Last week I talked a little about one of my favorite and most used tools in photography, Adobe Lightroom. In 5 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts in Lightroom: Part 1, I wrote about five of my favorite quick keys in Lightroom and how using them improves my entire workflow. Without these keyboard shortcuts, I wouldn’t be able to import, cull, edit and deliver images as fast as I do.
The engineers at Adobe have built in so many quick keyboard shortcuts that it made it really hard just to pick five favorites, so today I wanted to share five more of my essential hotkeys.
The five shortcuts I talked about last week were all “one letter” commands. Today, a few of the quick keys will involve the command (Mac) or control (PC) key in conjunction with another key.
N – Survey view
I take a lot of photos. Often I’ll have multiple versions of a picture that look very similar or a few different poses that I’d like to see next to each other. When you’re in the library module, you can select 2 or more photos and tap the “n” key. This puts them in the “survey” view. The photos will be grouped and displayed larger so you can easily make choices like starring or rejecting.
PRO TIP: Usually you want to survey a few photos that were taken in succession. I often don’t remove my hands from the keyboard for this. Using the arrow keys I move around the photo grid, then hold down SHIFT while arrowing over a few photos. This selects them, and then I can tap the “n” key to bring them up in survey view. From here I can arrow around the larger photos and add stars or reject flags.
G – Grid view
In Lightroom, Grid view is my home base. In the library module, it displays your photos as thumbnails in a grid layout. If I’m in the survey view mentioned above and I’m done, I’ll tap “g” to get me back to grid view. If I’m in the develop module and want to go back to the library module, I’ll tap “g” to get me back to grid view. Basically wherever I am in Lightroom, “g” is the key that I tap to get me back to a familiar place where I can see all of my photos.
cmd-‘ (Mac) or ctrl-‘ (PC) – Create Virtual Copy
Virtual copies are such a cool feature of Lightroom that they almost deserve their own post. A virtual copy is exactly what it sounds like — a virtual duplicate of the original image. It takes up no extra space on your hard drive, but allows you to edit and work on that image as if it was its own separate file. I use virtual copies ALL the time to play with different color treatments or crops. In the past, I right clicked on the photo and selected “create a virtual copy”, but now I just tap cmd/ctrl-‘ (apostrophe) to create one.
cmd-z (Mac) or ctrl-z (PC) – Undo
Undo is not a Lightroom specific keystroke and I really gave it some thought if I should include it or not. The thing is, I use Undo more than ANY other keyboard shortcut in Lightroom. I’m constantly bumping saturation by +20 to see how it looks, then undoing it, then redoing it (Redo is cmd/ctrl-shift-z by the way). I’ll add some contrast and then undo it and redo it a few times just to see how I like it. The cool thing in Lightroom is that basically ANYTHING you do is “undoable” via cmd/ctrl-z. It not only steps back through edits that you’ve done, but also anything else you’ve done in the program, like changing modules, adding to a collection, rejecting photos, adding stars, creating virtual copies etc. Undo is a very powerful command in general, but in Lightroom I would be lost without it.
Shift-Tab – Show/Hide All Panels
Need more screen real estate? In any of the modules, tapping “shift-tab” will make all panels disappear, letting your photo expand vertically and horizontally to fill more of the screen. Want to get the panels back? Just tap “shift-tab” again. Lightroom is really good about getting things out of your way when you want to de-clutter the interface and see your photos larger, and then with one more keystroke bringing them all back to let you continue editing (FYI – you can also use the “tab” key to show/hide only the side panels).
Do you use keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments and make sure to check out 5 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts in Lightroom: Part 1 for more time saving Lightroom quick keys.