Learn Lightroom

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a photography application that helps enhance and edit photo libraries. With Lightroom, you can organize and sort your photos, create customized presets, and make edits to multiple files at the same time.

Lightroom is a versatile photo-editing and sharing application made available through the Adobe Creative Cloud. Using Lightroom, both amateur and professional photographers can quickly edit a photo's quality, color, and contrast, moments after it is taken and then save that photo to the Creative Cloud for easy collaboration and publication. If you’ve always wanted to learn Lightroom but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn Lightroom, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use Lightroom.

What is Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is compact photo organizing and editing software that allows users to catalog and edit photographs from any device using the Adobe Creative Cloud. Using Lightroom, users can examine and edit photographs on the fly immediately after taking them without having to leave the site. This makes Lightroom ideal for photographers who want to create perfect photographs for advertising, social media, or personal printing, as Lightroom lets them take a photo and immediately start the process of editing. Lightroom provides tools for color correction, altering contrasts, modifying brightness, and basic editing functions such as correcting red-eye or blurring/sharpening an image. Since Lightroom is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, it is also optimized for photo sharing, letting users work with the same photo across multiple devices and including tools to help users prepare their photos for publication.

Adobe Lightroom is closely related to Adobe Photoshop. The major difference between the two programs is that Lightroom is optimized for mobile devices and on-the-fly photo editing, whereas Photoshop is optimized for desktop use and has more precise and granular editing tools. Lightroom is best suited for users who want to take a photograph and immediately begin editing it to suit their needs, particularly photographers working on-site, away from their desktop computers. Lightroom also lets users create and import preset filters and settings to help them quickly edit their photos.

Read more about what Lightroom is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing tool with a number of features that make it useful for both professional and hobbyist photographers. Whether a photographer is taking photos of models for a series of print advertisements or just taking vacation photos for their own personal social media account, the ability to edit photos quickly and efficiently will greatly improve the quality of their output. This versatility makes Lightroom an ideal choice to learn for anyone who is regularly taking photos as a part of their day-to-day life.

Lightroom lets users make on-the-fly edits to photographs, altering colors, shade, contrast, and other digital details with only a few clicks. Owing to its easy-to-use sliders and built-in/customizable presets, users can begin editing their photos within seconds, easily letting them identify the issues that need to be changed to get a perfect shot. Recent updates to Adobe Lightroom allow users to build and edit rudimentary video animations, opening a whole new world of possibilities for creative photographers.

Lightroom is also a powerful tool for archiving and publishing photos. Linked to the Adobe Creative Cloud, Lightroom lets users easily share their photos across multiple devices and programs. Users can take a picture, edit the basics of the color and contrast in Lightroom, then import that photo into Photoshop to perform more detailed photo editing. Then, they can import the newly edited photos into a program like Adobe XD in preparation for publication on a website or digital advertisement.

Careers that Use Lightroom

As it is often used as a companion to Photoshop, Lightroom is commonly used in almost all creative industries that regularly make use of Digital photography. From Graphic Designers and Photographers to Digital Marketers and Social Media Managers, Lightroom is an excellent complementary skill in almost every digital creative field.

  • Graphic Designers: These creatives are responsible for designing images and graphics that quickly and effectively communicate meaning to audiences. Graphic designers often use several different creative programs, but many find themselves regularly using Photoshop to touch up and alter digital photographers. This means that Graphic Designers will also benefit from learning Lightroom, as the two skills go hand-in-hand, and learning how to use one dramatically opens up the possibilities when using the other.
  • Photographers: Professional digital photographers work in a number of different industries, and they are responsible for capturing the images and photographs that Graphic Designers will later build into things like brochures and advertisements. Photographers need to get their photos right the first time, and Lightroom gives them the tools to modify their images on the fly to look at how a photograph will appear in different lights, contrasts, or situations.
  • Digital Marketers: Digital advertising often makes use of photographs as a component of building attention-grabbing advertisements that draw viewers in as they browse the internet. Digital marketers will work closely with Graphic Designers to help build advertising campaigns for their clients. This means they will often work closely with graphic design software such as Lightroom and Photoshop to make digital photographs look precisely like their clients want them to look.
  • Social Media Managers: Social Media Managers are responsible for controlling and curating the social media accounts of their clients. On highly-trafficked, image-based platforms like Instagram or Facebook, this can mean posting photos intended to build a specific brand identity. Social Media Managers can use Lightroom to perfect the photos being shared by their clients and to make sure that those photos communicate ideas in line with the client’s brand.

