Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

Modules.  This is a word you will hear around Lightroom a lot. Just think of Lightroom’s Modules as different sections of Lightroom.  Each one does something completely different.  So the next two posts in this series are going to cover the two most important modules for beginners: The Library Module and the Develop Module

Where to Find and Access the Modules

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The different Lightroom Modules (sections) are found at the top to the main Lightroom window.  To move to a different module, all you need to do is click on it’s name and you are there!

You should also know that throughout all the modules the “sideways triangle” means “Click on me! There are more options inside.”  If you remember that rule bit of info, you are on your way to rocking Lightroom.

Library Module

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

This module is the one that will open when you first launch Lightroom.  It is also where you will manage and organize your photos.  This makes perfect sense because when I think of a Library I imagine rows of books organized to the max!

There are lots of little gems in this section.  Here are some Highlights.

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The Navigator panel will be found in ALL the modules.  It allows you to see a small preview of your photo.  This panel also gives you several options for zooming into your photo.  The image above summarizes the main options.

As you zoom in, you will see a small rectangle appear over your photo.  This shows you the area that you are zooming in on.  If you click and drag on the rectangle you can change the area that appears in the zoom.

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The Folders Panel is where you will find the photos you have imported.  The folders should look similar to how they look on the drive the photos are stored on.  The grid of photos shown in the center will vary based on which folder you have selected.  Right-click on the folder title to find options for renaming, removing, adding or hiding parent folders.  From now on, anytime you want to rename or remove files that you have made Lightroom aware of, do it from Lightroom.  That will help you avoid getting the dreaded “missing” folders in Lightroom.

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The Collections section is where you can create collections and smart collections.  Think of collections as ways to group certain photos together.  For example, I make a collection of my favorite images from each client shoot.  Collections are easy to find and navigate to through each of the Modules whereas folders aren’t.  

Smart Collections allow Lightroom to use metadata about your images to locate and collect them.  For instance, I create a smart collection to find all my favorite family images each year.  It pulls all images with a certain rating, shot between certain dates, and in a certain folder into a collection for me.  Viola!  All my favorite family images in one spot!

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The Publish Services panel is used to allow you to publish photos to online services where you share your photos or to a spot on your hard drive.  The ones shown in the photo above are the ones I use regularly or the ones that came standard with Lightroom. There are other services you can add for free or a small fee, including: Zenfolio, SmugMug, Dropbox, Google Drive, 500px, etc.  Just click “Find More Services Online” and click the Lightroom icon on the left to find these.

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

Quick Develop

On the set of Right-hand panels you will find Quick Develop.  It is exactly what it implies—a quick place to apply some developing.  It is definitely not as powerful as the Develop Module (which I’ll cover next) but you are able to make small adjustments, including cropping, white balance and applying any of your presets


On the same side as Quick Develop, you’ll also find Keywording.  Not everyone will find this panel useful.  But any who shoot stock photography will find it essential.  You can add Keywords simply by typing them in the box.  Or, you can choose previously used Keywords that will pop-up in the boxes below.

Just below Keywording, you will find your Keyword List.  This is a list of all the keywords you have applied to photos in your catalog


In this section, you can see much of the information that Lightroom has saved about your photo.  You can find things such as all the settings you used when you took the photo, the time and date it was captured (which reminds me I need to set my camera’s clock to the correct time), what camera you used, and what lens you used.  There is other information there.  All of that information can be used to filter your photos.  The filter bar is found above the grid view of your photos.

Mastering Lightroom: The Library Module

The Tool Bar

This small section is found below the Photo Grid.  It gives you tools for rating or flagging photos, sorting and comparing, comparing and surveying photos, and changing the size of your thumbnails.

If you don’t see any or all of these tools, move to the little triangle on the right-side of the tool bar.  Once you click the triangle, you will see all the tool options drop down.  Any that are unchecked will not visible on your bar.  Clicking the tool you want will allow it to show up on your tool bar.

Stay Tuned for next week when we begin to cover the Develop module and developing your photos. 

Don't Miss the Other Posts in our Mastering Lightroom Series!

Day 1. The Lightroom Catalog

Day 2. Lightroom Import

Day 4. Lightroom Develop Module

Day 5. Developing Your Photos in Lightroom

Day 6. Developing Photos With Lightroom Presets

Day 7. Lightroom Export and Everything Else