Archive for October, 2010

How to add captions to photos in Lightroom

Creating captions for photos is a basic task, and easy to do in Lightroom. When you’re sorting through the options and panels in the Slideshow, Print, and Web modules, however, it can be confusing to figure out how to apply the captions to your output.

The key is understanding that captions generated from Lightroom are based on metadata that you apply to the photo. You specify metadata in the Library module, using the Metadata panel. You can use any type of metadata as a caption—a filename; copyright info; a label or rating; or a phrase, sentence, or a paragraph you’ve entered in the Caption metadata field.

(The Caption field is available in the Default, EXIF+IPTC, Large Caption, Minimal, and QuickDescribe Metadata presets.)

The most efficient workflow is to specify your caption metadata before you switch to one of the output modules—it will make the process much more streamlined. See Lightroom Community Help topics View photo metadata and Add and edit IPTC metadata for instructions on how to enter metadata for your photos.

Then, to apply captions to printed photos, slide shows, or web galleries, do the following:

• In the Slideshow module, the closest thing to a caption is a text overlay. Text overlays appear mostly on the photo, not below it, depending on the template. What’s nice is that you can have multiple overlays. In the Overlays panel, look under the image preview and click the Add Text To Slide button (the ABC button). A pop-up menu appears to the right of the button, allowing you to choose a type of metadata: Filename, Caption, Date, and so on. The filename, caption, or date metadata for the photo appears as an overlay, which you can resize or style as desired. Choose Edit to open the Text Template Editor, where you can specify a combination of metadata elements for your caption.

Here’s the rub: If you choose Custom Text, whatever you type in the box will be applied uniformly to all of the slides. This is different from having a unique caption for each one. (And if you enter Custom Text, note it does not get added to your photo’s metadata back in the Library module.) See Add text and metadata to slides in Lightroom Community Help.

• In the Print module, you can add captions to photos for Single Image/Contact Sheet layouts only. These are layouts that use one or more photos, but they must all be the same size on the page. Select the layout from the Template Browser panel on the left side of the Print module, and open the Page panel on the right side of the module. Select the Photo Info option, and choose the metadata you want to use as a caption from the pop-up menu. See Print filename, caption, and other information (Single Image/Contact Sheet) in Lightroom Community Help.

• In the Web module, use the Image Info panel to add captions. The captions appear on the large image in the gallery, not the thumbnails on the index page. Select a layout from the Template Browser panel on the left side of the Web module, and open the Image Info panel on the right side of the module. Select Caption, and then choose the metadata you want to use as the caption from the pop-up menu. Choose Edit to open the Text Template Editor, where you can specify a combination of metadata elements for your caption.

As with the Slideshow module, there’s a caveat: If you choose Custom Text, whatever you type in the box will be applied uniformly to all of the large images in the gallery. This is different from having a unique caption for each one. See Add text to web galleries in Lightroom Community help.

Finally, a word about exporting: When you export photos, all the metadata, including captions, is embedded—unless you choose Minimize Embedded Metadata in the Export dialog box or Lightroom Publishing Manager dialog box. (See Specify metadata handling for exported photos.) But if you want to see the captions on the exported photo, here’s a trick: Export JPEGs of captioned slides. In the Slideshow module, create your slide show with captions as described above, and then press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to change the Export PDF button to Export JPEG. Click the Export JPEG button to export the photos as JPEGs with captions (and other slide layout and overlay options) intact.

Lightroom 3 Help corrections posted

I spent some time this week reading the many comments that have been posted to Lightroom Community Help in the last few months, and I made many updates and corrections. Notably:

Display a copyright in web photo galleries now includes info on the Simple Copyright Watermark option. The option creates uses IPTC copyright metadata specified for the photo in the Library module, rather than a copyright created in the Watermark Editor.

New topic: Restore preferences to default settings.

Displaying the Library on a second monitor now explains that Lightroom does not color manage its windows on a second monitor.

Correct image perspective and lens flaws automatically: Many of you have observed that you don’t always see a supported lens profile in the Lens Correction panel. That’s because there are different profiles depending on whether you’re editing a raw or non-raw photo. The updated Help page explains this, and links to the lens profile support doc for more information.

