If you want to learn how to become a photographer, you will need to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom. As one of Adobe’s most popular application extensions, having mastered Lightroom is a valuable skill. Not only will learning Adobe Lightroom turn you into a photo editing master, but it will also make you more hireable.
Whether you learn best via in-person classes or staying home and reading books, there are resources to help you. In this guide, we have gathered our favorite resources for every type of learning.
What Is Adobe Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom is an extension of the beloved Adobe Photoshop and a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service. Being a part of the Creative Cloud, you can learn Adobe Premiere, Adobe Bridge, and many other Adobe applications alongside Lightroom.
Lightroom itself is best known for its amazing image organization features, though it can also be used for editing and manipulating raw images into works of art.
Perhaps the best aspect of Adobe Lightroom is that the photo editor stores both the newly edited copy of your images as well as the original photo in Lightroom. All versions of Lightroom are equipped to do this, making it easier for photographers to look back on their work and make corrections to photo edits.
What Is Adobe Lightroom Used For?
Adobe Lightroom is a favorite amongst photographers, as it can be used for so many small yet crucial tasks. Lightroom is a storage space, editing tool, and photo exporting tool all in one.
- Photo Storage. Rather than keeping all of your images stored on various memory cards or filling up your computer’s hard drive, you can use Adobe Lightroom to store images in the cloud. Both the original copy and any edited versions of photos will be stored in the cloud, making them easily accessible on both computers and mobile devices.
- Non-Destructive Photo Editing. The most exciting Lightroom feature you will hear about in all of your photography courses is the ability to do non-destructive photo editing. This basically means you will be able to edit your photos without destroying the original copy, making it easier to do multiple edits, such as a vivid color version and a black and white version.
- Exporting Photos. One of the other fantastic tools in Adobe Lightroom is the option to easily export photos. Lightroom is often used solely for its photo exporting abilities, as this is a feature not found in other photo editing applications.
Adobe Lightroom Skills
To completely master the tools in Lightroom, you will need to develop a specific skill set. These three skills are the ones you will need to use the most often and are arguably the most important skills to learn for use in Adobe Lightroom.
Import, Store, and Organize Photos
Being able to properly import photos, set up your storage settings and preferences, and organize the photos in Lightroom is the most basic skill you will learn. If you are unable to import photos, you will never be able to edit them.
There are options for photo storage in Lightroom, though the default setting of storing both original photos and edited copies in the cloud is preferred by most photographers. However, you can arrange storage on your hard drive as well, if you want.
Lightroom has different organization features as well, allowing you to sort images into folders and organize them based on your favorites.
Render Text and 3D Objects
One of the coolest and complex skills used in Adobe Lightroom is the ability to render text and 3D objects onto your images. This means you can put 3D objects created from other photos or graphics into your own images.
Most often used for marketing and graphic design, this feature also allows you to add text to your photos in a more seamless way than many photo editors. Mastering this skill opens a lot of opportunities to create amazing art.
Modify Video Frames
Though Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are most often used for photo editing, they are also great software applications for video editing. Using Lightroom, you can modify individual frames from your videos piece by piece to perfect your work.
When using Lightroom to modify video frames, you can adjust the audio, color, and video quality as well as add in graphics and 3D art. To put it simply, Lightroom is a photographer’s dream come true.
Learning Adobe Lightroom
Though you can’t pursue a college degree in Adobe Lightroom, there are many different ways to learn how to use the software. Depending on what type of learner you are, you can easily master Lightroom through in-person classes, online classes, reading educational books, or browsing online resources.
The great thing about choosing to learn Adobe Lightroom is that you get to customize your own learning path. We recommend taking a few classes, reading a book or two, and using online resources as needed to learn, but you can tailor a learning plan to your own preferences.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Adobe Lightroom?
Since Adobe Lightroom is an application you learn more on your own, there really is no set time frame for how long it will take to learn. Some people may be able to master the software in just a few days of intense study, while others may take their time and learn in a few months to a year.
One of the biggest factors in how long it takes to learn is how much time you can put into studying. If you are working full-time and learning Lightroom in your free time, it will likely take you a bit longer to learn than someone who works part-time and can study at or for work.
How to Learn Adobe Lightroom: Step-by-Step
Though you have to create the best learning plan for your own needs, following these five steps as a guideline can help push you in the right direction to learning Adobe Lightroom. You can easily switch these steps around and add in your own as needed.
- Purchase and Install Software. Of course, to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom, you will first need access to the software. While it is possible to download a free trial, for those interested in diving right in and learning, it is simply easier to go ahead and purchase the full version.
- Familiarize Yourself with Software. It can be extremely challenging to navigate new software, so take some time to familiarize yourself with Lightroom before you try to learn how to use it. Spend at least a few minutes checking out all the different tools and where they are located.
- Watch Adobe Lightroom Tutorials. There are official Adobe tutorials available for every Adobe application, and Lightroom is no exception. After familiarizing yourself with its layout, spend some time watching Lightroom tutorials to begin to learn the basics of the application.
- Take Classes and Read Books. There are hundreds of classes available to help teach you Adobe Lightroom and just as many books. Try taking a few courses and reading a book or two if you want to become an Adobe Lightroom master.
- Practice. The old saying “practice makes perfect” has never been more true than when applied to learning Adobe applications. The best way to perfect your craft is to keep practicing and hone in on your Lightroom skills.
