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FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 11 of 13

Post Processing with Lightroom

Chris Burkard

FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

11. Post Processing with Lightroom


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Lesson Info

Post Processing with Lightroom

So let's go to this photo, let's go to here. Right now, these photos are DNGs, okay? DNG is a digital negative file, it's a raw file that has all the information of the raw image when you shot it. And it has a JPEG overlay with all the settings in here of what you might've done, okay? So right now I'm gonna reset this image to its very most raw format, okay? So right now it is in pure raw as shot off camera. Sadly, it looks more vibrant there than it does on here. By the way, so if you wanna flip that screen around you can. But I'm just gonna go through the basic settings of what I would do and what I would do to edit this image. Now, my goal usually, almost every time is to take it back to a place. First before I really add any color, before I do any of that, I wanna take it back to a place where the exposure feels really even, okay? I liked working off a flat canvas, and a lot of people who shoot video or whatever, they want all their settings and just as flat as they can, right? Bec...

ause then they have a realistic perception of what they can get out of that file. So my camera settings internally on my cameras it's set to neutral, right? I mean, sometimes people can set them to like saturated looks. Like I said, it's neutral, so it's flat as it can be. Now the first thing I'm gonna do when I go in here is, I'm just gonna kind of evaluate the image. I'm gonna look at it and think about, "okay, well, I wanna brighten up this, I wanna bring some detail back into the sky, I wanna get some color out of these mountains, and the first place I usually go to is my tone curve." Now, the place I really want you to be fearful of is this zone right here. This is the friend zone. This is basically where your highlights, your shadows, your whites, a lot of these are very degrading filters, meaning that they're basically just the user-friendly, slide it over your blacks, they'll just make everything black, or open everything up, right? Your whites will just make all your whites white, or vice versa, right? It doesn't go really into any individual aspects of the image, right? So I'm gonna go down here into tone curve, where I can work on the individual shadows and darks, okay? So I'm gonna go through here. I'm going to... And I'm writing this up just because I wanna make sure everything's for you guys, right. So I'm gonna go into here. I'm gonna start to individually work on the darks and the lights and see kind of what I can do, what I can get away with. Now, the highlights I moved these over too much, they start to kind of blow out that volcano, right? So I'm gonna do this, I might even open up some of my shadows as well. I'm just kinda tweaking this to see what it looks like. So now that I'm here already, and I might go back through here, I'm gonna kill some of my highlights, right? Open up the shadows. The shadows is really one of those ones where you try to be super careful because you can do a lot of weird stuff to a file. If you open up something, a tone you're gonna see a lot of noise. You can start to see a lot of noise in there. This image is not that noisy. But I'm gonna open up these shadows a little bit like this, and then I'm gonna kind of go through here, so that the very last thing I want to do is work on my saturation. Just FYI, that's the very last step, because I wanna see how much color I can pull out of this file before I touch my saturation, vibrance or clarity. So I'm gonna go through here at temperature. I'm gonna start working on this. I might cool this down a tiny bit. And as I do this, I'm making just micro adjustments, there's really no rhyme or reason, it's just all kind of micro adjustments here. We're going into detail. I always use the same sharpening algorithm, it's basically 98%. This is right around 28, 30, and this is here. This is around 60 and this is like at 25. And this is just for some reason, I don't know why, but this is the best sharpening algorithm I've found to use. And I liked the way that it looks, you know, if I'm zooming way, way, way in. Obviously if I have to crop into a tone, then I'll back off a little bit, but if this photo is just gonna be used for a JPEG overlay, this is kind of what I'll go with it. So, here I am, I'm right here. Now I wanna check this out first, pressing app, just to look at my file, okay? So before we touch anything else, let's reset this file and just see what we've done so far. So this is how it was, and this is where it is now, reset. Look, how much color has been brought out of this image from just doing those adjustments, no saturation, nothing. I find that our tendency is probably to go here first, to the saturation bar first, right? And it's probably the worst thing we can do, because we're kind of ruining the editing process for ourselves. So now that I've done this, I'm gonna go up to here. I'm gonna start to mess around with some of my gradients, right? So now I have a gradient filter that I can pull down, okay? And this is basically like just adding a neutral density, right? It's not as good as doing it in camera. But I would never shoot this scene right here with a gradient because obviously I'm shooting action, I wanna be focusing really fast. I