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Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping

Lesson 20 from: Lightroom® 4 Fundamentals

Laura Shoe

Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping

Lesson 20 from: Lightroom® 4 Fundamentals

Laura Shoe

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Lesson Info

20. Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping


Class Trailer

Day 1


Pre-Show Banter


9:00 am - Introduction: Why Lightroom®?


The Lightroom Library Catalog


Staying Organized


Backing Up Your Library


Importing Your Photos


Preferences & Settings


Settings Q&A


Reorganizing Files and Folders


Using Views and Labels to Evaluate Photos


Filtering and Stacking Photos


Assigning and Managing Keywords


Keywording Q&A


The Metadata Panel


Searching for Photos


Creating a Collection


Day 2


Day 2 Pre-Show Banter


The Map Module: Assigning Locations


The Develop Module


Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping


Fixing Your Photos: Spot Removal Tool


11:30 am - Upgrading to Lightroom® 4


11:45 am - Basic Developing in Lightroom® 3 & 4


Basic Developing Part 2


Color Adjustments


Tone Curve Panel


Making Subtle Adjustments


Lens Corrections


Local Adjustments: Partial B&W


Local Adjustments: Portrait Touch Up


Additional Local Adjustments


Graduated Filter


Bonus: Day 3 Preview


Day 3


Day 3 Pre-Show Banter


Bonus: Recap of the Develop Module


Virtual Copies


B&W and Creative Effects


Noise Reduction




Sharpening for Portraits


Syncing Changes to Multiple Photos




Creating and Using Presets


11:45 am - Lightroom® and Photoshop


Sharing Your Work


Exporting for Web


Exporting for Print


Workflow Recap


Thanks + Credits


3:00 pm - Lightroom® 4: Publishing


3:30 pm - Lightroom® 4: Video Editing


3:45 pm - Lightroom® 4: Book Module


Lesson Info

Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping

I am back in the library module. So for folks here in class what we're actually going to use or not my Victoria photos but this develop folder of photos. So I've clicked on the developed folder and I'll go to the develop module. Now, the thing about working on photos in the develop module is you can do your best to make them beautiful here in light room, and they look great on your screen. But if your monitor is lying to you about what your photo really looks like, your work is basically for not so. You need to make sure that your monitor is displaying accurate brightness Contrast in color. Okay, your photo. This photo could look very bright just because my monitor is too bright. In fact, that's not the case with this photo in particular. But to ensure accuracy on your monitor, a lot of people decide to invest in a calibrate er a calibration device. Ah, lots of companies make them, but they're basically a device that you put on your monitor and with software it reads through, um, it's ...

