Welcome to this series of tutorials designed to help you get started using Adobe Lightroom. This tutorial explains the Lightroom ecosystem and workspace and shows how to add photos to your photo library.
Understand the Lightroom ecosystem.
Welcome to Get Started with Lightroom, Adobe's beginner tutorial series designed to help you use Lightroom, which is Adobe's cloud-centric photo service. That's a complete package for editing, organizing, storing and sharing your photos. Now Lightroom is not just an app. Instead, it's an ecosystem, or you might think of it as a family of apps that you can use across different devices, computers, mobile devices, the web, even Apple TV. And here's the point to remember when you're trying to get a grasp on how it all works: The whole Lightroom ecosystem revolves around one central point: The cloud. The cloud-centric nature of Lightroom is what makes it unique and allows it to offer you special advantages. The thing you'll notice right off the bat is that your photos and the changes that you make to them are everywhere. Every photo that you add to Lightroom on a mobile device, a computer or a web browser, automatically uploads at full resolution to the cloud. And because all your photos are in the cloud, you can view and work with them everywhere if you use Lightroom, as long as you're logged in with your Adobe ID. So, the same photos that you see here in Lightroom on my computer, are automatically here on my iPhone too. And here in Lightroom, in a web browser. And if I edit a photo or organize it into an album on any of these devices, that change automatically syncs through the cloud to Lightroom on all my other devices. I can even run Lightroom on another computer and access my same photos, which means that I can work on the same photos in Lightroom on a desktop and a laptop, or on a machine at home and one at work. I'll walk you through some of these scenarios later in this tutorial series, but for now, just keep in mind that it's the cloud at the center of Lightroom that allows all of this to happen. Another benefit of all your photos being in the cloud is that Adobe can apply its amazing artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology to make it easier to find photos that you're looking for based on what's in a photo. Later in this tutorial series, I'll show you how that works. And because all your full resolution photos are in the cloud and all your edits are non-destructive of those photos, you can rest assured that you have an automatic backup of all your original photos, without having to worry about where to store them and how to manage them across storage drives. So, that's a quick overview of Lightroom's cloud-based system, and what it can do for you. In the rest of this course, we'll spend some time looking at the Lightroom desktop app, mostly because it's the newest piece of the Lightroom ecosystem. The good news is that it works a lot like Lightroom on your other devices too. So much of what you learn here applies to Lightroom on mobile and the web as well. One last thing, don't mix up the relatively new Lightroom with the Lightroom that's been around for years now. That one is now called Lightroom Classic. Lightroom Classic is alive and well and it offers an alternative desktop-centric workflow based on files and folders that you manage yourself. And you can choose which is best for your needs. Lightroom's modern, cloud-centric workflow or Lightroom Classic desktop-centric workflow. So now let's jump in to take a closer look at Lightroom.
What you learned: The Lightroom ecosystem
- Lightroom offers powerful, streamlined tools for editing, organizing, sharing, and storing your photos.
- Lightroom is a cloud-centric ecosystem that gives you multiple surfaces on which to view and work with your photos, including your computers, mobile phones and tablets, the web, and Apple TV.
- The cloud is the central point in the Lightroom ecosystem. All photos you add to Lightroom are stored in the cloud as full-resolution originals, along with any changes you make to those photos. Your benefits from this cloud-centric system include: the ability to work with your photos anywhere, an automatic backup of all your photos, and access to exciting cloud-based technologies, like automatic photo tagging that helps you find photos by their content.
Add your own photos and the sample files for this tutorial to your photo library.
