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Developing Basics

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Classroom in a Book (2019 Release), author Rafael Concepcion introduces you to a range of basic editing options in the Develop module, from automatic adjustments and develop presets to cropping, straightening, and finishing tools. Along the way, you’ll pick up a little background knowledge in digital imaging as you become familiar with some basic techniques.

The Develop module

Although the Library module’s Quick Develop panel offers access to many basic image editing options, you’ll work in the Develop module to make more detailed adjustments and modifications to your photos. The Develop module is a comprehensive editing environment, presenting all the tools you’ll need to correct and enhance your images in a single workspace. The controls are simple enough for a beginner to use, and yet have the depth and power required by the advanced user.

The Develop module offers three viewing modes: the Loupe view, where you can focus on a single image; the Reference view, where you can compare your image to a reference image; and the Before/After view, which has several layout options that make it easy to compare the original and edited versions of a photo. The Toolbar across the bottom of the work area presents buttons for switching between the views and a slightly different suite of controls for each viewing mode.

The left panel group contains the Navigator panel, which can be collapsed but not hidden, and any combination of the Presets, Snapshots, History, and Collections panels, which can be shown or hidden to suit the way you prefer to work.

At the top of the left panel group, the Navigator panel helps you find your way around a zoomed image, lets you preview the effects of developing presets before you apply them, and lets you review past stages in an image’s developing history. At the right of the Navigator’s header is a zoom picker for setting the magnification level in the working views.


At the top of the right panel group is the Histogram panel. Immediately below the histogram is an array of tools for cropping, removing image flaws, applying local adjustments through graduated or radial masks, and painting develop settings directly onto an image selectively. Clicking any of these tools expands a tool options panel with controls and settings for that tool.

Below these editing tools is the Basic panel, your starting point for color correction and tonal adjustments. In many cases, this may be the only panel you need to achieve the result you want. The remaining panels offer specialized tools for various image enhancement tasks.

For example, you can use the Tone Curve panel to fine-tune the distribution of the tonal range and increase midtone contrast. Use the controls in the Detail panel to sharpen an image and reduce noise.

It’s not intended that you use every tool on every photo. In many circumstances, you may make only a few slight adjustments to an image; however, when you wish to polish a special photo—or if you need to work with shots captured at less than ideal camera settings—the Develop module gives you all the control you need.


Reorganize the Develop module

The 2019 release of Lightroom Classic CC provides a new feature in the Develop module. Right-click any panel’s header on the right, and you’ll see a new option at the top of the menu. Choose Customize Develop Panel, and you’re presented with a dialog box where you can drag to rearrange the order of the panels on the right. The checkboxes toggle each panel’s visibility. Clicking the Save button will prompt you to restart Lightroom. After the restart, your panels will be organized as you set them, showing only the ones you need in the order you prefer.

To get back to the original arrangement, go back into the Customize Develop Panel area, click Default Order at the bottom, then click Save and restart Lightroom.

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