Developing Images in Lightroom
Developing the images. So I use Lightroom and Photoshop together. But really, I use Lightroom as the base of my operation. So Lightroom is really my hub. It's where I start. I work on the images there, you know, I do the keywording and labeling. I develop them there, so I make 'em look pretty. And then I also process them there for output. So processing might include panorama merging, it might include printing, it might include web production. So I can do everything in Lightroom, or I can also start in Lightroom and then go out to Photoshop, do stuff in Photoshop, and then come back to Lightroom. So where do I make that distinction? Difficult photos, you know, photos that need a lot of pixel work, like fixing skies or fixing dust, or blemishes on people's faces in the panorama, whatever. Anytime I have to do lots of heavy lifting, I'll send it off to Photoshop, because Photoshop is much better suited for those scenarios. So I'm gonna start here with developing the images in Lightroom. ...
Now, we'll go up here to earlier in the day. Actually, I'm gonna go to filter. So this is another cool thing about Lightroom. I'm gonna click, down here on the bottom, my red and green filter. And I'm just gonna look at my red photos, or my selects from the day. So we'll go up and pick... Let's pick before... Here we go, we'll pick this one. So this photo group was one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. So this sequence here was 10 photos. And if I just show you them away from everything else, those are the images that we're going to work on. So it's a pretty high contrast, the light is relatively flat, so I wanna show you how we work on these image to pull out detail. Light matters, you know, the time of day really matters, but if you're in a location, you gotta take the photo, let's learn how to fix it, and make it mo' better. Okay, so now, I'm going to go to the develop pane that's here at the top. So I'm in library, we're going to develop. So I start there. And you'll notice I selected those images as a group, because whatever I do on one image, I'm going to propagate that, or synchronize that, across all the images in my panorama sequence. That's important, because you want everything from exposure, to white balance, to shadows, to highlights, you want everything to be equal on every single image. The next thing I do is, in that sequence of 10 photos, I find the most difficult one. I find the one that's got the highest contrast. You know, with the brightest clouds and the darkest shadows. This one looks good, right there. So that's in the middle of the sequence. Now I'm going to start working on it. So I'm over here on the right-hand side of my develop pane. The first section here is called basic, and we spend a lot of time in basic, but before I do the basic stuff, I'm actually gonna go down to lens profile and fix the lens corrections. I use a full-frame camera. Actually, I use a variety of cameras, but the one I used for this shoot was a Nikon D800, and then I have an older 70 to 200mm lens. And that older lens actually vignettes just a little bit around the corners. And so when you do panoramas, you don't want vignetting on each of the images. 'Cause imaging merging them all together: vignette, vignette, vignette, vignette. And it looks really funky in the final merge. So I actually enable the profile correction right there. And what that does is it helps reduce vignetting in the corners of all the images. And then finally, the last one I do down here is I remove chromatic aberration. Any time you're photographing a scene where you have something dark, like maybe a tree branch, against something bright, like the sky, you run the risk of getting chromatic aberration around those edges. You get this purple, or magenta, or green fringing. This magenta or green fringing. So almost always remove the chromatic aberration. Alright, so that's the first step. Now we're gonna go back up here to the top. We're going to open up the histogram that's here at the very top, just so I can see what I've got. And it looks like, with the histogram, I've got a little bit of gap, or a little bit of space here on the right-hand side, which means I haven't blown out my highlights completely. That's great, because that means I've got detail on those clouds. Okay. Now I'm gonna scroll into the basic area, and I generally work from the top down. The first one that we work with is white balance. It says temperature. White balance lets us adjust the color temperature of the scene. I know that it was a sunny day, and I need to set the color temperature so that it matches the scene of that day. So I know sunny is around 5500, 5400 Kelvin, so something around there. Now exposure. I decide, overall, do I need to make the photo brighter or darker. In this case, I'm gonna reduce the brightness just a little bit, so I can get some of that highlight detail back. Maybe right there. So I'm at -0.45. I never work with contrast. I shouldn't say never, but very rarely do we work with contrast. I consider it a blunt tool. It's a really, It's like hitting your photo with a baseball bat, because it just moves the entire histogram out or in. There's more sophisticated, better