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Develop Great Images in Lightroom


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Are you looking to make your photos great? Join the gurus from Photofocus as they share practical advice on how to develop fantastic images with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This comprehensive guide is written by five top experts (with more than 75 books between them). They’ll help you explore the full features of Lightroom’s Develop module and show you hidden secrets and time-saving techniques.

Published in: Art & Photos

Develop Great Images in Lightroom

  2. 2. NICOLE S. YOUNG Nicole is a professional photographer and author, focusing on food and landscape photography. She writes books about photography, regularly contributes to several podcasts, and writes articles for photography and post-processing magazines. Nicole is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and owns and operates an online store,  where she sells photography-related post-processing tools and eBooks. Nicole has been blogging about photography for over eight years and currently lives in the Portland, OR area with her husband, Brian, and their dog and cat, Kodak and Fuji. ii website google+ facebook twitter
  3. 3. LEVI SIM    Ever heard of a fanatic? Levi is the epitome. He is crazy about photography and learning and helping others better their work. He bought a DSLR in 2009 and it consumed his life to the point that the classes he teaches at the community college, the photography club that he started, and the small business he runs making pictures were taking up more time than his full time job. Levi is now a full time photographer and it’s the adventure of a lifetime. He loves it, and is so glad to be able to share his passion with others. Whether making landscapes, travel images, or making portraits indoors or out, Levi is most at home with a camera in his hand. There is nothing Levi would rather do than get together with others and make pictures. He lives with his wife and daughter in Lake Oswego, Oregon. iii website google+ facebook twitter
  4. 4. ROB SYLVAN Rob Sylvan is a photographer, trainer, and author. Aside from also being a NAPP and Kelby Training Help Desk Specialist, and instructor for the Perfect Picture School of Photography and the host of Peachpit’s Lightroom Resource Center. He is a founding member of Stocksy United (a stock photography co-op). Rob writes the “Under the Loupe” column for Photoshop User Magazine, is a regular contributor to Lightroom User magazine, and is the author of many photography related books: iv website google+ facebook twitter
  5. 5. RICH HARRINGTON Rich Harrington is on the forefront of the fusion of photography and video. Rich owns the company RHED Pixel, a visual communications company in Washington, DC. Rich is also a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals Instructor Dream Team. Rich is an internationally published author. His book, Photoshop for Video, was the first of its kind to focus on Photoshop’s application in the world of video. He is also author of several books including From Still to Motion: A Photographers guide to creating video with your DSLR and Understanding Adobe Photoshop Rich also has several courses available at A Master’s Degree in Project Management fills out Rich’s broad spectrum of experience. Rich enjoys traveling and digital photography, as well as teaching his kids the joys of science fiction and comic books. v website google+ facebook twitter
  6. 6. GERARD MURPHY Gerard has had a passion for photography since borrowing his Mom’s Pentax as a kid on family vacations. Later, Gerard turned this passion into Mosaic, which he co-founded. Gerard grew Mosaic from a PowerPoint and a dream into a service used by tens of thousands of Lightroom users daily. He is also an avid Lightroom advocate and teacher of Lightroom tips and tricks. His Lightroom videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of photographers. Gerard has been featured on many national podcasts and large photography publications teaching Lightroom and talking about the future of photography. He has also been featured in Forbes Magazine as a young entrepreneur. Gerard lives in New Hampshire with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Caroline and son James. He shoots on a Nikon and uses Lightroom on both his Mac and PC. vi website google+ facebook twitter
  7. 7. WHY
 RAW MATTERS 1Rich Harrington photo by Richard Harrington
  8. 8. WHAT IS RAW? A raw file contains virtually everything that your camera’s sensor can see. The data is minimally processed (it may have a white balance preset or picture style flagged, but not applied). While your camera may contain settings for sharpness, exposure, or lighting conditions, the raw file stores that info as modifiable information and captures the original (unmodified) data that came through your camera’s sensors. This is very useful because it lets you easily adjust white balance, sharpening, and more in Lightroom. 8
  9. 9. Each manufacturer treats the format differently, using a proprietary format. Fortunately, Lightroom frequently up- dates its raw technology to support the newest cameras on the market. To find out if you can access a particular camera format from within Lightroom, visit Adobe’s Web site at A raw file is not ready for printing or sharing out of the camera, you’ll need to process it with Lightroom. When you develop images in Lightroom, you are working at a bit depth of 16 bits per channel. This is an extremely ac- curate way to represent color. Raw files can be much larger than JPEG files. This extra data is used to hold more image detail, which can reduce, or even eliminate, compression artifacts found in JPEG files. However, that extra data can increase the time it takes for the files to write to the memory card. 9 A developed raw file. In 2004 Adobe released the Digital Negative Specification (DNG) file format. The code and specifications were made publicly available so manufacturers could build in support for the format to their products. The goal was to replace several proprietary raw file formats with a universal format. Despite initial optimism, camera manufacturers have been slow to adopt it (some even refusing). At this point, DNG fi les are a useful way to archive raw files and attach additional metadata. You can find out more about DNG at
  10. 10. RAW FILE EXTENSIONS .3fr, .ari arw .bay .crw . .cr2 .cap .dcs .dcr .dng .drf, .eip .erf .fff .iiq .k25 .kdc .mdc .mef .mos .mrw .nef .nrw .obm .orf, .pef .ptx .pxn .r3d .raf .raw .rwl .rw2 .rwz .sr2 .srf .srw .x3f 10
  11. 11. WHY USE JPEG? When digital cameras first became available, the memory cards used to store pictures were pretty darn expensive. Most photographers couldn’t afford multiple or high-capacity cards, in fact many cameras could only record to internal storage. The desire was to store more images on a single, smaller card. 11
  12. 12. Combine this with how pictures were being shared and delivered. Internet connections were slow (the use of dial-up modems was prevalent). Many users wanted to email photos to share with friends and family. Small file sizes enabled consumers who lacked an understanding of digital im- aging to attach photos to emails with minimum technical headaches. With these two scenarios in mind, manufacturers turned to an Internet-friendly format, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group). It was a proven technology and one that was familiar tomany users. The JPEG format is extremely common because most hardware and software manufacturers have built support for it into their products. The JPEG format is also extremely efficient at compressing images, and it is a good format for continuous tone images, such as photos. A JPEG file looks for areas where pixel detail is repeated. The file then discards repeated information and tells the computer to repeat certain color values or data to re-create the image. While JPEG is a good format for distributing images (due to their compatibility and small file size), it is not great for image acquisition or production. A JPEG file is lossy, meaning that every time you mod- ify it, additional compression is applied to the image. Over subsequent compressions or edits in Lightroom, the image quality can noticeably deterio- rate. This is similar to the act of making a photocopy of an- other photocopy: Additional image deterioration occurs with each processing step. The visible loss in image de- tail or accuracy is referred to as compression artifacts. So, if JPEG is so inferior, why do so many people use it? Money and resistance to change are the simple answers. It’s a lot cheaper to shoot JPEG images because you don’t need to buy as many memory cards. 12 A dial-up modem — bring back any memories? Photo by Wilton Ramon de Carvalho Machado
  13. 13. Additionally, even many pros have been slow to abandon JPEGs. Learning how to use new technology requires time, something that most people are short of these days. There are some workflows (such as sports) are dependent on shooting high speed bursts. Shooting JPEG allows the fastest frame rate (and increases the amount of images that can be stored in the cameras buffer). The good news is that many cameras and faster memory cards have elimi- nated this issue. Others claim that they want to do less work in post. They argue that the camera saves them time by applying picture styles, sharpening, and white balance to the image. The problem is that these changes are permanent in the JPEG file and become destructive edits that discard image data. The use of presets and camera profiles in Lightroom can accomplish the same thing without damaging the source file. Creating a JPEG file in Lightroom (or any other editor) is quite easy. If capturing a JPEG is essential to your workflow, use a JPEG plus raw combination. This way you’ll get the JPEG file for ease of use and sharing and the raw file which has substantial benefits. 13 Photograph by Sergio Martínez
  14. 14. WHY SHOOT RAW? Most digital cameras (particularly ones aimed at pros and enthusiasts), offer a much better series of formats, collectively called raw. These raw (or native) formats have several benefits over shooting to JPEG. 14
  15. 15. • The images are usually captured at a higher bit rate, which means that the pixels contain more information about the color values in the image. • Most raw files have a depth of 10, 12, or even 16 bits per channel instead of the 8 used by JPEG. The raw format also has a greater tonal range. • Raw files can show more details in the shadows and highlights. • The files are easier to work with in Lightroom as they offer greater flexibility and control in image adjustments and color correction. The images also have more color information. 15
  16. 16. xvi Click here to get the app
  17. 17. QUICK FIXES 2Nicole S. Young Gerard Murphy photo by Nicole S. Young
  18. 18. QUICKLY ORGANIZE AND DEVELOP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS One of the reasons Lightroom is such an important part of my workflow is that it allows me to work very quickly through my very large catalog of images. I use Lightroom primarily because of its ability to keep my photos organized, and because of this I am able to develop my photos very quickly and efficiently. Not only does Lightroom allow me to organize and sort my photographs, but it also has the tools I need to make quick adjustments so that I can share my photographs with the world. 18
  19. 19. ORGANIZING AND SORTING YOUR IMAGES Before you can do anything inside of Lightroom, you need to have some type of organization method in place with your photographs. Lightroom views the images from inside of a folder system, just like you would view an image in a window on your computer. However, it’s very likely that you will want to sort your photographs within these folders without changing the file structure system. In this section I’m going to show you some of the methods that I use to keep my Lightroom catalog clean, organized, and easy to work with. 19
  20. 20. FLAGS, RATINGS, AND LABELS The easiest way to start organizing your images is through the use of flags, star ratings, and color labels. Each of these has their place, and you may find yourself using one or even all of them, depending on the type of sorting you are trying to do. Here is a break-down of how each of these works, along with ways you can use them in your workflow: Flags: Flags are a good way to quickly mark the images that you think are keepers, or to reject images that you want to keep out of your site. There are two different types of flags: pick and rejected. To flag an image, highlight a photo and use the toolbar below the preview window to mark it with a flag by clicking on either the Pick flag or the Rejected flag (press T on your keyboard if you do not see the toolbar in your window). 20 Tip: To quickly flag your images, use the keyboard shortcut “P” for pick, and “X” for rejected.
