If you’re looking for ways to improve and enhance your product photography, then you must’ve probably come across Adobe Lightroom.
Lightroom is a solid bridge for both smartphone photographers and full-on studio professionals who use professional editing software and high-end cameras.
There’s a lot to learn with Lightroom product photography. In this article, I’ll be making you familiar with the complete family of Lightroom. You should be able to learn how to use Presets, Batch Editing, Tethered Capture with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.
Lightroom Classic is an excellent program that has several handy features that make Lightroom perfect for photography.
The program can easily help you create consistent and high-quality images efficiently.
Let me give you a preview of what all things we’ll be learning in this article:
- What is Adobe Lightroom?
- Lightroom CC V/S Lightroom Classic
- What are the alternatives to Lightroom?
- How to use Lightroom for product photography?
- Tethering during a photoshoot with Lightroom Classic
- Learning to use presets to adjust images as you photograph them
- Batch Editing images
I promise that by the end of this article you’ll be able to perform all the actions that we’ve just talked about and will have a clear head for what you should choose. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
What is Adobe Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom is a photo manipulation software designed for photographers. In a nutshell, it allows photo management and editing – cataloging and adjusting.
It allows users to import, organize, edit, and export images. You can mark your favorite files with stars, create collections, search, and share images. You can edit individual images, do batch edits, and save a set of adjustments as ‘Presets’ which makes Lightroom photography hassle-free.
Every image you edit in Lightroom is reversible which makes it pretty easier for photographers to re-edit or make corrections. What happens is that Lightroom retains your original images and keeps a record of all editing activities, then applies those when you export your images.
You can come back after minutes, days, weeks, months, or even years and reverse the edits – Pretty cool!
Since its arrival in 2007, Lightroom underwent its first major change at the end of its first decade – in 2017. That’s when Lightroom was split into two programs with many shared features, but significant distinctions – Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
What’s the major difference between these two? Simply put, Lightroom CC is pretty much excellent for casual, on-the-go mobile photographers. On the other hand, Lightroom Classic is best for professional, computer-operating users. (Best for Lightroom product photography)
Lightroom CC V/S Lightroom Classic
Adobe® Lightroom® Classic – #1 Choice for Professionals
Lightroom Classic is a continuation of the real Lightroom. However, the “Classic” tag is still going through frequent updates.
Tethering, file renaming, local image support, adjustment history, export types, more advanced editing options, and much more make the Lightroom Classic my personal favorite for product photography.
For Lightroom photography, you can simply connect your camera with your laptop and capture images with a single press of the spacebar. You can edit individual images and sync it to your complete catalog.
It is super easy as you don’t need to have your images loaded to Adobe’s cloud before editing them. You get more editing options and unlike CC, you can reverse all individual edits rather than choosing to restore ‘all or nothing.
The basic things like renaming your images, exporting them as TIFF, PSD, or the original RAW format are all present in the Lightroom Classic. But funnily, missing from CC. This, in my opinion, makes it easier for professional photographers to make their decision for which one’s better for Lightroom product photography.
Adobe Lightroom CC – Casual’s Best Friend
Why can’t it be the choice for Lightroom product photography?
You can’t perform tethering, can’t rename files, need images on Adobe’s Cloud-first for using many features, and you can only export files as JPG. This makes it pretty clear why it can’t be the choice.
However, there are a lot of great features that Lightroom CC is designed for, such as:
- Mobile editing – portable
- Cloud backup
- Syncs across other devices
- Easy sharing
- AI-powered searches
If you are a budding photographer, then you should look in no other place. Lightroom CC is an amazing and excellent program for amateur photographers who don’t shoot in the studio.
It’s made extra accessible by removing many features that most people find unnecessary and probably never use, such as tethering. You can still use it for Lightroom product photography.
All the images are backed up in the cloud automatically. There are apps available for iOS and Android that enable you to edit high-resolution images, and your every activity syncs across all your devices.
Bottom line — Lightroom CC is a wonderful program, but its inability to rename files, tether, and only exporting of images in JPG makes its accessibility too narrow for professional use.
What Are The Alternatives to Lightroom?
Nothing can beat Lightroom for product photography as it’s one-of-a-kind in its category. However, if you’re not satisfied with the results of your Lightroom photography or just want to give a shot at some other software, then Skylum Luminar 4 is the one for you.
