Watch how this photographer uses a game controller to speed through Lightroom

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Why it matters to you

If you’re looking for a quicker way to use Lightroom and you happen to be an avid gamer, this setup could be the solution.

If you’re a Lightroom user who also happens to have a PlayStation console in the house, then this rather unusual tutorial from New Zealander Ben Stewart may be of interest.

Put simply, the Kiwi photographer has come up with a clever way to use a PlayStation controller to work with Adobe’s photo editor and organizer, enabling you to perform a slew of actions to get your pictures looking pretty.

Using a Windows computer and a PS3 controller, Stewart shows us in his YouTube tutorial how he works with his setup. For example, by pushing one of the controller’s sticks left and right, he can quickly work his way through a collection of images, viewing each one as he goes.

In Lightroom’s Develop mode, the photographer uses the up and down buttons on the D-pad to cycle through the various editing options. Once he’s selected the kind of edit he wants to make — for example exposure, contrast, shadows — he uses the left and right buttons to move the sliders, which adjust the image accordingly. Other shortcuts include hitting the triangle button, which instantly switches an image from color to black and white (and back again with a second press), while the X button automatically gives an image a 5-star rating, useful for selecting the best photos from a set.

Stewart configured the controller’s buttons and sticks for his commonly used Lightroom actions, but the setup can be easily changed depending on how a photographer users the software.

If you’re interested in trying out Stewart’s intriguing system, you’ll need a couple of bits of free software: ScpToolkit to connect your controller to your PC, and JoyToKey, which gets the controller to function as a keyboard. The system will actually work with other controllers and software, though the required steps will be a little different.

The Wellington-based photographer points out that you can’t set up shortcuts for all of Lightroom’s functions because the software itself omits some. He offers noise reduction by way of example, in which case you’ll have to perform that particular edit in the usual way.

Stewart says that once you’re set up and familiar with the system, you’ll be able to speed through your edits, performing them quicker than if you were using a keyboard and/or mouse. Either way, experienced PlayStation gamers who also use Lightroom may just find it a fun way to edit and manage their photo collection.