  21. 21. When you mark an image as a pick, you will see a white flag in the corner of the photo while in the Grid view, and a rejected image will display a black flag with an X in it and the image will also be slightly greyed out. (If you don’t see the flag on a file, go to View > View Options and make sure that the Flag box is checked under the Cell Icons section.) Flagging images as picks and rejects is always the first method I prefer using in order to sort through my images. It gives me a good “snapshot” look at the photographs 
 I initially deemed worthy of being post-processed or used in projects. The only downside to using flags is that they are not retained in the metadata of a file. The flag data is stored in the catalog, which is fine so long as your catalog is working properly. However, if you lost your catalog or it becomes corrupt and you don’t have it backed up, then you could stand to lose all of your flagging information. 21
  22. 22. Star Ratings: Another method of organizing images is through a rating system. Lightroom has a star system where you can mark images from one to five stars by first highlighting the image and then using either the toolbar below the numbers on your keyboard (1 = one star, 2 = two stars, etc.). One benefit of using the ratings system is that the information is embedded into the metadata. This means that the file will retain the rating information, regardless of where it is viewed. This way you do not have to rely on the catalog to store the information for you. 22 Tip: How you define the stars is up to you, such as you may have one star mean you don’t ever want to see the image, or maybe you set your images to a rating of three stars for those that you want consider as “maybes.”
  23. 23. Color Labels: Color labels are a great way to organize your images even further. They are great for grouping sets of images (such as a series of shots bracketed for an HDR) or to organize images based on how they will be used (yellow is for the blog, purple is for print, etc.). To apply a color label to a photograph, go to Grid view highlight the photo (or photos) you want to label. Then, use the Toolbar below the preview window to apply the color label. 23
  24. 24. THE SURVEY MODE When you have a good grouping of images, perhaps from a photo- shoot or images from a vacation, it can be a little overwhelming to sort through and look at them all at once. After all, you can probably see at a glance the images you will not want to process, but the “good” ones are usually buried in-between similar shots. The best way to go through these is to sort through them … but how? When I come across situations like these, I always go to the Survey Mode to help me find my best images. The Survey Mode works by honing in on only the images that you have selected at that time. Then you can further reduce them down to only your favorite shots by deselecting images to remove them from your view. Once you have your favorites, you can flag, rate, or add a color label to them so that they are organized properly. Here’s a step-by-step on how to use the Survey Mode: 24
  25. 25. First, in the Library module, highlight the photographs you want to sort through. This could be all images within a given folder, or a sub- grouping of images inside that folder. 25 Next, press the N key to go into Survey mode. Your images will appear in the preview area as thumbnails. Tip: To increase your screen-space, press the Tab key to hide the left and right panels. LIBRARY MODULE SURVEY MODE
  26. 26. To deselect photos and remove them from the Survey mode, hover over the photo and click on the X on the bottom-right of the thumbnail. 26 To add a flag, rating, or color label to the image, click on the photo and use the toolbar to make your changes. (You can also quickly flag or rate your images with keyboard shortcuts; see the previous section, “Organizing and Sorting Your Images”, for more information.) REMOVE PHOTOS ADD DETAILS
  27. 27. You can continue to do this until your favorite images are selected, or until you have organized your images to your liking. When you are finished, press the Esc key to exit Survey mode. 27 KEEP GOING
  28. 28. SORTING IMAGES WITH FILTERS Once you have your images organized, you are now able to sort through them using filters. Let’s say you want to only view the flagged photographs within a certain folder, or even from within your entire catalog. Just select the folder you want to work in, and then press the backslash key “” to open up the Library Filter options at the top. There are some existing default filter presets that you can work with, such as “flagged” and “rated”, which work well if you want to sort through images you have organized by hand. Once you have selected a filter from the drop-down, you can also use the attributes bar to add even more filtering your images. 28
  29. 29. You can also go even further with your filtering and select other criteria. Within the Library Filter options are four columns with different sets of information. You can choose the filter criteria from within those columns and then select on one or more options to filter your images. 29
  30. 30. COLLECTIONS One of my favorite features inside of Lightroom is the ability to add images to collections. Collections are great because they are similar to folders, but you are able to store the same image within several different collections without having to move the file itself. This way you can make changes to the file and it will display those changes to that file across all collections where it is located. There are a few different aspects to collections, so I have them listed here in this section. Quick Collection: By default, the Quick Collection is the first collection you will likely have exposure to. This collection, located under the Catalog panel, is the initial “target collection” inside of Lightroom, meaning that when you use the keyboard shortcut B it will add any highlighted photo to that collection. The Quick Collection is a good choice to use when you need to quickly group photos, but don’t necessarily need to have a permanent collection created in the Collections panel. One example of this would be if you need to export a handful of images for a blog post, and they are all in different folders. By adding them to the Quick Collection you are able to easily group them together and export them together. Tip: To set your own target collection, right-click over top of it and select “Set as Target Collection”. The plus sign next to the collection name indicates that the collection is the current target collection and you can use the keyboard shortcut B to add your images. 30
  31. 31. Collections and Sets: Standard collections and collection sets are all located inside of the Collections panel, and they allow you a permanent place to organize your images. To create a collection or set, click on the Plus icon and select either “Create Collection” or “Create Collection Set”. (A Collection is where you will organize your photos, and a Set is where you will group your collections.) Then, give it a name and select any other items as necessary. Ultimately, how you organize your collections is up to you. Some ideas for collections you can use are to organize your images based on who the client is, projects you may be working on (scrapbook, books, etc.), or even to collect skies and textures for composite images. 31
  32. 32. Smart Collections: If you want to have Lightroom organize some of your photos for you, then Smart Collections is a great way to do just this. There are some default Smart Collections already inside the Collections panel, so you can take a look at those and see how they collect your photographs. And you can even create your own Smart Collection with whatever criteria you would like to specify. To create your own Smart Collection, click on the plus icon in the Collections panel and choose “Create Smart Collection” from the drop-down. In the window that pops up, choose a location for your collection and then start to define the criteria in the main box. Smart Collections are great for quick filtering of images based on rating, flags, labels, and even criteria such as file type, source folder, etc. There are a lot of possibilities with Smart Collections, it’s just a matter of what your needs are and how quickly you need the information. 32
  33. 33. THE QUICK DEVELOP PANEL When it comes to processing photos, I’m typically very thorough and like to take my time. However, there are occasions when I need to view a photo and quickly add some exposure, or even adjust the white balance. For these occasions I prefer to use the Quick Develop panel, located inside of the Library module. 33
  34. 34. This panel allows you to make very quick adjustments to a photo or a group of photos without having to jump into the develop module. Want to share a set of proof images with a client or friend so that they can see how their photos turned out? The Quick Develop panel is a great way to make quick adjustments to your photos. Here’s how: 1. If you’re not there already head over to the Library module inside of Lightroom. Then, make sure that you can see the Quick Develop panel over on the right side of the window. 2. Next, select one image and press the E key to view the image in Loupe view. Then, use the settings in the Quick Develop panel to make your adjustments. 34
  35. 35. 3. You can also access several more features by clicking on the dark gray arrow to the right of each setting. This will allow you to do things such as quickly change the crop ratio, or make even more adjustments available than what you originally see with the default panel. 
