Common Lightroom Mistakes People Make

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Amongst many photo editing apps and software, Lightroom is a versatile platform used by many photographers.
You can always start improving right away. But there is a learning curve associated with getting the most out of it and avoiding the common lightroom mistakes.

Not Using the Right Version

Lightroom may seem very confusing with the recent name changes. 

There are to types – “Lightroom Classic” and “Lightroom CC ( Cloud Based)”. Some photographers use the desktop app, but Lightroom Classic is the better because you retain complete control by keeping your images on your hard drives.

Lightroom Classic is also more reliable. It offers many advanced applications like Print and Book. In fact, the target audience for Lightroom CC is beginners.

It’s a separate version of Lightroom Classic. It doesn’t contain all the necessary tools for a professional job.

common lightroom mistakes

Using Multiple Catalogs

There is a great debate over using multiple catalogs with Lightroom versus using a single one. Those who prefer multiple catalogs say that there are fewer chances of files becoming corrupt.

They also prefer to have different catalogs for different purposes. Having more than one catalog has its drawbacks though.

First of all, you can only open one catalog at a time, and can’t simultaneously view all the images. You also have difficulty with the backups. The more catalog backups, the harder it is to keep track and manage.

Use Lightroom Collections

Collections are where you solve the problem of organizing the files into separate themes.

New users often fail to make use of this feature as they seem confusing at first. But it gives you a lot of flexibility and control while organizing your images.

You can add an image to as many collections as you want. Also, you can create a “Collection Set” or a “Smart Collection”.

Not Using Shortcuts

If didn’t care much to learn some essential keyboard shortcuts, you are adding lots of unnecessary time. People think that photo editing means making color changes to the file. But, it is called “retouching”.

Once you know some useful shortcuts that are relevant to you, it will have a big impact on your workflow.

They are also found in the Menus, next to their corresponding options. You can also download a list of them and print them off for reference.

common lightroom mistakes

Not Putting Keywords in the Metadata

There are various ways to search for images. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + F in Library Module to search by any of the relevant parameters.

This gets very useful when you’re searching for your images. For Instance, you want to find all your party images to update a portfolio on your website.

If you are someone from stock photography, you should put at least 20 keywords in the metadata of every image you upload. 

Searching for keywords is the simplest way to find the images on the sites.

Renaming or Moving Images

It may happen that you renamed a file or didn’t take note where you put it. It becomes a nightmare to organize them. You’ll have to hunt those down and relink. Ugghhh!

When you change the name of a file outside the software, it doesn’t know where to find it. So, you should always change the name within the program itself.

Ignoring the Histogram

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is ignoring the histogram. 

A histogram gives you accurate information on how well an image is exposed. In Lightroom, the Histogram panel features warnings. These lets you know if you are losing any detail in your image.

Computer screens are quite forgiving indeed! When you print your work, any flaw becomes much more obvious.

Clipped shadows and blown-out highlights are curses for printers. They will degrade your work.

Use the Tone Curve to Its Full Potential

The Tone Curve can be difficult for beginners. Usually, people avoid it or don’t use it properly. It can make the most powerful difference in your photos.

The Tone Curve affects the overall contrast of a photo. You can make images brighter and affect the levels of contrast.

After adjusting the RGB curve, you’ll find that the images will start having a lot of depth.

There are several ways to work on color in Lightroom. 


Images from a digital camera require sharpening.

If you shoot in JPEG format, then they are already sharpened to some extent. RAW files also need sharpening when post-processing. The key is not sharpening them too much.

Oversharpened photos emphasize noise and add a pixelated, grainy look to the image, creating harsh edges.

Luckily, Lightroom has many tools that will help you avoid doing extreme saturation.

Go to Detail panel, select the option Sharpening, and apply a default value of sharpening such as +50 or -40.

Then, click on Option/Alt and drag the mouse towards the right. As a consequence, your image will start to look like an x-ray, which will show black and white regions to let you know where it’s being sharpened.

Insufficient saturation depends on the image. If I wanted to sharpen the buildings more than the sky or water in an image, it would be unnecessary.


In addition to the powerful post-processing capabilities, a Lightroom is a great software like many other photo editing programs that helps you to organize your photos easily.

By reading this article, you must be having some ideas about how to improve your workflow, reduce work time, and take your editing to the next level.

Comment your opinion!

Happy Editing!

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