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Basic Develop Module Processing

Lesson 8 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Basic Develop Module Processing

Lesson 8 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

8. Basic Develop Module Processing


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Basic Develop Module Processing

First, just a basic quick tour of the basic sliders. The exposure slider affects the brightness of your entire image. So I only use it when the entire image is too bright or too dark. Or I shouldn't say only, but most of the time I use it when the entire image is too bright or too dark. In this case, that's not the case. And just for those of you that are in the audience, so you know, this screen is adjusted so it looks good on camera. It does not look like my screen here. Those of you in the audience, I can't see anywhere near that much shadow detail. The shadow detail up there, it doesn't quite look black here, but it's real close. So just so you're aware, 'cause sometimes it being in the audience, you look at the screen going, why is he bringing it in that far? Well, this is adjusted so it looks good on camera. On camera, it looks more like my image. Alright. So exposure is for the whole image. If it's not the whole image, then I usually go to highlights or shadows. Highlights will ...

isolate the bright areas. Shadows will isolate the dark areas. So in this case, the main change that I think needs to be made is to the dark area of the image. So I'd go to shadows, and I would push it towards the right. Then I can bring up that shadow detail. A trick is if you max out either the highlights or the shadow sliders, and you wish you could move it further, then go to exposure, and move it in the direction you wish you could continue moving whatever slider you maxed out until that portion of the image looks the way you want it to. Then since this affected the entire image, yet you wanted it to only affect the highlights, you're gonna have to grab the opposite of the slider you maxed out. So if you maxed out shadows, the opposite would be highlights. Move it in the other direction until the rest of the image goes back to normal. But that's a little trick. That's why in the presets suddenly the exposure slider and the highlight slider comes in, because that's using those tricks. But I want you to make sure you knew it. Other things, contrast controls how much of a difference is there between bright things and dark things. So if there's too great of a difference between bright and dark, you could lower it. If there's not enough difference between bright and dark, some foggy looking image, and you want it to have some more pop, you could increase contrast. So I could, in this case, bring it down to get more of a difference between, or less of a difference between bright and dark. And now it looks almost like the light where the guy is standing is the same as the light that's hitting the structure in the distance. So a few other things. If you ever bring bring contrast down, which I've done here, your image will often feel a bit dull anytime you bring contrast down. And so anytime I bring contrast down, I bring clarity up to compensate. Clarity is similar to sharpening. It'll make the fine details in your image come out. The textures will become more emphasized. And so I'll bring that up to try to bring a little bit of snap back into the image. Now when you do that, on occasion, you're gonna find that there'll be a slight glow, either bright or dark one, around the edges of certain objects. It was much more prominent in previous versions of Lightroom, but in the more modern ones, Lightroom 5 and 6, it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. In old versions, it used to look like trees were glowing when you brought up clarity a lot. Now there's barely any. But I can see a slight darkening around the edge of this area. If I bring clarity back down and I stare at that area, I see that that is no longer the case. But if I bring clarity up, can you see a little darkening effect kind of around here? Know that I'm gonna show you how to fix that when we talk about Photoshop. So in Photoshop, I'll show you. How can I isolate that glowy area? And how can I get that brightness to match the surrounding sky? And therefore, you can get away with these more dramatic adjustments, because you'll compensate for any artifacts that they're introducing into your image. But I'm just kinda letting you know that, so you don't go, yeah, but what about the thing that I'll show you how to fix later. Yeah. Now that's also why, you remember with clarity in the presets, suddenly clarity started being used on some presets. And that's because contrast got lowered enough that it was needed. So the mindset, or the thoughts I want you to take away from this when it comes to the basic adjustments are exposure affects the whole image. So mainly you use it when the whole image has a problem. Otherwise, see if it's only the highlights or shadows, the bright or dark parts, that have the problem, and if so, go to these sliders. And only when you max those out, might you need to supplement it with exposure. And then contrast, if you have too great of a difference between bright and dark, feel free to lower it. But if you lower it, you probably wanna bring clarity up. Otherwise, you'll have a relatively dull-looking image. Then, whites and blacks are needed on some images from the beginning, but it's rare. But I find they're useful on most images, but I think of them as finishing techniques. When I think I'm done with the image, I'm about to move on, that's when I go to whites and blacks. What they do is they affect how bright is the absolute brightest part of the image. Is it white, or is it like 5% gray? Or 15% gray? And blacks affects how dark is the absolute darkest part of the image. Is it solid black, or is it 98% gray? Almost there, but not quite. And we could find out if we have black or white in our picture by looking at the histogram. See up here, our histogram? If you watch what happens to the ends of the histogram, well, if I pull the whites down, do you see the histogram moving away from the right side? You see it kind of pulling away? Or if I take the blacks, and I bring it up, watch the left side. You see it pulling away on the histogram? Well, when you're done with your image, glance at the histogram. You might not know much about histograms by chance, but you don't have to know much. All you need to do is look at these little triangles in the