ah guides you through the process of adjusting your monitor to be accurate. So it's it's straight on the monitor and guides you through the process. Lots of companies make them X right Spider as P Y. D E r and others as well. I used the X right. I one display to but But there are others out there as well. So particularly if you're already sending things out for print and you're not happy with them, it could be your printing service and how you're printing. But again, your monitor may be lying to you. Okay, so the next thing I want to cover is a little bit on what the hissed A gram is so here in the develop module and also in the library module we have we have the hissed a gram. So the hissed a gram is a graph of the tones in your photograph. How bright and how brought dark. The tones in your photograph are now this photograph. The entire thing is very bright, of course, but the way to read it is that at the very right hand side here is pure white. So in photography terms, that means blown out white. No detail whatsoever. At the very left here we have pure black. So blocked up, no detail whatsoever. Pure black. And then from left to right, we have it from black to dark grey toe, middle grade toe like great toe white. In this particular photo, all we have are very bright tones. Now, sometimes the hissed a gram goes over the edge on the right hand side. I'm just gonna force this over the edge. I guess I can't force it with that slider. Force it with this slider. So if I force that over the edge, if this is what it looks like out of camera I overexposed the photo, right. I've got block. I've got blown out highlights. Now I'm gonna go ahead and go to another photo that's got mawr tones in it just so that you can see that every different photo is gonna have a different shape. So this photo has this hill on the bright side. Well, thes bright tones in the photo are, of course, the bed that she's sleeping in here. These dark tones in the photo. I have lots and lots of dark tones in this photo. Well, that's the black cat. Okay, so there's no correct shape to a hist a gram it really just depends on what the subject of your photograph ISS. So here's one with a different shape. No, really dark tones and, you know, mostly just kind of an average bell curve. But there's nothing better about this shape than this shape. It's really just about what the subject is now. I use the history ram in light room to inform me about whether I'm blowing out the highlights, whether I'm blocking up the shadows and how how bright the tones are really getting, how dark they're really getting. So in this photo, for example, I can see that I have no blown out highlights, and I have no blocked up shadows, nothing that's pure black. I'm certainly getting close to peer black there, but nothing is blown out. Okay, if I'm going to, you'll see this in process with photos as I worked them. But let's say I wanted Teoh to brighten something up. I would keep an eye on the hissed a gram as I'm doing it, just to make sure that I'm not losing detail, either on the highlights or the shadows ends. Now, this isn't really a light room topic, but I like to I like to test you guys anyway, and I like to point this out because it's a very important hissed a gram topic. So this photo was taken exactly like this. This is the hissed a gram. I've said there's no correct shape for a hist a gram. But now I want to talk about placement of the history Graham. And this is really about making decisions when you capture the photo in camera other than the light room decision. So I've photographed this photo very bright, but I haven't blowing anything out. So what? I'm wondering if you guys Comptel may Is this hissed a gram out of camera? Better Then this hissed a gram. This is a test for our studio audience here, and there's nothing wrong with the one to the right is better because you're quality Pixels are all over to the right Hyde side of history am exactly in digital. It's the opposite of film, so you want to expose as far to the right as possible without blowing out any highlights. Because your camera sent sensor captures much better quality information on the right side of the hissed a gram, or even just the right 3/4 of the hissed a gram than it does on the left side. So exposing brighter is gonna give you higher quality information. Now, you don't want to expose so brightly that you blow it out. But I have to say that I nailed this exposure, right? So off course they show it. But because I Because I've exposed it perfectly, Um, I have great quality information so I can do a lot with this photo and you're going to see we're gonna It's gonna be much different than this when we work on it. We're gonna do some heavy duty work on it because we exposed it is far to the right as possible. And there's I have articles on my blawg about exposing to the right. I go into more detail of this. I show you the consequence of under exposing, which is you'll have a lot of noise in the shadows on and then I also have a post on an easy way to do that in camera. You know how to set your camera settings to successfully exposed to the right, so I'll refer you to my blog's for that. All right, Now that I've gotten through the conceptual stuff. Let's actually get into working with the developed tools. So we're going to start out by looking at these tools here in the tool drawer. Um, under the hissed a gram after we After we look at crop spot removal on red eye, then we'll start working our way down through the basic panel and some of the other panels here. Thank you. So we're going to start with the crop tool and I'm not going to start with this photo. We'll just go ahead and go to another photo here. Now, for you guys in class. The examples are numbered. And if you look right above the filmstrip here, you'll see as you hover over a file, you'll see the file name. So that may help you find the file. Let me just have 11 other suggestion for you guys just to make it quicker. I'm gonna go G