lesson: time saving editing hacks | by Amanda Myers


I was asked to give a little mini-lesson for y'all, while keeping in mind what I'm passionate about. I'm always trying to save time, always looking for a hack!

So, I thought I'd give you a few hacks for super common things I see while watching editing videos. Y'all love editing videos, right? Me too. But I often see people doing things, not, er, "wrong," but just wasting time on little things that they don't have to. While there's no "wrong" way to do it, there are better and faster ways, right?


So, here's a few things I spot all the time. Hope one of them helps you!

First - Learn keyboard shortcuts. Initially, it'll seem to take longer. You can print out a guide from the web to help you or jot down a few that you want to start using and force yourself to use them. If you notice that you're doing a certain process over and over, be sure to check if a shortcut is available. If not, can you create one?

Here are three quick tips off the top of my head:

1. Lightroom: Set up your default radial filter to "invert mask."

Ladies! I know you love radial filters, but must we check that Invert box every. single. time? Really?

Here's the deal. Next time you click the Radial Filter button (or you might want to try Shift- M, hint hint) go ahead and scroll a bit til you see the box for Invert Mask. Now....wait for it...Tap your apostrophe key on your keyboard. Voila! Now, your radial filters will default to inverted (which is the way most of us use them.) Should you ever want to change the default back to not inverted, go ahead and tap the apostrophe key again. LR will remember your last setting and keep it there.

Lr Invert Mask default.png

2. Photoshop: Create a shortcut to Flatten your layers

Again, pet peeve of Amanda. Actually, this is two pet peeves in one! First, I never flatten, baby. NEVER. I am a keeper of ALL THE LAYERS. But, once my layered PSD file is safely saved should I ever need to redo anything, I want to go ahead and flatten it, resize it, etc.

Now, some of you rogue wild rascally women out there might flatten all the time. Ok. Go for it. Take your chances. Maybe you never make mistakes, I get it... Well for the love of Mike, please create a shortcut to flatten your image and you'll shave about 4 minutes off of your 10 minute editing video.

Not only do you have to go into your toolbar menu up top, but THEN you actually have to scroll a bit to see that option. So. Much. Time. Lost.

Do this instead: Go to your main toolbar menu up top, and click Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Or, if you wanna be super cool, you can do a "alt/option, shift, command-K" on a mac. (See how in the image, your menu item will show the shortcut for you. Just jot down the ones you do often and start practicing.)

Ps keyboard shortcut 1.png

Now, since the Flatten Image command is located under the Layer toolbar menu, go ahead and select, from within the Keyboard Shortcut Menu, the option Layer. Double click it to expand it. Now, scroll scroll scroll, pretty much to the end. Click the line item that says Flatten Image.

Ps Keyboard shortcut 2.png

You can now type in what you want your Flatten shortcut to be. Mine is Command-F. Super simple. So, with that line selected with a space to input your shortcut, press your command key and the F button. It'll pre-fill. If your command-F is already taken, you can either override it (which I've done, no big deal. I usually don't even know what the other command does. Or, if you do use that function, you could pick something different, but preferably something you'll remember. Maybe shift-command-F? I dunno. Command-F is good for me.) Go ahead and select Accept and you're good to go. Now, just remember that you've done that and use the shortcut instead of navigating through the toolbar menu.

I've created a ton of shortcuts and enjoy it. Bummer alert - Lightroom doesn't have the same ability to edit shortcuts. So, you're stuck with R being your crop tool shortcut. Womp womp.

3. Texture users: Blur it once, not every time.

I occasionally use textures. I will say that I do believe that a great way to add consistency to your images and style (should that be what you're going for) adding the same texture to every single image is a great way to achieve a cohesive look. I gave this little tip to one insta-famous lady and after she started doing it, she noticed a huge difference in how her grid looked. Every image, regardless of lighting situation, colors, etc, seemed to have a consistent look due to the color toning of the texture.

If you've never used a texture before, please gimme a shout - it's super easy. Happy to show you and direct you to my favorite resources.

If you already are a texture user, you probably add the texture, give it a Gaussian blur (pronounced "Gauss" like house, "sian" like AustrIAN. It's not just for Photoshop, it's a mathematical distribution.)

If you do the blur every single time you add a texture to an image... gosh, doesn't that get old quick? My blurs sometimes take awhile! So, if you're planning to blur the texture and simply use it for the color toning and vignette, then go ahead and open up just your texture in PS. Blur it. Save it in the same folder that you keep your textures, but let's call this one "Texture 1 - Blurred." You'll still have your original texture file, but now all you have to do is place the blurred one over your images. Blur once. Don't blur every time.

I hope that helps! You can find me on Instagram slogging away at my 365 at @amandamedrowmyers, my rare client work at @cranecreekphotography, and my Instagram and hashtag stuff over at @photographerhack. Let me know if you have any questions at all and thank you for taking the time to read through this.

Megan Boggs3 Comments