Newbie’s Guide to Lightroom Mobile
Lightroom Mobile is probably the best photo editing app on the market. It can turn the most bland photos into photography masterpieces. But Lightroom isn’t worth anything if you don’t know how to use it. So for all you newbies, here’s a guide to Lightroom Mobile.
Why Choose Lightroom Mobile?
Lightroom Mobile is a photo editing app used by professional photographers to create professional photos. You can edit RAW or JPG files with various adjustments to exposure, contrast, and color. And the best part? Lightroom Mobile is free!
I should mention that if you are subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud, you will have access to a number of other features. A subscription will get you helpful tools such as the brush tool, gradient filter, spot healing, and batch editing. You’ll also have access to Lightroom Desktop, which is the ultimate tool for professional photographers. But you absolutely do not need a subscription. Lightroom Mobile has enough features to enhance all of your photos.
To import photos on Lightroom Mobile, you have two options. The first option is to take photos directly from your camera roll. The other is to use the Lightroom camera. Let’s start with the first option.
When you open Lightroom Mobile, click on the add image icon in the bottom right corner. A new window will appear. You can choose to import photos from the following locations:
- From All Photos
- From Camera Roll
- From Files
- From Camera Device (Memory Card)
Select “From Camera Roll.” You will then see all of your photos from your camera roll. To select multiple photos at a time. Click on the three dots in the top right corner. Then choose “Select Mode.” When you have chosen all the necessary photos, click “Add.” Your photos will automatically be added to the “All Photos” group.
To make a new album or folder, click the arrow in the top left corner. This is your library. You can then press the + sign to create and name a new folder or album.
For the second option, click the camera icon next to the add image icon in the bottom right corner. Now you can take photos that will be directly imported to Lightroom. But, more than that, you now have some extra features when taking photos.
First, you can choose to capture DNG files instead of JPG files. DNG files are uncompressed, so they have more file information. This allows you to make more aggressive edits without decreasing image quality. But DNG files are larger, so they take up more space on your device. They also take longer to import.
Taking photos through Lightroom Mobile also gives you the opportunity to switch camera modes. Automatic mode is like using your normal iPhone camera. Exposure and focus will automatically be adjusted for you. Professional allows you to manually control ISO, shutter speed, white balance, exposure, and focus. The final mode, High Dynamic Range (HDR), provides better exposure to highlights and shadows. This gives your photos more detail and vibrance.
By clicking the three dots on your Lightroom camera, you can access even more features. First, you can adjust the aspect ratio, which is the ratio between the width and height of your image. The default aspect ratio is 4:3. Shutter delay allows you to choose a 2, 5, or 10 second delay between when you press capture and when the photo is taken. Highlight clipping places a black and white strip over blown out highlights (parts of the photo that are too bright). You can also find additional options in the settings.
Once all your settings are in order, simply snap your picture. If your photo doesn’t appear right away, just wait. The image is probably still processing.
Rate & Review
To help you organize photos, Lightroom Mobile has a useful feature. Once you have finished editing a photo, click on “Edit” in the top left corner. You can then switch to the “Rate & Review” mode. This allows you to give star ratings for each photo. It also lets you add a picked or rejected flag.
Return to all your photos and click the three dots in the corner. Now you can organize your photos by rating or review. Just click “Segmentation” and select one of the options. You can also click on the filter icon to choose which type of images you want to view.
Editing Photos on Lightroom Mobile
Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s see what tools you have and how to use them. By the end, you’ll be a pro.
- Masking (Premium only): Masking allows you to enhance specific subjects of your photo. For example, you can edit a person without affecting the rest of the photo.
- Healing (Premium only): Healing lets you remove objects from your photo.
- Crop: Here you can crop part of the image, adjust the aspect ratio, or straighten it all out.
- Presets: Presets are premade editing adjustments that you can make yourself. It’s a quick and easy way to make your photos look professional. You can make these yourself or purchase someone’s else’s. Like mine!
- Auto: This button automatically adjusts your photo. This can create minor improvements in an image. But it won’t dramatically change the style.
- Light: Here you can make changes to the brightness, contrast, and tone curve. Correcting exposure is usually the first thing you want to do in Lightroom.
