BAD LIGHTING LIGHTROOM TRICKS! Fix High Contrast Blown Out Images & Maximize Dynamic Range


Hey guys, Ryan here at Signature Edits and today we are going to look at editing your photos when they were taken in super harsh lighting. Bright, blown out highlights, super high contrast environments. Let’s take a look at what we can do to get the very most out of our bright lit photos. Let’s do it! all right so today we’re just going to be taking some photos from a recent wedding that we did and this wedding took place in a beautiful area but unfortunately the photo shoot was at noon and the ceremony was at around two o’clock when the Sun was high up in the sky here so you can see we’ve got really harsh shadows super super bright highlights things are blown out and what can we do because when we apply the presets as you would they look okay however you’re gonna find that things look sometimes a little bit crushed a little bit nasty what can you do to make this the best possible image you can so let’s start at this image here first I’m just gonna apply a few presets and show you a few things you can do when you are using presets to get the most out of them so what I like to do is expose for most of the image so the skin obviously looks really weird and terrible here but what I’m looking for is the background is the background pretty much what I wanted to be exposure wise yes so now I’m going to take this adjustment brush and we have some signature edits brush is included with all of our packs but if you don’t have that it doesn’t matter because today we are going to be just using contrast that’s it just taking our contrast down one hundred and then we’re going to paint on the skin and I found this is an amazing little trick that you can use when you’ve got blown out backgrounds you just paint a little bit on the skin here take the contrast to wait now I’m going to hold alt I’ve got my auto mask on my eraser and I’m just going to click and hold on the mountains here and you’ll see that it’s masking out erasing the mask from the mountains so that it’s just on her skin so here’s before here’s after great so now you can see that the skin looks a whole lot less weird and if we want it just to make sure it blends a little bit more we can add some white so that’s just going to up the contrast a little bit while at the same time brightening the image overall so we’re not gonna do it that far there we go here’s without and here’s with as you can see it makes it look a lot more natural already then I’m just going to dial back the contrast a little on the preset and we’re looking pretty good so here’s just the stock preset and here’s after our changes it looks pretty good hey let’s keep going so that contrast trick is the number one thing that I do when I’m working with skin tones and I’m the rest the image looks okay but the skin looks way way too dark and you’ll find that’s pretty common here so the image is where we want it but again the skin on the couple year is way too dark so let’s just zoom in here and do the same thing just grab this brush contrast all the way down I’m just gonna paint right on their skin I’m not gonna worry about their hair the hair doesn’t matter as much to me just the skin here you can see I’ve missed I’ve been a little sloppy in my mask no problem hold down alt to get to my eraser and there we go we’ll just automatic off of there so that we’re just affecting the skin good press o again and that’s going to show me without that red helpful thing on there add a little bit of whites to brighten it even a little bit further great and now one last thing that I’m going to do with this particular image is we do have here a nice add texture water sky pop brush or cloud enhancer I could try that too I’m just gonna brush on this guy here get a little bit more detail out and cloud enhancer doesn’t seem to be doing anything too helpful so we’re gonna try our water sky pop great and that’s pretty intense so we’re just going to you erase it off this mountain first of all take my flow down on my eraser just erase it off here or draw it on by accident that works too as long as we’re blending that’s my main concern and then you can actually hit your adjustment layer brush right in the corner there take your mount back and that’ll just make it more subtle so let’s make a virtual copy here this is before there’s after now you can see that the edge is getting pretty brightened as a result of the lens Corrections the edges of this vignette here that’s a little bit too much for me actually I find sometimes it goes too far so I just take my vignette and I’ll take it down to maybe like 50 percent correction great let’s move on to some of the brighter photos still so this one is kind of your worst case scenario you’ve got super dark shadows in here under this tent and then in the background we’ve got some super blown out highlights now it looks alright with our basic signature edits preset applied however let’s see what we can do to take it a little bit further the first thing I’m going to do is this little trick I call it the actually I don’t call it anything I just take the contrast all the way down take my whites all the way up and my blacks all the way up and then I take my exposure down and for some reason I don’t really know why I find it tends to look pretty natural and then it’ll maximize the dynamic range in this image so I’ll take my contrast up just a little bit to taste it depends on the image with that I’ll just take the contrast up until it looks where I want it to be and let’s just compare so here is just a stock preset before and after and we’ll brighten this up just so it matches so you can see you’re getting a little bit less harsh shadows a little bit of those highlights are recovered by doing that and it still looks natural so that’s one of the really nice things about working with these particular presets you can use that whenever you find a super high contrast situation so I’m actually going to just copy those settings so I don’t have to do it on my future photos by hand so for instance here is with our preset apply and here’s with our changes we’ll take our blacks up whites up contrast down exposure down and then contrast just to taste great once again here is the stock preset and that’s with our changes so you can see it’s just a nice basically high contrast situation version just by doing that once again I’ll make a virtual copy this one to begin with so here’s our preset before and then we’ll do our preset after this trick blacks up whites up contrast down and exposure down you’ll see how much more of the sky we’re getting back by doing that trick super super helpful and if you find you want to add a little bit of contrast in another way you can do that sometimes is teeny bit of da’s will go a long way so again here’s before oops here’s before and here’s after so just a super wait to get your highlights back and maximize the dynamic range in your image just take your preset blacks up whites up contrast down then you adjust your exposure from there and white balance is another big one so this one you can see is pretty blue or maybe you can’t see it that’s alright if we zoom in here his head is more bluish gray than it is actually gray so we’re just going to take the white balance up you’ll find that affects your colors a lot so if things aren’t looking right the first thing that you should try and adjust is your exposure and your white balance great moving on here I’m just going to take this copy pace you can see the big difference it makes and again ting my contrast down exposure down perfect again here’s my stock preset take my blacks up whites up contrast down and lower the exposure and now you can see this one looks pretty crazy why because the white balance is really off it’s way too warm so we’re just going to cool it down and if you find that even this trick is to contrast here with the contrast all the way back down just take your white dial it back where you need to yeah now we’ve got a really nice-looking image so here is just this talk preset and with our adjustments so it’s a really nice way rather than just taking your contrast down on the preset which doesn’t quite do the same thing you can adjust that quick little trick to maximize your dynamic range in your photos I hope this was helpful if you have any questions please let me know if you have a thought leaving the comments below don’t forget to Like and subscribe if this was helpful for you and I will see you in the next video hey if you want to download a free preset from either our Genesis west coast or moody vibes packs I will leave links in the description below make sure to check those out and give these a try all right take care

9 Replies to “BAD LIGHTING LIGHTROOM TRICKS! Fix High Contrast Blown Out Images & Maximize Dynamic Range”

  1. Download FREE samples of our presets! Follow these links:
    https://shop.signatureedits.com/moody-vibes-sample-preset/
    https://shop.signatureedits.com/courses/genesis-sample-pack

  2. Would you say that it's better to increase exposure of the subject via a Brush rather than bringing up the Shadows of the whole image (Tone Curve or Sliders)?

  3. This is not really useful for viewers when you are using your own presets for showing general tips in lightroom. Makes you look like you just want to sell your presets, not show something helpful.

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