Developing Your Images in Lightroom

Lightroom Screenshot

Disclaimer Notice: as a Craft and Vision affiliate, I received a complimentary copy of ESSENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: 20 Great Techniques for Lightroom4 by Sean McCormack, for the purposes of reviewing the book.  All opinions stated below are my own.  If you purchase any Craft and Vision books through links on this site, I will receive an affiliate commission. I work with Craft & Vision because I am an avid user of their products. I believe strongly in their quality and feel that many of my readers will find them valuable in improving their own photography skills just like I have.

Late last week I received a phone call that, quite frankly, I’m still in shock over.

An international brand was launching new packaging here in Canada and they needed a food photographer.  Somebody who could shoot product stills and lifestyle shots.  Could I do it?



What I said: –> “YES.  Yes I can”   What I thought in my head –> “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG” followed by “I have no idea what I’m doing, these people are crazy!”

I hung up the phone, jumped up and down in my office, Snoopy danced with Sam, texted a couple of people and then… then started to panic.

We’re still in the midst of the photography.  But the first batch is done and the client is very happy with the proofs so I’m feeling ok about mentioning it now.  Up until that moment I was a nervous wreck!  And even though half the project is done, I still can’t really believe that it’s happening.

I’m hoping once we’re finished that I can tell you more about the actual logistics and process of the shoot because it truly is very different from what’s done for this blog.

One of the differences that I will mention is the amount of post processing required.  It’s mostly product retouching – repairing knicked labels, removing lot codes, etc.   I’m getting a Lightroom and Photoshop workout for sure!

Essential Development

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to read the newest e-book offering from Craft and Vision: ESSENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: 20 Great Techniques for Lightroom4 by Sean McCormack.  All I can say is, I really wish I had read this before I had started my post processing.

It’s packed full of tips for making the most of your experience in the Lightroom Develop Module, where I, and probably you as well, do about 90% of my LR work.  Developing is the heart of working with the images you’ve just taken so any advice on how to leverage the power of Lightroom’s tools and presets is welcome indeed!

The book offers up lots of keyboard shortcuts that I didn’t know existed, explains all the tools in the develop module – several of which I hadn’t used because I didn’t understand the level on which they worked.  How some tools work actually changes depending on which other sliders and tools you’ve already used! This was so helpful to learn and to learn the order in which to use some of them so you make the most of what they can do.

Essential Development Page Spread

But perhaps the biggest help was learning how to batch process – something I was very aware Lightroom could do, and do well, but that I’d never had reason to use before.  But, after shooting 30 identically shaped products in the exact same lighting conditions, being able to batch process them once I had my initial post processing routine worked out would have saved me a ton of time.  I’ll definitely be making use of that feature on the second half of this project!

The other great part about this book is learning about the power of presets – these are similar to actions in Photoshop, if you’ve ever used those.  Except, they’re much easier to create and very powerful in what they can do.  I already use presets daily for my export routines, my watermarking and occasionally for some actual post processing.  They can make routine tasks happen literally at the click of a button.  Huge timesaver!

With this ebook, you also get a separate file containing 85 presets that you can load into Lightroom and start experimenting with.  The best part is, it all costs $7.  The book on it’s own is worth that much!  But given how much so many Lightroom preset bundles sell for on-line, this is an excellent package to dip your toes in and start learning about the power of presets.

Essential Development Page Spread

For a limited time, Craft & Vision is offering a discount on the ESSENTIAL DEVELOPMENT package when you use the promo code DEVELOP6 before 11:59pm (Pacific Time) on October 23rd.  You’ll get the whole package for $6!  You can also use the promo code DEVELOP20 during this period to get 20% off the purchase of any 5 PDF e-books from the Craft & Vision (all books must be purchased at the same time).  Craft & Vision has an impressive library of inexpensive but extremely informative e-books to help you improve your photography – I own nearly every single one and have learned so much from them.

Happy Developing!


  1. says

    Congrats Melissa! Well deserved, your photos are fabulous. I enjoy these posts about lightroom and post-processing so much. I am a kindergartner in these matters…

  2. says

    Congratulations! I know you will do amazing!

    I just bought Lightroom 4 about 3 weeks ago. Sounds like a book I should buy. I am just starting out and I need all I help I can.

    Thanks Melissa.

    • Melissa says

      I hope you get lots out of it. My LIghtroom bible is Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 4. I even have it on my iPad so I can reference it fast when I’m working. It’s a great book for all the basics on setting it up and making the most of your catalogues and all the post develop stuff too.

  3. Cristina says

    OH MELISSA! How exciting and congratulations!! You shouldn’t be shocked though – your photography is beautiful and you’re technically adept. Plus all your tips and creative compositions are evidence of it. I’m on cloud 9 for you! :)

    • Melissa says

      Thanks Christina, that means so much! It’s been a ton of fun. Product stills and the photoshop work have been a challenge for me but I’ve learned lots!

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