Why Learn Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is an ideal skill to learn for both professional graphic designers and amateur photographers. By using Adobe Lightroom, creatives can alter and catalog their photographs immediately after they’ve been taken, giving photographers the tools that they need to create ideal photographs on the spot. This makes Lightroom an ideal program to learn for creative professionals who plan to regularly take and alter digital photos. Photographers will obviously benefit from being able to alter photographs immediately, but Graphic Designers, Web Designers, and marketers like Social Media Managers all stand to benefit from learning Lightroom.

Lightroom is also closely linked to the other creative programs that make up the Adobe Creative Cloud, particularly Photoshop. Users who learn how to use Lightroom may find it much easier to learn how to use other Adobe creative software in a professional capacity, and learning Lightroom will help creatives optimize their workflow when this skill is paired with training in Adobe Photoshop. Few creative professionals only use a single creative design tool, so learning the whole of the Adobe Creative Cloud will both make prospective employees more well-rounded, and it will make their lives easier as they can utilize multiple different programs.

Read more about why you should learn Lightroom.

How to Learn Lightroom

One of the best ways to learn a new skill, such as Adobe Lightroom, is to enroll in a live, professional training program. These courses, taught by expert instructors either in-person or online, offer students a space to receive hands-on training in the advanced features of Lightroom. Often, Lightroom instruction is paired alongside other complementary skills, such as Adobe Photoshop, to help students get the most out of their training. Additionally, many live courses and bootcamps represent industry-recognized skills training programs, ideal for preparing prospective professional creatives to work with Lightroom in their careers. Consider visiting Noble’s Classes Near Me tool to learn more about available in-person or live online Lightroom courses.

Another option for students wishing to learn Lightroom is to enroll in an on-demand or self-paced training program. These courses allow students to build their own schedule and learn Lightroom at their own pace. Self-motivated students may find this route preferable to more structured instruction, but these classes tend to lack the one-on-one professional instruction available in live classes. Whether a student opts for live instruction or self-paced learning, these professionally designed classes are ideal places to learn how to use Lightroom.

Students who want to learn the basics of Lightroom without enrolling in a costly professional training program may wish to explore some of the free options available to them. While these free options can’t replace more immersive learning options, they are a great place to get a feel for the program before enrolling in a paid course. Noble Desktop offers free resources and tutorials, such as a YouTube channel and a video seminar detailing the differences between Photoshop and Lightroom.

Read the full guide on how to learn Lightroom.

Free Introductory Lightroom Course Online

Some students may not feel comfortable enrolling in an immersive skills training course without a background in Lightroom. Those students may wish to take advantage of some of the free introductory courses and online tutorials. Noble offers a free introductory seminar helping students understand the basic functionalities of Lightroom and how it differs from Adobe Photoshop. This seminar is an ideal way to introduce oneself to Lightroom and decide whether to learn Lightroom, Photoshop, or both.

Adobe also provides new Lightroom users with a seven-day free trial of the program. During this time, students can take advantage of the free offers available through Noble alongside the free tutorials and training videos offered by Adobe. Once students have exhausted the free tutorials available through Noble, they may consider looking at the options for free courses available through other service providers such as Udemy or Coursera, both of which offer free tutorials in the basics of Lightroom.

Read about more free Lightroom videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost

As with many products that are part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Lightroom can seem like an intimidating program, given the number of tools available. However, the program is built to be easily accessible to new users, particularly because it is designed for mobile functionality. Learning the basics of the program can be done in a few dedicated days of training, but the program is still deep enough that experts can benefit from months of hands-on experience and training. This means that the difficulty of learning Lightroom is primarily up to the student, being easy on beginners but deep enough to challenge those who want to learn the most advanced uses of the program.

Adobe Lightroom has no formal prerequisites to learn, though users should understand how to use basic digital photography tools, particularly digital cameras. On a more general level, those who want to learn Lightroom to help take and edit photographs professionally should understand the fundamental theories behind visual composition and design. Like the rest of Adobe’s creative tools, Lightroom can significantly enhance a creative’s ability to build stunning work, but it can’t replace an eye for design.

Like the other programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Lightroom is licensed through a monthly fee as part of a Creative Cloud subscription. This allows users to customize how many different programs they want to license. A baseline subscription to Adobe Lightroom costs $9.99 a month and comes with one terabyte of data storage (enough to store a quarter of a million photos). Lightroom can also be packaged with Photoshop for a monthly fee of $9.99 (with limited data storage) or $19.99 a month (with a terabyte of data storage). Adobe also has a complete creative subscription package, which includes a license to all of Adobe’s creative software for $54.99 a month.

Read about how difficult it is to learn Lightroom.

How Does Learning Lightroom Compare to Other Applications?

