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
#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…
#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!).