Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

How to use Lightroom: 8 mistakes every photographer makes

OK make that 9, this article which in general I agree with misses the first and most glaring mistake newbies ti LR make.

Setting up your system properly to make sure your images are safe and backed up, at the same time making sure your on board hard drive doesn’t give up the will to live in a few months as you stuff it with RAW images.

I teach a LR course, it is a great course even if I saw so myself, I hit the things that really matter and the first is the original set up. Most people just load LR then immediately start without paying any attention to where their images and catalogue will be stored, how the images will be filed and found and how that will be backed up. When they finally make it to my course I have to help them undo all the mess they have created for themselves.

This article from Digital Camera World is a good check on the things that can go wrong but I debate whether every photographer makes these mistakes.


Keywords are an incredibly useful feature that allow you to find images quickly.

However, applying them takes a bit of discipline and forward planning.

For example, you need to give some thought to how far you breakdown keywords.

This will probably depend upon how many shots you are likely to produce of a particular subject.

SEE MORE: Lightroom vs Photoshop – why Lightroom has all the tools you need

Someone who only occasionally shoots flowers, for instance, is likely to find giving any flower pictures a keyword of ‘flowers’ sufficient, but a professional plant and flower photographer may require more detail with keywords for specific plants.

If you find that your collection of images with one keyword grows, you can always add another sub-keyword at a later date to help break it down at a later date, but it’s better to get things straight from the outset if you can.

Keywording an extensive back-catalogue of image is a pretty daunting task, so we recommend starting with new images and applying keywords as you import each new batch.

Once you’ve built up a collection of keywords you can start assigning them to older images.

Worst Lightroom mistakes: 1. Not using keywords
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 2. Moving image files outside of Lightroom
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 3. Clipped highlights
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 4. No blacks or whites
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 5. Over-adjusted Curves
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 6. Over saturating colours
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 7. Over-use of selective colour
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 8. Over-sharpening


Adobe Lightroom is an incredibly powerful image organisation and editing software package. With just a few clicks of your mouse it enables you to tag images and add key words so you can find them quickly and easily in the future.

It also has tools to help you correct exposure and white balance problems and adjust contrast.

Of course the downside to having such a powerful tool at your disposal is that it’s possible to make some pretty significant mistakes, especially when you’re first learning how to use it.

To help out we’ve drawn up a list of the most common mistakes that photographers make when using Lightroom and have some advice about how to get things right from the outset.

Read all the advice here

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