Lightroom Tips

3 Tip / Lightroom Live Seminar Day

Happy Friday everyone. It’s about 6:30 am and I just got off the red-eye from LA where I helped field questions for Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Live seminar yesterday. First off, the seminar was a huge success with nearly 700 people and it was such an awesome crowd. They were totally into it and just really seemed psyched about learning more about Lightroom. My sincere thanks to everyone who stopped by just to say hi.

Anyway, as I watched throughout the day, I took some notes on tips that the crowd really seemed to react to and figured I’d combine them into a tip post. So here goes:

1) Believe it or not, one of the tips they loved was something I just take for granted. If you press Tab key you can hide the right and left panels and if you press Shift+Tab you’ll hide all panels. This helps when you’re trying to get a larger view of your photo and the crowd really seemed to dig it.

2) They also really seemed to like the Flash web galleries in the web module. I’ve always thought they weren’t very discoverable since they’re kinda hidden up in the top right corner of the module. So next time you’re creating a website make sure you look under the Engine panel (which by the way wins the worst name panel-of-the-year award) and try out the other gallery types in there.

3) Printing templates seemed to be a big hit. I think everyone thinks of Lightroom as the place to just print one photo on a page but you can make some really creative prints by adjusting some of the settings and even put multiple photos on a page for some neat templates. I did a couple videos on this a while back. One of them was on creating a pano-styled print preset and another was on how to create a print preset in general.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by. Also, I’ll be taking over some dates in 2009 on the Lightroom Tour and my first one is in Covington, KY on January 23. You can find out more about it and sign up at the Photoshop Seminars website.



  1. Jan Huniche 18 May, 2009 at 07:17 Reply

    I can make a custom indentityplate (styled text) in LR 2.3 and save it.

    But when i create/open a new catalog LR shows the default indentityplate and not the one I have saved.

    I can´t even load the one that I have saved in the old catalog.
    I have to start over again.

    Is it supposed to be like this ?.

    Thanks for som awesome LR tips 🙂


  2. Kyle 14 December, 2008 at 19:09 Reply

    Matt, I have a question about these templates.

    Is there a way to make a template auto-size itself to the photo? I want to be able to export images with watermark added to them, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to do this automatically without having a border around the image.

    Thanks. These tips are always awesome.

  3. Michael Miville 12 December, 2008 at 07:49 Reply

    Hey Matt,
    You do a great job explaining and teach things. When are you going to make it up to the north east? I live just outside of Philly and would love to attend a LR Tour. Love Photoshop TV by the way. You guys crack me up!

  4. Jeremy Verinsky 10 December, 2008 at 19:31 Reply

    Hi Matt- thanks for pinch-hitting yesterday at the Maximum PS Tour in San Francisco. You did a great job in a tough task, stepping in to teach someone else’s material. Thanks for coming through. -Jeremy

  5. Jeremy 8 December, 2008 at 18:25 Reply

    Hey Matt- nothing to do with last Friday’s post whatsoever. I wanted to pass on that I am sorry about Dave’s father (I already commented on his blog), but am looking forward to meeting you tomorrow in San Francisco.


  6. MoreThanWords 7 December, 2008 at 09:44 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks a lot for your Lightroomkillertips. I have a small question, I’m sure you know the answer to: is there something like a ‘suggestion box’ for Lightroom where users can suggest features or enhancements for future releases? Here’s a few I already thought of…
    1) availability of the Collections in the Develop Module
    2) possibility to ‘fade’ the effect of a preset in the Develop Module (now, you have to tweak all the settings separately; it would be nice to be able to apply a preset and then tweak it non destructively with one slider
    3) possibility to export local adustment masks made in Lightroom as separate channels for easy access when one wants to finetune an image in Photoshop
    4) possibility to sub-categorize identity plates into different subfolders. I use quite a lot of identity plates, also in the print & slideshow modules, and it would be nice to organise them into folders, e.g. a ‘sloppy border’ folder and a ‘fine arts folder’. Of course, I guess one way of working round it is to make print templates and organise those into folders…

    It would be nice to be able to send these suggestions somewhere so that maybe, if enough other users ask for it, they make their way through to LR 3 or 4 or …

    Thanks again!