ways we can do that. Like, for example, the highlight slider. So I move highlights down. And you can see as I do this, I'm pushing detail back in the clouds. Sometimes I have to go all the way to the left, and that's fine. Lightroom, especially new version, CC, allows us to get away with a lot with the highlights and shadow slider. Next, I need to pull out shadow detail in those buildings, so I'm going to move that up a little bit. If I have some really bright white stuff that I need to recover, then I will work with the whites and blacks, but for this photo I'm fine. And then I go to clarity. I almost always add some clarity back in. Somewhere between 25 and 50 tends to make sense. And then vibrance. Vibrance is the smart editor's saturation. Saturation is ugly. Watch what happens when I move saturation up. Saturation just makes your photo look garish. So in general, I don't recommend using saturation. Use vibrance, because it actually saturates secondary colors. It's a smart saturation tool. Cool. So there we go. I've just processed that one photo. And for this example, because I'm gonna move a little bit fast here, I'm just gonna say that's good. I'm gonna click, down here, I'm gonna click the synchronization button. Pow. Up here, then, it says what do you wanna synchronize?. Typically I wanna synchronize the global adjustments. I don't wanna synchronize local things like brush tools. I don't even wanna synchronize cropping, because I just want the global stuff. White balance, saturation, or vibrance, and all of those global settings. So here we go. I'm gonna click synchronize, and as I do it, you'll see down along the bottom each of those images change as they update. Alright, cool. So that was the first kinda step and segue into developing your images in Lightroom. Let's take another sequence. And I'm just gonna move faster this time. Let's take something a little bit later in the day. Let's go down to right here. Yeah, this was a really pretty time of day. So again, I'm gonna select all of 'em. The way that I do that, I'll just do that one more time, is I click on the first one, then I hold down my shift key and I click on the last one. And now they're all selected. Now I'm going to go into the develop pane, and I will start on the most difficult image, maybe that one right there, and I'll start working on it. Okay. So you can see, I've already moved the sliders around, but for the sake of this discussion, I'm gonna hit reset, just so you can see what this looked like right out of the camera. So I'm gonna click reset and sync, and now I'm gonna synchronize everything so all the photos in the sequence are just as they were out of the camera. You see, waiting a little bit longer in the day for the light to get lower in the sky really made a difference in the look of the photo. And these photos, by themselves, are almost ready to go. Almost ready to print. So light, time of day, it all matters. So let's go back and edit that photo that I discussed earlier. So there we go. First thing is, go down to the lens profile. Where did that go? Lens correction. So I'm going to enable the profile. Watch the upper right hand corner when I do that. Ready, set, click. And it got rid of that vignetting. Remove chromatic aberration. Now I'll go back up to the top and start working on the image. That building is pretty bright, so I'm gonna reduce the highlights a little bit. Shadows up a little bit. And then a little bit of clarity, and of course, a little bit of vibrance. And you can see that the vibrance brings back some of that local contrast. This is a good point in time to mention another contrast improvement tool. I know we're gonna get questions about this from the audience in internet land, so let me talk about this real quick. It's down here. It's called dehaze, and it's in the effects area. Dehaze is very effective at reducing atmospheric haze. We get a lot of that here in Seattle, so anytime that the buildings look hazy and don't have a lot of contrast, I'm just gonna move the dehaze slider up a little bit. And by the way, a little bit goes a long ways, so we're talking, like, five. Plus five. Sometimes, watch what happens if I go too high. If I go to the 60's and 70's, it almost looks gothic. Which you may like, you know. You might like it. Black eyeliner, dark hair. Cool. I'm all about that. But for this photo, not so much. So I'm gonna go plus five. There we go. Little bit of dehaze. The next thing I like to do is I like to do a before and after. And the way that I do that is I type the backslash button on my keyboard. It's above your enter button, or your enter key, or your return key. So I'm gonna hit that backslash button. Here's the before. And there's the after. You see a little bit of that lens profile, a little bit of the contrast addition. You see those clouds in the sky really start to pop. Fantastic. And now, it's, oops, I lost my connection to my lower images, so I'm gonna reselect those lower images from down here. And I'm also going to hold down the command key, or the control key, and select these guys on this side. Okay. And now it's time to synchronize, so I click sync. And once I do that, you'll see all of those changes propagate across the images.