corners. If this triangle is white, what that means is you have solid black in your picture. If the triangle on the right turns white, you have solid white in your picture. If you don't see those triangles lit up, and you think you're done with your image, you're about to move on, wait just for a minute and try this out. Move your mouse on top of the black slider, and try a trick. There's a hidden feature. Hold down Shift and double-click on it. I'm not kidding, Shift, double-click on it. What the heck does that do? Well, it figures out how far it needs to move to get black into your picture if you hold Shift, and you double-click on it. How're you supposed to know that? And so most images, I mean like 90% of images, will look best if it has a little area of black within it. If you don't have black within it, it can look dull. Then go to whites. If you want to, you could hold Shift, and double-click on it, and that will try to automatically adjust the whites, but it's not gonna usually make it so you have solid white. 'Cause solid white, usually it doesn't necessarily make your image look better. But you can try Shift + double-clicking to see if it helps. With any slider in Lightroom, if you double-click on it with no keys held down, it'll reset it to its defaults. So you can always experiment with a slider, and you decide, eh, I don't like what that did. Just double-click on the slider with no keys held, you'll be back at your defaults. Alright. Well, I've looked at that image enough. I just typed G to go back to the grid. When it comes to color, oftentimes I need to fine-tune that color. And if I wanna fine-tune the color, the place that I go to is over here in an area called HSL. And if I go to HSL, we have, HSL stands for hue, saturation, and luminance. Luminance just means brightness, or lightness, or whatever word you would use for it. So hue means let's change the basic color of something. Saturation means let's make it more colorful or less. And luminance means let's make it brighter or darker. And so when I look at an image like this one, I might wanna fine-tune things. Notice in this image, the greens are nowhere near as colorful as the yellows or the reds. That make sense? And so I might decide to come in here, and go to saturation, which means how colorful things are, and pump up the color in the greens. Well, the problem is I gotta figure out is that really green or is it closer to aqua? (audience laughs) 'Cause there's a slider for aqua, too. And sometimes green is really dark yellow. In fact, most grass and things you see is closer to dark yellow than it is really green. So do you see this little doodad over here? I call it the donut 'cause it looks like one. If I click on it, now when I move my mouse on top of my image, I can click within the picture and drag up or down and it will figure out which sliders to move to target that particular color. And notice, that it didn't pick the greens to move at all. It thought nope, this is more aqua, and just a hint of blue, 'cause it's moving the blues a little. But the thing is, if you look at the areas within this image that are really colorful, are they dark? No, they're not. The yellow canoes, really bright. The red canoes, bright. The green canoes are probably the darkest ones in there. And so part of what I might need to do is click on luminance and see if I can brighten that up a little bit, too, in order to be able to switch over to saturation. And notice that they're becoming a bit more colorful. It could be that the yellows are overdone. So maybe I go to yellow, and I bring it down a little bit. Or maybe it's just that they're a little bright. So I go to luminance. Click on it, oh, there we go. Just be careful of moving these to their extremes, like making blue pushed way to the right, and making aqua pushed way to the left. You can sometimes get a transition between the two colors that is not smooth, especially in areas that are out of focus. If there's a soft area, suddenly you can just see where these two colors should blend together smoothly, I can see a bit more of a distinct change between one color and the next, so you do need to inspect your image. Don't just move these wildly and think that. But oftentimes, what it will be is something in the background that is distracting that is a particular color. And I can go in in here, there's a red coke can or something in the background, and I'm just gonna make the reds a lot less saturated so they don't stick out so much, that kinda stuff. And it's just this little donut guy here, you gotta click on that in order to be able to click on your picture and have it figure out which sliders to use. If you haven't clicked on that icon, then clicking on your picture just zooms up on your picture, or zooms back out. It's not gonna do anything. And if you wanna see the position of all of these sliders, there's a choice called all. And all that does is show you them all at once. It's the same thing that you find under these tabs of hue, saturation, and luminance, it's just all lined up. So it depends on how you would like to do that. And of course, in the presets, there are presets if you ever see over here that say color tweaks HSL. Well, that's the section we're going for. And if you look in here, decrazy sky, what the heck is that? Well, there's a slider called vibrance, and if you turn it up, it always darkens and saturates skies, and if it's too much, apply this, and it'll mellow it out. There's ones for fall color. There are things to get the greens to shift, because green grass doesn't always look great. Sky darkeners, all that. I do all that kind of stuff using those sliders I just showed you. Alright, so anytime I have something like this image here, you see all the colors that are in there, I'm gonna be in there tweaking to especially get the greens to render the way I like. I find with greens, I mean I'll just do it with a preset, you can see where the sliders end up. Let's go over to HSL tweaks. Now let's go over here to, oh, look at fall color. Just watch the preview, and look at the tree. See how different it goes? But here's greens less yellow. Here's greens two, three. Okay, maybe I'd like. And see how that made it less colorful, or more colorful, or just less yellow? There's all sorts of things you can do. But I find usually with green grass and such that darkening and making it a little bit less colorful is usually what I like for those. Alright, so we're gonna end up adjusting a lot more images in Lightroom using a lot of their techniques throughout the class. But