- Color: The color section lets you make basic adjustments to saturation or white balance. But you can also mess with the HSL and color grading. This way you can individually target colors.
- Effect: Texture and clarity are the two most common adjustments you’ll make in the effects section. But you can also add vignette to darken the edges of your photo.
- Detail: Detail lets you enhance the overall quality of your image by editing sharpness and noise reduction.
- Optics: Here you can remove chromatic aberration and enable lens corrections.
- Geometry (Premium only): With geometry, you can fix the perspective of your photos.
Although you may not need to use the crop tool, it can come in handy. You will see options to change and lock the aspect ratio. There are also a few options to straighten, rotate, and flip your image. These are pretty self-explanatory, so I think you get the point.
Once you open up the light section, you will see multiple sliders. Exposure provides general brightness adjustments to the photo. But you can also target highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks. The perfect photo will have high detail in all areas of exposure.
You can make even more advanced edits with the tone curve. Click the “Curve” icon to access the tone curve. There are 5 sections to the curve, which I have marked with dots. From the left to right, these sections are as follows: shadows, darks, mid-tones, lights, and highlights. You can place your own dots by clicking the curve. By moving the dot, you will adjust the tone of the specific section.
As you can see, there are also red, green, and blue channels. These work in a similar way. But they adjust the specific color. Dragging the red channel up adds red to the image. Dragging down removes red, thus adding aqua. Dragging the green channel up adds green. Dragging down removes green and adds magenta. Dragging the blue channel up adds blue. Dragging it down removes blue and adds yellow.
In the color section, you can first adjust the temperature. This will give the image cooler or warmer colors. Cooler colors have more blue, and warmer colors have more yellow. In a similar way, tint can add green or magenta to a photo.
Next you have vibrance and saturation. Saturation increases the intensity of all the colors in your photo. But vibration saturates the parts of your image that aren’t colorful. Too little of either can make a photo feel dull and lifeless. Too much can make it look unnatural.
Click on the “Mix” icon. Here you can make adjustments to the hue, saturation, and luminance of each color. Adjusting hue will shift a certain color. For example, you can make red look more like magenta or orange. Saturation affects the intensity of color. Luminance affects the brightness of the color. Use this tool to make a certain color pop.
Your photos will have a mix of colors, and it’s not always easy to tell which is which. Click the crosshairs icon and then tap on the location giving you trouble. Now you can see what the colors are.
Click on the “Grading” icon to apply certain colors to your photos shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. This is great for creating a stylized photo or editing brown tones.
Texture and clarity add detail to your photo. While texture affects the whole photo, clarity targets the sharpness of mid-tones. If you want a softer photo, make sure to lower both texture and clarity.
Dehaze does exactly what it says. If there is a haze or mist in your photo, dehaze will help eliminate it. Alternatively, you can add a haze if you want.
Sharpening adds detail to an image and gives it a more crisp feel. Noise reduction does the opposite. It smooths out pixels and removes fine detail. Color noise reduction does a similar thing. Instead, it targets multicolored pixels. All of these tools will affect the overall smoothness of your image.
Once you are done editing an image, click the three dots in the top right corner. You can save the editing adjustments you made and use them on other photos with a touch of a button. Click “Create Preset” and name your preset.
This is your secret weapon in editing photos. Imagine you just edited a photo of a tropical beach. You can save those edits as a preset and use them for future tropical beach photos. To find your presets, click the “Preset” icon. All of your presets will be in the “User Presets” section. Here you can try out different presets. Then press the checkmark to accept the preset.
Every photo is different. You will probably need to adjust exposure or some other detail. But presets allow you to reliably recreate a style again and again.
When you’re done, click the share icon in the top right corner. Click “Export as.” I recommend setting the file type to JPG and the image quality to 100%. When you’re done, click the checkmark. Now you can select where to share or save the photo.
And that’s all the basic information you need. Congratulations on finishing the Newbie’s Guide to Lightroom Mobile! Once you get the hang of it, you can create your own presets. Until then, I recommend taking a look at my Lightroom presets. You can apply my style to any of your photos. It’s the easiest way to make your photos look good.