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Post-Processing for Outdoor and Travel Photographers

Lesson 10 of 38

Processing Images: Basic Adjustments

Ben Willmore

Post-Processing for Outdoor and Travel Photographers

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

10. Processing Images: Basic Adjustments

Lesson Info

Processing Images: Basic Adjustments

right now you want to start adjusting pictures we've talked about cropping we talked about our dust removal now let's just talk about images and we're going to talk first about fixing images when we learn howto fix images that are bad then we khun use maur the pictures we already have that you know we have captured and then once we know howto work with the bad images we might start working on just good images they look good to begin with how could we polish him and make them look much better then you might not might have imagined you could do so I think these two images don't look so hot let's see what we can do it oh I'm gonna click on the develop module and let's take a look since we're working on a resolution of my screen that's much lower than usual I don't see the light room interface I can't see us much of it is I'm used to scene I'm used to working on a twenty seven inch display when I'm at home that is I can see all the adjustments if I want teo what I'm going to do just for no...

w and I don't usually do this one at home is I'm gonna hide the history ma'am I'll just click on the word hissed a gram it's just so that all of these sliders khun show up there they're not being cut off but I would usually have that there and we'll we'll talk about it and see how it's useful it's just that that's cutting off some of my sliders down here I might also hide up here the module picker the thing where he switched between modules rember the triangle at the top and I might also hide these two guys that was shift f f means full screen there now what now I can actually have the history ram and these sliders at the same time that's the only reason I'm doing that all right we're going first stick with the basic adjustment slaughter so the ones that I usually applied to just about every single image and then I go down to these other categories of adjustments on lee when an image needs something special so let's take a look first we have exposure exposure is an overall brightness control so if the image as a whole is too bright for too dark this is the first place I go to so I could move this so the right to brighten up the image a bit to the left and darken up the image and I can move it quite a ways just know that any time you radically brighten the picture noise is hanging out in the dark part of your picture and you've now made the dark party your picture where it's usually hard to see that noise you've made it right where it's going to be easy to see that noise so we will have to do noise reduction if we do dramatic frightening then other than exposure the other main brightness controls in here are highlights and shadows so exposure controls the entire picture the whole thing gets brighter whole thing gets darker but when I come down to shadows and highlights it tries to isolate on ly the bright areas for only the dark areas and so in this case I think the sky is too bright and the dark parla photo could be brightened up a little bit so I come over here to the highlights slider in with all these sliders if there once that brighton and darken moving them to the right will brighten moving to the left will darken with all the ones that frightening dark so if I'm thinking about the highlights that means the brightest part of the picture it's too bright I'm going to move the still left to try to darken up that sky a bit moving in as far as I can that I'm going to adjust the dark part of the picture because it might be able to be a little bit brighter tio but these try to isolate the bright and dark portions of your picture I'll give you a little tip though if you ever move either one of these until it maxes out and you wish you could move it further which is what's happening in this image I wish I could make that sky darker so if you've maxed out one of these two but not the other then there is a way to move it beyond one hundred how the heck did you do that well if what this does is it's darkening the bright part of my picture that's what the highlights slider does is work on the right part of the picture we've darknet as much as we possibly could but we still have space over here we haven't max that one out then here's how you cheat take the exposure slider in moving in the same direction you wish you could move the other slider so I wish I could move highlights to negative twenty are not twenty one twenty and I can so I take my exposure slider and I move in the direction I wish I could move the slider that's maxed out until I get it is dark as I want it there so is only thinking about the brightest part of the picture thinking aboutthe slider that was maxed out that's about as dark as I want it then the rest of the image came down with that got darker along with it so just take the other slider the one that's not maxed out and move it in the opposite direction that you moved exposure and you'll be able to get the equivalent so what the heck was that he was saying what it is is if you ever max out one of these two sliders but haven't maxed out the other yet so I was like this this is maxed far as it can go and this is not at its extreme then go to exposure move in the same direction you were attempting to move the one that's maxed out and think on li about that portion of your image to think only about the highlights when you're doing it till you get the brightness you want the rest of the picture would've gotten changed along with it so to make it to the rest of the picture goes back closer to what it was before you take the opposite slider which everyone's not maxed out and you move in the opposite direction you move this guy and in this particular case I needed to max it out that's not common but you see how much darker I was able to get my sky we'll do that on a bunch of images though over the next three days so you'll get used to the mindset any time one of these maxes out I'll remind you again and again of how you can get around it so hopefully by the end you'll get used to it if you want to see what you've done there are a couple different ways to do it for now I'm just going to show you one it's not them the most elegant method but you should know what this button does in the lower right is a reset button and that means that let's reset all these settings the adjustment slider settings back to their defaults and so if I click reset we should see what the original picture looked like and then I'm gonna type undo most people are used to the keyboard shortcut for undue cause using all sorts of programs but his command ziana mac controls in windows and that will bring us back to what we had before reset commands he undo there are other ways of doing that as well they're even ways have seen it side by side will get into those later there are other things I could do this picture to make it look better for now I'm concentrating on the biggest problem once we learn about mohr the sliders that are available then we could find tune it further so let's switch to a different picture to do that I'm just going to move my mouth for the bottom my screen which should make the film strip show up and I don't see what other pictures are in that folder like seo we got one here we'll use that this one looks pretty terrible than that so it's