This article is about making your LR experience more productive using some of the lesser known techniques and shortcuts.
Software is the conduit by which digital photographers create their images. As such, it is good to have access to as many software tools as possible, onOne Perfect Layers, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, Mediachance Dynamic-Photo HDR, Alien Skin Snap Art, and of course, the mother of all digital imaging software, Adobe Photoshop.
Even so, I have often said the only software a digital photographer needs is Adobe Lightroom. If you have this one piece of software you can do any and everything necessary to create images that are ready to be hung in a gallery or viewed on a website.
I am surprised at how few photographers know that enabling Caps Lock on their keyboard while selecting images in the Library Module automatically moves the cursor to the next image after any attribute is selected (pick, unpick, delete, star, label, etc.). This greatly speeds up the selection process.
A Tale of Two Brushes
The Adjustment Brush (Develop Module) has provision for two brushes for masking, A and B. I keep the A brush set for a soft edge with a large amount of feathering and the B brush set for a hard edge with little or no feathering. This allows me to move quickly back and forth between blending the mask and creating a sharp edge.
The size of the brush is quickly changed using the square bracket keys, [or]. The left bracket, [makes the brush smaller and the right bracket], makes it larger. Using Shift + [makes the brush edge harder, while Shift +] makes the edge softer.
When only one circle is shown for the brush cursor it means the hardness is at its maximum of 0. Any time you see two concentric circles it indicates a softer brush. The space between the two circles is called the “feather zone” and is where the brush transitions from 100% coverage (inner circle) to 0% (the edge of the outer circle). The larger the feather zone the greater the feather area (Figure 1).