Lightroom 3–Getting Started Tips for Beginners

I LOVE Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. If you have been visiting here for longer than one day, you probably already knew this. I love Lightroom because it saves me lots of editing time. However, just like any piece of software, it takes a little time to learn and get comfortable using. I guess because I have professed my love openly, I have had several people ask me to show them how to use it.  I enjoy doing it but, since many of you aren’t close enough for this to happen, I thought I would try and get you started with some tips and resources here!  So here is my list of helps for those just beginning to use Lightroom 3.

  • First, install Lightroom and make sure that you download and install all the updates.  You’ll likely be prompted to do this once you have installed Lightroom. If you aren’t, you can go to the Adobe Downloads area and download the Windows update or the Mac update. The updates contain new features added to the program, fixes for “bugs” found in the previous versions, and support for new camera models.
  • Next, Get Orgainzed.  This is actually one of my favorite features of Lightroom.  The photos I shoot are really easy to import into Lightroom and I rarely have unimported images sitting on my memory cards anymore.  Lightroom also helped me really solidify my photo organization and keeps it working for me.  I have a My Pictures Folder on my external hard drive.  Within that folder are 2 folders–One for all images shot of my family and extended family and another for photos that I take of other people.  The family folder is organized by date.  So, there are folders for each year.  Within the year folders are month folders.  Within the month folders are descriptive names.  For instance, February contains folders called Making Valentines, Playing with Jenga Blocks, Science Fair, Kids Painting, etc.  I follow a similar pattern for photos that I take of others.  Julieanne Kost has an excellent video to help you get started with the importing and organizing features of Lightroom.  Check it out below.

  • Now, get familiar with the Develop module. This is where the processing of your photos happens.  I always start with the Basic panel and work my way through it before I go any where else. Generally, I adjust my white balance (if needed), then adjust my recovery to bring back any accidentally blown highlights, adjust my blacks (almost always increased a bit), and add a little vibrance (especially if I used the recovery slider–it seems to make the photo a little dull if used too much.) Honestly, though, you can make your corrections in any order you want and skip all over the panels if you like. The changes in Lightroom aren’t applied in layers like Photoshop so your order doesn’t matter as much. Order just helps me work faster ;)!

Lightroom Beginner 1

You can watch Julieanne Kost work through the Develop module in the video below.

Some resources you may want to check out while you are learning Lightroom:

I hope these resources help you get started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom!  If you have additional questions about Lightroom, ask me in the comments or use the contact link at the top of my blog.  I will try to answer them here or in a future blog post!