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Chris Orwig's Lightroom Tips & Tricks: Keywords, Crop Coolness, and the Basic Panel

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Chris Orwig shares some handy Lightroom tips, including Library module’s Keyword List panel, Keyword Sets, the Crop Overlay Tool, and the Basic panel.
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Keyword List craziness

One way to quickly add metadata keywords to your photos is to take advantage of the Library module’s Keyword List panel. Press G to enter the Library module’s Grid view, then press Command-3 (PC: Ctrl-3) to open the Keyword List panel. Next, make a selection of one or more images. Position the cursor over one of the keywords and a checkbox will appear to the left of the keyword. Click on this box and that keyword will be added to your image(s).

As a side note, when you hover over the keyword, an arrow will appear to the right of the keyword count number. Click on this number and Lightroom will filter the catalog to show only the photos tagged with this keyword.

Another way to add keywords quickly is to select one or more images and drag them onto a keyword. Conversely, you can select one or more images and drag the keyword onto the images.

Keyword Set quickness

My favorite way to add keywords is to use Keyword Sets in the Keywording panel. This is especially helpful because sets of photos typically require similar keywords. Press G to enter Grid view, then press Command-2 (PC: Ctrl-2) to open the Keywording panel. At the bottom of the panel is the Keyword Set menu. A Keyword Set can be a predetermined set of keywords or most commonly used keywords. Click the pop-up menu and choose a Keyword Set from the list to change the list of keywords that appear below the Keyword Set field. Click on one or more of the choices to apply the keyword(s) to your photos. For even more speed, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key and a number will appear next to each keyword in the set. Now press the appropriate number to add that keyword.

Crop coolness

While you’re in any of the modules, press the R key to navigate to the Develop module and select the Crop Overlay tool. Now press the O key to cycle through the various overlays. These overlays are especially helpful for determining the composition impact of the crop. For even more control, certain overlays allow you to flip or alternate the overlay orientation by pressing Shift-O.

When you need to quickly straighten an image while the Crop Overlay tool is active, press Command (PC: Ctrl) and click-and-drag along something vertical or horizontal in the image that should be level. This will automatically create a crop rotation and straighten the photo.

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Basic panel processing speed

The Basic panel is where all the fun of image processing takes place, and it’s where you’ll spend most of your time in Lightroom. That’s why you need to know as much as possible about using this panel. First, press the D key to navigate to the Develop module, and then press Command-1 (PC: Ctrl-1) to open the Basic panel. Now move the sliders to process your photos.

If you want to be an advanced user, press the Less Than and Greater Than keys (< >) to cycle through the Basic panel controls (Temp, Tint, Exposure, etc.). Then press the Plus or Minus keys to (+ –) increase or decrease the control settings, respectively. For even more dramatic results, press Shift-+ or Shift-– to modify the controls in larger increments. This way you can process your images quickly without having to use your mouse. While you won’t use this technique all the time, try it and you’ll soon discover that it will come in handy throughout your regular workflow.

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