktop and mobile, part one

(Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome this guest post from Giulio Sciorio. Giulio is one of the first professional photographers to move from DSLR’s to mirrorless in 2010 choosing micro four-thirds as his preferred camera system and has worked with both Olympus and Panasonic to inspire thousands of photographers worldwide. Additionally, while Giulio’s vision for the future of photography has earned him praise as “Ahead of the Curve” by Shutterbug Magazine and featured in the Motion Arts Pro Master Series, his work was recognized by SPD as a top 10 cover shot and has been awarded an addy and press award for photography. Learn more about Giulio at smallcamerabigpicture.com.)

What started out a simple, desktop-only raw editing app as evolved into a platform to process your files on desktop or mobile. As Adobe Lightroom (formerly known as Lightroom CC) continues to change and more features are being added, it can be hard to keep up. In this two-part article, I share with 10 Lightroom tips you should know.

If you want to up your game with social media, service your customers by rapid delivery of finished photos or just have more fun by editing raw files on the go, these 10 tips on Lightroom is for you.

Capture, edit, organize and share on smartphone, tablet or desktop

With Lightroom you can capture, edit, organize and share your work on any platform. Adobe Lightroom works on mobile, tablet, desktop and the browser so regardless of what platform you have, you can get to work on your RAW files.

What’s more, if you’re working with your smartphone, Lightroom for mobile has a built-in camera that can capture raw photos and what’s super cool is that the Lightroom camera can capture RAW HDR images. What’s impressive about RAW HDR capture with Lightroom is that while the camera captures three RAW files, it will contain them in a single DNG file. The result is an expanded dynamic range and better color for mobile photography. While it’s not a replacement for a dedicated camera, in a pinch it’s handy.

Automatically backs up to the cloud and on your desktop (if you set it up)

Adobe Lightroom automatically backup all photos (and video) to the cloud which makes accessing your work on any device possible. Beyond cloud backup, the one thing Lightroom does that makes the app even more valuable to someone like me is that Lightroom will backup all your cloud-based images on your desktop as well. This way you’re not locked into using cloud storage only.

How I use Adobe Creative Cloud backup with local storage

When I’m shooting on location and don’t want to bring a laptop and drives, I’ll use an SD card reader with my iPhone or iPad to get the photos into Lightroom. As my photos and videos are backing up to the cloud they are also being downloaded onto a dedicated drive in my office.

As an extra measure, I use Backblaze which backs up every file on my Mac to their cloud storage so I have one copy in Creative Cloud, a second copy on my Mac and the third copy in Backblaze cloud storage. This is cost-effective since my Creative Cloud 1TB storage is $10 a month and Backblaze is $50 a year for unlimited space.

Setting up a local backup

In Lightroom on your desktop, go to Lightroom > Preferences > Local Storage then choose where you want your local files to be stored.

If you delete a file from Lightroom before moving it out of your local folder, Lightroom will delete the file from your local storage as well. As a general rule, be sure to move your work out of Lightroom before deleting anything because once Lightroom deletes a file you have 60 days to recover it. Deleted files can be found in the Deleted collection which is found under My Photos.

Lightroom can be used with Lightroom Classic as part of a complete workflow

Adobe designed Lightroom to work with Lightroom Classic and doing so makes the most of the Lightroom experience. Because I’m always out of the office creating content, I like to use Lightroom with Lightroom Classic by first importing my captured media onto my iPhone or iPad with the SD Card reader. This allows me to make a quick edit and deliver files to my clients fast so they can share on socials and gives me the opportunity to edit the content further if I have the time. When I’m back in my office, I then move the originals from my master catalog in Lightroom Classic.

Sometimes if I’m about to hit the road but need to finish some RAW processing, I’ll move RAW files from Adobe Lightroom Classic to Lightroom.

Think of Lightroom Classic and Lightroom as parts of a complete workflow, not as separate applications.

Apple Pencil support

Before Lightroom came to iPad, I must have used my Apple Pencil twice which made me feel kinda bad about spending $100 on a stylus but now I use the Apple Pencil frequently. Apple Pencil support in Lightroom makes localized adjustments a breeze since, with Pencil, you’re able to paint in subtle adjustments where you want them.

Because adjustments sync with your desktop copy of Lightroom, when working in my office, I move between working at my desk, then moving to a more comfortable location in my home to do the localized retouching work. If you are rocking a Microsoft Surface Pro, Adobe Lightroom supports the Surface Pen too. Shavasana!

Share and collaborate with galleries

With Lightroom, you can share your work with clients in galleries that you’re collaborating with. If you’re shooting professionally, shared galleries in Lightroom is a big deal that should not be overlooked.

Some jobs require me to shoot and deliver from multiple locations with tight deadlines and it’s the shared galleries that allow this to happen in a way that looks professional and my clients love it. Earlier this year, I was commissioned to capture and deliver 20 shoots in a week with the client needing a handful of images quickly for socials. Because I had set up my shared galleries with the client in advance after I finished each shoot my iPad with LTE would push the images to Creative Cloud and deliver to the client as I drove to the next location. They had no idea how I could deliver such a large amount of work quickly which is a huge boost to my value as a photographer in their eyes.

If you don’t need a rapid delivery of your work, you have the option to make the gallery collaborative so clients can add comments to photos which you can reply to. The commenting also is a nice way to have a “paper trail” in the event the client changes their mind on edit and is wondering why they’re being billed more.

Wrapping up

You do need an Adobe subscription to get the most out of but if you don’t a free 30-day trial is available. Make sure you have enough hard drive space to store your backups locally. Lightroom Mobile does not store files locally as the desktop does. Don’t rely on Creative Cloud to be your only backup. I use Backblaze to back up everything safely and it’s cost-effective. You don’t need the latest devices but it helps. Using Lightroom for mobile can impact your data plan.

If you want a deeper dive into any of these Lightroom tips or have one to share, drop us a comment below. Photography is changing rapidly and what might seem strange at first can become a fun way to explore creativity when inspiration strikes you. Have fun and don’t forget to carry less, create more.

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