  36. 36. CREATING AND USING PRESETS One of the quickest ways to make adjustments to an image is through the use of presets. Within Lightroom there are several different types of presets, depending on what module you are in and the adjustment you would like to make. In this section I will be discussing four different types of presets: Develop, Metadata, as well as Import and Export presets. 36
  37. 37. DEVELOP PRESETS The most common type of Lightroom preset is the Develop preset. These allow you to save specific settings and use them in future images. I really enjoy making my own presets, both for stylized and also simple edits, so I have a very large collection of presets in my catalog. The great thing about presets is that they can be applied quickly, and then re-adjusted just as quickly, and can give you a good “snapshot” of inspiration. Here’s how to create your very own presets: 1. First, make sure that you are in the Develop module inside of Lightroom. 2. Next, Process a photo to your liking using any of the Develop panels on the right. Then, head over to the Presets panel on the left and click the plus icon. 37
  38. 38. 3. In the window that pops up, first, give your preset a name and then decide the location you want to place it. Next, check the boxes for the types of adjustments you want saved with this preset. These check boxes are very important, and it’s very likely that you will not want all of the boxes checked. For example, I never save White Balance or Basic Tone adjustments with any of my presets. Those adjustments are much too image-specific, and I will have usually already changed those settings on any photo I want to apply a preset to. So I typically stick with the more “stylized” adjustments, such as Split Toning, Effects, etc. 4. Your preset is now saved! Now, to apply the preset, just highlight a photo in the Develop module and select the preset from the list inside of the Preset panel. 38
  39. 39. METADATA PRESETS When you want to save specific metadata to a large group of images, then Metadata presets are the way to go. The most common use of these is for applying copyright and contact information in your photographs. You can have all of this information saved as a preset so that you can access it and apply it to your work quickly whenever you need it. Here’s how to create your own copyright metadata presets: 1. In the Library module, go to Metadata > Edit Metadata Presets. A new window will pop up with check boxes and empty fields. 2. The two sections you can fill out are the “IPTC Copyright” and “IPTC Creator” sections. Click the arrow to the left to make the fields visible, and then fill in the sections that apply to you. Make sure that the boxes are checked for only the fields you want to save in your preset. 39
  40. 40. 3. Now, at the top of the pop-up window, click on the drop-down next to Preset and select “Save Current Settings as New Preset”. Give your preset a name and click Create. 
 Tip: You can apply this preset automatically when importing your photos by selecting it from the metadata drop-down in the Import window. 4. To apply this preset to several photos at once, highlight a group of images in Grid view, and then go to the Metadata panel on the right. In the Preset drop- down, select your newly created metadata preset and a window will pop up asking which images you want to apply the preset to. Make your selection and the preset will be applied to those images. 40
  41. 41. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRESETS It can be easy to get overwhelmed at the amount of choices in front of you when importing or exporting your photographs. However, creating presets for both of these can make the process go much more quickly and prevent you from putting your files in the wrong place. Here are some tips on how to create and use presets when importing and exporting your photographs. Import Presets: When importing your images, you can create and apply presets using the section the very bottom of the Import window. To create a preset, first go into the Import window by clicking the Import button on the bottom-left when within the Library module. Then, set up your import settings as you would like and click on the drop-down to save those settings as a new preset. Then, to apply it, just select that preset from the list. Using preset during import can save you a lot of time when you are importing similar files or images that will always go into the same folder. 41
  42. 42. Export Presets: If you’re like me then you have a lot of different ways that you like to export your images. Some photos are exported for use on my blog, others for social media, and some are for printing or for use in books and eBooks. I usually need to export my images in different sizes, file formats, locations, etc. The list goes on and on. Because there are so many possible options in this window, the best way to speed things up during export is to create and use presets. To create an export preset, select a photo you would like to export and click the Export button on the bottom-left when within the Library module. The Export window will appear, and all you need to do is enter your settings for that photo. Once you are finished, click the Add button on the bottom-left, give your preset a name and selected a folder for, too. Now you can use this preset for future images without having to re-enter your settings. 42
  43. 43. BATCH PROCESSING AND SYNCING IMAGES One of the great benefits of using Lightroom is the ability to quickly process and sync together develop settings for similar files. In fact, this is one reason that so many people flock to Lightroom in the first place! So, without further ado, here are two ways that you can quickly batch and sync several photos at once inside of Lightroom. 43
  44. 44. BATCH PROCESS WITH QUICK DEVELOP I mentioned how to use the Quick Develop module early on in this section; however one thing I did not get into depth with was how powerful this can be to batch edit your photographs. Using it as a batch-editing tool is very simple: just highlight several images at once and use the settings Quick Develop panel to make changes to all images selected. It can save a lot of time when you want to make a simple adjustment, such as correcting the white balance or increasing exposure by one or two stops. Another great thing about the Quick Develop panel is the ability to apply a Develop preset to several photos at once. To do this, just select the photos you want to work with and select a preset from the “Saved Preset” drop- down. The preset will be applied to all images selected without even having to jump into the Develop module. 44
  45. 45. SYNCING DEVELOP SETTINGS If you have made refined adjustments in the Develop module, then you will probably want to use the Sync Settings feature to copy your settings from one image onto several others. This feature works well for syncing white balance between images photographed in similar light, or even to match up vignettes or noise reduction across your photographs. Here’s how to use Lightroom to Sync your images and save you tons of time: 45
  46. 46. 1. In the Library module, highlight the photo that you want to use to copy settings to the other images. Lightroom pulls the sync information from the first photo selected, so it’s important that this one is chosen first. 2. Next, select the other photos so that all of the images you want synced are selected. You can do this by holding the Shift key and clicking to select a large group of photos, or by holding the Cmd (PC: Ctrl) key and clicking on individual files to add them to your selection. Then, on the bottom-right, click on the “Sync Settings” Button. 46
  47. 47. 3. In the window that pops up, choose which settings you would like to have synced together. For example, if you want to retain the individual White Balance and Basic Tone settings for each image, then leave those unchecked. And, if you would like to sync the Split Toning and Vignette, then make sure that those are the only two boxes checked. Or, to sync everything, click on the Check All button. Then click the Synchronize button. 4. Now your images should all be fully synced and ready to go! 47
  48. 48. LIGHTROOM HISTORY AND SNAPSHOTS Did you make a series of ugly edits in Lightroom and want to undo them? No sweat. There are a number of ways you can reset some, or all, of your development edits. When you make a develop edit in Lightroom, it is automatically tracked in Lightroom’s History panel.   48
  49. 49. Lightroom is a non-destructive photo editor. This means that by default, you are not changing the original photo when you make development edits. Every slider you move, tone curve adjustment or color tweak can be undone. First, if you want to get back to zero - as in the original file that came out of your camera - you can always do this by using the Reset button in the lower right of the Development module. This will reset all of the changes you’ve made in Lightroom. If you just want to undo your last edit, you can do so by hitting Ctrl-Z (PC) or Command-Z (Mac) for Undo. However, if you want to undo several of your changes at once, there are a couple of options. (No, you don’t need to just press Command-Z 10 times, although that would work too.) In the History sub-panel on the left side of the Lightroom’s Development module, you’ll see a list of all the changes you’ve made to a photo. 
 These changes are listed sequentially, meaning that they appear in the order that they were applied. To see what a photo looked like before you made an edit, you can hover over that change and in the Navigator panel (upper left), you will see what the photo looked like before the edits were applied. If you want to revert to that state, you can just click on that state and the edits will be undone. Using History is very helpful if you want to undo a series of edits because you changed your mind or made an editing mistake. 49
  50. 50. If you want to make a marker in the history to easily return to at a later point, Snapshots can be helpful. You can create a snapshot by hitting the plus button in the upper right of the Snapshots sub-panel header in the Develop module. Snapshots make it easy to toggle between states of a photo. If you want to actually create a different version of a photo, you should use Virtual Copies. A virtual copy of a photo in Lightroom does not create an additional master file, but instead saves a different editing recipe to the Lightroom catalog. For instance, if you wanted to create a black and white version of a photo and a color version of the same photo, you should create a virtual copy. This technique is also used for different crop treatments for a photo. This will look like two different and independent photos in your photo catalog, but they both will refer to the same original photo. To create a virtual copy, right-click (PC) or Ctrl-Click (Mac) and from the menu select “Create Virtual Copy.” The hotkey for creating virtual copies is Ctrl+ (PC) or Command+ (Mac). 