for grid. I'm in this developed folder and I'm gonna choose to sort here of the bottom by file name. So remember that you have a choice in how you sort your files here, so sort by file name. You know, they'll be a number number order that would go back to develop. So when I say I'm going to go to number six, you can see where that is in your film strip. Okay, Really? For this for this example. It doesn't matter what photo you're on. We're gonna crop. So to crop a photo, we're going to click on the crop tool here below the history. And there are lots of options. But as soon as you open up the crop tool, you'll see that you have Let's see what? This? I'm gonna go ahead collapse my hissed a gram. Here, scroll up a little. There we go. OK, Once you click on a tool, you'll see that you have options below. But for this photo, I'm just gonna crop it visually. Toe what? I like it, Teoh. What I think looks best. So I'm simply going to click and drag on either a corner or on the side to crop in the photo. Now, once I've created a crop here, I can click and drag inside the photo soldiers with a hand tool here, click and drag to move the photo within the crop frame. Now I have to tell you that when I first started using this crop tool, it worked the opposite of what I thought. So if if that's happening to you, it depends on how your brain is wired. It's like a personality test to see, you know who works for which way. But if that happens to you, think of moving not the crop frame, but the photo within the crop frame. So I'm moving the photo to the right. Okay, Now, once you've defined your crop, then you'll click back on the crop tool to put it away. There are other ways to do it as well. That's what I like to dio. I just put the tool away. And, of course, when you close light room and you come back tomorrow, all of those pixels air gone right that you cropped off can never get him back, right? Not true. Of course. All of your working light room is nondestructive. You can always come back into the crop tool and you'll see that you still have your entire photo here collapse That panel not collapsing. There we go. You still have your entire photo here and you can change your mind here in the crop box. You can choose to reset the crop if you want to completely undo it and do something else. Now. I often I'm just cropping visually because I'm just sharing photos online or imprinting them myself. But sometimes you need to crop to particular proportions to fit. For example, a map in eight by 10 Matt A Square Matt, for example. So let me show you how you can constrain the proportions of your crap. Here in the crop options, there's a drop down here next to the padlock. If you click on custom, you can choose different proportions, so I'll go with four by 58 by 10. So it's not sizing the photo in terms of inches. It's just the shape of the photo. It's just proportions. Zoom back out. Now that I've chosen four by 58 by 10 every crop I do is gonna be constrained to those proportions. There's no way I could turn it, for example, into a square at this point. Now, the big question that people have when they start using this tool is how do I flip the crop? What if I wanted a vertical five by seven photo here. Uh, you know it It just seems to be no way to do it. So there's two secrets and you have to know the secrets. So this is where you really get led onto the team, let into the lead into the club. The 1st 1 with light from three and later is the X key. So X will flip the crop, and that's the easiest way to do it. That's the way I recommend the other way. Or if you just have light room to is if you click, will resume in here for a sec if you click right on the corner, not outside the corner when you get a bent arrow. But if you click right on the corner, I'm gonna zoom back out before you do this. Okay, click and drag up to the left or down to the right. It will snap it, but you have to drag it like in a 45 degree angle, up to the left or down to the right. So that's why you can see why I prefer the X key Now. If you need to crop to proportions that are not in this drop down, there is an enter custom. So if I need a 16 by 20 and I've spaced out and forgotten that that's the same shape is four by 58 by 10 for example, I could say enter custom and I could just type in 16 by and that will appear in my drop down. I must not have must spend some. Okay, in this case, it didn't, I guess, like four wouldn't even let me, because it's just telling me that it's already there. But you can put in other shapes as well. Okay, so that's the basics of the crop tool. I'm gonna show you how to straighten photos using the crop tool. Are there any questions on the basic functionality? A couple people in the chat room of saying thank you for that tip with the X on. And Dorian says that just saved me hours of agony. And I know that personally, I cannot stand that little corner deal. So I'm using the X From now on, you know, those kind of comments make you know, they just make all this worthwhile for me just to know that even just the little things can They are making a big difference for you guys, so I appreciate all those comments always. And then Bruce does ask, Is there a way to change the color of the grid lines during the crop? Sometimes the white lines condone disappear in the photographs. I never thought about changing the color. Now you can change the let's see, where is it some of these things that I haven't seen for a while. You can change the grid to be rule of thirds. And, um, my seeing that there, I'm just spacing out. So I'll just have to come back to it, or the audience will bail me out in terms of changing what's showing as faras, the grid goes. But I don't know that you could change the color question of the audience. Yeah, you mentioned the way you drag the photo underneath the crop box. Is there any way to flip the behavior to dragging the crop box over the top of a stationary photo? No. You just have to rewire your brain. And then a