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This morning, for Imaging USA Day 2, Nick, Robyn, and I awoke and headed over to Delta Ballroom C for an early 8 am class about Lightroom, “Getting Started with Lightroom.” Chris Orwig, the creator of the first Lightroom class in the World, Sony Artisan, Photographer, Author of 7 books, and teacher, noted that Lightroom may be one of the most important aspects of the post-production process. The class, more for Lightroom newbs than veterans, started from the very beginning to help build a solid foundation. Mr. Orwig divided the 75 minutes into four essential Lightroom stages: 1. Import (get it set up), 2. Organize (how to use Lightroom to handle thousands of images efficiently. “If not efficient we lose expressiveness and creativity.” 3. Improve (What can we do with image, exposure, crop, remove problems). 4. Export (we do not want a shoebox of photos).
Mr. Orwig proved to be an exceptional orator and clearly loved the topic. He excitedly discussed the import features, namely Folders and Catalogs, of the Lightroom application. Similar to Finder on the macOS Catalina, Folders represented the physical location of your hard drive, media card, or camera images. He stressed several times to never do anything behind Lightroom’s back, as it will not easily follow the changes. To create a real-world analogy, he related the catalog feature to someone with a catalog of contents located in several bike warehouses. Essentially, the program will allow you to know what you have and where the items are located. Thus, Lightroom does not always physically move files but simply knows that they exist. The Catalog feature is Lightroom’s method of understanding data and knowing where to find the data. Cataloging is incredibly important as it keeps location, preview, editing, rating, collection data. Without the catalog, the data is harder to find and to utilize. Thanks to this cataloging feature, it becomes important to make changes within the application and not on the backend. Mr. Orwig stated that if you choose to make Lightroom a part of your post-production methodology, you should adopt a once-in, all-in mindset.
Beyond simply importing files, we were exposed to several more advanced features as well. Once the images were loaded, you could double click the image to zoom in, or you could press the E key (Library Loupe View) or G key (Library Grid View). You can review each of the images and mark them with stars, Labels, and/or Flags with the toolbar along the bottom of the screen. Flags will allow you to group batches of images to work with later. You can use the P-key to flag an image, U-key to unflag the image, or the X-key to reject an image. Later you can batch these images and consider deleting all of the rejected images at once. Combining the labels/flags/stars will allow each photographer to create their own organizational system. A question came up during the presentation about deleting items within Lightroom. If you pressed the delete key, you will get the option to remove versus delete. If you delete an item, it will be deleted from the disc and the Lightroom. If you remove the image, Lightroom loses the knowledge of the item but it remains on your desktop. You can actually resynchronize folders to make sure that the images in Lightroom match the actual folder. It will bring up a menu item alerting you that images exist that were not visible to Lightroom and would recover the image back to Lightroom.
Within the Library module, there were several additional shortcuts. If you press the L-key (Lights out view), you can showcase your image with the surrounding application dimmed. Press the key again to cycle this back on. If you press the F-key, it will take you to a full-screen view. By eliminating the clutter of the surrounding application, it creates a more optimal viewing surface. You can use the arrow keys to scroll through the images, and you can increase the thumbnails along the bottom of the screen by clicking and dragging upwards. You can customize the panels as well by sliding them. Using the D-key, you can enter into the development module. The accordion-like panels along the right will allow you to adjust various aspects of the image. Drag each of the sliders, create a visible look, create a virtual copy of the image, and edit the original and virtual copies. To continue with the shortcuts, Mr. Orwig discussed the tab key feature (hides side panel), the Shift + Tab feature (hide everything), cmd+Delete (Delete) feature, and the magic/power of Collections, yet another layer of organization. Unlike the folder/catalog system, collections created a virtual method of organizing images. You can right-click the collection of choice and then press the B-key to add the desired images to your collection. When done processing the color, noise, contrast, brightness, etc., you could then export the image to a folder or email.
The class proved quite useful to me but likely did not delve deep enough into the application for more seasoned users. As a recurring theme, and likely the most important aspect of the class, Mr. Orwig instructed us to Right-Click everything. Using a test image, play with the application, play with the sliders, play with collections. If interested in further education, navigate to Chris Orwig’s Instagram page and view some of his extra classes.