 Along with resetting individual sliders and effects, as well as turning effects on/off, Lightroom gives you a lot of control on editing your photos. Feel free to make some 50
  51. 51. THE PERFECT CROP 3Richard Harrington photo by Richard Harrington
  52. 52. CROPPING WITH A PRESET Often when I crop, it’s all about precision. I frequently need to crop to a specific aspect ratio. Sometimes it’s for the screen (video projects and slideshows) as well as print output. In these cases, I need the shape of my photo to precisely match my target. Fortunately Lightroom makes this easy 52
  53. 53. Step 1: Select an image for cropping Step 2: Choose the Crop Overlay tool by pressing the R key. This will even switch you from the Library module to the Develop module. An outline appears around the image with adjustment handles to modify the crop. Step 3: Examine the Crop Overlay tool in the tool drawer. A closed padlock means the crop tool is constrained to a preset. While, you can click the lock to unconstrained the crop tool, let’s focus on using specific aspect ratio presets to get the job done. Step 4: Click the a Aspect pop-up menu next to the padlock to choose an aspect ratio. The following choices are available (international localizations may contain different sizes). • As Shot: This matches the original ratio of the photo. • Original: This es- sentially uncross the image and restores it to its original crop. • Custom: When the crop tool is uncon- strained this popup switches to Custom. More on this later. 53
  54. 54. These next ratios are common print sizes. • 1x1: This is a square-shaped crop. • 4x5 / 8x10: This is a popular print size. • 8.5x11: This matches a standard sheet of paper in a US standard. • 5x7: Another sized crop used for prints and frames. • 2x3 / 4x6: These two sizes are widely used for prints. These sizes are frequently used for multimedia projects. • 4x3 1024x768: This matches many older computer and revision monitors. • 16x9 1920x1080: This is the aspect ratio for most video projects. • 16x10 1280x800: This is the ratio of most widescreen computer monitors. Tip: If you’d like to use the Crop Overlay tool with the 
 last settings used, press Shift+A. 54
  55. 55. Step 5: Drag a crop handle to crop the image. You can also click to select the Crop Frame tool to freely position the crop. Step 6: You can modify the crop behavior if needed with a keyboard shortcut. Press the  X key to toggle the orientation of the crop between portrait and landscape. Step 7: Press Return (or Enter) to apply the crop. You can exit without cropping by pressing the Escape key. Remember, all cropping is nondestructive. You can always revert a cropped image by choosing Original from the pop-up menu to restore an image to its original crop. 55
  56. 56. CROPPING TO A CUSTOM SIZE While presets are great, they might not get the job done. It’s impossible for the Lightroom team to predict every need for every project (particularly with the rise in multimedia formats and web- connected devices). Additionally, you may choose to crop to a particular size purely for aesthetic reasons. 56
  57. 57. Lightroom makes custom cropping easy. You just need to decide if you need to crop to a specific custom size or prefer to take a more free-handed approach. Step 1: Select an image for cropping. Step 2: Choose the Crop Overlay tool by pressing the R key. An outline appears around the image with adjustment handles to modify the crop. Step 3: You now have two choices. Click to unlock the closed padlock. This means that the crop tool is now unconstrained. You can freely crop to any custom ratio by dragging a handle. If you need specific size, click the pop-up menu next to the padlock and choose Enter Custom…. You can now enter custom sizes. These sizes are appended to the bottom of the list. Ratios are entered in dimensions of width and height, but can be reversed as needed. Lightroom can store up to five presets. When you make a sixth, the oldest will be dropped from the list. Step 4: Drag a crop handle to crop the image. You can also click to select the Crop Frame tool to freely position the crop. Step 5: Press Return (or Enter) to apply the crop. You can exit without cropping by pressing the Escape key. 57
  58. 58. USING CROPPING OVERLAYS Lightroom offers several different overlays to help with composing your crop. There is no right way to crop, after all the goals can be the removal of distractions, the changing of emotion, or technical requirement. But overlays are designed to help with all of these. 58
  59. 59. • Grid: The grid overlay works quite well for architectural images. The horizontal and vertical 
 lines can help with edges as well as straightening 
 an image. This option will pop-up whenever you 
 rotate an image as well. • Thirds: The Rule of Thirds grid is commonly used to compose balance. Most commonly, a subject is placed at one of the intersection points of the grid. • Diagonal: The Diagonal overlay creates a series 
 of 45˚ diagonal lines from the four corners. This intersection is useful working with images that intersecting diagonal lines. • Triangle: A series of connected triangles create diagonal lines through the image. Press Shift+O to cycle between a mirrored image version. 59
  60. 60. • Golden Ratio: This overlay has many names includ- ing the Golden Ratio, Golden Mean or Golden Section. This is often used to place elements at the intersection points. It’s similar to the rule of thirds (which is more accurately a simplified version of the Golden Ratio). • Golden Spiral: The Golden spiral is useful for placing leading lines and focal points in an image. Press the Shift+O shortcut to cycle through eight variations. • Aspect Ratios: If you’d like a good idea on how an im- age could be cropped use the Aspect Ratios overlay. You can in fact see several aspect ratios at once. To control which ones are used, choose Tools > Crop Guide Overlay  > Choose Aspect Ratios.  Check to en- able as many aspect ratio overlays as desired. 60
  61. 61. There are several ways to work with crop overlays. • Overlays are automatically visible when you choose the Crop Overlay tool (R). • You can select a specific overlay by choosing Tools > Crop Guide Overlay and choose from one of the seven options. • You can cycle through the available overlays by press- ing the O key. • To choose which items are included in the cycle choose Tools > Crop Guide Overlay > Choose Over- lays to Cycle…. • Press the H key to hide overlays from the Crop. • To only see the overlay when you click and hold the mouse-down, choose Tools > Tool Overlay > Auto Show. IN this mode, you’ll only see the Overlays when dragging the boundaries or holding the mouse down. I find this mode easy to use overlays some of the time, but see an uncluttered image as I evaluate the crop. • Press Command + Option + R (Mac) / Control + Alt + R (Win) to reset the crop. • With the Crop Overlay tool active, double-click in the image preview area to apply the crop and exit the Crop tool. 61
  62. 62. CROPPING WITH THE GOLDEN SPIRAL I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about composition lately.  I am really trying to push myself to get beyond the rule of thirds and try out some new methods. 62
  63. 63. The method I’m experimenting with now is called the Golden Spiral.  It’s based on of all things an ancient sequence of numbers that often repeats in nature. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 The sequence is often called the Fibonacci numbers and is named after  Leonardo Fibonacci who was an Italian mathematician.  He didn’t actually invent the series (it’s though to have originated from the Hindu–Arabic numeral system. The sequence is based on adding the adding adjacent numbers in a string, then carrying the results. 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, 8+13=21, 13+21=34 (and so on) A tiling image with squares whose lengths are successive Fibonacci numbers | By Borb — Wikimedia Commons If you draw  circular arcs to connect the opposite corners of squares, you end up with an approximate shape of the golden spiral.  This shape actually takes on the exact look of a nautilus and expresses the number Phi (or golden ratio). 63
  64. 64. The Golden Ratio | By Dicklyon — Wikimedia Commons Okay, enough match class…  but you have to admit it’s a little creepy how often this appears in nature… the most obvious is here. Detailed photo of a halved backlit shell of a chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) isolated on white |Photo by Fyletto But it shows up in lots of other places too… by using this ratio, you can often add some energy into the composition.  The good news is that you can also get here through cropping in Lightroom. 64
  65. 65. There you have it… the Golden Spiral applied to postproduction as well. Give it a shot and see that you think.   Aim for in-camera composition for the best results, but use the Crop tool where needed. 65
  66. 66. STRAIGHTEN, ROTATE, OR FLIP A PHOTO A crooked photo can be downright distracting (unless you really wanted it that way of course). Fortunately Lightroom makes it easy to fix an unbalanced ball head. But what happens if you need to rotate the image or even flip it? Not a problem… these are all easy fixes. 66
  67. 67. STRAIGHTENING A CROOKED PHOTO There are three ways to easily straighten a photo when using the Crop Overlay tool. Rotate Cursor: Move the pointer to just outside a corner crop handle. The cursor will switch to the Rotate icon. You can now drag to freely rotate the image (up to 45˚ ei- ther way). Angle Slider: Drag the Angle slider to rotate the photo. Use the Straighten Tool: Select the Straighten Tool. Now drag in the photo along a line or edge that should be horizontal or vertical. You can also hold down the Op- tion or Alt key to get a grid to help when dragging. 67
  68. 68. ROTATE OR FLIP A PHOTO While your camera can usually flag images properly for portrait and landscape, sometimes the motion in your camera fails. Other times you might be shooting into a mirror or reflection and want to flip the image. • To rotate the image 90˚, choose Photo > Rotate Left (CCW) or Photo > Rotate Right (CW). You can also use the equivalent shortcuts of Command+[ (Ctrl+[) for counterclockwise and Command+] (Ctrl+]) for clockwise. • To flip the photo horizontally, choose choose Photo > Flip Horizontal. This will make a mirror image of the photo. • To flop a photo vertically (from top to bottom), choose Photo > Flip Vertical 68
  69. 69. MASTERING EXPOSURE ANDTONE 4Rob Sylvan Levi Sim photo by Levi Sim
  70. 70. UNDEREXPOSED? OVEREXPOSED? OR JUST RIGHT? The Histogram panel contains a number of tools to help you evaluate your photo’s exposure and even begin making adjustments. The most visible part of the panel is the histogram itself, which is simply a graphical representation of all of the tones contained in your photo, from the darkest tones on the left to the brightest tones on the right. 70
  71. 71. While there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” histogram, the histogram can be incredibly instructive when examined alongside your photo. The histogram above shows that the associated photo contains brightness values that span across the entire tonal range, from pure black on the left to pure white on the right. The colors you see in the graph represent the red, green, and blue color channels. Areas of gray occur where image data from all three channels overlap, while areas of yellow represent overlap of the red and green channels, areas of magenta occur when blue and red overlap, and areas of cyan represent overlap of the green and blue channels. Here’s a tip, the histogram always reflects the area of the photo inside the crop rectangle, so sometimes it is worth starting your adjustments by cropping out any unwanted areas of highlight or shadow clipping on the edges of the photo. This way the histogram will reflect just the data you are keeping, which will make your job easier when you are performing basic tonal adjustments. When your cursor is over the photograph you will see the percentages of red, green, and blue contained in the pixels under the cursor displayed below the histogram. When the cursor is not over the photograph you will see exposure information from the photo’s EXIF metadata displayed below the histogram. 71
  72. 72. CHECKING FOR CLIPPING Clipping means that there are areas in your photo that contain no image data. This can happen in the shadow region or the highlights or even both at the same time. Clipping on the histogram is represented by spikes along the left or right edges. 72
  73. 73. This histogram has a spike on the right indicating highlight clipping. The histogram above is from an over exposed photo that has lost all detail in the highlights. This histogram has a spike on the left indicating shadow clipping. The histogram below is from an under exposed photo that has lost all detail in the shadows. The triangles in the upper left (shadow) and right (highlights) corners of the histogram are clipping indicators. When all three channels are being clipped they turn white, but if you see a color in the indicator than only one or two channels are being clipped. 73 Clipped Warnings In the Histogram display, you’ll see two small triangles. You can click the one on the left for shadows and the one on the right for highlights. When enabled, clipped shadows appear in blue, and clipped highlights appear in red. Highlight clipping will warn you if any one of the three RGB channels is clipped (fully saturated with no detail). Shadow clipping will warn you if all three RGB channels are clipped (black with no detail).
