7 Simple Lightroom Tips Every Beginner Should Know

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One of the things beginner photographers find most difficult about a program like Lightroom is just getting started. Adobe’s image editor and processor is so powerful, it’s often hard to know where to begin with Lightroom.

A good place to start is the below tutorial from landscape photographer Nigel Danson who explains seven simple Lightroom tips he feels every beginner photographer should know.

“Editing your RAW photos is a key stage of photography,” Danson says. “It is your chance to create something special from that moment you captured. These are some key tips I wish I knew when I started using Lightroom.”

Here’s a rundown of Danson’s seven simple Lightroom tips with time-stamps on where to find them in the video at the bottom of this post. If you want more help with Lightroom, you should also check out this free 25-minute tutorial covering more of the basics.

#1 Understand Your RAW File (1:08)

“First just understand your image’s capabilities,” Danson explains. “Understand the luminosity, brightness levels, the shadows, and the highlights of your image. Then you’ll know how much you can do with it in Lightroom.”

#2 Contrast Does More (3:48)

“How much do you think you know about contrast? So, we all probably know that contrast increases the difference between the light and the shadow tones. But the other thing you might not know is that contrast increases saturation.”

#3 Local Not Global (7:05)

“Don’t just do things globally but do things locally. The majority of the adjustments I make to my image are local adjustments.”  

#4 Nothing Is Lost (9:08)

“Details are never lost in Lightroom. When you make something bright, or you overexpose something in your image you can bring it back. The RAW file in the background is retaining that information. You’re never doing any destructive editing”

#5 HDR Is Your Friend (10:40)

“HDR is this thing that in photographer people used to associate with really horrible looking images where they made the sky, and the land all have the same luminosity levels and they all just looked awful. But actually in photography creating a high dynamic range is really useful.”

#6 Negative Clarity (15:43)

“The clarity and dehaze sliders are sliders that people tend to use to make their image look better. And it’s a really good way of making something have a bit of punch. But they’re also really useful for reducing the clarity or reducing the dehaze because you can do really nice, ethereal, painterly photos with them.”

#7 Fine Control of Saturation (19:10)

“There’s a real temptation to just add more saturation to an image. But what I do on most of my images is fine tune the saturation. So rather than adjusting the saturation globally, I control the saturation on a color basis.”

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