I can’t tell you how often I hear people giving advice online about Lightroom that makes me just want to yell “wait! no! Don’t listen to that - it’s just not true!"
“Well so and so says that you need to use Photoshop if you want to get images that look like the pros”
“oh well that person said all I need to do is watch You Tube and I can learn how to edit from there."
I don't blame them - because I used to think the exact same things!
That's why today we are diving into a few of the BIGGEST Lightroom myths that will only hold you back from getting the most out of this awesome program.
Ready? Let’s go!
Myth #1: "Lightroom is intuitive to use"
This is the big mamma of Lightroom myths, and one which I want to dispel right off the bat.
So many people get into a mess when they first start using Lightroom, because they believe they can just start importing photos and everything else will fall into place, usually because they’ve heard that Lightroom is so “intuitive” and easy to use.
Then they slowly come to the realisation that they have no clue where their images files are actually stored, they couldn’t find an image again if they tried (and some have these weird little question marks over them!) and they seem to just be randomly pulling sliders with no real clue about what they should doing.
The truth is, it is misleading to say that Lightroom is intuitive, because it doesn’t take into account where you are right now.
For sure, many elements of it ARE easy to understand - for example, if you want to adjust the exposure, you simply need to pull a slider to the left or to the right. We all know what a slider does, so as far at that goes, yeah, it is pretty intuitive. (This is completely unlike Photoshop, where you practically need a degree to figure out how to do the simplest thing)
But that's where it ends!
The truth is there IS a learning curve with Lightroom, and there is also a learning curve when it comes to editing your photos - you can’t just pick something up and expect to great results without taking the time to learn everything behind it.
So, if have just started using Lightroom and your photos are in a mess, or you are randomly pulling sliders in the Develop module and simply hoping for the best, you are definitely not alone!
To help you get started with LIghtroom, I created a Starter Kit for you! You can get your hands on a guide to importing, an editing checklist and an export cheat sheet that will help you take the first steps. Download your Lightroom Starter Kit here.
Myth #2 - "I can watch a Youtube Video and learn how to edit my photos from there"
When I first started learning how to edit my photos, I followed a few different tutorials online, patched them together, and studiously applied them to each and every photo.
The result? Eye blindingly bright, contrasty and saturated images, with people that looked like they had alien eyes from over editing. My eyes hurt just THINKING about those early edits!
Nothing screams “newbie!” more than overdone editing, because it means that you have followed a few tutorials, learnt how to use the tools, but still have no idea how to edit.
There is a BIG difference.
Learning how to edit does not mean simply learning how to use the editing tools in Lightroom, or following a tutorial on how to get a certain look.
When you truly learn how to edit your images, you're able to look at WHAT your image needs and WHY it needs it, before using the best tool to achieve that vision. If you only ever learn the last part - how to use specific tools - you simply won’t get the spectacular results you are looking for.
That's why in my program Launch Into Lightroom, I don't just tell you how each tool works, I lay out the whole editing process for you, step by step, so you understand BOTH how to edit, and how the tools work.
Myth #3 - "I can just use LIghtroom Presets"
Closely linked to #2 above is the idea that you can slap on a preset and call it day.
I have seen so many people buy presets because they love the before and after images shown on the sales page, and they want their images to look just like that. But when they use the presets on their OWN images, the results look nothing like they hoped for, or worse, just plain weird 😀
The reason for this is because presets should only really be used to save you TIME editing your images, not as substitute for learning how to edit.
Before you start using a preset, ask yourself why you are using that particular preset on this particular image, whether your image needs it, and whether you know what to do to tweak it to your liking. If you can’t, then presets - no matter how good they are - might not live up to your expectations.
However, once you learn the foundational editing steps, AND you know how to use some of the tools within LIghtroom, presets can be an amazing way to fast track editing your images beautifully.
Myth #4 - "I need to learn Photoshop if I want to get creative photos"
No, no, no, no!
You absolutely can get creative in Lightroom!
There is SO much you can do in the program that you might not know about - or example, you can create stunning black and whites, add colour toning to your images to give a vintage feel, a film look, a soft buttery look (and so on!), you can change individual colours, you can paint on colour, you can create toned or natural vignettes, add sun glows, make targeted adjustments, beautifully enhance portraits and so, so much more.
If you are only using Lightroom to change white balance and exposure, then you are only scratching the tip of the iceberg :)
Don't get me wrong, I love Photoshop too, but you have to bear in mind that they are two entirely different programs, that work TOGETHER to help you create amazing images. You will do most of your main edits within LIghtroom, only taking your image into Photoshop when you need to do something that Lightroom simply cannot do.
If you only learn ONE of these programs, make it Lightroom - you get will get most "bang for your buck" from it.
If you are just getting started with Lightroom, or have had the program a while but are not getting results, then make sure you download my Lightroom Starter Kit! It has everything you need to get started with LIghtroom, including a step by step guide to importing, an editing checklist, and an exporting quick guide. There’s even a few presets to get you started too 😀
Myth #5 - "I don’t need to learn the organisational tools in Lightroom"
My biggest regret with LIghtroom (and I've had a few!) is not having a system in place for organising and managing my images right from the beginning. As a result the first three years of my images are stored on various hard drives, in a total haphazard fashion, and I seriously cannot tell you where my (oh-so-freakin’ precious) images of my newborn son are.
His first steps? I'm just hoping they are in there somewhere too 🤔
The result of my not bothering to spend a mere week getting a system in place means I'm going to have to now spend MONTHS going through years worth of images and trying to get them into some type of order.
If you are relatively new to photography, you might think I'm making a big deal over nothing, as you don't have that many images to keep track of yet. But trust me when I tell you that in a couple of years down the line you will fervently wish you had some kind of system in place.
The good news?
Lightroom can do EVERYTHING you need, in one place, making managing and editing your images a breeze - you just have to know how to work it!
My program Launch Into Lightroom, is a step by step resource that details how to use Lightroom from the ground up, so you never feel lost or overwhelmed, or unsure about what to do next. Find more about Launch Into Lightroom by clicking the link below!