As a fairly lightweight photo editing application, Lightroom’s biggest selling point is its ease of use and connection to other creative programs. The main factor that separates Lightroom from its competitors is Lightroom’s connection to the Adobe Creative Cloud. One of the features that Adobe boasts is the ease of storing and transferring photos using Lightroom. In addition, because it is so closely integrated with other Adobe creative products, learning to use Lightroom can open the door to more easily working with other industry standard tools such as Photoshop. This also means that many subscribers to the Adobe Creative Cloud will either have access to all of the programs through a package subscription ($54.99/month) or to Lightroom alongside Photoshop through a bundled subscription (either $9.99/month and $19.99/month depending on how much data a user plans to store).

Speaking of Photoshop, one of the most obvious points of comparison is between Photoshop and Lightroom. Noble offers a free video tutorial outlining the differences between the two programs for new users to decide which program will be better and easier to learn. Photoshop is primarily designed as a desktop application, meant for making much finer and more specific edits to a photograph. Lightroom, on the other hand, is built to be used away from a desktop computer to start editing a photograph the moment it is taken. This means that Lightroom has fewer features and is more straightforward to use.

Lightroom and Photoshop are then most commonly compared to another of Adobe’s graphic design tools, Illustrator. Illustrator is used to build digital illustrations out of vector graphics, which use lines and shapes rather than pixels, used in digital photography and therefore used by Photoshop and Lightroom. Vector illustrations are easier to resize than pixel images, meaning they are better suited for branding and logos. Lightroom is best suited for altering images that won’t undergo resizing.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Lightroom

As with most Adobe Creative Cloud applications, the best way to learn Lightroom will depend on the student's capacity to use the program. Hobbyists who want to use Lightroom to touch up photos for their personal Instagram accounts may only require a bit of training. In contrast, professional photographers and aspiring graphic designers will need a lot more training. This lets students decide for themselves the best way to approach their Lightroom training.

There are many free tutorial options for beginners who want an overview of the field without breaking the bank. Adobe offers a seven-day free trial of Lightroom, and because the program is so beginner-friendly, this is an ideal timeframe to start experimenting. Noble Desktop offers a free introductory seminar in Lightroom and Photoshop that students may wish to consider viewing.

For students interested in learning more about Lightroom in a professional capacity or who want to improve their existing skills, Noble teaches an Adobe Lightroom Classic that will provide students with hands-on experience utilizing the program. This course is ideal for creatives who need to edit photos professionally, and this class will teach them how to use Lightroom to store and archive photos and prepare them for publication or alteration in another program.

Noble also teaches a Photo Retouching Certificate program for photographers looking to go from hobbyists to professionals. This program will teach students how to alter and prep their photos using both Lightroom and Photoshop. The curriculum includes instruction on advanced color correction techniques, skin smoothing tools, and improving color accuracy. Students will also learn best practices for storing and sharing their images with Lightroom

None of these courses expect students to have significant experience using any of the programs, and both the Adobe Lightroom Classic course and Photo Retouching Certificate program offer students a free retake within one year of the original course. This opportunity can help participants gain additional practice and provide them with additional projects for their digital portfolios.

Learn Lightroom with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers a wide range of Lightroom courses designed to fit the practical and professional needs of all students. Participants can take these courses both at Noble’s Manhattan location in-person, or they are available through live, online instruction. Even if taken online, these courses boast small classes taught by experienced instructors who can respond to student needs in real-time. Taking a class online through Noble provides students with the same high-quality instruction and professional skills training as the in-person courses, with the advantage of being available to students from all over the country. Noble’s courses offer a free retake option within one year, allowing students to hone their skills at no cost.

Noble’s Adobe Lightroom Classic course gives students hands-on experience using Lightroom to edit, share, and publish photographs. Students will practice manipulating photos and learn strategies to optimize these photos for different purposes, such as social media advertising, web design, and physical printing. Students will also learn how to utilize the Adobe Creative Cloud integration to share, publish, and archive their photos safely and effectively. This course will provide students with the experience they need to use Lightroom Classic for professional and personal purposes.

Noble also offers Lightroom instruction as part of its Photo Retouching Certificate program. This training program teaches students the skills that they need to take and edit their own high-quality digital photos for professional use. Students will learn the best ways to take a digital photo and then be taught how to edit those photos using both Lightroom and Photoshop. Students will learn how to optimize their photographs by taking advantage of Lightroom’s editing and sharing capabilities alongside learning how to make more advanced and complex manipulations in Photoshop. Completing the course provides students with an industry recognized certificate of completion, and participants are also eligible for a free retake within one year to continue honing their retouching skills.

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