Top Three Lightroom Customizations


As Lightroom has matured from a fledgling application for those willing to try something new, to being the most preferred application for photographers in image management and editing (see the poll I ran here), customizing your interface is something that I don’t see a lot of photographers doing.  Some call it vanity, others call it branding, but I just call it tweaking!  Regardless of your motivations, here are three areas where I don’t see a lot of people putting their own mark in Lightroom.

Since this is all about education, I’d hate for people to not be customizing Lightroom to their own personality simply because they don’t know how.  So, with that pretense, here are three ways you can customize Lightroom 4 (in no particular order)…

#1 – Customize your end panels – this is as simple as porting a small PNG or GIF file into your Lightroom Panel Endmarks Folder.  I created a small PNG file (roughly 150x90px), and made sure my background was transparent using Photoshop CS5, then saved it to the Panel End Marks Folder.  Keep in mind, that when you change this, the panel end mark will show up in two places:  at the end of both the left and right hand panels.  The file location will vary depending on your system

Mac users:  Library | Application Support | Adobe | Lightroom | Panel End Marks

Windows Users:  C:\Users\<Your Name>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Panel End Marks

Panel End Mark

#2 – Customize your identity plate – This is where the Adobe logo resides in the upper left hand corner.  I found that a PNG file 180×50 seems to work well.  I’ve inset my text and graphic 15 px from the left edge so it doesn’t go all the way out to the edge of Lightroom.  The 50px height also allows a logo of 40px with a 5px space at the top and bottom a little room to breathe…

Identity Plate

#3 – Watermarks – This is a point of contention for a lot of people as some tend to think that watermarks can “ruin” an otherwise good photograph.  Others like to add a watermark big and bold to prevent image theft when they post their work online.  Others still, will put something more subdued that is less interfering with the image, but can still indicate ownership.  (Just make sure you register your work with the Copyright office, otherwise it doesn’t really matter!)


I’ve gotten the best results by creating custom PNG files using the full instance of Photoshop (you don’t need CS6 – it can be any version of PS going all the way back as far as I can remember, which includes PS 7!).

Great Pictures Can be Made in Your Own Backyard

Selective Toning by Joe Farace

Guest post by Joe Farace

I don’t always have any specific goals and objectives in mind when making an image other than “I’d like to make a nice photo,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. My friend Matt Staver is a talented, young photographer who often asks me “what was your objective in making that photograph” but I seldom have a good answer for him.

At the FOTOfusion conference a few years ago I conducted a workshop called “Right in Your Own Backyard” which was based on the premise that you needn’t travel halfway around the world when great photo ops are closer to home. When showing an image made, literally, in my backyard, one of the students asked, “What prompted you to make that picture.” Answering was difficult because it addressed the thought processes going on while an image is created but I never got that question out of my head and so decided to show you how a specific photograph was made.

Selective Toning by Joe Farace

This portrait of my wife Mary was made in my real back yard (in a former residence, not on Daisy Hill where I now live) using a Hasselblad Xpan film camera and is the full image of the camera’s 35mm panoramic frame. In this case, the portrait was created as a homage to the work of Phil Borges who is not only an extremely gifted photographer but is also a humanitarian. One of the techniques Mr. Borges uses is called “selective toning” which is different from split toning although the effect is similar because the image maker gets to determine which specific area of the photograph is toned in different colors or tones by using masking techniques.

In the traditional darkroom the effect can be achieved by coating the areas of the print that you do not wish to tone in that particular color with liquid rubber cement. You apply carefully this goopy stuff with a brush, let it dry and then immerse the print in the toner solution. After washing and drying the rubber cement peels off easily you can then apply rubber cement to the areas that you just toned and then re-tone the print in another color of toner. If all that sound complicated and messy, it is, but the effects can be dramatic. This same technique is much easier to accomplish using digital techniques and layers. After scanning the panoramic images, I created two layers; one was toned, was not. Then I erased everything on the “toned” layer but Mary’s face. To finish it off and give the portrait a real film look, I applied one of Kevin Kubota’s Sloppy Borders effects.

You can follow Joe on his own blog, Changing the World, One Pixel at a Time