  74. 74. You can get a real time view of where this clipping is occurring in your photo by placing your cursor over on an indicator. Click that clipping indicator to keep the clipping preview turned on. Areas in your photo where the shadows are being clipped will turn blue, while areas in your photo where highlights are being clipped will turn red. You can also toggle the clipping indicator preview on and off by pressing the J key. Leaving these indicators enabled while you make tonal adjustments can be very helpful. 74 Shadow and highlight clipping indicators are enabled.
  75. 75. FIXING SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS There is a direct connection between the histogram and the tonal adjustments in the Basic panel. If you hover your cursor over the left end of the histogram you will see the word Blacks appear under the histogram and the Blacks slider lights up in the Basic panel. 75
  76. 76. Move your cursor to the left and the word Shadows appears under the histogram as the Shadows slider lights up. Move a little further to the left to light up Exposure, followed by Highlights and then Whites. This is incredibly useful for learning to understand the relationship between the histogram, the tonal adjustments, and their affects on your photos. The connection between the regions on the histogram and the tonal adjustment sliders is so strong that you can actually click and drag within the histogram itself to make adjustments. While clicking and dragging in the histogram to make tonal adjustments is instructive, I prefer to use the controls in the Basic panel most of the time. The Tone section of the Basic panel is one of the most frequently visited panels in all of Lightroom. The reason it is so popular is because it is where you can manipulate the tonal data contained in the original capture to recover data in the highlights and shadows, and make adjustments that affect the overall exposure. 76 Clicking and dragging in the Exposure region of the histogram causes a corresponding move of the Exposure slider. The Tone section of the Basic panel.
  77. 77. Now that we understand the relationship between the tonal regions on the histogram and the sliders in the basic panel, let’s take a closer look at how we can use them to work with our photos. All of the sliders start at zero by default. As a result, increasing any tonal slider in a positive direction corresponds to making the photo brighter (and shifting the histogram to the right), while decreasing any tonal slider in a negative direction has the opposite effect of darkening the photo (and shifting the histogram to the left). The Contrast slider is somewhat of an exception as increasing amounts of contrast simultaneously makes brighter areas brighter and darker areas darker, while decreasing contrast has the reverse effect. The Auto button at the top of the Tone section can sometimes be a useful starting point, or at least an interesting look at how Lightroom’s analysis of the photo thinks it should look. Clicking the Auto button once applies an automatic tonal adjustment to your photo. You can of course adjust any slider from there to tweak the adjustment, or you can double-click the Tone label to reset all sliders back to zero. 77 Lightroom can apply automatic tonal adjustments with a single click.
  78. 78. If the auto adjustment just isn’t to your liking, or if you want to take the full manual approach, you can jump right into moving individual sliders as you see fit. The Exposure slider will have the biggest affect on the overall look of the photo because it affects the largest section of tonal values, while attempting to have a minimal impact on the white and black points. Assuming my in-camera exposure was good, I tend to start my adjustments by setting my white and black points first, as this focuses on fixing my shadow and highlight detail. Then I adjust the Shadows and Highlights sliders as needed, and finish by tweaking Exposure. Here’s the steps I used to adjust the photo above. 78 Figure 8: The unadjusted raw photo.
  79. 79. Shadow clipping is shown in blue, while highlight clippings are red. Step 1: Press the J key to turn on shadow and highlight clipping indicators. I can see that there is a little bit of shadow clipping in the darkest shadow areas of the image and a tiny amount of highlight clipping on the roof of the van. This amount of clipping in these areas is not really problematic, but let’s see if we can fully recover detail in those areas. The colored areas show where the shadow clipping is occurring. Step 2: Hold down the Option key (Windows: Alt) and drag the Blacks slider to the right to brighten the darkest regions. As soon as I start dragging with the Option key down the photo goes white except for a few colored areas that show me exactly where black clipping is occurring. I drag slowly to the right until the image is fully white, which means no clipping in the shadows. 79
  80. 80. There is more clipping happening in this photo than the Whites slider can recover. Step 3: Hold the Option key and drag the Whites slider to the left to darken the highlight regions. As I drag the entire photo goes black except for colored areas indicating where highlight clipping is taking place. I can see that adjusting the Whites slider alone is not enough to recover all highlight data, so I move the Highlights slider next. Once the photo is all black you know there are no more clipped areas. Step 4: Holding the Option key again, I drag the Highlights slider to the left to further darken the highlight region. The Highlights slider affects a larger tonal range and helps me recover all detail in the brightest areas of the photo. With all clipping taken care of I’ll see if I can brighten up the shadows a bit with the Shadows slider. 80
  81. 81. Brighten up your shadow regions with the Shadows slider. Step 5: I increased the Shadows slider to +80 to brighten up the interior of the van. Recovering detail and brightening the shadows has flattened the tonal range a bit. Next I’ll use the Contrast slider to add some snap back into the photo. Increase contrast to add impact to a flat looking photo. Step 6: Increasing the amount of contrast means that you are making brighter areas brighter and darker areas darker, which is exactly what I want to do to add more drama back into this photo. A setting of +40 does the job. 81
  82. 82. If needed I would use the Exposure slider to tweak the overall brightness of the photo, but I think this image is where I want it, so I left Exposure at 0. The steps I took here are not carved in stone, as there are always multiple ways to approach an adjustment. I just like the approach of dealing with clipping first, then finessing the rest of the tonal range to match the vision I had in my mind at the time of capture. If my original capture was underexposed or overexposed I would have used the Exposure slider to compensate. Just remember that you can double-click any individual slider’s label to reset it back to zero, so there’s no harm in experimenting and pushing the limits of what Lightroom can do. 82
  83. 83. ADDING PRESENCE The Presence section of the Basic panel is for when you really want to make your photos pop. The Clarity slider is considered a mid-tone contrast adjustment, and is a close relative to sharpening. When Lightroom 1.0 was still in its planning stages the Clarity slider was almost called “Punch,” which is a good description of what it can add to your photo. 83
  84. 84. A little punch can add impact, but no one likes to get punched too much. Clarity also works in the negative direction, which has the affect of softening the detail in your photo. Negative clarity amounts can be really useful for smoothing skin or adding a gauzy or hazy feel to your photo. Use sparingly in each direction. Vibrance and Saturation are all about pumping up or dampening down colors. You may not have need to use these adjustments on every photo. In fact I rarely use Saturation at all. The Vibrance slider is designed to have the greatest affect on the least saturated colors while protecting skin tones. Saturation affects all colors equally. For this reason Vibrance can be really helpful for giving a slight boost to colors in a photo that contains people, without fear of making their skin tones go into clown territory. Let’s compare a setting of +50 Vibrance to a setting of +50 Saturation. Notice how much more the skin tones were affected by Saturation than Vibrance? 84 A +50 setting of Vibrance is high, but still protects the skin tones.