right now I just wanted to show you how do I try to go about doing it quickly, and that's the preset idea, and then on occasion I need to tweak them. So I wanted to give you an overview of just some of the basic sliders that are there, but just know we will get into the other stuff. Because there are a lot of images that really need a lot of tweaking. And we need to know how to do them. So before we're done and we wrap, as far as the entire class, you will get a lot more of that. So questions, comments? Absolutely, and let me know if you have any in here, but we'll start with the folks at home. So this question had come in earlier, and you've kind of walked us through it, but Sam Cox had asked, is the Develop module processing being done in order from top to bottom on the right side? And what about Lens Correction, when do you do that? Okay, well, in general with few exceptions, it doesn't matter what order you apply the adjustments in. Because unlike with Photoshop, where you apply one adjustment, and then the next adjustment can only see the result of the first, it can't see all the way to the original image, in Lightroom, it's always looking all the way back to the original raw data your camera captured with every adjustment. And so the order of your adjustments is not really overly important, with a few exceptions. I would say that I would adjust the brightness of my image before I would adjust how colorful it is. The reason for that is anytime you darken a picture, it becomes more colorful. And so if you've already adjusted the saturation or vibrance settings that are in there, and you end up darkening the image, it's gonna ramp up the color, and you're probably gonna have to readjust those saturation and vibrance. So that's one exception. The other exception would be the whites and blacks sliders. I always double-check them after I leave the image. Because if I adjusted them previously, and then messed with some other sliders, if those other sliders darkened or brightened the images, it might've pushed some areas to white or to black, and I'll probably wanna go back to whites and blacks to fine-tune. But with the exception of those, I'm not thinking about the order. When I'm adjusting them using the sliders instead of the presets, what I'm usually doing is I'm just adjusting the, what I'm doing is adjusting the biggest problem first. Eliminate biggest problem first. And then look at the image again, and say, now what's the biggest problem? Go for that. And keep doing that until you run out of one of three things, problems, patience, or time. You're gonna run out of one. If you happen to make it 'til you got no more problems, that's awesome, but oftentimes, you do run out of patience or something else first, and you just say, good enough. Alright? Alright, another question. Oh, question over here, yeah. So any of us who started playing with Photoshop a long time ago, and then you printed something out and you're like, oh, that actually looked really terrible. Aside from having your monitor calibrated, and choosing a print lab that prints correctly, I guess I still fear that when I start playing, especially in the saturation and hue, that my photos are gonna look weird if they get printed out. Do you have any suggestions for that, or? If you know who's going to print your images, and it's not you, you're gonna print it, whenever an image is printed, at least professionally, something known as a color profile is used. That color profile just describes how does color change when printed on this specific printer. Do greens shift towards yellow, or whatever, and it tries by going through that profile to compensate for those changes. You can ask the vendor for a copy of their color profile, it's just a little file, and you can install it in your operating system. And then, we don't have time to cover it here, but Google soft proofing in Lightroom. And what it is is it's a way of previewing what the image would look like when printed on that specific printer. And if that printer is not capable of making, let's say, blues overly vivid, you'll see that on your screen. And so you can preview that, and make adjustments accordingly. And so if you have a calibrated or profiled monitor, and you have that profile, you can get a relatively accurate view of what you're gonna get from that vendor. Thank you. Yeah. If you come across a photo where you can't do it quickly, let's say for example, where you had the trees in front of the building with all the multicolored window sills, and you go, you know I really wanna take out the yellow in the trees, but I don't wanna take out the yellow in the windowsills. I would imagine you wanna go to a brush tool for that. But if you're in a hurry, do you mark it for later? What do you do? If I'm in a hurry, I can mark it for later, yes. And we'll talk about some of the ideas you can use there. It's not gonna be during this session. It would actually be quite a few sessions from now. But I can end up using this area known as keywording, and if I go to the keywording area, we're gonna have a keyword list here. Yours might be empty, 'cause if you don't use keywords, or you might have a random collection of things here. But one of the things that I'm including with the class is my personal keyword list. And my personal keyword list is very organized just like my presets are organized. And if I go over here, there's a choice called details. In details, there's something called processing status, and in here, I can come in and say what does it need? And actually, that's not processing status. Where is, here, action needed. Action needed, and in here, I can come in and tag this, which do I need to test it for printing? Do I need to just process it? Do I need to property release from a model from it? Do I need to register the copyright? I can keep track of all sorts of things. And I'll show you how to add things to this list very easily. And this is where I can keep track of that kind of status. So when we talk about keywording, and how I go about doing that, this is where that's going to apply. And it'll make it so you'll be able to very easily track what does this image need, and when you get to it in the future, you can find that out, and very easily search and find the image, too. So let's say that you just feel like doing retouching right now, I'm just in that mindset. Well, you could easily find every image that needs to be retouched if you know how to think about keywording. So that's where it's gonna help us.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work