If you want to work with a photo in Lightroom, you first have to add that photo to the Lightroom ecosystem. In this lesson, I'll show you how to do that in Lightroom on a computer. Although, keep in mind that you can add photos to Lightroom from a mobile device or from the web too. We're going to add the sample files for this tutorial which you can download from the Adobe webpage for this tutorial. But what I'm about to show you applies to adding any photos to the Lightroom desktop app. When you first launch Lightroom on your computer, don't be surprised if you see some photos already in Lightroom. Photos that are in the cloud, - like this photo that I added to the Lightroom app on my iPhone - should automatically show up in Lightroom on your computer too. When you want to add more photos or videos to Lightroom on your computer, go to this plus symbol on the left side of the workspace. And click. Now if you had a device like a camera or a camera memory card connected to your computer, you would see a menu at this point from which you could choose to add files directly to Lightroom from that device. Otherwise clicking this plus symbol opens a Finder window like this on a Mac, or a File Explorer window on Windows. From here, you'll navigate to the folder on your computer or on a connected external drive that contains the photos you want to add to Lightroom. For example, to add these sample files for this tutorial, navigate to the location to which you downloaded the sample files. Mine happened to be on my desktop, so I'll select the 1_sample_files folder there and then I'll click the Review for Import button down here. If you're on Windows, you'll click the Add Folder button. That opens this Preview window where you'll see small previews of all the photos in the selected folder. The blue checkmarks on these photos mean that they will all be added to Lightroom. If there's a photo that you're sure you don't want, then just uncheck it like this. We actually want to bring in all the sample files. So, I'm going to go up to the top of this window and check Select All. Over on the right, there's a scroll bar. I'll use it to scroll down. So, I can show you that in the bottom row, there's one photo that has a gray overlay and no checkmark. That's one that Lightroom has recognized as a duplicate of a photo that I already have, in my Lightroom, so it won't be added again to the program. Other than that, there is really only one other option in this window. If you want, you can go up to the top and choose to include all of these photos in an album during the import process. An album is a group that lets you see the selected photos all in one place. Putting photos in an album is something you could do later inside Lightroom, but doing it here saves you that step later. So, let's go ahead and make an album for these sample files, so you can easily access them in Lightroom. If you already have some albums, when you click this button, you'll see them here in the list. We don't have any yet. If you want to make a new album, you can do that by clicking New. Let's name this new album "Tut 1" for the first tutorial in this series and then just click Create. All that's left to do is to go up to the top right and click the blue button to add all these photos to Lightroom. That closes the Preview window and takes you back to the main Lightroom workspace. Over on the right, you'll see a Cloud icon. The blue animation on that icon means that your photos are being uploaded to Adobe's cloud. Just how long it takes to upload your photos to the cloud depends on how many photos you have, the size of your photos and your Internet connection. But you can still work on your photos even while they're uploading. Over on the left, I have the "My Photos" column showing. If your column isn't showing, then click this box icon on the far left. Notice that right now, we're just looking at Recently Added files. If you want to see all your photos, click All Photos here. And if you ever want to see just the photos in the album that we made, the "Tut 1" album, you can come down to the Albums panel, and click "Tut 1" there. So that's all there is to adding photos. Keep in mind that when you do add photos to Lightroom, from any device, all those photos are automatically uploaded at their full resolution and are stored for you in Adobe's cloud. So, if you move the photos that you started with on your computer or camera, that's OK, you can even delete those, and your full resolution originals will still be safe, and backed up in the cloud and they'll be treated like your master images. You'll have access to them to edit, organize and share in Lightroom on any of your devices.
What you learned: Add photos to your photo library
You can add photos or videos to your photo library from the desktop, a mobile device, or the web. This lesson focuses on adding the sample files for this tutorial using the Lightroom desktop app.
- In Lightroom, click Add Photos (the plus icon) at the top left of the workspace.
- In the Finder (MacOS) or File Explorer (Windows) that opens, navigate to a folder of photos or individual photos on your computer or external drive, like the unzipped folder of sample files you downloaded from this page.
Note: If a camera or camera memory card is attached to your computer, you’ll see options to choose a camera device from which to add photos or browse to photos on an internal or external drive.
- Click Review for Import (MacOS) or Choose Folder (Windows). On the next screen of photo previews, you can uncheck any photos you don’t want to add to your photo library. If you’re using the sample files for this tutorial, leave all the previews checked.
- You have the option to include photos in a new or existing album during import. At the top of the preview screen, click to the right of Add to Album and choose New. Name the album and click Create. If you’re working with the sample files, this will make it easier to access these files later.
- Click Add Photos at the top right of the preview screen to finish adding photos to your library.
