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Organize Photos Using the Library Module within Adobe Lightroom

written by: SparkKD•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/23/2011

This article is a guide to using the Library Module with Adobe Lightroom. It explains the various tools available in the Library Module and how to use them to organize your photos.

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    Introduction to the Library Module

    The Library Module within Adobe Lightroom is used to organize and view your photos.

    The photos can be organized based upon "Folders" and "Collections"

    The photos can be viewed in one of four views within Adobe Lightroom

    1. Grid View (G) - Many photos in a grid
    2. Loupe View (E) - A single photo at a time
    3. Compare View (C) - Two photos side by side
    4. Survey View (N) - Many photos for evaluation

    Quick Develop is a tool available within the Library Module in order to make minor changes to photos. More detailed changes can be made in the Develop Module.

    Keywords are used to tag and retrieve photos.

    Metadata is used to store additional information about the photos.

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    Tools in the Left Panel

    Library Module 

    The various tools available within the Left Panel of the Library Module are explained below

    Navigator - This tool displays a preview of the photo. By selecting a photo in the filmstrip at the bottom, the photo is shown in the main window. The options within Navigator are used as follows

    • Fit - Zoom the photo to Fit to Screen
    • Full - Zoom the photo to fill the entire Screen
    • 1:1 - Display photos as per their original dimensions
    • X:1 - Display photos as per the selected ratio

    Catalog - This is used to display the photographs present in the catalog. The options available are

    • All Photographs - This includes all the photographs in the catalog.
    • Quick Collection (B) - This is used to create a collection on the fly.
    • Previous Import - This refers to the most recently imported list of photos.

    Folders - This is used to Add Folders in the hard-disk which contain photos. The folders can be displayed based upon their folder names, their path (or both). The number to the right indicates the number of photos within a folder.

    Collections - Collections are similar to "Photo Albums". Click on the plus (+) icon in order to create a Collection. Adobe Lightroom automatically creates certain collections based upon Star Ratings (Use keys 1,2,3,4, 5) or Color Labels (Use keys 6,7,8,9). Collection Sets can also be created which are similar to a number of collections which are grouped together.

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    Tools in the Right Panel

    Histogram - The histogram tool displays a histogram for the photo selected. It is best used to review the impact of changes made in the Quick Develop / Develop window.

    Quick Develop - This can be used to perform the following changes

    • Apply "Saved Presets" such as Sepia, Aged Photo, Antique Grayscale, High or Low Contrast etc.
    • Increase or Decrease Exposure (by F-Stops)
    • Perform recovery of blown highlights
    • Fill the photos with Light
    • Increase the intensity of Blacks
    • Modify Clarity and Vibrance

    The "Reset All" button can be used to erase all changes made and return the photo to its original stage.

    Keywording & Keyword List - Keywords are similar to "Tags" used on social networking websites and online photo storage websites. Can be used to describe the image present in the photo, the people in it, location etc.

    Keyword Sets can be created to group together similar keywords and to store frequently used keywords.

    Keyword Suggestions displays the most recently used keywords.

    Keyword List displays each keyword and the number of photos "tagged" with that keyword.

    Applying and removing keywords from photos is intuitive, and could be done via drag and drop, or manually typing into the keyword box. Selecting multiple photos and adding/removing common keywords is also possible.

    Metadata - Metadata is used to store and display additional information about the photos such as Title, Description, Date & Time of Capture, Name of the Creator, Copyright information, Dimensions, Technical Details etc.

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    To summarize, the various tools / features available within the Library Module of Adobe Lightroom and their respective functions are as shown below

    Left Panel Tools

    • Navigator - Used to view the photos.
    • Catalog - Refers to the entire catalog of photos.
    • Folders - Shows the various folders within the catalog.
    • Collections - Is similar to the concept of "Photo Albums"

    Right Panel Tools

    • Histogram - Displays a histogram.
    • Quick Develop - Used to apply Saved Presets and modify Exposure, Tone Control, Clarity and Vibrance.
    • Keywording & Keyword List - Used to "tag" photos with keywords.
    • Metadata - Stores additional information about the photos.

Beginner's Guide to Adobe Lightroom

This article series is a beginner's guide to Adobe Lightroom and the various modules within Adobe Lightroom. It discusses the Lightroom interface, the five modules and the various tools available within Adobe Lightroom and is a must-read for all photographers interested in using Adobe Lightroom
  1. An Introduction to Adobe Lightroom
  2. Organize Photos Using the Library Module within Adobe Lightroom
  3. Modify Photos Using the Develop Module within Adobe Lightroom
  4. Create Stunning Slideshows Using Adobe Lightroom
  5. Adobe Lightroom: Print Module & Web Module