Blogger’s Guide to Using Lightroom

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posted on: January 16, 2017

In the past, I have written extensively about blog post templates, Photoshop tutorials, and photography. The list is not complete without Lightroom! Not only is it a lifesaver, but it’s a game changer for bloggers generating high-quality imagery. In fact, I would say that almost all of my custom design clients use Lightroom for their blog photographs.

Why do you need It?

Editing photos in Photoshop (one at a time) is unnecessary and tedious. With Lightroom, you can batch import, edit and export photographs, saving you lots and lots of time. You can also apply the same settings and filters to all of your photos with ease – consistency!

What’s the difference between Photoshop and Lightroom? Photoshop is designed for extensive edits – removing elements, creating gifs, retouching, etc. Quick editing changes make Lightroom the ideal platform, what most bloggers do to their photographs!

How to use Lightroom?

Since this tutorial is an entry level explanation into using Lightroom, I’m going to focus broadly on four components – shooting in RAW, importing photos, editing images, and exporting images. You will likely want to read more on editing images since this post is just an introduction to it!

Shooting in RAW

If you use Lightroom, you want to shoot your photographs in RAW rather than JPG. Only do this if you have Lightroom. A RAW image file contains minimal processed data from the image sensor; they are called RAW files because they are not ready to be printed/edited.

In your camera settings, you will see the option to set the QUALITY. Depending on your camera, you have several different options, but you want to choose RAW.  You might have a full-frame camera where you can select a JPEG option; this means that when shooting you’ll get a RAW file and JPG file.

Importing Your Photos

If you aren’t using Dropbox, you probably should. You can set up Dropbox, so all of your files on your computer are automatically backed up. You want to create two file folders; one for originals and one for edited. I name mine the following: “LH Original Photos” and “LH Final Photos”. Within the LH Original Folder, I will create a folder for that blog post or project, such as “Camera Guide”.

  1. Insert your SD card.
  2. Lightroom might prompt to import your photos but decline this action. It will be better in the long run. Instead, open up your folder that you want to place the original photos.
  3. Drag the RAW files into this new folder.
  4. Open Lightroom. Go to FOLDERS and click the “+.” Select the folder you want to import.
  5. All of the images in the folder will appear.  You’ve added the files to Lightroom without slowly it down. Don’t move the original file folder, and you can always access those files here. That’s why I suggest setting up a system via Dropbox for organizing your originals.

Editing Images in Lightroom

Once you import the photos, you can edit, rotate, export, or delete them. To edit them, select the DEVELOP tab next to the LIBRARY tab in the top right section of the screen. I predominately use the general editing (for cropping), basic section and detail. This component is where you would want to do your research and play around more!

  • General Editing: At the very top you will see six icons. These icons allow you to make some bigger edits to the photograph such as cropping and straightening, red-eye correction, and spot removal.
  • Basic section is located below the icons, and it features tools that allow you to do just that – basic editing – such as exposure, contrast, highlights, clarity, and vibrancy.
  • Tone Curve and HSL/Color/B&W  is where you would make changes to the color of your images.
  • Split Toning colors monochrome images or creates special effects with color images.
  • Detail refers to sharpening an image to become crisper.
  • Lens Correction lets you correct any issues caused by the camera lens, such as lens vignetting
  • Effects panel is where you can apply a vignette or add a film-grain effect.
  • Camera Calibration makes adjustments to the default calibration settings of your camera.

Exporting Images

Now that you have your images ready for use! It’s time to export them so that you can upload them correctly to your website.  It’s quite a simple process!

  1. Go to LIBRARY and select the photographs you want to export. Select the EXPORT button in the bottom left.
  2. Under EXPORT LOCATION, select the folder you want to export the images too. Then, select the checkbox that says “PUT IN SUBFOLDER”. When you export the photographs, you want to create a subfolder of these images. This subfolder will keep your photographs organized. I always name this folder the title or keyword of the blog post.
  3. Under FILE NAME, check “RENAME TO” and select “CUSTOM NAME – SEQUENCE”.  In the custom text field, rename your photograph to the keyword of your blog post. This process will change all the file names from “DSC-0101.jpg” to ‘keyword-1.jpg”.
  4. Under FILE SETTINGS, select JPEG. The quality should be between 70-80%. This process ensures that the images are saved down for the web, so that they are not too big that your site loads slowly. This process keeps the images crisp and clear!
  5. Under IMAGE SIZING, select RESIZE TO FIT and select WIDTH & HEIGHT.  For the width, enter the width of your main content area that’s double the size. If your main content area is 700 pixels wide, your width should be 1400 pixels. Leave the HEIGHT blank. If you have different sized images, this will ensure that the width is all the same. Make sure you have DON’T ENLARGE checked just as precaution.
  6. Then, select EXPORT. Once completed, open the new folder to make sure all the images are there. You should be set to upload them to your site!

Should I Use VSCO Filters?

VSCO filters are definitely up to your personal preference, but I particularly like working with them. They can transform a photograph. Since they are a premium purchase, they can give your images that little extra detail. I used VSCO Filters for this project because the photos played a big role, but needed to be elevated. I definitely would not purchase VSCO Filters until you get more comfortable with Lightroom.

You Might Also Like: Comprehensive Guide to File Formats & 5 Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners

Want more Graphic Design tutorials? Check out these posts! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Editor's Note

Some of the links included throughout this website are affiliate links, which means that Lindsay Humes LLC receives a small commission when certain items are purchased. These affiliate links provide a means for the site to earn revenue and generate free content for readers. For more details, read the privacy policy here.

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