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Developing Techniques

Lesson 11 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC for Beginners

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

11. Developing Techniques

Lesson Info

Developing Techniques

So we are in the Develop Module and I have a extra special surprise for you to look at. That's my son. Jackson. And he likes to go (clicks tongue). Our job here in this segment is to talk about the Develop Module. And we're going to go in and talk about how to think about and how to actually do the adjustments in your images. We'll talk a little bit about presets. We'll also talk a little about synchronizing and making sure you can do this to multiple images, all at the same time. But mostly we're gonna be talking about the power of various tool within the Develop Module. And again, remember if you're shooting, especially if you're shooting Raw, but even if you're shooting JPEGs, Lightroom treats all images the same. It doesn't do anything to them, they're all nondestructive. So even if you were working on JPEGs, it's not actually editing your JPEG. Your original image is sitting off in the library stacks, it's just waiting there, until you export. So if you mess up you can always go d...

own to the bottom right-hand corner of the Develop Module and hit the reset button. And it'll take you right back to square one. So the reason I point that out is that the most important thing that you as a beginning Lightroom user can understand and do, is hit the reset button and do it again. And then hit the reset button and do it again. It's nondestructive editing. So play. Play and mess up the image as much as you like and then hit the reset button, try it again. Or use your history and go back in history and try it again. But play with it. Otherwise you're never gonna know how to use it. So get in there and tinker with things and see which method works best. But I'm gonna show you what methods I use and how I think about an image before I ever, even get to the point where I start working on the image. I'm gonna show you my method. The way I start and what tools I wanna use first, et cetera. So let's just start with an image. This image was taken on family vacation. And you can see that it's already done but I'm gonna hit the reset button. So I want you to see the finished product and then I want you to see what it looked like when I shot it. So ready, here we go. And reset. There we go. That's what it looked like. Alright? So it's close. The exposure is right. You can see over in the right-hand corner, up at the top, you can see that I have a histogram. And the most important thing that I can do when I'm photographing is make sure that I have all the data. Meaning that I haven't clipped anything over here on the right-hand side on the highlights, and I haven't clipped anything over here on the left-hand side in the shadows. If I can keep that histogram looking somewhere in the middle like that, then I know I have the data. Now that doesn't mean that a good histogram looks like this. Because if you were shooting something that is black, in the night and it's all around black things and there's black and black and black and there's no hardly white in it, then all of this should be piled up down here at the bottom. But the one thing it will have in common with my photograph is that nothing clips. You still want data in that black. If you had a white polar bear in a white snow storm and then, everything would be piled up here on the right. But it would still have in common with my photo that nothing clips on the right. So a perfect histogram looks like your photograph. It doesn't look like this. It looks like your photograph. It just happens that my photograph falls into that general looking histogram where there's piles of black and piles of white and piles of stuff in between. So now once we've talked about that, I wanna, and by the way, in this lesson our goal is to talk about global adjustments. So when I come to a photograph like this, the first thing I want to do is I want to get my exposure correct. Now in this case, the exposure's pretty good. But I can bring up these shadows a little bit. So I'm gonna come in here and take my exposure, so the general exposure, right here in the middle. And whenever you highlight over one of these sliders, you'll see up here, in the section of the histogram itself. See how it highlights them? Now watch, when I go over the exposure, see how it highlights that area inside of the histogram? If I got over the highlights, it highlights that area in the histogram. So you can tell what section of the histogram you're gonna be working on. And in this case, he is in the shadows, not in the shadows, but in the midtones, like right here is all midtones. So I'm gonna go into the midtones, and I can actually grab the histogram and move it, by the way. It's kinda cool. You can grab the middle of the histogram and just click on it and drag it and I can just drag the histogram around. So I'm just gonna drag the exposures up a little bit. See how I'm lightening up his face and his shirt just a bit? And then I can go into the shadow area and brighten that up. And see how it's getting the shadow side of his face? But then I can go to the black area and I wanna richen those blacks back down. So I'm gonna grab the black and drag it to the left. So that I get some rich dark areas but I don't have so much shadow on his face. And that helps me to see his body and his face a little bit better. Then, the highlights. Now I'm gonna stop working on the histogram so that you can actually see me slide these sliders. But I come down to the sliders and you can see how the sliders have changed now, based on me dragging around the histogram, right? I'm going to take the highlights down, cause I want the sky to be a little bit richer. So I'm gonna grab this highlights and I'm going to just drag those down. And you can see how the sky is coming in? But notice that he is not in the highlights. He's separate from that. He's in a different area. So he's in the midtones and the shadows. And so I can bring the highlights down without really affecting him all that much. And where it does affect him, these things cross over, so they're just kinda slightly overlapping. So when I take the highlights down just a little bit, I can also grab the shadows and bring them back up a little bit. And that helps to correct any kind of falloff that happens on him. Now. One thing that I don't like to use all that much is the contrast knob. The contrast nob is a very blunt tool. So it's like taking a sledgehammer to a little Pinewood Derby car that you're making. You just don't wanna do it. The contrast, what it does, the contrast takes both, everything in the histogram and just pushes it out to the side. So it takes the center of the histogram and the sides and pushes it out. So watch what happens when I grab the contrast and I increase the contrast. See how it pushes the histogram out? It's like someone pushed their fist into the middle of it and it's just pushing it out to the sides. The problem with that is that your highlights and your shadows, or your whites and your blacks, start clipping off the edge. They start throwing it off the edge. I don't want to use the contrast knob as much as I would rather use the clarity knob. Clarity is simply contrast in the midtones. Does everybody understand that? Clarity is contrast in the midtones. So watch the histogram. So if I take the contrast up, watch it, the whole things just spreads apart, right? But see how the highlights and the shadows really kind of block up against the edges? Now watch this instead if I take the clarity up, watch the middle of the histogram. Do you see how it doesn't shove the black down? See that? So it's still spreading out that histogram, but only in the middle. So it kinda goes like this, instead of going like that. It goes like this. And it doesn't really push the shadow and the highlights over. Those kinda stay. And it just makes that contrast happen in the middle tones which is where our faces are and our hair and all the really good detail in a photograph is usually in that midtone area. Really contrast is just heightening contrast between the highlights and shadows of the midtones. And quite frankly, if you understand in, if you understand visually that sharpness is not real, then you'll understand why contrast is so important and why clarity does what it does. So let's zoom in on it. So if I take the clarity down, see what just happened? He got all soft. And a lot of people use clarity, they take the clarity down and it softens skin. The reason it softens skin is that wrinkles and pores and zits and inconsistencies in skin are all contrast in the midtones. Because a wrinkle is just a shadow and a highlight, and a shadow and a highlight, and a shadow and a highlight in the midtone range. And so if you negate that, if you flatten out that contrast, then the shadow comes up and the highlight goes down and therefore no more wrinkle. That's all it's doing. So if you understand that, then you understand why when I take the clarity up, his face gets sharper. See how things get sharper and his hair comes, and his teeth whiten up, but his gums stay where they are. That's because I'm creating contrast only in the midtones. And so his wrinkles will get more wrinkly, if he had 'em. And his hair will get more contrast in it, because it's just contrast in the midtones. So I'm gonna take that up just a little bit. And I would prefer that contrast to the bulk contrast that we get out of the knob. Okay. So, clarity is a much better contrast area for midtones than the actual contrast knob. Contrast knob is when you need, the whole photo just needs to be poppier. Remember it's a blunt force tool. Okay. Once I've got my exposure where I think it needs to be, and I think I can bring up the exposure itself, just a little bit. So we're at now, plus .3, so a third stop exposure increase. And so once I've got that where I think it needs to be, now I can go and work on the temperature and tint. I know it's at the top, but that's not what I work on first. Because when you change the exposure of an image it changes the way the color looks. Just like if you're photographing something, like if you're photographing a blue sky, just point your camera at the blue sky. And if you expose it so that the light meter tells you it's in the middle, it's zero. It's gonna be a certain kind of blue. Probably kind of a mid-blue. It's gonna be a nice blue sky. But if you overexpose it, it's gonna become powder blue. And if you underexpose it, it's gonna become a navy blue. If you do that to red it's gonna become pink and maroon. Just based on exposure. So it changes the way colors look. So I don't wanna judge my color until I have my exposure correct. Once the exposure if correct, then I can judge the color. So many people come to me and say, "how do you judge color, "how do you get that color right?" Well. First, start by having the right exposure. Then once we get the right exposure, then we can zoom in and play around with the exposure. the temperature. The first thing we can do is just simply grab onto this little color dropper that's right here. And that's the white balance. And when it says white balance it doesn't mean you have to be pointing at a white thing. It means you have to be pointing at white, gray or black. Something that's a known gray. Something that doesn't have a color cast. So we click on it and then we can point it at any white, gray or black thing that we know. For instance, I know this hat is not white, it's off-white. So I don't want to point at that because if I do, it's going to make him not correct. So instead, and by the way, the W key will also toggle on this color dropper. So I'm just gonna choose a white on his shirt that's probably pretty close to white. And now you can see that that's even got a green cast to it. So I can get in the area but all of these whites, there's not one white anywhere, or gray in this entire scene that is actually white, or gray or black. They all have a color cast. Mostly because the sun is setting right over there. And it's coming across him and it's warming him up. And it's going through a bunch of dust and so it's very maroonish and so when I click on a maroon-white it gives me a green. Cause it's trying to neutralize that maroon that it thinks is white. So we start by clicking on a white that we think is right. Or a black or a gray. Then, from there we can start playing around with it. So I'm going to do what you would do with a camera focusing. And I'm glad I kept this on here because when I'm photographing, focus and color temperature are chosen by the same method. When I'm photographing, I look at you, if I'm not doing it automatically. Doing it manually. I look at you and I focus and I go past focus and then I go past focus and then I've got it. So the only way you see true focus is if you pass it. And then you see it go out and you're like, "oh, I must've missed it." And then you come back and you might go past it again but you go like this, then like this, then like that, then boom. You've got it. And that's how you do critical focus. Same thing is true for when you're doing color balance. Same thing, you start and you swing wide. So you start here and you swing to the left to be warm and swing to the right and you swing left, and right, and left, and right, until that looks about right. Now let's go down to the tint, and we swing wide, swing wide, swing less wide, swing less wide, and about there. So we start to see green. That's way too green. That's way too magenta. And you just kinda keep going until you start seeing it. And sometimes, once you've got the tint, then you gotta go back to the temperature and renegotiate the temperature, based on what that tint looked like. Now let's zoom out and see how it looks. That looks really good. It's fine. So I like the way it looks. And now I'm just going to go into my saturation. I like to take the saturation down a little bit. You can see that I already have it at negative 10. So if it were at, zero. This is what the file would look like. And that's just too orangey. Right? And that's not because the temperature is up too high, it's just because it's overly saturated, especially from the sun. But I like a little bit less saturation because it look more like film. And I grew up with film. And so I'm gonna take my film look by taking it down about negative 10. So negative 10ish is where I want my film, that's what makes it look very natural. Now that I've got my temperature and tint set, and I've got my exposure and my highlights and shadows and stuff like that set, and I've got my clarity set, I've got my basic correction done. The problem is that I was just doing it on one photograph. I should have been doing it on a whole bunch of photographs. Because now I have to go and do this one. Which is exactly the same photograph. So let me reset this one so we can see what it looked like originally. It's the same photograph as this one. So now I'm gonna have to do all the same things. When you reset that your saturation was at negative 10, automatically, instead of everything being zero. Why is that? [Audience Member In Blue Shirt] Why is that. Little secret that I'm gonna teach you in just a second.

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Ratings and Reviews

Melissa Maxwell

Worth every penny. I am completely new to Lightroom and it really is like learning a new language. Jared Platt did a great job explaining the most efficient ways to utilize Lightroom. There's a lot of technical jargon that can often make creatives lose interest, but it's important and useful information. I've watched several segments again and again. He's added years to my life and I am grateful. He's not my favorite instructor on this site, though, and I made good use of the 2x button on the screen.

Kat Jones

Well, I've been a Photoshop girl since the beginning and have dabbled with LR and thought I knew quite a bit about it!! It turns out I've just been playing with bits of it! This is an amazing course. I will need to buy it for all the tricky bits that I just haven't quite grasped. Jared is amazing. Clear, concise, methodical, smashing. Thank you, Creative Live. What a service! Cat Jones Wormit Fife Scotland PS - Delightful to see Jared's Scottish piccies - very familiar, although not with the model!!!


What an excellent class. I'm a semi-beginner, already know the basics, but wow ... this class adds an extra layer of super AHA moments that shave years off your life! What a great teacher, thank you so much Jared!

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