question from Vail is when you crop in the photo and then hit auto, does it do the auto adjustments on the crop? Or as if it was the whole image. It will do them on the Oh, you mean the actual calculation of auto. I honestly don't know what that calculation is based on, so I would assume that it would be on the crop. But then again, maybe not. You caught me again. So All right. No more questions. No, it's fine to use a lot more. Keep going. Okay. All right. So I've crop this photo. I'm gonna go ahead and put the crop tool away to complete that crop. And now let's go to an example where I need to straighten the photo. So number 15 here clearly was not taken with a tripod and was taken in quite a hurry. So I need to straighten this photo. Let's go ahead and go into the crop tool. Now, there are different ways to do this. I'm gonna show you, um, a couple. The 1st 1 is if if I hover now as I'm trying to zoom in When I hit the command key, I get this little level tools. Just ignore that for now. It's just that I need toe use that key to zoom in. So when I zoom in, you can see that as I hover not on the edge of the photo but outside the edge To get this bent arrow, I can click and I can twist the photo soon I'm gonna zoom out so that you can actually see this happen. I can click. I can twist the photo And as I twisted, I see that grid and that could help me line up that horizon. So that's kind of Ah, quick and dirty way. Teoh, straighten your photos. Okay, Now let's go ahead and reset that crop. So here in that crop options click on Reset. Or you could do control a command Z toe, undo your work. He may need to do it two or three times if you've dragged that that photo a few times and let's look at how to use the straighten tool. Now, the straighten tool can be a little bit frustrating for people if you don't know just the little details of how it works. So it's right here. We have a level next to the word angle. So I'm gonna click on the level tool and my mouse is the level. Now I'm gonna click on the horizon. But I'm not gonna let go. I'm gonna click hold and drag along the crooked horizon. I'm not dragging straight as I wanted to be. I'm dragging crooked because the actual horizon is crooked And then I'm gonna let go and light room will calculate how far off from level that ISS and it will straight in the photo. Now I'm gonna undo that. So, Controller Command Z And just to show you a couple more things here first, once I use the tool light room puts the tool away. So notice that my mouth's my mouse is no longer that level tool. So if I click and drag again, I'm not kidding a line. I'm getting a box. That's not what I wanted. Okay? And all of a sudden, I've got a small crop, and I think they're out of control. And and, um, you know, I need to pause here, So I'm gonna reset the crop here. Or I could do controller Command Z Every time you use the tool, Lightman puts the tool away, so you have to go grab it again. So click, Hold drag. Well, I didn't do that great of a job. I have to go get the tool again. Click on the tool click holding drag. So just remember to always go get the tool again. If you want to redo it, you can Also I'll go get the tool again and show you that if you click holding drag along the mast of this shift that you can straighten vertically as well, asshole. Or is on Italy. Is there a short cut key to open that that, uh, leveling tool there very well may be, but I don't know what that one would be. Thanks. Okay. So once it's straight, you can continue to crop the tool visually. So if I like how this straight, it's actually kind of disturbing to me, but I'll pretend I like it, all right. But I can still click and drag and make this a square or change the proportions. So I'm not limited to just that initial solution. Um, that I had Okay, let's go ahead and put the crop tool away. Oh, just before we put the crop tool away. I remembered that if he pressed the okay, you can change the crop grid. That's a great point. Thank you. I knew there was a way. Oh, well, so Oh, for overlay changes, it doesn't change the color, so it still isn't quite gets that users question, but it changes what's showing in the crop tool. So for various purposes, you know, you have your rule of thirds points you have. I can't remember what this. This shape is called in photography terms, but you have other options there. So thank you, Laura. One other thing I noticed that when you're in the crop tool, when you, like, hit ours the shortcut to get in there. If you hold the control key, it shows the level the angle tool, and you can then click and drag a shortcut there that person was asking about. Great, then about one more question was, Is there a shortcut to train to quickly go from landscape to portrait mode with the crop tool X? If you have a crop, X X right now doesn't work. You can see it's doing nothing. But if let me see if I type X once I've done a crop, then I get that

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Day 1 Slides.pdf

bonus material with enrollment


Ratings and Reviews

Miguel Lecuyer

Great workshop! New to Lightroom and found it very helpful. Saved me a couple hundred dollars and time by not taking an evening LR class. Creative Live workshops match my learning style perfectly. Laura is awesome! My only complaint is maybe Laura can use a PC next time which is what she seems more comfortable using. Her shortcut mix-ups on a Mac were making me a bit dizzy :)

a Creativelive Student

I cannot express enough how impressed I was with Laura and this class. I learned more in the 3 days of this workshop than I did in all 6 weeks of a class I took online that cost three times as much. I left not only impressed by the class but MOST importantly - refreshed and energized to put my new knowledge to use! Thank you for that!!!

a Creativelive Student

Excellent workshop bar none. I learned more about Lightroom than I did from any other tutorial/workshp that I previously encountered. Thanks Laura!

Student Work