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Light Painting

Lesson 11 of 19

Lightroom: Hue, Saturation, Luminance

Tim Cooper

Light Painting

Tim Cooper

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Lesson Info

11. Lightroom: Hue, Saturation, Luminance

Lesson Info

Lightroom: Hue, Saturation, Luminance

Alright, now that we're done with our basic panel and our presence panel, we come to one of my favorite tools inside of Lightroom. It's called HSL. Stands for hue, saturation, and lightness. So we said before that several things that I look for when evaluating image are brightness, that's our exposure slider, contrast, we've got overall, midtone, and then micro. And then we've got color. I broke down color into hue, saturation, and luminance, much like the HSL panel does. So as we slide down here, we're going to see the word HSL. We'll expand that panel. Let me close out my histogram for a second so we get a better view. And in here, we have hue, saturation, and luminance. And that hue, saturation, and luminance does just what you think it does. It's going to control each aspect of that. And I love Adobe, look at how clever they are. They even tell you behind the slider what's gonna happen. If I move this slider, it's gonna take my red values and make them more magenta, if I move it in...

that direction. Or it's gonna take my red values and make them more orange, if I move them in that direction. So it couldn't be any better. Saturation is the intensity of the color. So if I move the slider this way, it becomes more of a gray, if I move it this way, the red gets more intense. And then luminance says if I move my slider this way, it gets darker. Not necessarily more intense, just darker. And if I move my slider this way, it's gonna get brighter. And again, not less intense, just brighter. So the HSL panel is really, really super powerful. Let's start in the beginning and, actually I'm just gonna reset all these images real fast. Make sure they are all actually reset. There we go. Now I'll return to our develop module. Alright, in this image, I wanted to take this photograph of the Mandalay Bay at civil twilight, but I was a little bit early, so the sky is a little bright. Fixing that in the HSL panel is really a snap. And the beautiful thing about the HSL panel, is you don't even have to have passed Crayola in kindergarten. You don't even have to know your colors. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to be literate. You don't even know what these words mean to fix this. What we can do is simply click on this, what we call targeted adjustment tool, and if I'm under luminance, I'm just gonna click on this and drag down and that makes my sky darker. If I drag up, it makes it brighter. It works the same way if you're in saturation. Target adjustment tool is active, I click, I go down, it gets less saturated, I go up, it gets more saturated. And hue. If I go to hue, I can click on it and say I want that blue to be more of an aqua blue, or more of a magenta, purple blue. So we've got a lot of power in here. But what you need to realize is that if you click here to make your adjustment, your adjusting that color anywhere it exists in the entire image, so it's not a regional thing that we're selecting here, but wherever that color exists throughout the photo. So let me reset each one of these boxes. I'll double click the hue, double click the saturation, that resets everything, double click the luminance. Alright so my goal here is to darken down the blue sky. So I'm gonna click in there and darken it down. And ultimately I can get it to a nice dark value, but when it's darker like this, it seems to be more intense. And the sky is not usually that intense at this time of day. So I can then go to saturation, my targeted is still active, and click and pull that down a little bit and now we've got a darker blue sky that is less saturated. And we'll change the hue a little bit. I'm not as much a fan of that aqua blue, so I'm gonna push it up and just make it more a slightly purple blue. And that looks better to my eye. So when we look at the before and after, you can see we've made some great changes. But a word of caution here, you guys. What you don't wanna do, is you don't wanna push this too far. Any tool in here kid gloves is the word for this. Because if you go too far, you're gonna start to see some artifacts occur. So lemme just go over to these branches. And if I tick that luminance down too far, so again I click on luminance, go over to my targeted adjuster, that's still active, and I drag this down, look at how you can see all of this artifact, right around the edges. That's gonna be problematic. So my recommendation to y'all is to always view your image at one to one magnification when you're making any kind of adjustments like this or indeed local adjustments which we'll get to in just a minute. So go easy on that, you guys, and back that off until the artifact goes away, and then just realize that's as much as you're gonna be able to take it. And you'll have to deal with it later in Photoshop in a different way. Alright so let me give you guys a good example of how this might work. This image is straight out of the camera right here. We're looking south, so our star trails are kinda zooming across the sky in that direction rather than up and down. This is right outside of Sedona. So this is really being affected by a lot of city light. So the glow on this mountain is actually from the town of Sedona, and that has really affected the color of the blue sky as well. So what I may wanna do is just take my white balance and pull that to the left a little bit to get that slightly more blue, and then add some magenta in until we've gotten back to that blue sky. Okay. That might be a little bit heavy handed, perhaps a little too saturated, don't want that. Yeah, something more like that. Alright now, this color in here is not quite as pretty as it once was. So what we can do is we can go down the HSL panel, click on hue, click on our targeted adjustment, click and just if we pull down it turns more red, if we pull up, it turns more yellow. So I'm just gonna pull that down and make it more of that typical red Sedona sandstone. And then you could even click on saturation and pull that in. Again, kid gloves, not too much, you guys. And in a few short clicks, we fixed the color of the blue sky, and the color of the rocks between white balance and HSL. Here's an example where I've done the light painting, got my base exposure up in the sky here. As shot was 4900, which means I shot it on daylight on my camera. So I'm gonna go here and put it to, let's say tungsten, see what that looks like. It's a little bit too blue for me, so we'll pull that back to amber a little bit. And actually it looks a little dark. Let's look at our histogram. You can see it's got a whole lot of room for that white to move, so we'll take that white slider and move that up. There, now we're starting to feel pretty good. Alright, so I like the color of the sky here. But this yellow is a bit off-putting, shall we say. So what I'm gonna do is go to my hue and click on my direct selector button, click in there, drag it down, make it just slightly little bit more red or orange, and to me that's just more of a pleasing color. So in this way, when we're out light painting, yes we definitely wanna filter our flashlight correctly. But know that if the color is fairly separate from the sky or other surrounding colors, that we do have the ability to fudge only that color in the scene just a little bit.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting at night can create dynamic landscapes or portraits through long exposures. By using a wide range of tools, you can add light to your night photographs to create dynamic highlights or unique shapes. Painting with light opens a door into night photography that will keep you out until the wee hours of the morning. Tim Cooper is the author of The Magic of Painting with Light and in this course, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of light painting from accessories to camera considerations 
  • How to use test shots to capture your focus and exposure in the dark 
  • How to post-process your night images in Lightroom 
  • How to use layer stacking in Photoshop to build up light in your photographs  

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tim's Lightroom Presets

Tim's Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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DiDi Hendley

The BEST class ever! Learned so much--Tim is a great instructor. I highly recommend to the creative photog looking to expand his/her arsenal of tools, talents and products. Appreciated the patience and thoroughness that Tim offered students. Great pacing and information. I can see how I can very easily take his instruction out at night and produce something. I also appreciate that this session demonstrated images that weren't created in total darkness.

Gene Chamberlin

Tim is an outstanding teacher - I love his style, thorough and basic without being too elementary or condescending. I will be looking for other classes by Tim in the future. I'm am excited to apply the things I have learned from Tim and create my own style from the tools he has given. I never would have give much thought to light painting in the past. I have already notice a change in the way I scout my shots, now that I have added light painting into my tool box. Thanks for sharing your experience with the world Tim. Gene

Andrew Gow

Really enjoyable course. Clear instruction and surprisingly easy to put what I learnt into practice, which I did for the first time last night. This is also my first exposure to Photoshop, which initially put me off buying the course. However, Tim is a great instructor and explains his approach very clearly, so as well as an introduction to light painting it's a great introduction to what Photoshop can do.