Lightroom automatically copies the originals and uploads them to the Cloud at full resolution. The photos sync through the cloud to all your devices in the Lightroom ecosystem. If you edit a photo or make changes to its metadata in Lightroom, those changes also sync across the ecosystem.
Get to know Lightroom’s streamlined interface.
Let's take a quick look around the interface of the Lightroom desktop app to give you a sense of the layout and where everything is. Over on the left is a column, with options that you'll use when you're reviewing and organizing your photos. Here you can choose which group of photos to see, whether that's all your photos or those you've just recently added, or you can even choose photos by date. And here you can choose photos you put in an album or create a new album. You can hide and show this column by clicking the My Photos icon, the one that looks like a file box over here. Then up at the top of the screen is the Search box where you can search for photos by the content they contain, even if you haven't taken the time to add keyword tags to your photos. For example, I could use this to find my photos that have mountains in them or water in them. Next to that is the Filter icon. Clicking that opens a bar with a number of filters that you can use to find photos by attributes, like stars you've added to them or flags you added or these other characteristics. Over on the right is the Share icon. If I select a photo and then click the Share icon, I can choose to save a copy of the photo with any edits I've applied, to my computer, so I can share it out myself. And you can share photos directly to Facebook from here too. And to the right of that is the Cloud icon. From here you can check the sync status of your photos. One of the nice things about the Lightroom interface is that everything is here on one screen. So, when you're ready to edit a photo, you don't have to switch to another module. Just come over to the right side of the screen and click the Edit icon here. That opens this column of editing controls. And it closes the column over on the left. In the column on the right, there are more editing tools. There's a Crop & Rotate tool, a Healing Brush tool for removing unwanted content, and some selective editing tools for editing just part of a photo. And these three dots represent a menu of more editing commands including the command to take a photo directly to Photoshop for further editing that you can't do in Lightroom, like combining multiple photos or adding text. The Tag icon at the bottom right opens a panel where you can keyword tag your photos. And the Info icon displays information about the selected photo. Coming down to the bottom of the screen, there's a filmstrip, that you can use to move between photos one at a time. And down at the very bottom, there's a Toolbar where you can add star ratings and flags, and view your photos in different configurations, like this large detail view or one of these grid views. We'll look at these view options in more detail in the next lesson in this tutorial. And you can learn more about the other features I pointed out in this tour as you continue through the rest of the tutorials in the "Get Started with Lightroom" tutorial series.
What you learned: The interface
- Everything is accessible from one screen in Lightroom’s streamlined interface.
- In the column on the left, you can choose a source of photos to view–All Photos, Recently Added photos, or photos By Date. In the Albums panel, you can create albums to organize your photos.
- Use the Search box at the top of the screen to search for photos by content. Your photos are auto-tagged in the Cloud, so Lightroom can find photos based on what’s in them even if you haven’t added keywords.
- Click Refine Search (the funnel icon) at the top of the screen to filter photos by properties like flags, stars, and keywords.
- Click the Share icon at the top right to save a copy of a photo to your computer or to share a photo to Facebook.
- Click the Edit icon in the column on the right to access panels of editing controls for adjusting lighting and color, adding effects, refining detail, and fixing perspective in a photo.
- The column on the right includes the Crop tool for cropping and straightening, the Healing Brush for removing unwanted content, and the Brush, Linear Gradient, and Radial Gradient tools for adjusting part of a photo. Click the three dots in this column to access more editing controls, like the Edit in Photoshop command. Use the icons at the bottom of this column to access the Keywords panel and the Info panel. Click Presets to use the Presets panel.
- In the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, you’ll find icons for changing views, sorting, adding flags and stars, zooming, accessing the Filmstrip, and viewing the original of a photo.
View your photos in different ways.