  85. 85. The Punch preset is a combination of Clarity and Vibrance. The most common combination of settings from this section of the panel for non-people photos is a little bit of positive clarity plus a little bit of positive vibrance. The Punch preset under Lightroom General Presets in the Presets panel is a good starting point. A negative amount of Clarity can create a cool softening effect. For photos with people try starting with the same amount of Vibrance, but with a negative amount of Clarity. Well, if you are shooting cowboys, pirates, or anyone where you want to enhance every scar, blemish, and pockmark, then keep the Clarity slider at a positive amount. You can also move Vibrance or Saturation in a negative direction to remove color from your photo, but check out the section of this book on creating black and white photos with impact for more on that subject. 85
  86. 86. MASTERING TONE CURVES The Tone Curve panel is all about tonal relationships, and it works hand-in-hand with the tools in the Basic panel. Typically you’ll perform the basic adjustments first, and then head to the Tone Curve panel to fine-tune contrast and brightness. Let’s look at what is contained in the panel, and then circle back to how you can use this powerful set of tools. 86
  87. 87. The square box in the top of the panel contains the actual curve adjustment, which is a straight line by default. Any adjustments made in this panel add a curve to that line, which is where the name comes from. This is also the key to understanding how this panel works. Behind the line you can see a representation of the histogram to help guide your adjustments. Along the bottom of the box containing the curve are three split points for controlling the size of each region represented by the Region sliders below the curve. By default the four regions are divided equally across the tonal range. The sliders in the Region section of the panel allow you to affect the brightness values in each region. Below the Region sliders is the Point Curve preset drop-down menu, which allow you to apply tone curve settings with a single click. In the top-left of the panel is the Target Adjustment Tool, which when enabled allows you to make adjustments to the tone curve by clicking and dragging on the photo itself. In the bottom-right of the panel is the button that toggles between the parametric tone curve (the one you see by default) and the point curve, which allows you much greater latitude when creating a curve adjustment. It is important to keep in mind that the goal is to use the curve to make adjustments in brightness and contrast in your photo by changing the shape of the line. The tone curve is a graph just like the histogram mentioned earlier. The bottom axis of the graph represents the original brightness values in the image, from black on the left to white on the far right. The vertical axis of the graph 87 The Tone Curve panel.
  88. 88. represents the changes you make to the tonal values by changing the shape of the curve. Any point on the curve that moves downward from its original point becomes darker, and any point that moves upward becomes brighter. The steeper the curve becomes the greater the amount of contrast that is being introduced in that region of the graph. By nature of the line behaving as a curve it is not possible to affect a single tonal value without having some affect on the neighboring tonal values, and this allows for smooth transitions between tones. OK, let’s break down how all of this works. Like in many parts of Lightroom, there are multiple ways to achieve the same end, and that is no truer than in the Tone Curve panel. The quickest way to make an adjustment with the Tone Curve panel is to select a different Point Curve preset, so let’s start by selecting the one called Strong Contrast. If you place your cursor at the bottom-left end of the curve and move it gradually up the line you will see the original value (input) compared to the new value resulting from the curve (output) in the upper left of the Tone Curve window. With this preset applied you should see that the values in the shadow region were decreased, making the shadows darker, while the values in the highlights region were increased, making the highlights brighter, which has the overall effect of adding contrast to the photo. Click the Point Curve preset drop-down menu again and go back to Linear. 88 The Strong Contrast preset comes pre-installed.
  89. 89. Another approach is to interact with the curve itself by either clicking and dragging within the Tone Curve window or by moving the Region sliders. Similar to the relationship between the Histogram panel and the Basic panel, as you move your cursor over the line in the Tone Curve window you will see the corresponding Region slider light up. If you click and drag at any point in the Tone Curve window you will see that adjustment reflected in a change of value on the respective Region slider. It is important to note that while in the default parametric tone curve there are limitations built in to how far you can adjust the curve, which is represented by the light gray shape that appears when making an adjustment. This limitation is intended to prevent you from going too far with the curve. There are no such limitations when using the point tone curve. Sometimes dragging on the curve or the sliders is not particularly intuitive, and you may find that you prefer looking at the photo while you are making your adjustments. To this end we have the Target Adjustment Tool (TAT) in the upper left corner of the panel. Click on its icon once to enable the TAT. Now as you move your cursor out over the photo you will see the brightness value under your cursor represented on the tone curve and the corresponding region slider highlight. Choose a point in your photo that you want to adjust and click-drag downward to darken or click-drag upward to brighten. 89 Clicking and dragging on the curve is the same as moving its associated region slider.
  90. 90. Keep in mind that as you drag you are changing all of the pixels at that tonal range everywhere in the photo, and not just the point under your cursor. This is still a global adjustment. This just gives us the freedom to focus on how our adjustments make the photo look and not worry about numbers, sliders, or the shape of a line. I find the TAT is incredibly instructive for learning what brightness points in your photo map to the various regions in the Tone Curve, and for that I frequently look back and forth between the two as I work. For the ultimate in curve control you’ll want to click on the Point Curve button to switch to the Point Curve. Gone are the regions and the sliders. Now it is just you and the line that you can bend any way that you wish. 90 The TAT can be a more intuitive way to work on your photo.
  91. 91. The TAT can still be used, but now as you click and drag in the photo you leave behind a point on the curve that matches the tonal value where you clicked and dragged. That point serves as an anchor, which will limit the affect of subsequent points that you may add. The main benefit of the point curve over the parametric curve is the level of precision and freedom it supplies. If you create a point curve that you’d like to save as a preset, just click the Point Curve preset drop-down menu and choose Save from the bottom of the list. Most of your adjustments are likely to be made using the parametric curve. 91 The TAT leaves points on the curve when used on the point tone curve.
  92. 92. For more advanced adjustments with the point curve you can apply a curve adjustment to each channel individually by clicking the Channel drop-down menu and choosing the color channel you want to adjust. This can be used to remove or introduce color casts, which can be used for both correctional and creative purposes Click the Point Curve button to switch back to the parametric curve. Note that you can create a point curve adjustment and then refine it further using the parametric curve. 92 FigApplying a curve adjustment to just the Blue channel to reduce a yellow color cast.
  93. 93. You can ctrl-click (Windows: right-click) the area inside the parametric curve to access a contextual menu for resetting the regions, splits, and point curve, or all at once. You can also double-click any region label to reset that slider or double-click the Region label itself to reset all sliders at once. With a bit of practice and experimentation I think you’ll find the Tone Curve panel is an extremely powerful and versatile tool. 93 The contextual menu inside the tone curve window gives all the reset options.
  94. 94. BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS WITH IMPACT We’ve got HDR, we’ve got Instagram, we’ve got color, we’ve got Polaroids, we’ve got Holgas and Dianas, and we’ve got all kinds of other new effects and techniques and types of finishing we can do to an image. But we’ve always had Black and White. It’s the original look of photography, and, no matter what other trends come along, it’ll never go out of style. 94
  95. 95. Just like all the other techniques for finishing photographs, however, there are great black and white images, and there are mediocre black and white images. Let’s use Lightroom to make more of the great, and fewer mediocre B&W photographs. I’ll show you how to fine tune contrast with several tools, and direct our viewers’ attention with local adjustments, and finish off with a little grain and Split Toning. First of all, removing color isn’t usually the best way to make a B&W image. The Saturation slider in the Basic tab could do that for you, but the Lightroom designers, understanding that colors affect B&W tones, have given us control of the brightness of each color in the B&W photograph. Since we’re making use of the colors in the photo, it’s important to start with great color. Get the white balance looking good, set the Camera Calibration sliders in the sweet spot, and then click B&W on the HSL / Color / B&W tab and you’ll see the image turn monochrome. 95
  96. 96. The Golden Gate Bridge is clearly the subject, but I need to direct my viewers where to look in the image, and in B&W I can use brightness to do it. As it is right now, there are only two tones: pretty dark and pretty bright. Let’s fix that. I’ll grab the Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT), the little bullseye in the top left of the B&W tab. Now I’ll click on the bridge and drag upward, which brightens whichever colors I’ve clicked on, in this case Red and Orange. The TAT adjusts all colors that make up the main color you’re clicking; the slider alone only adjusts that particular color 96
  97. 97. and may separate the colors making the image look noisy. Now we’ve got distinct tones. Let’s get some more. Hover the TAT around in the image and you’ll notice the slider of the colors you hover on is highlighted. In the color image, I noticed some purple tones in the hillside, so if I hover there, the Purple slider highlights. That means if I click and drag there, then the purple tones will be brightened or darkened. I’ll darken to give some dark areas in the image. There aren’t really other colors in the original of this image, so the Tone Curve tab is the next stop to adjust the tones. I’m not a Tone Curve wiz who can manipulate the curve itself to make the image look the way I like, but it can be done. I simply use the sliders, and it works well. I’ll start by brightening the lights to 30. Right under the curve there are three buttons that you can move to adjust the range of each slider. I’ll grab the center button and move it the left, expanding which areas are considered Lights. Next the Darks slider goes down to -36, and Highlights up to 34. 97
  98. 98. 98
  99. 99. Now the contrast is helping direct us through the image, but it’s still a bit bland. I’ll use the Adjustment Brush at a medium flow (50) to brighten the lower section of the stanchion and the rocks around it; a touch of clarity and shadows also make that area more distinctly the focus. However, the nearer stanchion at the left edge of the image is the same brightness and distracts from the far stanchion, where all the lines in the image are pointing. I’ll use a Radial Filter on an angle to create a gentle contrasty vignette by dropping the shadows and upping the highlights. That looks good, so maybe another dose would look good, too. Right click on the filter button and choose Duplicate. Then duplicate it once more, and choose Invert Mask at the bottom of the palette and raise the Shadows and Highlights over center of the filter a little more. It’s looking good, but I’d like a little more punch overall. In the Basic tab, raise the Whites to 49, and reclaim the Highlights by sliding to the left, -86. 99
  100. 100. 100
  101. 101. We’ve got good contrast, and direction into the image for the viewer to follow, and it looks much better than the default B&W settings. Unfortunately, the adjustments I’ve done around that far stanchion have left it looking a little bit noisier than the rest of the image. Fix this with Noise Reduction in the Details tab. I added just 12 points of Luminance correction. I’ve added a touch of Grain from the Effects tab to ensure the whole image has a similar level of detail and nostalgia. A gentle bit of Split Toning, like my Copper Hue preset, warms it up a touch and matches the grain and contrasty feel of the whole image. Only thing left to do is print it large on a rag paper. 101 The processed image with split toning applied.
