Chances are good, as a photographer, that you’ve at least heard of Lightroom, Adobe’s photo processor and image organizer. Maybe you’ve even dabbled in it, and some of you have also likely done quite a bit with it — or so you think.
The truth of the matter is that you can always do more with a generous and feature-rich program like Lightroom. It’s just a matter of finding your way around it!
Half the fun of being into photography is, of course, experimenting in the editing stage, after you’ve gone and taken your shots. This is the part of the creative process where you will make your good shots even that much better and aesthetic.
With this in mind, we wanted to do a quick run through of all the Lightroom editing capabilities you have at your disposal.
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Let’s break this down into sections, first beginning with the panel that should be your starting point. The purpose of the panel is to help you prepare your images for the post-processing tasks you want to do.
You can do lots with this panel, but a few things are key.
It lets you correct mistakes. For instance, it allows you to fix any issues with the white balance as well as exposure problems with your shots. You can even tackle contrast modifications here.
Photo by merbert2012
You can retrieve shadow and highlight info from your shots here, too. This will provide you with greater tonal range from your pictures.
It’s possible to play around with both the white and black point of your images in the panel. Doing so will tighten up the photo’s tonal range. In the end, your shots will get more dramatic and impactful.
Finally, the panel gives photographers total control of the entire image’s final color saturation and vibrancy.
Now that we have all the basics of the panel out of the way, let’s move on to another area of Lightroom that’s very popular in post processing: the filters.
Lightroom is likely most famous for the stellar range of filters that it boasts. Its filters empower photographers to exercise very fine adjustment control on all images. Let’s take a closer look.
Cropping is a popular feature. Much of the time, you’ll need to crop images so that they make more sense to viewers and help you tell the image’s story better. Lightroom’s crop tool isn’t just intuitive to use, but also very effective at removing what you don’t want and leaving exactly what you need to advance your image storytelling.
Sometimes, you need to work on certain things within each photo. For this purpose, you’ll use the local adjustments feature. Examples include improving the exposure of a specific spot on the picture and then fixing any color issues on another portion of the same picture.
The clone and heal feature empowers you to take away any blemishes in the photo that will distract your viewers. For instance, the removal of litter is something you may utilize from time to time.
Then, there are the gradient and radial filters.
The former is a neat method of recreating a physical gradient filter that you would actually utilize in front of your lens when outside on a shoot. Uses of this specific filter include lightening scene foregrounds and darkening skies.
Photo by drmaccon
The latter is a successful way of efficiently directing your viewers’ attention to a specific portion of the frame. This filter’s constantly utilized in landscape and portrait pictures to emphasize the main point or meaning of the image to the viewers.
Alright, you now know what the filters’ purposes are, but there’s still one main component of Lightroom you have to be familiar with.
Lightroom’s effects panel is for those photographers looking to give their images a certain, rare quality and unique sense of ambiance. It lets you incorporate very neat-looking, old-school film grain to photographs for an overall grittier feel and look.
The post-crop vignette offers a lot of significance in this pursuit. With it, you can let your photos take on a subtle edge burn. This edge burn plays on the viewers’ way of absorbing your picture: It really forces them to home in on your image!
Photo by Thomas Weidenhaupt
For those history buffs out there, this subtle, edge-burn effect has long roots in photography. A really vintage approach to photography, you have to go back more than half a century all the way to the 1950s to find a decade where this technique was still very popular. For example, Ansell Adams was a fan of this method, and he used it to frame some of his landscape shots.
Thanks to the utility of Lightroom, though, you’ll have a much simpler time using this effect in your own photography!
You’re the Boss
When all is said and done, you are the one in charge of making your pictures look the way you want them to, and it’s all due to your relative familiarity with a piece of software like Lightroom. Quite diverse and easy for people to dive into and experiment with, it’s really your best friend (or at least should be your best friend) in the editing process.
Simply put, Lightroom’s image-editing features and tools are here for one reason only: to make your pictures look mind-blowing. What makes a program like this so indispensable is how it lets you be an imperfect photographer. You don’t have to take the best and sharpest shots when you’re out in the field or in your studio since you can clean up any issues with a powerful program like this, later on.
All in all, this reality just lets you be a more liberated photographer when you’re snapping away at your subjects. Instead of worrying if everything’s perfect on the first…shot, you know you have a great, go-to program like Lightroom to fall back on to clean up any messes and take your pictures to an even better level.
Bio: Marc’s a copywriter who tackles the finer points of photography, but he also specializes in business and marketing topics like B2Bs and conversions. To find out what really makes him tick, head on over to his website, and don’t forget to make his day by liking his Facebook page!