Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Renaming Your Image Files in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Many photographers like to rename their original image files.  I personally don’t — I look to the folder name and image keywords I have applied to tell me about a photo rather than the file name, so the camera-generated file name is fine for me.  There is no right or wrong on this — I suggest that you come up with a system that makes sense for you, and most importantly, stick with it for consistency.

Even if you don’t rename your originals, you may still find that you want to rename copies that you export for email, Shutterfly, Zenfolio, etc…

I have produced a short video to show you the basics of how to set up and apply a filename template that you can use to rename your files, whether during import, after import in the library module, or during export.

Click HERE to watch the video.  Note that in the video when I show the template editor drop-down list, Edit is cut off — but it is the last choice.

One note on export:  if you have arranged your images in the Library module in any other order other than filename and you want to preserve that order upon export (for example you want them to show up on Shutterfly in that order), make sequence number your first field in your renaming template.

A Most Useful Shortcut for Viewing Images Full Screen

In Uncategorized on February 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm

While I know a fair amount about Lightroom, I am always picking up more from my fellow bloggers.  Here’s a quick but useful shortcut  from Sean McCormack over at  To see your image and nothing but your image, type Shift-Ctl-F on the PC, or Shift-Cmd-F on the Mac.  This will hide the surrounding panels, menu bars, tool bars and system task bars, and your image will be displayed as close to full-screen-size as possible .  While in this view, you can use your left and right arrow keys to scroll to other images.  This shortcut works in all modules, and your other module shortcut keys will continue to work, such as 0-5 for stars and P for Pick/X for Reject in the Library module.     Hit Shift-Ctl/Cmd-F again to exit this mode.

If you are going to be viewing your images full size on the screen like this, you should set your preferences so that your standard-size image previews are screen-size.  Go to Lightroom (Mac) or Edit (PC) > Catalog Settings > File Handling, and set the Standard Preview Size to be as close as possible to the width or your monitor’s resolution.  Check your system display properties to find out what this is.  (PC for other than W7: right-click on your desktop, choose Properties>Settings>Advanced, and note the resolution.  For W7, right click on the desktop and choose Screen Resolution.)  For Mac, System Preferences, Display.

Wondering what other blogs to follow?  Start with those in my Links section at the bottom of this page.

One Blogger’s Take On Aperture 3

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 at 12:49 am

As Mac users may know, Aperture 3 was released last week.  While I would love to be able to speak personally to how it compares to Lightroom (Lightroom 2 or the Lightroom 3 Beta), I don’t have a Mac and am not willing to fork out such a large chunk of cash to buy one just  to be able to run Aperture, so I can’t do so.  Fortunately my colleague Gene McCullagh has written a thoughtful blog post on his experiences and opinions thus far over at

Mac users, my advice to you is to think long term and to not  switch to/from either unless you are convinced one will significantly help you to improve the quality of your output or your efficiency in the long run.  I am reminded of my own struggles with Canon vs. Nikon … 6 years ago I was a Nikon shooter, but I felt Canon was ahead so I switched over … and now I feel Nikon is ahead…. but I am resisting another costly switch.    Fortunately I believe that Canon and Nikon will continue to leap frog each other, and that the competition benefits us all.

Note that I am not saying that I think that at this point Aperture has jumped over Lightroom — based on what I have read (though admittedly not first-hand experience), this is not the case, though there are some areas where Aperture has gone further than Lightroom, and Adobe should pay attention and respond.

Regardless, for Mac users, do think also of the amount of support available to Aperture users vs. Lightroom users, including blogs, forums, training material, local workshops, etc., unless you are a go-it-alone type of user.

Click HERE for Gene’s post.

Feel free to post comments with your own experiences with Aperture vs. Lightroom.

Join Me on Facebook

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I have finally set up a Facebook page.  I see it not only as a way to let folks know that I have posted on my blog, but also a more casual forum for quick tips.  I’d love to see you become a fan!  Feel free to post ideas for blog posts, workshops, etc, or your latest Lightroom and Photoshop discoveries that you’d like to share.

Build a Professional Looking Website Completely in Lightroom without Breaking the Bank!

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2010 at 2:36 am

Last week Lightroom guru  Sean McCormack released a new web engine plug-in, LRB Exhibition.  I have to say, I am impressed — in less than an hour I was able to use Lightroom to create a complete website that I would not hesitate to show someone who might  judge my work.  The plug-in accomodates a home page, about page, contact page, one additional page of your choice, up to two external link pages, and up to 6 gallery pages.   You can modify text placement, fonts, all colors, and much more.  And it costs just 15 Euros, or USD $21  at today’s exchange rate!    This includes up to 9 downloads, so as Sean continues to refine the product, you can get 8 upgrades before having to repurchase.   Some users will want even more flexibility than the product currently has, and perhaps more will get built into it, but as it is I consider it  quite a deal.  UPDATE: Sean is offering a 20% off introductory price through Friday night (2/12, Ireland time).

