Beginners – Edit Photos in Lightroom! Part 1: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace


Hi everybody welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV I’m Mark Wallace and in the next two episodes I’m going to be showing beginners how to take a drab image and make it look really fab using Lightroom Classics developed module. Now there are two things we really need to understand when we’re developing images and one is that you can make global adjustments. You can change the color for the entire image. You can change the contrast for the entire image. You can do all these global things but once that’s done you want to hop over and do local adjustments, do little fine-tuning adjustments here and there in specific areas of the image. So we’re going to do two episodes the first all about global adjustments and the second all about fine-tuning those local adjustments. So let’s dive in right now. Recently I had a great photo shoot in Bangkok with a model named Am and I think this image is the perfect image for us to learn about global and local adjustments, so we’re going to start by going to the develop module and to learn about how to make all our global adjustments now right off the bat we have too much information on the screen. One of the great things about Lightroom is that you can hit shift tab and get rid of all of these panels it gives us a much cleaner interface. Really we just need this panel on the right so there’s this little triangle I’ll click that this will pop out and we’re just going to use this right hand panel over here. Now if I scroll down you’ll see that there’s all these buttons and sliders and thingies, it looks like a NASA launch control panel. It’s just overwhelming and so the nice thing about Lightroom is that these panels are broken up into sections or panels, so we have a basic panel, the tone curve panel etc. You know that it’s a panel because it has a heading and a triangle, if you click that triangle, it will collapse that panel or that section. You can also right-click and then just say collapse all and that makes things look so much nicer so much easier to understand. On this right-hand side here Lightroom has compartmentalized things. The bottom section down here is all about the global adjustments, the things that impact the entire image and then up here these tools right here are for local adjustments, so for specific areas in your image, so we’re going to be working with our global adjustments in this episode. We’re going to start with something called the detail panel. This right here, now by default if you are shooting RAW which you should be you need to sharpen your images, so we’ll show you that exactly, so I’m just clicking on the image, that’s making it zoom to 100% Now down here by default Lightroom is going to sharpen this to 25 which isn’t very much. Really this should be set somewhere between 80 and 100 so I’m going to bring that in to about 80 and you can see that now we can see the details in Am’s eyelashes and in her hair and so if you don’t know much about sharpening, don’t worry you don’t need to learn all about this radius and detail on masking just understand that the amount should be somewhere between 80 and 100 you want to do that where you can start seeing all the fine details in the eyelashes and fine details maybe you’re shooting Scenic’s in blades of grass or leaves or branches things like that. Don’t overdo it, if you go too far you can see that everything starts to look plastic and really nasty. You don’t want to do that and so we want to bring this into about I’m going to leave it at about 80. Okay well now that that is done, I’m going to close this detail panel and open up our basic adjustment panel. Here is where are we going to adjust our color temperature and our tonality, our shadows and highlights and exposure so I always like to start by setting my white balance. Now you can do that by just dragging this temperature slider right here to make things a little bit more blue, a little bit more amber. You can change the tint but if you’re not quite sure where this should be set, you can use this little dropper tool. So you click on that you get the eye dropper, go out somewhere that should be white like the whites of Am’s eyes, I’ll click on that and it’ll set my color temperature. Now luckily for me my camera did a really good job getting the color temperature right so I can just click on shot and that will set this to the correct color temperature. Its really nice. The other thing we need to do is set our exposure. Now this is a pretty good start but I think it’s a little bit overall underexposed just a hair, so I’m going to drag this slider to the right, now notice this is a global change, it changes everything, the entire image so I’m just going to change this by about plus 25 a 1/4 of a stop, just to brighten it up just a hair. Now I want to add some contrast and make this look a little bit more pleasing, so I’m going to start by taking my black slider. It’s going to take all of the blacks and adjust those to make them more darker or brighter. So I’m going to make these darker, just down here a little bit so I’m about here -60 ish something like that. I like that notice how the contrast back here in this city looks so much nicer in this hallway, so if I put that back where it was that’s sort of not so contrasty. I bring it down to about 60 that looks pretty darn good, but we have a problem here and that is, now Am’s hair is all blocky we don’t see any of the details that’s okay, we have this shadow slider, these are all the shadows, so I can bring those shadows back by going to the right and saying hey I want to see some of those details, I can do that about the exact opposite of where my blacks were. So I’m plus about 61, 62 something like that, maybe even a little bit more, so won’t go up into the 70s and so you can see that we’re really starting to get some contrast here, it looks really nice. Okay we can also do the same thing with our whites and our highlights, so if we want our whites to be a little bit brighter or highlights to be a little bit less or more exposed we can do that, fortunately for us our highlights and whites look pretty good. Now here’s one of the tricks about these different sections here. If you change something for example, the whites notice if I change that way up here I don’t like it, I just wanted to go back where the default is, I can double click on the actual word and it goes back to where it was before, same thing with the shadows, double click, back to the default, so I’m going to put that back where we had it, which was plus 78. Okay so you’ll see me do that a lot where I’m just double-clicking to reset. Now our exposure and our color is set we can hit Y it’s a shortcut key to see the before and after and you’ll notice right off the bat things are already starting to look better with our adjustments here hit Y again to go back to our develop module and kick this panel out. Now the other thing that I want to do here, we’ve done most of our adjustments already our global adjustments but one of the things that I want to do, is I want to add an effect specifically the post crop vignetting now why is it called post crop? Well we’re going to crop this image and you’ll understand that a little bit better, so vignetting is a technique to add either white or black around the edges of your image you can use that to correct a lens too as an issue or add some artistic flare I’m going to pull this all the way to the right so you can really see what’s happening here and I’m going to take the feather all the way to zero, so feather is something that shows you what the transition is from your effect to where there is no effect so at zero is just a hard line at 100, you can’t really see where it starts and stops so I’m going to go back to zero here so you can really see this. Our midpoint shows us how close to the center the vignette should be or to the edge and then the roundness shows us if this should be round a little circle or if this should be more of a square so you have something like that now you’re really never going to use it like this I hope not, well maybe you will, so what we’re going to do here is we’re going to add a little bit more realistic vignette to this so what I’m going to do here is I’m going to add an amount of about a -30 ish something like that about a -33 and you can start seeing that and we have a dark edge around here the midpoint we want to bring that in so I’m going to bring that Oh to about 40 ish something like that and then we’re going to add our roundness that’s going to be something like that again around the 40s so now you can see that we have this sort of subtle vignette around the side and then I’ll bring my feather back to where it should be which is about 50 and you can see that’s really really subtle, now these panels here in addition to having these little triangles that you can open and close these sections there’s also this little switch over here you can click that to turn your effect on and off so you can see sort of what you’ve done so I’ll turn this on you can see the vignette brings the attention back to am I’ll turn it off you can see that goes away so it looks pretty cool all right one more thing to do with our global adjustment and that is we are going to crop this image. I don’t like that we have this little door down here and I also don’t like this inside of em’s elbow so we’re going to fix that by cropping the image so I’m going to click on this crop tool and then I’m just going to drag this up about like that once I’ve done that I can also move this around inside of the crop where I’ve defined it. I’ve chopped off these areas that I don’t like and I’m going to say close now notice our vignette if we take the feather off, it’s still the same distance from the edges as it was before so it changes based on the crop that’s why it’s called a post crop it is applied after the crop which is really really nice in the old days with Photoshop it was cropped off and so you would have a vignette that would get chopped off when you cropped all right so there is our basic adjustment, we’ve done our global changes we’ll do a before and after by hitting Y you can see that we’re this is much more contrasty, it’s much cleaner. You can see all the defined details it looks pretty darn good but there’s some local things that we need to do I need to do some minor skin correction to this blemish here. We’ve got a scar on the top of Am’s forehead and this little beauty mark we’d like to change that maybe this area back here add a little bit more contrast and change some colors in specific areas but that’s what we’ll do in the next episode all right well it looks like we have our work cut out for us in the next episode we’ll be doing all those adjustments to specific areas of the image so make sure that you join me for the next episode well thanks for joining me for this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV it’s absolutely free that way you can learn all kinds of things specifically about Lightroom and photography and videography and all kinds of things so check that out also make sure you check out Adorama’s com it’s got gear for everything that you could possibly imagine. Follow me on instagram here’s my Instagram feed right here and I will see you next time.

