Paddy, The Best New Way To Use Lightroom

There is no doubt Adobe Lightroom simplified the post processing workflow for photographers and retouchers since it came out. The simple layout, the easy to use sliders and the useful presets - all made post processing a much better experience. Then came Paddy, a personal code project by Dorfl, and made the process even easier. OK, not just easier - but way cooler. Paddy connects a MIDI Controller Desk to Lightroom, and lets you edit the photo directly from there.

The sliders on the MIDI Desk change automatically based on the Lightroom option you are viewing, and match it to each other. Which means that when you jump from different modes in Lightroom, the sliders on the Midi Desk change right away to reflect what you see on the screen. Feel like you need to increase exposure? just move the slider up. Want to reduce the saturation? move the other slider down. In addition, Paddy also lets you set up your regular keyboard and assign keys to different buttons and options in Lightroom, so basically you can edit photos without ever touching the mouse.

The Paddy software is free to download, but the creator is asking for donations to be able to improve the program. For what it can do, the $200 price point for the Behringer FADER BCF2000 MIDI Controller Desk is a great deal. You can also look for used ones to make it even cheaper.

The next version of Paddy will include an iPad app to fully control Lightroom. Check out the preview:

Thanks for the tip, Ori Cohen.

Noam Galai's picture

Noam Galai is a Senior Fstoppers Staff Writer and NYC Celebrity / Entertainment photographer. Noam's work appears on publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Vogue and Us Weekly on a daily basis.

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You can use other controllers as well with the software. I've been using a Razer Nostromo game controller and it works wonderfully. There's videos out there of folks also using stuff like XBox controllers and Logitech G13's.

Where did you find the xbox controller video? I've been looking around quite a bit without luck. Thanks!

I was just singing the praises of your suggestion in the new article about using the midi controller ( ) and realized I had never thanked you for putting this idea into my head. I'm an Aperture user so I have no idea when or if someone will write a midi setup that works with it but after I saw your comment I picked up a Nostromo and it has made an amazing difference in my speed. Especially in the culling process.

So thank you very much!

And if anyone's reading this you should definitely consider this as an option (they have other models too):

i use a mouse....

Good for you. How dare someone come up with an idea that may suit the way someone else wants to work.

this just made my day i've had this controller for over 4 years im gonna give this try

Seems to be nice ! I used to have my iPad as an external interface for musical app and I was waiting to see that coming for retouching ! I can't wait to test it when it will be fully developed ! ( Hope he well work on a Mac/ipad interface to :) )

dude, SLOW DOWN!!! I couldnt listen to more than 1:30 of this, he was going SO FAST!

after 30 days it requires a donation. I donated $1 three times because it wasn't working ( which is nothing I admit), but it never came up as recognizing my donation and now Paddy won't open. I'm kind of curious how many people this happens to...

Sorry to hear that. Please email, I will email you a registration code. i suspect the email with the code got stuck in your Spam folder

This is amazing. Especially for people with tendonitis or carpel tunnel. Also makes the process more tactile...AWESOME!!!!

also...I wonder about the lag using the Behringer...I sometimes have a slow response time just using the mouse on the digital sliders...will this be slower, faster or the same?
Thanks for any help...this has so much potential.

The lag is about the same as controlling sliders with the mouse.

Thanks for letting me know...

how do you do batches or auto settings? the sliders move themselves? or u have to?

Been using this the last few years! Great tool and works great with Logitech G13.

Tried true and tested the fastest way to use LR:
Great customer service too.

...and way more expensive.

My first thought about adding hardware to a setup is that it's just going to complicate things, but I have to admit that this could be a game changer. Or at the very least, I really want to give this a try. Very interesting.

Been using Paddy for about a year now, very flexible. You can even change controller presets using keyboard hotkeys which is super handy when flipping through development panes.

this blows my mind! If only it was available for mac :(

more unnecessary crap to have on my desk? Use it twice and it collects dust? More clutter? I am always for innovation, but this is nothing but a novelty.

For you, in your use case scenario yes. But for others it seems like it could be an excellent alternative. Come up with ideas and scenarios which suit the varied ways people work, or just hate on those very ideas. I know who I value more.

Yeah, criticism is dumb and not welcome. Every idea is genius.

I didn't claim that, nor do I think that. But to dismiss an idea without constructive feedback helps nobody. This initial point also seems to imply a panoply of so called "unnecessary crap" on their desk: no one is forcing anyone to use products that they don't perceive their own workflow to need.

For me it's all about options, and to dismiss the work of someone merely because it doesn't fit with how they work is unnecessary.

I've used this for quite awhile with a Logitech G13 (~$60) = awesome time saver.

Bottomline: you get used to doing the basic commands (exposure +/-, highlights, blacks, copy settings, etc.) with your left hand (or the reverse for lefties) WITHOUT LOOKING. Your mouse is really only necessary for cropping (and it is still probably the best tool for that purpose). It takes a few days to get it down, but after editing 1,000+ images your fingers just start to figure it out. Love it.

For that reason, I wonder about the MIDI controllers, which you would have to look at. Not as fast.

It would be great if the latency wasn't this bad and sluggish.

Can you describe your issue? There is really not much latency in my setup (LR 4/5, win 7, 64 bit)

Alas...will it work with ACR? Some of us don't like the LR...

Lightroom paired with a BCF2000 via Paddy makes for a fancy setup. As a side note..after adding a new MIDI capable device (eg. sound card), make sure to reassign the BCF2000 in the Paddy > Assign > Behringer Midi Controller page. Happy Lightroom singing...or fading/knobbing in the most non taboo way.