Here is my sample website (with just a random sample of photos):

You can read about the plug-in, watch a video, see sample galleries and purchase the plug-in  HERE

If you buy it, do watch the video;  then plan to spend some time experimenting to figure out some of the details. Post questions for Sean on the product web page if you have issues, can’t figure something out, or want to make suggestions for future releases.

A couple hints from my experience:

Once you choose the size of your photos in the Appearance panel, crop all your photos to be of proportions to exactly fit this size — otherwise you will end up with some photos that don’t fill the width of the web page.    I chose 900×600 for my photos.    Therefore, I  selected all my photos, went to Develop, turned on Auto-Sync (ctl/cmd-click on Sync), clicked on the crop tool, and in the Aspect Ratio section chose 2×3 proportions and hit Enter to commit the crop.  Then I turned off Auto-Sync (ctl/cmd-click on Sync), and reviewed the crop on each photo to review and change what portion of the image might be cropped out, if any.

It may be obvious to most, but as I worked on the Home page, I saw what I was doing previewed in the Preview window.  However, as I started working on the next page (About), this wasn’t previewed in the window … and the same was true for all the other windows.  I was flying blind until I finally realized that to see the page in the Preview window, I needed to click on it in the menu bar:

To preview the page you're working on, click on it in the menu bar

Don’t consider yourself limited by my design — you will come up with a fantastic one of your own, I am sure… check it out!

Video: Developing an Image in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I used the image below in a  a post on exposure a few months back.  A reader asked me to show how I developed the image, so I have produced a video showing my technique.  Click HERE to view it.

To develop this image, I use the Basics, Tone Curve and HSL panels, as well as the spot removal tool, adjustment brush and graduated filter.

I hope you find the video useful.

Unworked Image

Worked Image

Printing with Lightroom Class – February 13

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I have had some spots open up in this upcoming workshop in Seattle  — I hope you can join us.

Printing with Lightroom

In this one day workshop learn how to achieve high-quality color and black and white prints with Lightroom 2. We start with color management — learn why and how to calibrate your monitor, what color spaces and gamut mean, and what printer profiles are and how you find and use them. We discuss printer and paper options, and then we move on to the Lightroom Print module, where you learn how to lay out and print individual images, contact sheets and picture packages. We discuss contrast and sharpening, so that your prints have the impact you intend. Finally, we cover how to use templates to make your printing incredibly quick and consistent. Practice printing with the the state-of-the-art Epson 3880 printer. Prerequisite: Lightroom Fundamentals or equivalent. It is assumed that you know how to import your images and use the Develop module to optimize them. Laptop with Lightroom 2.6 required. Limited to 6 students. $165. 9 am – 5 pm,  Studio R in the Fremont district of Seattle.   See for more details.

Saving Time with Collections in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Before the time saver, a few basics on collections:

Collections in the Library module of Lightroom are virtual grouping of images.   They allow you to pull together images from anywhere in your catalog without having to create physical copies of your files.  I use collections alot, to group images for  portfolios, show submissions, examples for the classes I teach, slide shows I plan to create, images I want to show to friends, etc…     A single image can be a member of an unlimited number of collections.

You can select photos in grid view and then create a collection that will contain them, or you can create the collection first, and drag photos into it afterwards.

To create a collection, click on plus sign (+) the top right corner of the Collections panel -(below the Folders panel.)  Name your collection.  A collection set is a folder to store collections in so that you can keep them organized.  If you haven’t created a collection set at this point, choose None.    If you selected photos first, click the box “Include selected photos.”  If you want your collection to be of new virtual copies of the images you selected, perhaps because you plan to develop them differently than the master images, click “Make new virtual copies.”   For most of my purposes I want my collections to be of the master images, so I don’t use this feature often.  Click Create.

Create Collection Dialog

To add images to your collection, select one or more images in grid view, click inside the thumbnail of one of them, and drag over to the collection.

Now the time saver:

As you are searching through folders looking for images to include, dragging images over to the collection can be a bit of a hassle, because you have to scroll up and down from the Folders panel to Collections and vice versa.  Plus it just takes time to drag an image over.  Instead, take advantage of the target collection shortcut:

  • Right-click on your collection name and select “Set as  Target Collection.”
  • To assign an image to the collection, click on it to select, then hit the shortcut key “B”.
  • To remove an image from the collection, hit B again.