keyboard shortcuts

5 Steps to Work Like a Pro in Lightroom

In this tutorial, I show you how you can set up your Lightroom to optimize and quicken your workflow. I hope you enjoy the tutorial.

1. Use Collections and Smart Collections instead of Folders

Creating a collection based catalog is the first thing I recommend to everyone who is starting to use Lightroom. It's a crucial step to keep your photographs neatly organized. Here is my organizing tutorial: How To Organize Photos in Lightroom Using Smart Collections.

Use Collections and Smart Collections

Use Collections and Smart Collections

2. The most useful Lightroom shortcuts for Photographers

If you don't want to get overwhelmed by the amount of shortcut keys in Lightroom, I have listed below my favorite shortcuts that ease my workflow a lot! You can find all of the shortcuts used in Lightroom from Adobes website: here

CTRL/CMD + SHIFT + I = Opens Import Window
F = Full-Screen View
G = Grid view in Library
E = Loupe mode in Library
I = Loop photograph information overlay
D = Develop Module

In Develop Module:
R = Crop
. / , = Cycle Basic Panel adjustments
Enter = Close and Deactivate Current Tool
M = Graduated Filter
SHIFT + M = Radial Filter
K = Adjustment Brush
O = Overlay Mask
Q = Spot Removal -tool
Y = Split, Before, and After
CTRL/CMD + E = Edit photograph in External Edit Program (Photoshop)
CTRL/CMD + SHIFT + E = Export Image

3. Adjustment Tools

You could say that the most powerful tools in Lightroom are the adjustment tools. 

Use Graduated Filter and Radial Filter to balance the photograph and add a focal point. I have explained how I use the graduated filter in my earlier tutorial: How to Use Graduated And Radial Filters.

When you need a specific area to work on, use the Adjustment Brush. 

Show the overlay of the mask with by shortcut: O. 

4. How to set up Lightroom

You can go through the Settings on Mac from Lightroom -> Preferences and on Windows go to Edit -> Preferences. 

  • Uncheck: Show Splash Screen // This disables the starting screen when opening up Lightroom
  • External Editing: TIFF, 16 bit, and ProPhoto // For the best quality editing in Photoshop, use these settings 
  • Check the Stack With Original // Helps you to keep your edits next to the original raw files 
  • File handling -> Camera Raw Cache: 50 GB // This is extremely important if your catalog is huge like mine. Use settings 20-50 GB on a hard disk that has the same amount or more space
  • General -> Catalog settings -> General -> Select Backup LR-catalog Weekly // I find it often enough to backup my catalog once a week. Remember that this doesn't backup your actual pictures, just the catalog.
  • Catalog settings -> Metadata -> Editing -> Check Automatically write changes into XMP // This helps you if your catalog doesn't work or if you need to import the photographs again. It makes sure you have the settings.

For faster Lightroom set a bigger cache size up to 50 GB should make it

5. Configure the workspace

Go to Develop Module and right-click on any of the adjustment panels and select Solo Mode. It makes your workflow quicker when you click on any of the panels Lightroom will automatically close the other panels. You can do this also for the left side panels if you don't want all of them open at the same time. 

When you are working on a laptop or small screen it's important to know that you can edit the width of the side panels when hovering with your mouse on top of the border of the side panel. You can also hide the panels with shortcut TAB. When working with a singular photo you can set the bottom view to auto hide & show when you are not scrolling the images.

Use the Solo Mode to make your workflow faster and simpler

Essential Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts for Photographers

Here is a essential shortcut set for photographers using Photoshop to make your processing faster.


Work space:

F  Switch Between Screen Mode

CTRL+0  Fit Image In The Screen or Window

CTRL/CMD +  Zoom In

CTRL/CMD -  Zoom Out

CTRL/CMD+TAB Flip through Open Documents

SPACE = Move Through Image with Hand Tool

Toggle between Screen Modes with F key


B  Brush Tool

F5 Open Brush Settings Panel

0 - 9 Set the Opacity of your current tool

SHIFT + 0 - 9 Set the flow of your current tool

X  Switch Between Foreground And Background Color

D  Reset Foreground And Background Colors to Black & White

V  Move Tool

C  Crop Tool

G  Gradient Tool

M  Selection Tool

SHIFT+L  Toggle Lasso Tools

I  Eyedropper Tool

 Pen Tool

 Zoom Tool

S  Clone Stamp Tool

SHIFT+J  Toggle Patch Tool, Spot Healing Brush etc.

SHIFT+O  Toggle Between Dodge & Burne Tools

CTRL/CMD+ALT+ Right Mouse Button  Adjust Brush, Small or Big (Moving mouse to left or right) / Soft or Hard (Moving mouse down or up)

Adjust the Brush Size with CTRL/CMD+ALT and right mouse button moving it up and down and from side to side.

Layers & Saving

CTRL/CMD+I  Invert (Selection and Mask for example)

CTRL/CMD+ALT+I  Image Size Adjustments

CTRL/CMD+ALT+SHIFT+E  Make A Stamp Visible Layer




I have added these to the Shortcut Setup ease my work:

CTRL/CMD+ALT+SHIFT+K  Shortcut Setup

CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+M  Add Mask (Layer - Reveal All)

CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+G  Gaussian Blur ( Filter - Gaussian Blur)

CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+U  Unsharp Mask (Filter - Unsharp Mask)

CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+F  Flatten Image (Layer - Flatten Image)

Add more keyboard shortcuts through CTRL/CMD+ALT+SHIFT+K (Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus)