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Beginner Workflows in Lightroom

Lesson 6 of 9

Use Develop Presets & Basic Adjustments

Tim Grey

Beginner Workflows in Lightroom

Tim Grey

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Lesson Info

6. Use Develop Presets & Basic Adjustments


Lesson Info

Use Develop Presets & Basic Adjustments

presets are just saved settings for the right panel in the develop module. Every single thing that you can do with the preset you could have also accomplished on the right panel by adjusting the various controls. Really, a preset is just saving the position of the slider or the numeric value for all of the various adjustments that are available to you on the right panel. And so in many cases you can use the preset as a starting point or use the preset to apply creative effect. But remember, there's no magic in the presets other than saving you time and effort. And so I generally use presets as a starting point for certain adjustments. So, for example, if we had, let's go find a scene that might work as a CP atone, for example, I've got some rope here, and if I go over into my presets, you'll see that I have a C p a tone with a strong vignette. Click done. Is it perfect? Probably. No, Probably not, but is it a good starting point? I hope so, because that was the whole point of creating ...

the preset in the first place is to give me a solid starting point for a seat. Peotone. I usually have a particular hue value that I like for the image generally somewhere in the upper forties, maybe up to his highs, about 50 or so for the hue value. I don't wanna have to remember that number. I just want to go click sepia and give me a basic starting point. And then I can always come back in here and fine tune. So, for example, if I feel that the CPO was not quite saturated enough, I could go into split toning and increase the saturation, or perhaps more likely, decrease the saturation just a little bit. And so I'm using that preset as a quick starting point. And for me personally, I use the presets, especially for the more creative adjustments or for just quickly applying something. For example, lens correction. So if we had an image that would exhibit some lens correction, so, for example, this one you might see a little bit of a difference if we apply the full lens correction, take a look. What happens? Wow, that's strong. If we go back and reset this image and go to the basic lens corrections. Notice how I'll just undo and redo here and come back to those basic adjustments were just getting on to turn off the lens corrections that we can get a sense there were just applying that automatic correction to try to fix the distortion in the scene. This fixing distortion always make the image look better. No, but often it gives me a pretty good improvement, a basic improvement on the image and so I can use the preset just to apply that quick effect to the image because we can take a preset Actually, Onley save specific portions of our adjustments. All right, so getting back to those actual adjustments now, we talk about the presets that we can use to give ourselves a good starting point for adjusting or images or adding a creative effect, etcetera. But really, again, those presets relate to what's going on on the right panel. So as I'm applying those adjustments or after I've added or apply to preset to an image, I still want to review my adjustments over on the right panel. And for most images, I would say the most significant impact comes from the basic adjustments I want to give you a little bit of a workflow for applying those basic tonal and color adjustments. I'm actually going to reset. The adjustments for this image will see what we started with here. Not a wild departure from the original starting point for the photo. I'm gonna go through tone and color, basic tone and basic color and give you some ideas in terms of how to think about these various adjustments. Because, really, these basic adjustments I know it sounds like Oh, those are just the basics. And then we need to move on to some more sophisticated adjustments. I'm telling you, this could make 90% of the difference in a particular photo. These adjustments are really critical to the overall interpretation of the image, especially when you're not applying a particularly creative effect. If you're looking for a seat Peotone effect, you're gonna convert to black and white. Obviously, it's gonna go beyond these basic adjustments, but for many images, this will give you most of what you need. So the adjustment order here is not in the order, the sliders in this section or not in the order that I prefer to work. So I'm gonna continue lobbying Adobe to change the order of the sliders on my behalf. But in the meantime, I work a little bit out of order with these individual sliders. Generally speaking, I like to work with tone first and color Second. And my basic philosophy really is that I start with my biggest adjustments, whatever the image needs the most, and work my way down from there. Unless what the image needs most is a lot of image cleanup work. Because in that case, I don't want to spend a whole lot of time cleaning up the image on Lee. The later apply my basic tonal adjustments and decide. Nah, this isn't quite the right image. I need to find the different image. Now I put in a bunch of time into cleaning up best spots. I mean, not that I ever have the spots on my image sensor, but hypothetically speaking, I wouldn't want to clean up all of those deaths spots before I've applied at least a basic set of adjustments. But the general ideas start with what the image needs most and just kind of work your way down that priority order. So I also take that same approach within individual adjustment sections. So instead of just starting at the top and working my way down, I generally start with the whites slider. I'm establishing the white point for the image. I'm defining the brightest value for White in the photo, and I like to take a sort of you might say, intelligent or informed approach to this. I like light room to show me the effect of what I'm doing in a sort of technical wait. I know it seems like it's very technical, and we're supposed to be artists here, but I want to know where I'm losing detail, and so I use a clipping premium and brighten up the white point. But I don't want to brighten it so much that I lose all of the detail in the highlights. And so I hold the all turkey on Windows or the option key on Macintosh while establishing a value for the white Point. As soon as I click and hold on the white slider, the image will go nearly black or possibly entirely black, depending on my initial exposure, and then I can increase the value until I start to see pixels appear where I'm seeing pixels is where I'm losing detail on one or more channels. Remember, a color image is comprised of red, green and blue values. And so I might be losing information on Lee on the Blue Channel, or only on the blue only on the Red Channel. If I'm losing information on all three channels, that means I've clipped to pure white. And I've lost all detail in the photo. So at this point, down here in the bottom right corner, for example, there is no texture. There is no gradation down in here. It is pure white. I don't generally want big blobs of white in my photos. And so I would never take my whites adjustment under normal circumstances up that high. Obviously, there's some exceptions, but generally speaking, what I'm after is having the brightest pixels in the image, the white or nearly white. So I'm generally looking for pixels to start appearance and then all back off, still holding the altar option key on the keyboard until I have maybe just a few white pixels, or maybe just to the point where they've disappeared, depending on whether I want a true white point in the image. I think in this case, since we do have essentially what is a white subject. The space needle is essentially white, and we do have some reasonably bright sunlight on the space needle. I probably want at least a few pixels that are pure white, but again, this will depend on the image. Remember, also, I'm looking at this technical scientific view of my image based on pixel values. Does this automatically equal a good adjustment for the image? No way, might it. It depends, but most of the time it does. Most of the time, Maximizing your white point for typical photographic images is a good thing, but you need to check the image. If it were a foggy day, you might have nothing that's pure white and nothing that's pure black. It might be all shades of middle gray, so you have a very narrow range, and here we're maximizing the range. So this is not a good approach for every single image, but it's a good starting point for most images, so obviously you're gonna want to then take a look at the actual image and decide. Does that seem to be a good improvement for the photo, then I like to move on to the blacks slider. Same process. Very easy. Hold the altar option key and drag in this case because we're working with the blacks, the opposite being white. I'm going to see an all white image or nearly so, and I can drag to the left until I start to see values appearing. So exactly the same process. The only thing that's different here is that I might be more willing to lose shadow detail than I would be to lose highlight detail highlights I usually want to preserve because that subtle detail can make a big, big difference in the final photo, whereas for shadows, Sometimes it could be good to block up those shadows, maybe make a silhouette even in some cases. So, depending on the particular photo, sometimes you might push those blacks really far. Usually, I'm going just to about the point where some pixels start to appear and then evaluating the image so now have established overall contrast the overall tonal range or dynamic range for my image. I've established a maximum white point and a minimum black point, you might say. OK, that's good for overall contrast. But what about the detail in the photo? What about overall mid tone contrast? Well, he might be tempted then to go to the contrast slider. But I don't I rarely do. I almost never use the contrast slider because instead, on going to apply my own contrast based on highlight and shadow detail, do I want to brighten up the highlights to really maximize? You know, the impact of the photo get give it more contrast? Or, more likely, do I want to tone down those highlights just a little bit? Because when I use a negative value for highlights, I'm also enhancing mid tone contrast. If you're familiar with the clarity adjustment, which will take a look at in a moment, same basic concept. Essentially, clarity is being combined with darkening of the highlights to give me a little bit more detail, a little bit more impact in those areas. So for a subject like this, we've got some brighter highlight areas. If we had, bright white clouds in the sky would usually use a negative value for highlights to bring in some more detail, more perceived detail, even though we mathematically scientifically know the detail is there because we were using that clipping preview, Yes, but I want it to be visibly obvious as well, so I might tone down those highlights shadows. This one, I think, is even more subjective. This one really depends upon your particular nature as a photographer. Do you want lots of shadow detail, or do you like a little more contrast in a more drama in those shadows, this is more like personality profile. Some photographers. They want lots and lots of detail, so use a positive value brightening up your shadows. It's sort of like a fill, light type of concept that use the fill flash for the scene. And so we're brightening up those dark areas to help reveal more of the information there. For me. Personally, I usually like a stronger impact that, like a little more drama, so I usually like to darken up the shadows a little bit more. Not too much. It depends on the subject, but I like a little more contrast for me personally. But again, it's a much more subjective decision than those other adjustments, and so you'll be mawr likely to swing a little more wildly or to always go in one direction. Maybe you always open up shadow detail, whereas I generally tend to darken down shadow detail perfectly fine. There's no single right answer it, just understanding what that adjustment does and adjusting accordingly. So then what about exposure? In contrast, I mean, naturally, the exposure is gonna be spot on out of the camera, right? Maybe sometimes every now and then, thanks to advanced metering modes in the camera. But we might need to find tomb the exposure. If I felt that the exposure for the image was off a little bit, I would apply a very slight exposure adjustment right from the start and then go through the whites, blacks, highlights and shadows. Generally speaking, I find that I don't need to apply an exposure adjustment as long as my initial exposure was pretty good. And if I do, it's maybe 1/3 of a stop or 1/2 a stop in one direction or the other. If you're going much beyond that, then it might be an indication that that was not such a great explosion. You want to find a different photo, we have a better exposure of the same scene. For example, do be aware, though, that the exposure setting can clip the values in the image. So hold the clipping, preview that alter or option key on the keyboard and increase the value for exposure. You can see we can lose information, and we're just overall brightening and darkening the value that you see associated with exposure. That is e V values exposure value. So it's in stops of light. So 0.3, it would be 1/3 of a stop 0.5 behalf a stop. For example. I'll just double click on the slider handle, though, in this case to re set to the default value of zero and then contrast. I suspect by now you can see very clearly why I'm not likely to use that contrast lighter because I've already defined contrast. I set my endpoints I brighten and dark in the highlights in the shadows the way I want them, and that essentially has established contrast in the image. If I want more contrast than maybe I darken down the shadows and brighten up the highlights. Or maybe I even bring in the whites and blacks a little bit further, depending on what I need for that photo, so I don't generally use exposure too much, and I generally don't use contrast at all because I can accomplish so much more with these other controls in terms of color. Pretty simple, really. It doesn't seem simple, especially when you're considering the concept of your eyes evaluating what you see in deciding on accurate color. We have a variety of options for changing the overall color. My recommendation, even though it seems like the most complicated way, maybe, or the most advanced way to adjust the color here is to just use the sliders. We can use an eyedropper and set a great point in the image we can also use are presets, so we've got as shot, meaning whatever the camera did. We'll start with that, or I could set it to cloudy or daylight, etcetera, so I can define the color temperature adjustment, the white balance adjustment based on a pre set. But to me, the reality is no matter which of those methods you use, you're probably going to come back to the temperature in 10 sliders to find tune things a little bit. So I say, Just start there and I promise you over time you'll develop an I for that color. It will become easier and easier, especially little trick for you, with the temperature so temperature is allowing us to shift between yellow and blue. Warm and cool, you might say, whereas tent is green and magenta. So generally I think of temperature is both creative and corrective, whereas tent is just corrective because we like a golden glow in our photos or a bluish tint for our cooler photos and a winter scene, for example. But we don't generally look for a green tint or a magenta tint in our images, and so my temperature control might be a little stronger, a little more aggressive. But for both of these special, if you don't think you have a good eye for color, what I recommend is that you swing the sliders through their extremes. Each extreme, in most cases will look wildly wrong, you might say. So there's a super golden boy. It was the most amazing sons that you've ever seen, and here is it was a moonlit night, and we were out there Seattle center and then going in between. So if you don't feel that you have a good eye for color. Go to those extremes, swing all the way through the extremes and gradually start to settle down on what looks accurate to you and this will. Over time you will start to develop a better eye for it because you'll see what's really wrong in one direction and really wrong in the other direction, and you'll start to be able to balance somewhere in between. But again, remember that temperature, the color temperature. You do have some creative license here because if we go somewhere around there ish, would you agree that that looks believable? It just looks like really wonderful golden now. And if we take this back toward blue, maybe around their ish, would you say that still looks believable? And that's a relatively significant range of values, a significant change in terms of our overall interpretation. So you do have some creative license there with temperature, with tent not so much, we really are not likely to want they unless it's some sort of creative effect you're applying. We probably don't want a strong magenta color caste or a strong green color caste, and so you're moved with tent is generally going to be much more subtle. So much smaller adjustment for the overall image

Class Description

Take your first steps into a more organized photography practice! Join Tim Grey for an extensive introduction to Lightroom's capacity for increasing your efficiency and improving your workflow. Learn how the program is organized, and begin to apply its powerful tools to your own photo storage system. Tim will share examples of his photo workflows and learn how to share existing files with ease.

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015 - 2015


Pamela Richardson

I enjoyed Tim's friendly and professional style of presentation. I appreciated that he was methodical in his approach, and was very clear in his explanations of every step that he was taking. It is quite clear that he has extensive experience in teaching. He presented at a good pace so that I was able to make notes and absorb the information. I have used Photoshop since August 2015, but I have steered clear of Lightroom. I had been afraid to use Lightroom because I was confused about the process of switching back and forth among Bridge, Lightroom and Photoshop. I have been doing extensive photo editing using other software since 2002, but am new to the Adobe products. After watching Tim's class, I have gained enough confidence to start using Lightroom, because I now understand that it is very powerful, can be used to process raw files, and has excellent tools for creating both panoramas and HDR photos (that are still raw which is great!), and more. I learned a great deal from this course, and would highly recommend it! I am very grateful to Creative Live for providing Photoshop Week 2016, and also grateful to the many amazingly talented and knowledgeable presenters for graciously sharing their knowledge and experience.


This is a great class to help get you started. Tim is a great presenter. Would love Creative Live to have Tim back to teach.


Thank you so much for your straight forward and comprehensive lessons. I am new to LR and have been waiting to import my photos until I watched this lesson. Now, I feel like I can move ahead with confidence.