  102. 102. cii Click here to get the app
  103. 103. REFINING COLOR 5Levi Sim Rob Sylvan Rich Harrington photo by Nicole S. Young
  104. 104. THE FLEXIBLE HSL ADJUSTMENT In the Mastering Exposure and Tone chapter we looked at ways to make global tonal adjustments to your photo using the Basic and Tone Curve panels. We also discussed how you can affect colors using the Vibrance and Saturation sliders in the Basic panel. Next up is the HSL / Color / B&W panel, which is an incredibly powerful and flexible tool for fine-tuning the colors in your photo. 104
  105. 105. The HSL, Color, and B&W panel is actually three panels in one. • HSL: The HSL (stands for hue, saturation, and luminance) gives you the power to adjust the hue, saturation, and luminance values of different colors in your photo. • Color: The Color sections of the panel are really just the same set of controls as HSL presented in a different ways. • B&W: The B&W section of the panel is for converting a color photo to black and white (refer back to the Black and White Photos with Impact section in the previous chapter of this book to learn about B&W conversion). Each label in the panel header is a button that is used to choose the set of tools you want open. As you move your cursor over each label it will light up. The label you select will remain highlighted as the panel expands to indicate which option is active. 105
  106. 106. HSL Let’s start by looking at the HSL section of the panel. 
 You can see the labels for each grouping of adjustments, Hue, Saturation and Luminance, across the top of the panel. Click any label to expose the controls for that group, or click All to see the controls for all three groups at once. Looking at the All view, you can see the full range of controls at your disposal. Each section has the same range of colors broken out into groups that allow you to make adjustments to each colors hue, saturation, and luminance independently of each other. The Hue section allows you to shift a particular color to a different neighboring color, such as shifting a red color more toward orange in one direction or magenta in the opposite direction. Let’s look at an example which shows a photo that is ready for some attention from the HSL panel. 106
  107. 107. The photo prior to any HSL adjustment. If I drag the Red slider to -100 you can see that the red section of the giant Frisbee surrounding my ice cream eating friend has shifted to magenta. Now if I drag the Red slider to +100 you can see that same section of the Frisbee has shifted to orange. 107
  108. 108. Obviously those are pretty extreme examples just to demonstrate how those controls work. In reality this panel is most commonly used for much more subtle treatments. It is important to remember that while we can work on an individual color it is still a global adjustment, meaning we are affecting that color no matter where it appears within the photo. The Saturation section of the panel gives us the control of the intensity of the hue. If we move the slider to the left, in a negative direction, we reduce the saturation of that particular color. If we move the slider to the right we increase the saturation. A -100 adjustment of the Red slider in the Saturation section of the panel desaturates all of the red in the photo. 108
  109. 109. Luminance controls the brightness of the hue. A shift to the right brightens the affected hue while a shift to the left darkens it. This can be a quick and easy way to darken a blue sky, though with a much gentler adjustment. A -100 adjustment of the Blue slider really darkens the blue section of the Frisbee and all the other blues in the image. 109
  110. 110. PUSHING COLORS While there may be instances where you find it helpful to work on an image by manually moving individual sliders around there is a more intuitive approach. In the section on the Tone Curve panel you may recall the Targeted Adjustment Tool, or TAT for short. 110
  111. 111. THE TARGETED ADJUSTMENT TOOL The HSL panel has a TAT for each section of the panel so you can ignore the sliders and just focus on looking at the photo while you make your adjustments. If you look back where I set the red saturation to -100 you can see that there is still a bit of color in the formerly red section of the Frisbee. This is because most of the subjects in our photos will contain a mix of colors. With the TAT for the Saturation section selected I can drag downward in that same red section of the Frisbee and we see that there was a mix of red, orange, purple, and magenta in there. The TAT looks at all of the colors under your cursor and adjusts them all simultaneously. As an aside, you can really see how this affects all of those colors in all areas of the photo. Using the TAT allowed me to desaturate all of the colors in that section of the Frisbee at once. 111
  112. 112. PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE OK, now that you have an idea of how the sliders in this panel work let’s reset everything and look at a more real world adjustment of this photo. In all areas of Lightroom, you can double-click the section name within a panel to reset all of the sliders within that section. You can also double-click any individual slider label to reset just that slider. So, if I double-click the Saturation label I can reset all of those sliders back to zero at once. I tend to rely on the Luminance and Saturation adjustments the most as I find shifting the hue can easily lead to unnatural looking colors very quickly. For this photo I would like to make some color adjustments with the goal of making my subject stand out more from that colorful Frisbee. I’ll start by selecting the TAT in the Luminance section of the panel and dragging downward on the blue part of the Frisbee to darken it down a little, and then I’ll do the same for the yellow section. Next I’ll set the TAT to Saturation and desaturate the yellow a bit and slightly bump up the reds. I’m trying to keep my adjustments on the subtle side, but with the hope that my subject’s face becomes the focal point of the photo. A few moves with the TAT can make a subtle shift in a lot of colors very quickly. 112
  113. 113. COLOR 
 Earlier I mentioned that the Color section of this panel simply presents the same set of controls as the HSL panel in a different way. Let’s take a look. If I click on the Color label in the panel header it switches to the Color controls. The Color panel simply groups the same hue, saturation, and luminance sliders by each color instead of grouping all of the colors under hue, saturation, and luminance. I didn’t reset my adjustments from before and you can see in Figure 11 that the same adjustment to the red saturation is displayed here. Along the top of the panel is a row of color swatches that represent each of the colors you can adjust. Click any swatch to activate the controls for that color or click the All button to see all the controls at once. This provides a very focused way to fine tune specific colors within each photo. The major difference between the Color and HSL sections is that Color does not have a TAT because you can only work on one color at a time. So, if you absolutely know that you only need to work on an individual color you may find the presentation of the Color section useful, but in reality I do 100% of my color adjustments only using the HSL part of this panel. Since the controls affect exactly the same things the choice of which panel to use is entirely a matter of personal preference. 113 Check out this short video designed to help demonstrate the techniques I’ve discussed
  114. 114. WHEN TO SPLIT TONES If there’s one tool tab that can give your images a vintage or old fashioned feeling, it’s Split Toning. Simply put, Split Toning adds a color tint to your whole image while letting you select different tones for the highlight and shadow areas. What’s that mean? It means you can make a sepia toned image, but that’s the least of it. 114
  115. 115. Sepia is a kind ink made from a cuttlefish ink, and it’s what many artists used to sketch. It’s brown, and combined with old yellowed paper, it’s become a classic color tone for artist, including photographers. Personally, it’s too yellow for my tastes, but it’s a great way to discuss Split Toning, and then I’ll show you some of my other favorite toning recipes. Step 1: Start with a black and white image Step 2: In the Split Toning tab, press and hold the Shift key and drag the Highlights Hue slider to the right. The Option/Alt key shows you the colors you’re sifting through at full saturation, which is handy for seeing what color you want. Sepia is brownish, so lets use a Hue of 40, and Saturation of 30 115
  116. 116. Step 3: When you tint the highlights of a black and white image, it’s like using colored paper to print on. Anything that was white will now have the tint, and it grades away the darker the tones become. The Balance slider adjusts how much of the image is considered highlight, and how much is shadow—sliding to the right makes more of the Highlight Hue visible and sliding left makes more of the Shadow Hue visible. Step 4: Tinting the shadows is like using a colored ink to print your image. I usually prefer to tint the shadows, leaving the highlights alone for the most part, but tinting the highlights is growing on me. For this Sepia tint, lets do Hue 40 and Saturation 30 for both Shadows and Highlights. You should experiment with these settings, and especially make prints to see how you like different degrees of tint. Remember, too, that double clicking on a a slider button or on the slider’s name will set it back to zero; combine that with UNDO, and you can quickly see the differences. 116