  7. Neal Lippman 6 December, 2008 at 15:33 Reply


    Firstly, a quick thank you for the time you spend creating lightroomkillertips. It’s on my daily to-read list, and I appreciate your taking the time to teach so much about lightroom. I should also mention that I recently bought a copy of your layers book, and it should absolutely be added to the “must read” list for anyone using Photoshop! Fantastic.

    This is a long and off-topic posting, and I hope you will be able to make the time to read it in your busy schedule. I am hopeful that you (or maybe even Adobe) will at some point address some/all of the topics and questions that I am raising, because I think they are relevant to a large number of Lightroom users, and I have yet to see these topics addressed in any blogs or books to date.

    What I am hoping to see addressed relates to the issues of a) using one vs multiple catalogs in Lightroom and 2) the use of Lightroom on more than one computer, such as a desktop and a laptop, as I suspect many of us do. A lot of issues overlap between these two areas, as well.

    Here are my thoughts/questions, not necessarily in any particular order.

    a) Multiple catalogs vs one “global” catalog. As far as I can tell, the workflow that most Lightroom experts (such as yourself and Scott Kelby, for instance) use seems to be one catalog for everthing, although Scott recently deviated from that on his trip when he started a new catalog for that trip. I have seen some people propose using a new catalog for each major project; for example, I think David Ziser commented on his blog a while back that he uses a separate catalog for each wedding shoot.

    I suspect the separate catalog scheme works well for an wedding photographer, for example, or perhaps also a commercial photographer, as another example, where each shoot is essentially a project and entity unto utself, with no overlap between one shoot and another. However, using a separate catalog for each shoot completely eliminates the ability of Lightroom to allow keywording and other metadata that can be used to globally index images, which would be enormously important for, say, a stock photographer who would need to rapidly locate, on request, “an image showing a bride in an off-white dress on a sunny day in a tropical environment under and umbrella…” On the other hand, separate catalogs are potentially more portable (you can keep all the images in the same folder as the catalog and easily archive the while thing to DVD or copy it to another drive or computer, for example) and, because they hold less images that in one large catalog of many projects, are not subject to the slowdown that can occur as the Lightroom database becomes larger.

    I wonder what your thoughts are on this workflow issue.

    b) If you are going to use multiple catalogs, then you have to think about issues of data consistency across catalogs. Specifically, some data in Lightroom is “globaL,” applying to every catalog on that computer, while some is local to the catalog. For instance, all the user presets you create are stored in the central Adobe directory (on my Mac, under ~/Library/ApplicationSupport/Adobe/Lightroom) and appear when you create a new catalog.

    However, there are some things that do NOT appear to work as globally. For instance, my custom Identity Plate in my main lightroom catalog does not automatically appear when I create a new catalog, nor does it appear as an option to load in the IdentityPlate dialog window, although I am not quite sure why. (This may relate to some glitch on my system, because my custom identity plate from Lightroom version 1 appears in new catalogs created by Lightroom 2 by default, and I have not yet figured out why). I have not figured out where the Identity Plate data is kept – maybe in the Lightroom database itself.

    Color labels are another issue; they seem to apply globally to all catalogs, and the last one used in one catalog becomes the one used on opening of another catalog. This is a tough one, because if I create custom color labels, I might want them to be available in every catalog, but then again I might want to be able to create a set of custom labels for use only in one particular catalog. It seems like there needs to be a mechanism for designating labels as “Lightroom global” or “catalog specific.”

    Keywords are even differnt, because new catalogs start fresh, without any keywords at all! THe only way to propagate keywords from one catalog to another is to either a) export the keywords from one catalog and import them into the new one or b) create one image in the first catalog and assign it ALL the keywords available, then export that image with keyword metadata and export it into the new catalog. Now, you might argue reasonably that if you are using a separate catalog for each project then keywording is probably not all that important for your workflow as you no longer have the ability to search by keyword across all your images anyway, but I would also point out that I might want to create keywords that are then embedded on image export in the image metadata, so I might want to have a consistent keyword hierarchy even with multiple catalogs. Keeping keywords consistent is a problem because even if I use the keyword export from one catalog to create the keywords in another, if I then change the keywords in the first catalog, that does not propagate to the second catalog. On the otherhand, if I deleted a keyword in one catalog, would I necessarily want that keyword removed from all other catalogs in which it was used, or not?

    I also haven’t checked to see what happens when you export a selection of images as a catalog. Does that new catalog have only those keywords that the exported images happened to have assigned to them, or does it get the whole keyword hierarchy from the original catalog?

