Sometimes we overlook the simple things that may be right in front of us because we get used to them. But there is no real reason to stay that way, especially if there are easy ways to make them fit our way of doing things. In this mixed bag post, I will share a few things in Lightroom, a couple of ways to enjoy more of photography, and something you may never need, or be totally elated to learn in Windows folder management. You may know and use them all, that is great to hear; I am sharing these with those who may benefit from them.
The Modules Menu
Lightroom has seven modules visible at the top as you see in the image above. I think the Web module is useless for me and the Slideshow module creates very simplistic shows. I rarely use the Map module to show where the photographs were taken. If you want to remove them, like I do, right-click on the module selector line and remove the checkmark from the modules you want to hide. You can always reverse the action in the future if you need to use them.
The interface of many applications, Lightroom included, can be customized to fit our way of doing things. Generally, we get used to the default settings and never explore other alternatives. The Lightroom interface has many panels and they expand and contract depending on what we want to do. But, did you know that you can eliminate some that you never, or rarely use, and change their default behavior?
In the Library Module
On the left-hand side are a bunch of panels, Catalog, Folders, Collections, Publish Services. In all likelihood, they have been there all along and you have not paid much attention to eliminating any. For instance, I do not publish from Lightroom to any online service and see no reason to have that panel there. If you right-click on any one of the panels, you will see a context menu pop up showing all the panels with a checkmark next to them. If you remove any of the checkmarks that panel disappears reducing the clutter. On mine, I turned off the Publish Services panel, oh, it feels lighter already!
The Solo Mode
This option is visible in pretty much all the Lightroom panels and when selected it opens one panel at a time. Selecting a new one closes the other open panels. This can be especially useful on smaller screens like laptops. It applies to the library, as well as the Develop modules. Try it, you may like it.
Comments? And I cannot use it in any shape or form? Take a look, at the right side of the library module and see the panel at the end. It is called Comments and when you open it you will see something akin to a text box. But most likely it is empty and you cannot enter anything in it. It turns out that this panel is for those media you might have shared using the Publish Services to show any comments entered there. Oh, talk about a roundabout way of doing things. I don’t need it, Comments be gone; just right click on the panel title bar and remove the checkmark from it.
In the Develop Module
On the left hand side are the panels that show Presets, Snapshots, History, and Collections. Most of these are useful. You may or may not be using the Snapshots which records a particular state in the editing process. If you like, you can turn that off but it is generally empty anyway.
The really beneficial configuration is on the right hand side panels which can be turned on and off, rearranged, and run in solo mode. To see the options, right-click on one of the panel headings to see the customize option. That will open a new pop up window allowing you to turn off any of the modules and drag-and-drop rearrange their order depending on how frequently you access them. Below are the captures of before, after, and the configuration windows.
I think this post has gotten long enough. I will save a few other tips for the next post. In the meantime, I will share a few photographs from my recent outings. Stay tuned for a potentially very useful Lightroom tip. Also check out an earlier post that may still be useful, Alt The Magic Key.
The first three of the photographs below I took at India Point Park in Providence. There are remnants from the industrial past of Rhode Island like a railway stop and huge gears. The rest are from our neighborhood during my brief walks.