never wanted another piece of glass in front of my lens, but it definitely calls for a gradient, right? So I'm gonna take this gradient down. Is everybody familiar with this little tool right here Kind of. This line right here is where the real change is happening. And this is basically like where it's kind of bleeding out and feathering, right? So I'm gonna bring this down right here, and I'm gonna bring this back a little bit, boom. highlights, boom. Look at how much more detail I'm pulling out of the sky right here. So now that I've brought that down a little bit, I could even change the temperature if I want to, I can make the sky a bit more blue, which is kind of nice, right? Now I realize, okay, my image is looking great, but I could probably just bump my entire images, exposure up just a little, tiny bit, right? So now that I'm here, I'm still kind of messing with the shadows in there, might come back through. And it's, every time you're making adjustments kind of reworking your image, right? I'm looking at how this is affecting the hills a little bit. Maybe I want these hills a little more contrast either, so I'll keep that kind of in this realm. The one thing I really never touch, I never really touch this. Besides the detail effects, never touch any of these. So I try to cut out all of these tools and this bar that I'm not using. So I'm really just limiting it to these three. I know that there are people out there who have much better expertise in handle this, but the images that you're seeing for me are really just being processed with these three basic areas. Okay, so now that I'm here, I'm gonna open this up a little bit, right? I'm gonna even brighten this just a tiny bit more too. So now I'm gonna go in here and mess with my saturation. And this is kind of one of those things where I try to keep limitations on myself. Usually I like to keep it under 20 or so. So saturation is a great tool, right? It's always nice to kind of go both ways and like, "wow, it looks incredible there, but pretty inaccurate." And it's like the hills look like they're in a sci-fi film, and the sky is too bright. So, you know, I'll probably keep it around twentyish, right there. Clarity, this is a tool I really do not like, I never really use it ever. It's just something that I feel like adds that kind of a funky HDR effect to images, and I'd rather not mess with it too much. Vibrance though, is in a lot of ways, one of the better forms of saturation you can add, it's like smart saturation, right? Because it's basically just taking the elements of your image that have color and making them brighter, right. So vibrant, I might go in here, and I try to heat the same thing. I try to limit it to like 20, so I might just keep it under here, like 18 or so. And now that I've got my image, kind of check it out again, look at what it looks like, it still on my screen, at least feels like it could be brightened up a tiny, tiny bit, right? I might just wanna like open up this little realm a little bit. So what am I gonna do? Because I love the exposure of the sky here. So I might come into here or actually I might start in here, and I might just do one of these, and just basically take this person right here and open them up just the tiniest little bit, right? Just to brighten up him a little bit. So now that the bottom of my frame is brightened, I kind of feel like this bottom section is a little too bright, right? So might go one more time, just do a little tiny one, because you see there's a big difference between, let me just erase this field, this light right here and this right? You have this whitewash, which is reflecting a ton of light. So I might go into here and just do the tiniest little bit of like take it down 20%. And then crush the highlights in this little field right here, right? So that gives me a little smoother gradient into this way. You're thinking of it, like, you know, you're burning and dodging, you're painting this base, so you're kind of opening it up in this capacity. So I've done that, cool. I also wanna add just a tiny bit of coolness to this wave, right here at make a little more blue. And I also might just come in here and just do one more little thing like this into the sky, Now the volcano, but you see if you add a little bit that texture in the sky obviously makes it look a little more dramatic, okay? You know, way, way dramatic, but I just want to go in here and just add like the tiniest little bit, right? I find that that good processing is really all about the subtleties, right? And working on the subtleties. So this is a little bit too much let me to take it back to like 18% here. And I'm gonna come into here and just crush my highlights a little more, because the one thing I'm really not a fan of is just blowing out spots on an image, right? And hopefully this is showing more what this is showing, because this is a bit inaccurate, which is tough. So let's look at this here, here's my image. You know, I have a nice gradient in the sky, the volcano feels sharp, it's hitting against the background. The color and the light feels realistic. They're colors that I've actually seen before, which is a scary thing when you get online, because things can just start to get super haywire. And let's go back through here and reset. This is what we started with, and this is where we are now.

Class Description


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Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

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