limited though to the dark part of the picture isn't it well it's hard to say because there's only there's not much other than the dark part of the picture a little bit of sky um if I get an image that's real brighter real dark what I end up doing is I look at the bar chart that's up here the bar chart tells you what brightness levels you have present in your picture black is represented in the far left if there's a bar on the bar chart on the far left you have black somewhere white is represented on the far right if there was a bar on the bar chart you have some white in your picture somewhere in this case there's no white fifty percent gray would be right in the middle and so on to distribute your brightness levels and you can even see a grid that's in here um and so I can sell that if this is fifty percent than that other boulder line's got to be twenty five or so in this case we have nothing brighter than about twenty five percent gray you could say if what I see in here is that this has pushed all the way to one side you can see it pushing into that side and there's a gap on the opposite side so it just feels like this bar chart is pushed over where it's hitting one side there's a gap on the opposite side that's a blatant indication that exposure is what you should change if you ever see the history graham jammed all the way over to one side with a gap on the opposite then move exposure in the direction of the gap if I do I'm just moving it over until there's no longer jammed up against one side there's no longer a big gap I didn't even look at the picture and then I glanced over to see the result I'll do it again here's where it was before just watch the instagram that's what the bar charts called ignoring the picture and I'm just going to move this over hopefully eliminating the huge gap and hopefully eliminating this massive part where it feels like it's jammed over there so I grabbed exposure and I move in the direction of the gap I just think that what exposure does his moves the history graham what direction you want to move in it I want to move it away from the left side I'm not going to move it so far that a massive thing happens on the right side but when I move it over now it's making it so doesn't feel massively pushed here and it's not quite creating a massive thing there and I look at my picture and it's a bit better but now I think my sky too bright well that is not the highlights or bright party your picture so let's bring down the highlights this part too dark isn't that the shadows or dark party your picture to just grab the shadow slider where is right it's a personal choice personal taste and the way you like you're my just look there's no scientific you know six is the right number kind of answer and then there are other sliders we could adjust in here that would make it much better but did you notice that so far on two images we used a total of three sliders we've used the three sliders that are blatant brightness changers and so it could be nice exposure adjust the entire picture of the whole highlights suggests only the bright areas shadow suggests on ly the dark years now I go back down here to the filmstrip in we're done with those pictures so how do I change which folder I'm in well there's a bunch of different ways of doing it for now we're going type g to go to the grid so I can see what we have for things these air what's called collections we haven't worked with those yet I will talk about them soon but I needed to organize my pictures somehow and you'll learn how to organize your pictures with those but I'm just going to switch to some other images justly no you khun tell if an image has been adjusted because you remember how he could tell if an image was cropped there was an icon of lower right well you khun cellphone image has been adjusted there's also an icon in the lower right it's got a little plus and minus sign on it so if you ever see that that means you have adjusted this picture you've moved some of the sliders in the developed module you might see an additional icon there if you crop the image within the develop module and if you come in here and click on that icon and brings you right to the develop module so you could see the changes that you've made a type g to go back to the grid getting used to g for grid um if you want another keyboard shortcut other than g for grid then when you have a picture selected d for develop okay grid develop grid developed you could go back and forth just typing g and d it's not command g's like you're used to in a lot of other perhaps it's just the key all by itself all right so in this image the history rams not telling me what to do theirs it's not jammed all the way to one side with the huge gap that's usually a blatant indication that you need exposure when I look at this picture I just feel like the bright areas are I don't have any heft to them they just feel odd so for me the bright pick areas of this picture are the areas that just bug me and I'm going to take the highlights slider and simply bring it down to see if I can tone down the highlights I've maxed out the highlights slider can't go any further I wish I could so what do I do if I max out either highlights or shadows I grab exposure and moving in the same direction there I'm liking that and then I'll have to come back to the other slider to compensate for what happened to the rest of the picture usually I'll brighten up my shadows now some other sliders we haven't talked about yet there is contrast in contrast if you increase it is going to give you a greater difference between bright and dark she's going to be darker things will get darker brighter things will get brighter so there's a greater difference between the two that's useful if an image looks dull if it looks foggy if it looks something where it just doesn't have punch in your picture then boosting contrast is goingto often give you more of that punch but if you bring it up you may find that the dark party or image gets a little dark a little over dark just know that you can always go down to the shadow slider then and just say hey then I wantto brighten up the shadows they didn't like what happened to him so much but contrast if you have any pictures and just look a bit dull uh it will often add a little more life to it the other slider that is related to contrast is one called clarity in clarity is going to emphasize the textures in your picture if there's wood grain somewhere where there's dirt or something like that that really fine details it's going to emphasize them make him stand out so if I bring up clarity a little bit look at the ground that's there there's a higher clarity there's nothing so a lot of images just a slight blue boost of clarity could help the details pop be very careful in we're amending with clarity though because it also has a negative setting which softens your picture so don't bring it up and then go now I don't quite like that and then manually slide it down and accidentally go beyond the middle where you're in the negative side you just made your picture softer than and so in light room with every single slider you ever run into in general with light room if you want to reset it to defaults double click on it so if I wanted to experiment I bring it up if I didn't like it double click on it it'll snap it back to the default setting and that's what all of these sliders double click into resets so if you want to experiment with something experiment to your heart's content if you didn't like it double clicking the slider it's as if you never use that feature