The Best Adobe Lightroom Courses and Training
Whether you prefer in-person, online, or free classes, we have you covered. The following courses are some of our favorite picks in all three of those categories, and we highly recommend enrolling in a few of them.
Best In-Person Adobe Lightroom Classes
In-person classes are considered the most traditional way to learn, and they tend to work best for those who have trouble focusing and managing their time. These are two of our favorite in-person classes, but there are many others available if these don’t meet your needs.
- Provider: Jansen Photography Expeditions
- Time: 2-hour session(s)
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Varies
Through Jansen Photography Expeditions, you can enroll in private Adobe Lightroom classes administered via Zoom. There are options to enroll in either one, three, or five 2-hour sessions, and as you would expect, the price varies based upon how many sessions you wish to do.
- Provider: Big Sun Photography- Montrose, Colorado
- Prerequisites: None
Big Sun Photography in Montrose, Colorado offers private Adobe Lightroom lessons as well. In this course, you will learn the basics of Adobe Lightroom, and you can practice your editing skills on photos you take of the beautiful Colorado scenery.
Best Online Adobe Lightroom Courses
Online courses are awesome for anyone who works full-time, is already a college student, or simply has a busy schedule. Being able to set your own hours and work at your own pace can make the learning process much easier, and these courses allow you to do just that.
- Provider: Udemy
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: $149.99
Udemy is one of the best places to find tech-related courses, so we had to include this Adobe Lightroom CC Photo Editing course on our list. For $149.99, you will learn everything you need to know about working with the Adobe Lightroom software and all of its amazing storage and editing tools.
- Provider: The School of Photography
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: $89
The School of Photography offers a Complete Guide to Lightroom course for $89 to anyone interested in mastering the Adobe application. This course is designed to take you from beginner to expert, and by the time the course is over, you should be able to make stunning edits to your images.
Best Free Adobe Lightroom Courses
There is nothing better than finding the perfect free class over a subject you want to learn. Who doesn’t want free education? There are many free Adobe Lightroom courses, but these are two of our favorites.
- Provider: Udemy
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Free
This Udemy course is definitely worth taking, as it teaches both Lightroom and Photoshop skills, and how to use the two together. By focusing on editing and storing photos in Lightroom and using Photoshop to clean and enhance images, this course will have you working like a pro in no time.
- Provider: Shaw Academy
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Free
Shaw Academy offers a 16-week Adobe Lightroom Training course with a membership fee of $69.99 per month. However, there is an option to get the first four weeks of this course for free, so you can test it out and see if it is worth spending the money on. You may even be content with all you learn in the first four weeks and not feel the need to finish the course.
Best Adobe Lightroom Books
Learning the old-fashioned way may seem strange when trying to learn software applications, but reading books can really help you absorb all the Lightroom concepts you need to know. These are some of the best Adobe Lightroom books to read if you want to learn.
Part of the fan-favorite Classroom in a Book series, R.C. Concepcion’s Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic is a read you won’t want to miss. This book is designed to read similarly to a college textbook, providing you with a plethora of Lightroom information and giving you a feel for college courses without breaking the bank on tuition fees.
In Serge Ramelli’s Lightroom CC Complete Training book, you will easily go from novice to expert in Adobe Lightroom. This book provides all the details of every Adobe Lightroom function and tool available to ensure the reader has a perfect understanding of the uses. The best part about this book is that it is free in Kindle Unlimited.
In Scott Kelby’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, you will learn everything you need to know to use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for digital photography. For years, this has been the #1 best-selling Lightroom book on the market, which means you will not want to skip this one.
Best Online Adobe Lightroom Resources
Even after reading books and completing courses, there will always be more to learn. Whether you forget how to do a specific task or simply need assistance with using Lightroom, these online resources make learning easy.
Many people argue over if SkillShare is worth it, and we are here to say it is. With access to hundreds of high-quality video tutorials and classes, SkillShare has quite a bit of useful information for users of all Adobe applications.
Though you do have to pay for the tutorials and courses, we can almost certainly guarantee you will find everything you are looking for on SkillShare. You can even submit your own video tutorials for others to watch if you feel up to it.
For any Adobe application, the Adobe website is one of the best resources out there. With access to tutorials, courses, user guides, and many other helpful resources, you can’t go wrong with Adobe’s website.
While Lightroom doesn’t have quite as many tutorials and guides on the Adobe website, there are still enough to make it worth your time. Not to mention the FAQ section, in which you can see if your questions are common ones and how Adobe recommends solving common issues.
FilterGrade is one of the go-to websites for all Lightroom enthusiasts. Here, you can find everything from detailed tutorials to helpful tips from the Lightroom community. There are also articles to keep you up-to-date on the latest Adobe and photography news, making this a one-stop-shop.
After creating an account on FilterGrade, you will find useful resources for all things photography and videography related, not restricted to Lightroom. This website is a fantastic resource for both hobbyists and pros, as it has a bit of everything for everyone.
Should You Study Adobe Lightroom?
If you are planning to become a photographer, videographer, graphic designer, or anything similar, you should definitely study Adobe Lightroom. This application is a goldmine for image and video storage and editing and is compatible with most other Adobe applications.
Whether you wish to use Adobe Lightroom on its own or alongside other Adobe apps such as Photoshop or Premiere, you certainly will want to spend time studying and mastering this software. Once you have become an Adobe Lightroom expert, your photos and videos will be easily made into professional-quality pieces of art.