Pink and blue in Lyon France town square fountain
Sarakiniko Beach, Milos Greece Travel Guide via Find Us Lost
Pastel christmas ornaments at christmas market in tallinn estonia

Pink sunset and glacier in Svalbard
Taj Mahal at sunrise
Cypriot buildings in pano lefkara mountain town in Cyprus via @finduslost

If you’re new to photo editing, need a refresher, or are simply looking for inspiration to start getting your photos organized, this is a great post to bookmark. One of the most daunting parts of photo editing (especially if you’re new to it) can be where to start. If you’re like me, you’ve probably taken hundreds or thousands of photos from past trips or events in your life. Don’t get caught up on trying to tackle all of them, or the order in which you will. Instead, start with the photos you’re most excited to look at. Once you get the hang of organizing and editing, you’ll be more inspired to tackle other photos or follow the process the next time around.

The Basics

Program: Adobe Lightroom

Where to edit: On your computer or phone.

Pricing: Lightroom is for both professional and personal use. Lightroom for your desktop is a paid subscription ($9.99/month or $119.88/yr), and Lightroom for your phone is a free app. The Lightroom mobile app has most of the features that the paid program offers, with the exception of some tools and the restriction of only being able to use it on a mobile device. I have the ‘Photography’ plan and use Lightroom Classic, which gives me access to Photoshop without an additional cost. View all plans here.

How to get started

On your computer: Choose a subscription on Adobe’s website and follow the steps needed to install the Lightroom application. It only takes a few minutes. Once installed, you can start importing photos right away. The nice thing about Lightroom is that you can organize with folders and sub-folders, colors, and stars, so don’t worry about being selective with what photos you import. I keep my Lightroom catalog on my desktop, and I store my original photo files on a hard drive so they don’t take up space. Read this post for more on how we organize photos.

On your phone: Visit the App Store or Google Play to download the Lightroom app for free. Once it’s on your phone and you’ve created an account, you can import photos directly from your camera roll and start editing right away. You can do the same using an iPad.

Using photo presets

Presets are one-click edits that can be applied to your photo. They are not necessary in order to use Lightroom. However, they can help you achieve a certain look, make photos pop, and generally save you from spending a ton of time editing photos — which is why I always recommend them. Once a preset is applied you can still continue to edit the photo as much as you’d like. Installing presets involves purchasing them online and importing them into Lightroom. Step-by-step instructions are included with your purchase of my mobile and desktop presets.

Editing & saving photos

Editing is a process and you’ll learn a lot from simply playing around with the different tools in Lightroom. When you’re happy with an edit, you can choose to export a photo or set of photos. Your edits are actually always saved in Lightroom, so even if you don’t export them right away, you can always close out and re-open the program to continue editing later. This is great if you weren’t organized before for a couple reasons: 1) it means you can always edit and photos will still stay organized and saved and 2) when you do export photos, you can start to create folders on your computer (i.e. from different trips) with only your favorite ones inside. When you export from Lightroom you’re always saving a new version in a size you choose. That means the original, un-edited/raw photo file is never manipulated.

Ongoing support

FAQs: Visit this page for our most frequently asked questions on Lightroom, presets and photo editing.

Tutorial video: The video below covers how to use Lightroom for photo editing on your computer. For tutorials on photo editing using your phone, visit @finduslostpresets on Instagram.

I hope this helped clarify the main points of photo editing! If you have a question you would like answered, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us here.

Photos left to right from top: Lyon, France; Milos, Greece; Tallinn, Estonia. Second row: Svalbard, Norway; Taj Mahal, India; Pano Lefkara, Cyprus. Edited with our preset collections (Winter Collection & Greek Islands Collection).