Lightroom is the first tool I use in my editing workflow and an essential one for me. I start with the RAW file and work my way to a nice looking image that I am ready to fine tune in Photoshop. I will be creating tutorial videos that cover all of the below in detail, but here is an overview of 5 simple Lightroom tricks that I use daily to help me get the results I am looking for.
1. Tone Curve
Underneath the Basic panel lies the Tone Curve section. If you click on the little icon on the bottom right of the panel you will go to Point Curve Editing. This is basically the same as the Curves tool in Photoshop. If you're unfamiliar with it, have a play dragging different parts of the line up and down and watch the effect it has on the image. The far left of the histogram represents the dark parts of the image, the middle represents the midtones and the far right represents the light parts. Its an invaluable tool once you get your head around it!
2. Radial Filter
Nearly every image I edit has at least one radial filter applied in Lightroom. A few ways I like to use it is to enhance directional light, fix dark spots in the sky from using a polariser and add selective contrast/brightness. One of my key objectives in editing is to help highlight the right parts of the image. The radial filter helps with that in an easy, uncomplicated way.
3. Before & After Key
This I use ALL the time. Simply press the \ key to view your image before and after your edits. Its excellent to make sure your editing isn't getting out of hand and to keep the untouched image fresh in your mind.
4. Visualise Spots
Dust spots are annoying, but something that every landscape photographer has to deal with. When removing dust spots in Lightroom, I select the 'Visualise Spots' check box that turns the image black and white and highlights your hard to see spots so you can easily clone them out.
5. Selective Colour
Selective colour in Lightroom sets the theme for the colour direction I want to go in with an image. It's amazing the different looks you can achieve simply from tweaking these sliders to obtain colours that are a bit more complimentary with each other. Obviously you don't want to go overboard, but it's selective colour that really helps me decide the theme for my edit very early on in the process.