You can view your photos in a few different ways in Lightroom. When you want to see lots of photos at once, you'll like the grid view. Make sure you've selected the source of photos that you want to view. That may be All Photos or Recently Added or By Date or if you're following along with the sample files for this tutorial, choose the album of sample files that we made when we first imported these files into Lightroom. You can switch between views down at the bottom of the screen in the Toolbar. The first icon there is a grid view called Photo Grid. And that's what we're looking at now. Photo Grid displays your photos in a grid pattern like this, with no borders or information around the images, so you can focus on just your photographs. In this view, you can quickly see which photos are vertical, which are horizontal, and which are square or any other aspect ratio. You can make the photos larger or smaller in the grid by going down to the Toolbar, where there's a Thumbnail slider on the right. Dragging the Thumbnail slider to the right will make the photos bigger. And then you can use the Scroll bar to scroll up or down. Dragging the Thumbnail slider to the left will show you more of your photos but they'll be smaller. You can also change the order in which photos are displayed in the grid by going over to the Sort menu here in the Toolbar, and choosing a different sort order or reversing the order. If you'd rather see your photos in a more regular grid, then in the Toolbar, click the second icon from the left, which is a different grid view, the Square Grid. The Square Grid displays all your photos in squares like this, whether they're horizontal or vertical or any aspect ratio, and they all appear uniform. In this view, you can see some information about each photo. For example, if you've added a star or a flag to a photo and you hover over that photo, like this one, you'll see the stars or flags highlighted under the photo. You can also add stars or flags from here. And notice that there is a checkmark over here, that's the Sync icon. The checkmark means that syncing is complete on this photo and the photo is now backed up to the cloud. If I make a change to a photo, that change will sync up to the cloud too. So, keep your eye on this Sync icon as I click on the Pick Flag under this photo, to add a flag that means it's one of my favorites. Notice that the Sync icon is now a blue icon meaning that the sync is taking place. When the sync is finished, this will change back to a checkmark. Now when you're reviewing photos to choose one to edit or to share, you'll sometimes want to see it in a larger view. In that case, select a photo, I'm going to select this photo of the rings, and then go down to the Toolbar, and click the Detail view icon here. You can change the zoom level of a photo in Detail view by just clicking on the photo. And that will change the zoom with focus on the portion of the photo where you clicked. In this case, I'm working with a large photo and so it's zoomed in. When you are zoomed in on a large photo like this, you probably won't see the whole thing in your window. So, you can move the photo around in the window by clicking, holding and dragging it. And that's called panning. Then if you want to zoom out to see the whole photo again, click one more time on the photo. Another way to change the zoom level is to come down to the icons here, Fit, Fill and 1:1, and just click on the view that you want. So, when I'm checking the focus on the photo or sharpening a photo, I'll usually go to 1:1 view and then when I want to see the whole photo in the window, I'll click on Fit view. You probably noticed that when we switched to Detail view, we got this filmstrip under the large photo. The filmstrip contains thumbnails of all the photos that are in the selected source. And you can switch to see a large view of any of these photos by clicking on it in the filmstrip. If the filmstrip contains more photos than fit on your screen, go to the Scroll bar at the bottom of the screen and drag. And you can access other photos that way. If you don't see the photo that you're looking for in the filmstrip, that means it's not in the source that you selected over here. So, you might click on All Photos and you have access to all the photos that you've added to Lightroom from any device. Now one more thing, as you get used to working in Lightroom, you may want to speed up your workflow by using some shortcuts rather than clicking on icons. And those are G for Grid, and D for Detail. Pressing G takes you to one of the grid views, pressing G again will take you to the other grid view, and pressing D will take you to the large Detail view of whatever photo is selected at the moment. So that's an overview of how to view your photos in the Lightroom desktop app.
What you learned: View options
- Click the Photo Grid icon in the toolbar to view photos in a grid with no borders or information. Click the Square Grid icon to view photo in a uniform grid, with flag, star, and sync information under each photo.
- To change the size of photos in either grid, drag the Size slider in the toolbar.
- To change the sort order of photos in a grid, use the Sort menu in the toolbar.
- Click the Detail icon for a large view of a selected photo. Use the Filmstrip to move between photos in Detail view.
- To change the zoom level of a photo in Detail view, click on the photo or click Fit, Fill, or 1:1 in the toolbar.
- To pan a large image in Detail view, click on the photo and drag.