Last week I posted about 5 common Lightroom slip-ups. I gotta admit, I’m really digging this numbered tip thing that’s out there a lot lately. It kinda gives me a place to stop, otherwise I’d continue writing and my articles would just run on forever
Anyway, this week I’ve got 4 Lightroom productivity tips that I simply can’t live without. I’m sure there’s more than 4 but these are the ones that come to mind first. They’re things I do without thinking – basically, tips that have significantly sped up my work in Lightroom.

1. Smart Collections – I started using Smart Collections a while back for managing my HDR photos (here’s a video about smart collections). I realized that all of my HDR photos had the word “tonemapped” in their filename. So I created a Smart Collection that automatically included anything with the word “tonemapped” in the filename. That gave me a quick easy way to always see my final HDR images. But there’s lots of other uses. You can have a smart collection created from a keyword, label, rating, etc… Let’s say you reserve 5 stars for the absolute best of the best. I don’t just mean your selects from a photo shoot though. I mean the absolute best photos you have (the stuff you’d show if you had 30 seconds to impress some one). So this collection shouldn’t be huge right but should just be one click away in case you want to quickly show off your stuff. Just create a Smart Collection that automatically adds anything rated 5 stars in it. And force yourself to only use 5 stars when it’s one of the best photos you have.

2. Copy/Paste – Copying and pasting Develop settings is another big one. I’ll often apply some settings to a photo and realize I want to apply the same settings to another one. Sure you could use the “Sync” feature but I like to copy/paste because I can just pick and choose which photo to apply the settings to whenever I want. Just select the photo and press Cmd-Shift-C (PC: Ctrl-Shift-C) to copy the settings (and choose which specific settings you want copied). Then you can just press Cmd-Shift-V to paste them on to other photos when you come across them.

3. Presets – Come on, you knew this one would show up here. Presets are just cool and useful. They’re one-click ways for you to get a specific effect (or at least get pretty close) to your photos without re-adjusting the sliders for them ever time. Plus, I give them away every so often here on the site too. Presets just make things faster. If you don’t use them, then start. They’re one of the single fastest ways to make you more productive.

4. Instantly Jump to a Specific Panel – I use this a lot as well. Let’s say I’m working in the Basic panel and I realize I want to try some of the Calibration profiles on the photo. I could scroll down on the right but that takes time. Remember, we’re talking productivity tips here right? Instead just press Cmd-7 (it’s the 7th panel on the right) to get down to the Camera Calibration panel. Lightroom jumps right to it. If you want to jump to Split Toning then press Cmd-4 (it’s the 4th panel). You can also check out the Window > Panels menu to see all of the shortcuts.

OK, so those are my top 4 productivity tips. Have any ones that you want to share? Remember, not just any tips though. They’ve got to be things that make using Lightroom a lot faster for you. Thanks!