View photo metadata now includes info on GPS support and Jeffrey Friedl’s plug-in.

Merge photos to HDR in Photoshop is updated for Photoshop CS5, and clarifies which versions of Photoshop and Camera Raw are required to merge HDR images from Lightroom.

Applying Develop adjustments to other photos has been corrected. As several of you noticed, you can’t apply Develop adjustments to other photos by pasting to multiple selected photos in the Filmstrip in the Develop module. You must switch to the Library module to do this.

Keep the feedback coming.

Where is the Save button in Lightroom?

Saving files in Lightroom is one of the most misunderstood concepts about the application. Lightroom doesn’t work the way Photoshop does. In Photoshop, you open your image, make edits, and then save the changes.

But there is no Save button or command in Lightroom, per se. You have to adapt to a slightly different concept: Saving changes to your photo’s metadata. Metadata is more than just keywords and photo capture time. Metadata includes the changes that you make to photos in the Develop module—applying Develop presets, adjustments to white balance and tone curve, local corrections, crops, and so on.

Lightroom automatically saves metadata changes to photos in the catalog. So after you make your photos look beautiful and you want to do something with them—export them to share with friends or clients on Facebook or SmugMug, create a slide show, or print a contact sheet from Lightroom, for example—your photos will include those changes.

But if you want your changes to be recognized by another application, such as Adobe Bridge or Camera Raw, then you have to save the changes to the photos themselves, not just to the Lightroom database. The most efficient way to save changes to photos in Lightroom is to instruct Lightroom to automatically save changes to the file’s XMP metadata as you work. Lightroom evangelist Julieanne Kost has a wonderful video demonstrating how to do this. Watch it on Adobe TV: Saving changes to your photos in Lightroom 3 (10:20).

George Jardine also has an excellent video that covers everything you need to know about Lightroom catalogs and metadata. Watch it on Adobe TV, too: The Lightroom catalog (23:21). George produced the video for Lightroom 1, so the UI of the import dialog box that he shows is out of date, but everything else is still accurate. If you’ve ever been confused about catalogs, where Lightroom saves your photos, how previews work, or how to save changes to your photos in Lightroom, you’ll want to watch all 1,401 seconds of the video.

All of this is covered in Lightroom Community Help, too, of course, although the information is scattered across a few topics:

For instructions on exporting photos, see Exporting photos–basic workflow.

Clarifying lens correction profile support

We’ve had tons of comments on our knowledgebase article that documents lenses supported by the Lightroom 3 automatic lens correction feature. Many of you see a lens in the list but cannot find the lens in the Lens Corrections panel in the Develop module.

The reason is that there are different profiles for raw vs. JPEG images. For a complete explanation, see the updated doc, Lens profile support | Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, Camera Raw 6 (cpsid_84666). (You may notice that we’ve also added Photoshop and Camera Raw support to the document as well.)

If your favorite lens isn’t supported, keep in mind that we will add support for additional lenses over time. To request support for a specific lens, please use the form at

For Help using lens corrections, see  Correct image perspective and lens flaws automatically in Lightroom Community Help. The topic has links to several good community tutorials, too. And for troubleshooting problems with the feature, visit the Lightroom user forum.

Questions? Ask a Creative Suite pro

Ever wanted direct access to the leading minds of the design industry? Check out Adobe’s “Ask A CS Pro” sessions, online Q & A discussions between Creative Suite experts and everyday users. Topics range from cross-product workflows to deep dives into Photoshop, with presenters like product manager Bryan Hughes and acclaimed trainer Richard Harrington.

For archived recordings of past sessions, follow the Ask A CS Pro page on Facebook.

For notices about upcoming events, follow the Creative Suite Notes page.

Help for Lightroom 3 new features

Yes, I’m embarassed to say, it’s been (too) many months since my last blog post. I won’t insult your intelligence with excuses. I’ll just give you the links to the Help pages for some of Lightroom 3’s key new features. And I’ll be back again soon with more useful content and links for learning and using Lightroom 3.

Finally—this one is actually recently updated—the Help page Import photos from Photoshop Elements explains how to import catalogs from PSE 9 on Windows and Mac, and also links to tutorials about how to import from iPhoto. (Actually, most of the Help pages for new features include links to community how-to tutorials and videos.)