35 Replies to “Beginners – Edit Photos in Lightroom! Part 1: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace”

  1. This is a great idea for an Adorama/Mark Wallace video series! I always enjoy his (and Daniel Norton's) videos, among others.

  2. Good Job Mark. I am pro shooter for four decades and also now teach photography at the university level. I have used your fine tutorials in my classrooms for years. they really help the students at all levels of skill.

  3. Hopefully you will cover the crop tool in some detail. Maybe you can expand on the various composition tools. Golden ration etc

  4. I've a question: The hot key "Y" is a geat tip for side-by-side before/after comparison. Is there a hot key to toggle betwen BEFORE/AFTER in the same frame (i.e. one frame; not two frames side-by-side)?

  5. I never thought to move the sharpen slider so far. I always thought if I did that it would get all those nasty artifacts. Obviously it will if it's TOO far, but I rarely brought I much past the default. I may need to reevaluate my workflow.

  6. Thanks Mark.. 2 quick questions. 1. I had another photographer say you should never adjust sharpening in Lightroom, and you should only adjust sharpening in photoshop. ? 2. Do you ever adjust the noice reduction “ luminance slider” instead of the the sharpening slider? Thanks in advance!

  7. Really nice video! A super helpful tip I picked up using Lightroom to reduce the panel clutter is right clicking on the module triangles, and selecting "Solo Mode." What this does is makes it so when you open a new panel, all others close so only a single panel is open at once. This makes it really nice to focus on one specific aspect and reduce the scrolling and clutter of having multiple open. It's definitely useful for a beginner and even people who use it as their livelihood!

  8. I totally understood everything you did and am eager to improve my photos and workflow. Thanks for the comprehensive and easy tutorial!

  9. When sharpening to such a high degree, I would recommend using masking to avoid increasing noise in non-detail areas. To do this hold down ALT while moving the slider to see which contrasting edges are affected, and slide it to the right until areas you do not want to sharpen are not highlighted.

  10. Yea, first, very good tutorial. Well explained, clear, even someone like me who has used LR for some time can learn things. Also nice "sleight-of-hand" around 4:15, custom WB turned everything green (I've seen that in some Leica DNGs), so you quickly used a preset. I'd like to know why that happened; e.g. did you pick the wrong "white" area, is there something about this RAW file? If the former, maybe you could do a little more on where exactly to "pick". Thanks for the video, I just subscribed because I like your delivery (clear, distinct, etc.).

  11. Thank u so much! After struggling to find someone to teach me the basics in an easy and methodical way, I struck gold when I discovered this tutorial.

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