    It seems like again a global/local keyword scheme might be needed (I think Apple’s Aperture may actually do this, although I have not used Aperture in the 8 months since I adopted Lightroom, so I’m not sure). Oh yeah, and I should have mentioned that if you change the labels in a color label set, that will then apply to every catalog, so changing a label set can potentially have unepxected side effects.

    c) Onward to the question of multiple computers. One thing that you have to be careful about is ensuring that if you create custom presets on one computer, you copy them over to any other computers you are also using. My workflow often involves importing a shoot on my desktop, editing, and then exporting the selects as a catalog and copying it over to my MacBookPro, just as you demonstrated in one of your tutorial movies. I then use the laptop to display, in Lightroom, the selects for the client. We might, during the show, decide to change the processing on an image, so I want to have my presets right there ready to go. It would be great if Adobe gave some thought to how, in a world in which many users common employ a desktop/portable computer workflow, the software might add in keeping things coorindated.

    Here’s another question: Suppose I apply a custom preset on my desktop, then export the catalog to my MacBookPro, but that custom export isn’t on the MBP? What happens? (I haven’t tested this yet myself either). If the application of a preset is recorded in the LR database as just application of the preset, then on a different computer there would be no way to render that image without having the preset also stored there; if application of a preset just applies all of those operations and they are recorded as a series of LR operations then the image will render properly. I would actually expect that Adobe uses the latter method, because if only the preset name is stored as an operation, then if I change or delete a preset, every image that I had previously applied that preset to would be changed too – again not a side effect that I would want or expect to happen.

    All of the points I am raising relate to the issues that I think a lot of us are facing, or should/will be facing, as our workflows encompass the use of multiple computers to work on our images. I am wondering what thoughts you have on these issues; what answers you might give me and others; and whether Adobe plans to address these sorts of things as time goes by.

    Thanks for taking the time to read all this!

  8. Lance Warley 6 December, 2008 at 13:00 Reply

    Hi, Matt.

    This is a non-Lightroom question: A few years ago (I’m not sure of the year), you posted an Elements tutorial on taking a portrait photo of a person indoors with side light from a window.

    I’ve moved up from Elements to CS3. I can’t find this tutorial anywhere, and I don’t think I’m authorized to go into the Elements forum any more.

    Is there any way you can connect me with this tutorial, please?

    Thanks very much.

  9. Alan Hess 5 December, 2008 at 15:13 Reply

    Hey Matt,
    It was great to finally meet you in person. Watching you field lightroom questions was impressive, this stuff must run through your veins or something.

    From what I heard from the folks sitting around me and from the people after the seminar is that the web galleries are great, but some folks have little or no idea what to do with them then. The getting the gallery on to the Internet leaves them a little confused. Maybe it would make a good post someday.

    Overall, it was a great day and even with the HORRIBLE Los Angles traffic, (3 hours to drive up from San Diego, 3 Hours to drive home) it was well worth the trip.

    I have a couple of pics from the day at: if anyone is interested, including one of Matt at his mobile workstation.

    Thanks for everything.

  10. Howard Ignatius 5 December, 2008 at 11:58 Reply

    I would add Space Bar to the Tab and Tab+shift tips, especially for laptops. When I’m on the road, It really helps me navigate on a small screen!

    Hope your tour brings you to San Jose, CA!


  11. Sean Phillips 5 December, 2008 at 11:42 Reply

    I, for one, could use a whole lot more downloadable print presets. There are really great develop presets available all over the place (some free, some not so free), but very few print presets. Please consider providing us with a few more cool print presets instead of adding more develop presets…

  12. Tom Hewett 5 December, 2008 at 11:20 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Wish I could have made the seminar – sounds like a blast! I was hoping to make the one here in Denver, which Scott mentioned as a December 2008 date, but I haven’t seen any more info on it, and now the Kentucky January 2009 date looks like the next one… what happened? I know it’s cold here (like 15*F right now!) but trust me, there’s heaters in the Convention Center… 🙂

    Keep up the great work!


  13. Carole 5 December, 2008 at 09:30 Reply


    Thanks for the tips. I have a question for you. I would like to print a picture using Lightroom 2 without a border, using 8.5 x 11 inches paper. But LR insists on a border of at least 1/4 inch on three sides and even more on the 4th side. Is there a way to print bordeless pictures of that size?

    Thanks for the help.

    Carole from Montreal

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