Class Description

It’s time to make the images you capture as you travel or explore the great outdoors even more jaw-dropping. Join photographer and image editing expert Ben Willmore to explore the Lightroom and Photoshop tools that will optimize your images to really make them shine while keeping them easy to find and organized.

In this course, you’ll master the post-production process every travel and outdoor photographer needs to know. From panorama stitching to HDR to fixing distortion in architectural images, you’ll dive deep into the editing tasks best performed in Photoshop. You’ll adjust and optimize your images – even if they’re overexposed, underexposed, or have color or contrast issues. You’ll also learn how to organize your images with Lightroom make them easy to find by location taken, subject, or date. Ben will cover specific tips on uploading and organizing while you are still on the road that will save you time and make things easy when it is time to edit. You’ll also develop an editing workflow that helps you retouch quickly and efficiently.

If you’re ready to spend more time outdoors taking stunning photos and less time stuck indoors processing (or finding!) them, this is the course for you.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase


Bonus Packet

Post Processing Practice Files

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



After catching parts of each of the three days, I knew that I would need to have access to this wealth of information. What is great about the program is the ability to stop and go back over something that is not fully understood...and be able to do that until confident enough to move on. I saw no "fluff" in the course, just great information imparted with a style that is makes it easy to understand. CreativeLive scored a big hit with this course! The bonus material is SO valuable, especially the presets. That saves an enormous amount of time for me. My appreciation of the power behind the software is becoming ever clearer. Thanks, Ben, for another outstanding presentation!

Shannon Beelman Photography

Ben has been amazing! He is a wealth of information on organizing images as well as great tips to make your travel images pop just a little more. I came into this class feeling like I had a good handle on lightroom and have come out with a better understanding of the power of the software to make artistic life easier. He covers tips, tricks and little known options that help make workflow smother. I have sat here watching as much of the free broadcast as I can and in this last week I have gotten control over years of images in my lightroom. This is one I know I will be buying soon.


Great class! Somehow, it was enjoyable not having Ben default to "curves for everything"! I don't think the title for this course did it justice, tho. This class was 90% Light Room and 10% Photoshop. I was very happy to discover that dynamic and equally as happy to purchase this course! If you are new to Light Room, this class is a MUST. Creative Live offers several LR classes but this is the one to own. Ben is working on his new book about Light Room Mastery - can't wait! In the meanwhile, I'll be watching Ben's thorough approach to LR in this video. So, don't let the title throw you a curve ball, if you are new to Light Room or a seasoned user, there's plenty of great information - delivered as only Ben can! Thanks CL for this great class!