In a way, Lightroom is a little more cheaper and accessible than Capture One. But, Capture One is made especially for photographers. If Lightroom photography entices you, then Capture One is going to leave you thinking which one’s better.
It has advanced features and impressive, sophisticated adjustments. Along with that, it’s also a lot faster and made to take care of slow loading processes as compared to Lightroom photography, such as tethering.
Though a little high on budget, it’s great with advantages. This really can provide you an upper hand while editing images if you’re tired of Lightroom photography and looking for a change.
Skylum Luminar 4
Skylum Luminar 4 is a wonderful software for image management features and RAW image processing. The program has been developing at a remarkable pace and strongly, beginning with RAW processing and a variety of filters and editing tools and compatibility with third-party presets.
They’ve now added a built-in image management library along with some useful image enhancement tools like their AI Sky Enhancer, AI Skt Replacement, and AI Structure tools which makes it a reliable alternative to Lightroom photography.
Another thing for which I find Luminar impressive is its editing approach that allows the use of layers. This can be very useful to combine edits in ways that don’t easily can be implemented into a single layer.
You can get versions for your Mac and Windows along with a free trial version. You can choose from several paid plans like License, Plus Bundle, and Max Bundle.
How to Use Lightroom for Product Photography?
I will be breaking down a few steps to help you learn Lightroom product photography in-depth.
Tethering during a photoshoot with Lightroom Classic
Why is tethering even important? Basically, it saves time – And Time is Money.
Forget the practice where you have to wait till the end of the shoot to see how your images are going to look on a full screen. When you tether, you can see your images instantly on the full-size screen of your PC.
In fact, you can create a “Preset” that’ll do adjustments hand in hand as you perform Lightroom photography, saving you a lot of your time in post-production along with allowing you to see the final image immediately.
It sounds simple, but trust me – it’s a treasure in disguise that provides a super-efficient Lightroom photography workflow that reduces reshoots.
To make you understand in a better way about tethering. Take a look at this note from Shauna Murray (a professional photographer) for help. I’ll be using a few of her notes along the way in this article.
Not sure if the camera you’re using can tether? Most DSLR can, but to be double sure, check Adobe’s tethered camera support for Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom 6.
Don’t fall for the cameras that say things like “wireless tethering,” or assume that because your camera has a micro-USB port, you’ll be able to tether. Those two elements may just be for offloading photos from the camera, but not really live tethered capture.
How to Tether Capture with Lightroom Classic?
Step 1: Open Lightroom and Catalog
You can either open an already created catalog of Lightroom product photography or you can create a new catalog from the app.
TIP: It’s easier to have all relevant images in the same catalog, but in my opinion, keep them in separate, clearly labeled folders so that it’s easier for you to find them and not look at them among the thousands of images in that one distinct, large folder.
Once you have you’ve opened your Lightroom product photography catalog, create a new parent folder for them. You can create subfolders later for specific products, product lines, etc.
Step 2: Tether your camera
Connect (Tether) your camera to your PC with a USB that’s compatible with your camera to begin Lightroom photography.
A. Now, turn on your camera.
B. In Lightroom, select ‘Files’ → Tethered Capture → In Tethered Capture Settings, click ‘Start Tethered Capture’.
C. Create a new folder for the set of images you’re going to capture.
D. Assign metadata, like keywords, etc. Once done, you’re all set to start your tether capture.
Step 3: Capture images
A capture strip will come up in your new catalog library window after you’ve saved your settings. You’ll be able to figure your camera connected and all of the cameras then settings.
Make sure that the settings like Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO are all set as per your Lightroom product photography requirements. Once satisfied, shoot your first image. Impressively, You can do it directly from your PC and watch it appear on your computer screen. This completely eliminates the camera shake.
Step 4: Create a Preset and use it
Make adjustments to your photo until you are satisfied with the results. Once done, open the Developer tab → make adjustments like color correction, contrast, etc., and save these adjustments as “Preset’.
You can apply these presets to the photos throughout the shoot during the tethered capture. Since all the images will be of the same subject in the same lighting setup, these presets will reduce a lot of time in the post-production later.
Develop → Presets+ (on left menu) → Create Preset → Name it and click “Create”.
To assign it in the capture window, click the “Develop Settings” dropdown in the capture bar, and select your preset from the dropdown menu.
