Double Your Speed in Lightroom Classic!

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Here are 13 shortcuts I’ve used for the past 12 years that have helped speed up my workflow in Lightroom Classic by 50%. Lightroom Classic has 250 shortcuts; however, in everyday use, I think you’ll get the most benefit from using the following shortcuts on a regular basis. 

  1. Shift-Tab = Toggle All Panels 

This is one you’ll use a lot. The first time you press Shift-Tab, it hides both the left and right side panels so all you see is your image. Press it again to make all the panels reappear. After pressing Shift-Tab to hide the panels, you can press the letter L for Lights Dim mode, and then press L again for Lights Out mode so you only see black around your photo. Now you can really appreciate the finished look of your image. Press L one more time for Lights On, and then Shift-Tab to bring back the panels. 

  1. F = Full Screen Mode

Pressing the letter F will take you into Full Screen Mode, which surrounds your photo with black and completely hides the Lightroom Classic interface. Okay, so it would seem that using the F key would be faster than using the Shift-Tab shortcut mentioned above, but there’s an advantage to using Shift-Tab vs. F. If you’re in Full Screen Mode (F), when you use the Arrow keys on your keyboard to change to the next photo, it actually takes longer for Lightroom to go to the next photo when compared to using Shift-Tab to toggle off the panels. So it’s up to you which you prefer! 

  1. G = Grid View

No matter which module you’re currently in, if you press the G key, it will take you to the Library module where you’ll be able to see a grid of all the photos in your currently selected folder, collection, etc. This can be very useful, for example, so you have an overview of all your photos from a particular photoshoot or if you’re looking for a specific photo! 

  1. E = Loupe View

Once you’re in Grid view you can select a photo and press E to enter Loupe view so that photo fills the preview area and it’s the only photo you’ll be able to see. You can also double-click a photo in Grid view to switch it to Loupe view, but E is a cool shortcut once you’re in Grid view. Then, when you’re ready to develop your photo, press D to enter the Develop mode! 

  1. C = Compare View 

If you select two photos in Grid view and press C, Lightroom will place them side by side so you can compare the two photos. Press Shift-Tab to ditch the panels and you’ll see the images even larger. When you zoom into one image, the other image zooms in as well. Then, as you drag one of the images around, the other image moves too, so you can see and compare all the details at a glance. It’s a great tool when you’re trying out a new technique or you want to compare different retouches. 

  1. N = Survey View 

This is another tool I use a lot! It has helped me tremendously when I’ve needed to choose the perfect photo for a project! Select several photos in Grid view and press N (of course, press Shift-Tab to hide all the panels). You’ll now see only the selected photos onscreen, and you can eliminate them one by one. When you hover your cursor over one of the images, you’ll see an X appear at the bottom-right corner. If you click its X, that photo will no longer be displayed. Keep eliminating photos until you’re left with the winner! Press E (Loupe view) or G (Grid view) to end the Survey view. 

  1. I = Info Overlay 

As you’re viewing a photo in Loupe view, if you press I on your keyboard, you’ll see data displayed at the top left regarding your photo that includes the date, time, and resolution. If you press I again, the Info Overlay will change to show you the shutter speed, aperture, and even the lens that was used. That’s pretty cool. Press I a third time to hide the data. 

  1. F2 = Rename Photo (Only in Library Module) 

Pressing F2 on your keyboard will bring up the Rename Photo dialog. This function is great because it will affect all selected photos, but you need to make sure you’re in the Library module for it to work. You may also need to press the Fn (Function) key in conjunction with the F2 key for this to work. This is a quick way to rename a photo or group of photos. It’s as simple as that, but it can come in handy if you know about it! 

  1. 1–5 = Star Ratings 

This is one of my favorite ways to use Lightroom: Press the 1–5 number keys on your keyboard to assign star ratings to your images. After a shoot, I go through all the photos and rate each image that has potential with 1 star. Then I click on Attribute in the Filter Bar at the top, click on the symbol to the right of Rating, choose the Rating Is Equal To option, and then click on the first star. Now I’m only seeing the images to which I assigned 1 star. Next, I go through this group and rate my favorite images with 2 stars. That way I can easily identify the best photos from a photoshoot. I reserve the 3–5 star ratings for images that I’ve edited. Here’s the scale I use that has been working for me:

Has potential 

⭑⭑ Has lots of potential 

⭑⭑⭑ Retouched 

⭑⭑⭑⭑ Exceptional 

⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ Lifetime Exceptional 

10: Remove the Stars

If you’ve assigned a star rating to an image but later change your mind about it because you can’t or don’t want to use the photo for some reason, no need to delete it—just remove the stars! Simply press 0 on your keyboard and it will remove any star rating. 

  1. Backslash Key (\) = Before View 

This tool is great to compare your currently edited image with the original version of that image: tap the Backslash key (\) to see your Before image; tap it again to get back to your edit. It’s simple, but it works. I can appreciate the end result of an edited photo even more by comparing it to the Before image! 

12: Control-H = Photo Merge HDR 

If you want to turn a set of bracketed photos into an HDR, select those photos in either Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Develop module and press Control-H. The HDR Merge Preview dialog instantly pops up. HDR is one of the fastest ways I know to completely transform your photos! 

  1. Control-M = Photo Merge Panorama 

This is the same idea as in the previous tip, but for panoramas: select the photos that you want to stitch into a panorama, but this time press Control-M to instantly bring up the Panorama Merge Preview—super efficient and very useful shortcut! 

There you go! I hope you’ve enjoyed these shortcuts and that they speed up your workflow. You can also download a PDF I’ve created that shows these 13 Lightroom shortcuts so you can have them close by at all times until they’re part of your daily routine.