10 Essential Lightroom Plugins You Shouldn’t Be Working Without
Lightroom has become one of the most essential parts of a photographer’s workflow. It is a highly useful tool from Adobe which is easy to use, powerful and helps make photos come to life. With its visual editing and image processing abilities, Lightroom serves as a key tool a photographer should have in his tool bag.
It is possible to make the tool easier to use and more powerful with the help of plugins. You can extend Lightroom’s capabilities using third-party plugins and add a new dynamic to the editing process.
In this article, we discuss ten essential Lightroom plugins which you should be using.
One of the most commonly used Lightroom plugins, the Fader is a preset opacity slider program. It proves to be much beneficial when working with presets. Fader actually works as the master slider which controls all the tools within Lightroom. Instead of the static ‘100% only’ presets, the plugin allows choosing dynamically how much of the preset you want to apply. As it goes up to 150%, you can over process the processing as well.
The Fader works by applying a faded preset dynamically. It does not alter any existing presets. It computes the new values and moves the sliders for you. It is a simple and powerful way to adjust the strength of all presets with a single slider. Just open the Fader, select the preset you want to work with and use the opacity slider to increase or decrease its strength.
Another excellent Lightroom plugin is LRTimelapse which provides a comprehensive solution for time lapse editing, grading, keyframing and rendering. Those who create time lapse videos will need a simple way to edit the images in batches to avoid doing them one by one.
Regardless of the system you use, the plugin integrates seamlessly with your Lightroom to let you create keyframes which you can edit in Lightroom. These edits are exported to LRTimelapse and used automatically to edit other time-lapse photos into video.
3. Focus Mask
Designed by Capture Monkey, the Focus Mask plugin does only one thing but does it pretty well. It highlights the parts of the photo that are in focus. This lets you select the best shot between multiple images at a single glance. Depending on your selection, the tool works with single or multiple images with the number of maximum images restricted to 32.
A red mask on the top of every image indicates areas with the most detail. This is a good indication of how sharp your image is. With multiple photos, Focus Mask can help you instantly pick a clear winner.
4. DxO Optics Pro
Providing an excellent ‘one-click fixes’ capability, DxO Optics Pro is a powerful Lightroom plugin that lets you enjoy the specialized fixes which are better than auto-fixes. The tool also features a smart lighting technology that makes the image stand out in case the film and lens fail to capture the real beauty of the moment.
It specializes at separating shadows from light and helps target particular areas to lighten up. It also offers ‘clear view’ and sharpening tools to sharpen blurred edges and cut out the atmosphere between the subject and the camera, giving a cleaner, clearer view with more details.
5. Topaz Adjust
Focusing largely on color correction and manipulation, Topaz Adjust is another powerful and useful Lightroom plugin. The tool features Global Adjustment with a set of basic tools to adjust color, detail, exposure and noise.
Local Adjustments let you apply image adjustments selectively using an advanced brush and Finishing Touches allow applying important finishing touches to the image including vignettes, toning, grain and others. Topaz Adjust uncovers the nuances hidden by the film and brings out the details to make the photo spectacular. It relies on detail, contrast and color to bring back the images to life.
An amazing filter plugin for Lightroom, Hypertyle makes it possible to apply more than twenty different filters to a photo. It allows generating surface, texture, edge, transparency, erosion, shadow effects, frame and other effects giving you unlimited possibilities. You can also apply secondary effects like metal, zoom, rotation, warp, pop-art, noise, blur and others.
Hypertyle plugin goes deeper than the filters offered by Instagram and other programs and it gives you much better control over what happens and a high-quality resulting image. With more than 110 presets and 1200 seamless photo, painting and synthetic textures included, the tool allows enhancing the photos to the best possible.
7. LR Backup
The plugin does what it says – back up the catalog of Lightroom. LR Backup does this by adding the functionality of backing up the configuration files, scheduling the catalog backup for the next shutdown and compressing the catalog backups. The plugin also gives you some additional features which the standard backup tool doesn’t provide.
Having a backup of the catalog is important as it contains the record of each edit you make to the images. LR Backup allows making manual backups of the Lightroom catalog without having to exit the application. What makes the tool really useful is its ability to schedule catalog backups. It compresses the backup to about 10 percent of the original size which is specifically important when you have a huge database of edited photos.
8. Lightroom to Instagram
A publish plugin for Lightroom, Lightroom to Instagram allows posting photos directly to the Instagram account. Simply install the plugin and add your account to start uploading photos right from the Lightroom interface. You can drag the photos to the publish collection and choose ‘Publish’ option to upload to your Instagram account.
You can also add hashtags to caption, use crop and padding to make the photos perfect. You can use multiple Instagram accounts to publish to by creating different publish collections. There is no simpler and faster way to publish from Lightroom to Instagram!
9. Keyboard Tamer
Designed to give some Lightroom personalization capability, the Keyboard Tamer plugin allows users to make the commands suited to personalized workflow habits. It lets you redefine most of the Lightroom shortcuts and create new shortcuts for functions.
This plugin is sure to be useful to those who wish to streamline the workflow and find it difficult remembering the exact keyboard commands for different tools.
The Macphun apps is a set of photo editing tools which can be used as Lightroom plugins and standalone tools. One of the most useful and versatile apps in the set is the Creative Kit which contains tools to manage:
-Focus – To handle blur effects
-Tonality – To help with black & white conversion
-Intensify – To enhance fine details
-Snapheal – To remove objects
-Noiseless – To get noise reduction
-FX Photo Studio – A set of filters for instant effects
These tools help streamline the process of editing photos and make the most of the Lightroom capabilities.