By Joseph Mapue on SkilledUp.com
Whether you’re planning to build a career in photography or just want to take awesome pictures, Lightroom counts among the most critical tools you’ll need. This stand-alone software from Adobe makes it easier to organize, refine, and share photos without even running its more popular and more powerful cousin, Photoshop. More importantly, Lightroom allows you to perform image adjustments within a “nondestructive” environment. That means saving your edits will never overwrite the original photo and you can always revert back to the photo’s pristine state at any time.
There are other factors that drive Lightroom’s popularity upwards. For the budget conscious, Lightroom costs far less than Photoshop. For people with less powerful computers, it runs considerably faster, eats up meager amounts of computing resources, and takes up far less disk space than Photoshop. Lightroom also has an iOS version for your tablet or mobile phone, allowing you to manage, edit, and unleash your images on the go. All these factors, plus Apple’s decision to pull the plug on further developing main competitor Aperture, point to Lightroom’s dominance of its niche in the photo-editing market.
But sheer numbers outweigh all other factors when it comes to why you need to skill up in Lightroom. Simply put, people are being exposed to a daily deluge of images to the point that they now tend to ignore many of these visual stimuli. For example, Facebook hosts more than 250 billion photos and people upload 350+ million photos to the network each day. Meanwhile, around 20 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, with users uploading 60 million photos per day. With this image overload, it’s quite easy for even a decent photograph to be ignored by web users.
One solution is to make your images more compelling by using Lightroom’s image enhancement and correction tools. We’ve scoured the web for some resources to get you started, and here are some of the best free Adobe Lightroom tutorials you can learn from.
1. Learn Lightroom 5 (Adobe TV)
Adobe’s inhouse guru on digital imaging, Julieanne Kost serves as presenter for many AdobeTV episodes on Lightroom.
Adobe TV provides comprehensive tutorials for different versions of Lightroom. True to its name, the site’s offerings are organized into shows that are made up of episodes. You can toggle between the site for shows and the one for episodes, bearing in mind that “episodes” are primarily short video tutorials that discuss or demonstrate specific Lightroom features while “shows” serve mainly as comprehensive training courses.
Adobe TV’s educational show on Lightroom 5 consists of 78 episodes that include the official overview of Adobe’s photo editing software as well as lessons on user interface, smart presets, custom page templates, the radial filter, the catalog function, and other Lightroom features. In addition to sections on how to retouch or refine your photographs, the show also has a section on Lightroom Mobile, an app for your iPhone or iPad that lets you edit, organize, and sync photos on the move.
2. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Adobe Learn & Support site)
Beginners as well as intermediate users of Lightroom will find a load of useful tips on Adobe’s official support and learning site.
Aside from the official Lightroom User Manual, you’ll find a host of other useful tips, tricks, and tutorials on Adobe’s Learn & Support site for Lightroom. The site’s library includes learning content for users of all levels, from novice to expert. This content is classified into 3 major categories: Get Started, Learn Essentials, and Key Techniques.
Get Started targets people who are totally new to Lightroom. Learn Essentials covers fundamental topics such as the workspace, basic photo retouching tasks, and exporting refined photos. Key Techniques cover intermediate-to-advanced topics that help you work better and more efficiently in Lightroom.
3. Lightroom Tutorials (Tuts+)
Envato’s training subsidiary Tuts+ offers dozens of free Lightroom tutorials, including walkthroughs of the software’s special tools and capabilities.
There are more than 130 lessons on Tuts+’ free tutorial site for Lightroom. If you need a quick guide to a specific Lightroom task or issue, you’ll likely find it here, given Tuts+’ focus on creative topics, particularly graphic design and photography. Learn how to optimize color labels and keyboards, build a location database, shoot amazing lightning images, use radial filters, and find the best presets for a specific image.
4. Creating Your Own PhotoBook in Lightroom 4/Portrait Retouching Using Lightroom 5
KelbyOne has a dedicated tutorial site for Lightroom users, offering solutions on specific challenges such as portrait enhancements.
There are at least two free courses on KelbyOne that we would like you to check out. One is a comprehensive guide on how to craft and publish a photobook (maybe your own?) and the other teaches you how to perform professional grade portrait retouches.
The photobook course runs for 1.5 hours, consists of 9 lessons, and primarily focuses on Lightroom’s Book Module. Learn which photos to include, how to design the best layout, and how to publish your work efficiently.
Meanwhile, the portrait-retouching course will walk you through all the essential Lightroom tools, techniques, and tricks for enhancing images without resorting to other software like Photoshop. The course consists of 18 compact lessons and runs for just an hour.
Both offerings feature iconic designer and award-winning author Scott Kelby.
5. Getting Started with Lightroom 5 (Train Simple/Udemy)
This course offers 13 short lectures to give absolute beginners all the essentials they need to start working with Lightroom 5.
Need a quality crash course on Lightroom? This 1-hour course will introduce you to essential concepts and tools that will get you started on Lightroom fast. Consisting of 13 mini lessons, the course teaches all the basic stuff you need to know about catalogs, importing images, the Lightroom UI, and other topics. The course has been developed by Train Simple, an official Adobe Training partner.
6. Free Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Tutorials (Layers Magazine)
There are more than 50 free Lightroom-related tutorials on Layers Magazine, an online magazine focusing on Adobe software and providing tips and inspiration for creative professionals. Some of the site’s awesome tutorials include how-to’s on creating a photographic storybook, performing white-balance corrections, retouching images, and exporting refined photos to catalogs. Many contributors to Layers Magazine are design gurus who also teach or develop courses on KelbyOne.
7. Adobe Lightroom Tutorials (Digital Camera World)
Get a walkthrough on how to create Lightroom presets on Digital Camera World.
Want to showcase your photos via a stunning online gallery? You can learn how to do that and more via a host of free Lightroom tutorials on Digital Camera World. Visit the site and you’ll find tips on how to perform different lightroom tasks such as creating custom presets and fine-tuning color. The site also publishes awesome articles that aggregate related Lightroom features. These include 6 essential Lightroom edits you can apply to every image and Killer Lightroom tips: 10 things you never knew you could do in Adobe’s software.
8. Lightroom Tips, Presets, and other Resources (Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips)
You’ll find guru-grade advice on Lightroom Killer Tips courtesy of the creative folks of Kelby Media Group. Learn the secrets of how professionals develop stunning nature photography and get some useful backroom techniques such as Matt Kloskowski’s sky replacement tutorial and Scott Kelby’s magic number for vignette implementation. Aside from expert tutorials, the site also provides Lightroom presets, plugin reviews, and a Q&A section.
9. Free Lightroom Tutorials (Presets Heaven)
As its name suggests, Presets Heaven primarily offers Lightroom presets: tons of them, both free and paid. But the site also provides quite a number of Lightroom tips and advice that you’ll find useful when doing post production work on your photos. Some practical tutorials we found on the site include a video on how to filter photos by metadata and one on how to speed up Lightroom performance.
Fine-Tune Your Photos with Lightroom
Photographers go great lengths just to take the best snapshots of an event, a landscape, an object, or a person. But even that is hardly enough for a decent photo to compete with millions of other pictures vying for people’s short attention spans.
For photographers to be truly excellent at their craft, they need to cultivate the skill of transforming good photos into digital masterpieces. This skill that has become mandatory among professionals who aim to thrive in today’s creative workplace.
Improve your photo-editing skills by taking any of the free Adobe Lightroom tutorials we cited here. You can then unleash images that keep audiences engaged with your visual message.
What other tutorials would you like to see in our magazine?