From now on, your preset will be applied automatically throughout your Lightroom photography conduct and you’ll be able to see your images getting edited instantly like magic!
You can repeat this process every time you change your setup or location.
Step 5: Export your files
Once your photo shoot is completed, use the “Library” tab to rate your images with flags and stars.
Select the images you want to use → File → Export. Select the destination and file type as you need, name your file, and hit “Export”.
How to Batch Edit Images with Lightroom?
Another magnificent ability of Lightroom is its ability to perform bulk edits. Lightroom photography is convenient as you can always reverse your edits, hence you don’t have to worry in case you make a mistake.
REMEMBER: Lightroom CC doesn’t have any “Develop Tab”, “Synch” button, or other useful elements of Lightroom Classic. However, it does have an option to batch edit images. But, you need to follow a few different steps.
As we’re talking about professional Lightroom Product Photography, I’ll be showing you how to edit batch images in Lightroom Classic.
How to Batch Edit Images in Lightroom Classic?
To batch edit your images in Lightroom Classic as a part of your Lightroom Product photography workflow, you must:
Step 1: Organize
Once you have all your product images captured, organize them in one single folder.
Step 2: Import
Import all photos from the designated folder into your catalog.
- Press the “Import” button
- Find your image folder
- “All Photos” will be checked by default
- Hit “Import”
Step 3: Adjust
We’re in “Library” after the import is completed.
- Select an image in the “Library” tab
- Click “Develop”
- Expand “Basics” if not opened already
- Adjust white balance, exposure, a contrast from the menu
Step 4: Sync
Once you have made adjustments as desired, it’s now time that you apply those adjustments to all the other images too.
- Select all of your images remaining from the film strip at the bottom of your computer screen. If you don’t see the strip, you’ll be seeing an upward pointing arrow instead. Click on it to make the strip appear.
- Click “Sync” located at the bottom right on the Develop panel
- “Synchronize Settings” will pop up. Select the adjustments that you wish to apply to the rest of your product photos.
- Hit the “Synchronize” button
Step 5: Mark your images with Flags or Stars
Even after the adjustments are taken care of, you still need to pick the images that you actually need to use out of your Lightroom photography. Lightroom smartly allows you to mark and review your images using flags and stars.
With Flags, you can either choose to pick or reject an image. With stars, you can rate your images between 1 to 5.
Using these methods is as smooth as butter. Simply use “P” for “Pick”, “X” for “Reject”, and press numbers for stars.
Follow these simple steps to begin:
- Click a photo from the strip
- Use arrow keys to go to the next image
- Hit “P” to flag the images you’re going to use
- Hit “5” or any other number to mark your images
TIP: You can use 5 to mark your hero images that you’ll be using for featuring and use 4 and other lower numbers for your Lightroom photography listings.
- Select “Flagged” from the “Filter” dropdown at the bottom right
Step 6: Finally Export
Throughout the steps you followed above for Lightroom product photography, you’ve just been saving edit settings and previewing them in Lightroom. Given its non-destructive nature, the source photos haven’t actually been changed.
Now, it’s time we edit the images for real and export them for use. For this, We’ll be exporting them to their own folder.
Select all filtered photos → Press the “Export” button.
- Click “Library”
- Press the “Export” button
- Adjust the export setting (as desired)
TIP: Create a new folder within the same folder in which you have your RAW images and name it something catchy like ‘Final Images’.
If you believe that you might edit them more later, then save it as PSD or TIFF. However, if you’re done with editing, save as “JPEG”
For ‘Color Space’, Use sRGB only for the web to retain the best results.
- Hit the “Export” button once again
The next station after performing Lightroom photography is always Photoshop to edit your images and make them ready. Basic, yet essential edits like background removal, cropping, adjusting shadows are all mandatory.
It is also important to remove dirt, scratches, creases, and smudges from the product or remove blemishes and scars from models to create a fine, professional, and eye-pleasing image.
You can also make use of the Ghost Mannequin technique in Photoshop if you’ve captured your product images on a dummy.
However, if you’re already pretty tired with Lightroom product photography or have no time to make edits any further. Then I recommend you hire professional image editing service providers who can provide all such services within a few hours and at affordable prices.
This can be highly efficient in saving time and investing your money in the right place.
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