  117. 117. MORE OPTIONS Here are a few other toning combinations I like. I save these in the Preset tab on the left hand side of the Develop Module, and I recommend you save your favorites, too. It’s also really handy to save a Preset called No Tint that has the sliders set to zero so you can quickly go back and forth between tones. COPPER HUE This one is my most used warm tone, and it’s very subtle. It’s great for just about every black and white image. It just takes the edge off the coolness of the black and white, and my clients love it. I call it Copper Hue. 117
  118. 118. BLUE TINTYPE My second favorite tone is Blue 227. It’s subtle and cool. Used in combination with printing on metal without a transparent substrate it creates a very nice tintype-like presentation. 118
  119. 119. KELBY HUE 28 I’ve also had great success with a setting that Scott Kelby has shared on his blog ( It’s gently warm and pretty rich. I find I like it best on images that have lots of darks, and I like it less on images with large highlight areas because they are not affected. My preset is called Kelby Hue 28. Hint: Try using these on color photographs. I think you’ll like the subtle color wash. 119
  120. 120. GRAPE DREAMSICLE Now for something a little different. This is Grape Dreamsicle. I like the cool tones mixing with the warm. It’s vintage feeling and different. GERANIUM One more fun one, Geranium reminds me of pink geraniums. I found that Split Toning may change the photograph significantly. Seeing harsh subject matter in pink gives you mind something to consider. 120
  121. 121. FIXING RED EYE Chances are as your photography has improved, you’ve seen less and less redeye (cameras are also getting a bit better too). Red eye is caused when the camera flash is reflected in a subject’s retinas. This happens frequently in photos taken in a dark room,because the subject’s irises are open wide. 121
  122. 122. FIXING RED EYE WHEN YOU SHOOT This is one of those solutions that’s so easy to fix in the field that I’d be remiss if I didn’t help you fix it in production (rather than post). There are two ways for fixing red eye in the field: • Use the camera’s red eye reduction feature. This will strobe the flash and adjust the eyes of your subject. This strobing will increase the time from when you click the camera’s shutter and the photo is taken. • Use a separate flash unit that can be held to the side or increase the distance between the lens and the flash. 122
  123. 123. FIXING RED EYE IN LIGHTROOM Fixing red eye is such a common problem that Lightroom even offers a dedicated tool to the task. It’s really quite simple to use and it will effectively removes red eye from flash photos of people and white or green reflections in the eyes of animals. 1. Switch to the Develop module in order to access full controls for adjusting your image. 2. Zoom in to really see the red eye in your photo (and make it easier to click). 3. Click the Red Eye Correction button. 4. Click on the center of the affected eye and drag to draw a circle over the problem eye (try not to extend to far beyond the pupil or skin tones may be affected). 5. Refine the adjustment with the Pupil size and Darken slides. The pupil is the center of the eye and should be a rich black. 6. Click Done to store the adjustment.
  124. 124. REFINING THE CAMERA CALIBRATION I started photography by shooting film in high school just before the turn of the century, and I don't miss it one bit. It’s so wonderful to see a photograph on the back of the camera and see how the composition and the highlights are working, and then make changes. 124
  125. 125. I don’t know what I learned in school, but I learned it all again the first day I shot with a DSLR by looking at the LCD and making a change and trying again. It’s powerful, but if you shoot RAW it may be frustrating, too. The camera shows a jpeg preview, and that just doesn’t look the same as the RAW image that shows up initially in Lightroom. Unless you’re using the Camera Calibration tab. Let me show you how to make your RAW images look like the previews on your camera, and then we’ll see a powerful way to make your colors really pop. CAMERA PROFILES First of all, you have a lot of control over what your image looks like on the camera’s LCD. There are picture styles or picture controls built into the camera that determine color saturation, color interpretation, contrast, and sharpness, and they are saved into jpegs automatically. You can choose from things like Neutral, Portrait, Faithful, Standard, Vivid, Landscape, and Monochrome, and there are different options for each camera brand and model. Your camera shows a jpeg preview on the back including the style setting you’ve chosen, but those settings are not saved in RAW images. Lightroom also applies a completely different profile by default to all RAW images called Adobe Standard. Fortunately, Lightroom lets us choose from any of these profiles. In the Camera Calibration tab you’ll see at the top a Profiles option. Click on the drop down menu where it says Adobe Standard. For most cameras there are about six options, but for older Nikon images I’ve seen many more that included some grandfathered formats that are no longer used. Simply choose an option and see if you like it. Choose the one your camera was set to and you’ll see that you picture now looks just like the preview on your camera. 125
  126. 126. Personally, I like to set my camera to Neutral and turn off all the highlight and shadow recovery options (see the caveats below) so that I can apply contrast and color changes myself. Since I leave my camera on this setting, and I always start here in Lightroom, I’ve created a preset called Neutral and I use the Apply During Import tab in the Import dialogue to make all my images have the neutral profile. If you find yourself continually using the same settings, make a preset and make them happen at import [Chapter on Presets link] There are a three caveats. Only RAW images will have options to change the profile; all other formats will say, Embedded, and you can’t change that. Second, the camera is also capable of applying shadow and highlight recovery. Since this is variable, Lightroom doesn’t have it included in the presets, but using the sliders in the Basic tab will quickly bring the same results. Also, Monochrome will not be an option, which is a real tragedy for me since I think the black and white settings in the camera are very fine, but they can only be applied to jpegs. If you want the great black and white jpegs and RAW files, set the camera to RAW+JPG and get the best of both worlds. 126 Adobe Standard
  127. 127. COLOR CONTROLS After setting the Profile I like, I usually set the White Balance [chapter on white balance link] and then I come right back here to make the colors just right. SHADOWS Lightroom understands which camera and what ISO settings your photograph comes from and it adjusts the image to make sure that blacks are truly black. However, sometimes (rarely) the shadow areas may have a color cast, and the Shadows Tint slider can help fix it. I’ve never used it for that. The Shadows slider has saved my bacon more than once for portraits, though. This doesn’t brighten or darken shadows, but rather adds a little green or pink to only the shadow areas. This is great for portraits because I often make shoot outside with green grass or trees nearby and light reflecting off those green plants throws green at the people, too. On the face, this green light is overpowered by the sunlight, but under the chin in the shadow areas you’ll often find an insalubrious green tint. Just slide to the right and watch that green tint disappear. Be gentle because a little goes a long way; I rarely go as high as 10. 127 Before the Shadow Adjustment.
  128. 128. RED, GREEN, AND BLUE PRIMARIES Landscape photographers who shoot film love to use Fujifilm Velvia for it’s rich saturated colors, and I love to use these sliders to get similar color from digital images. Start with the Blue Primary and bump it to the right. Every image I shoot gets some increase in the Blue Saturation, sometimes as much as 100, but usually something more moderate between 30 and 70. this not only makes the blues more saturated, but it also brightens the reds and gives the greens a little boost. Denim jeans, skin tones, red mountains, and green trees all look better with a bump in the Blues. If you start making the Blue slider a regular part of your workflow, I think you’ll enjoy the richer colors. 128 Before the adjustment.
  129. 129. The Red and Green Primaries are also nice, but use a light hand with them because the colors can quickly become over saturated and unnaturally distinct. Saturation sometimes serves to remove the range of color in your image, taking a scene with a range from red to red- orange to orange to orange-yellow to yellow and leaving only red, orange, and yellow. Whereas I always use the Blue slider, I rarely use the Red or Green sliders. 129 Before the adjustment.
  130. 130. Also, I rarely move the Hue sliders. They change the fundamental colors of your image, and it could be a cool effect, but doesn’t often fit my needs. Still, this one ended up with a lot more punch just using the Camera Calibration sliders. 130 Before the adjustment.
  131. 131. THEFINER DETAILS 6Rob Sylvan Levi Sim Gerard Murphy photo by Levi Sim
  132. 132. UNDERSTANDING THE DETAIL PANEL While pixel perfection should always take a back seat to your photo’s ability to tell a story; Lightroom packs a bundle of tools to help us reduce noise and enhance edge detail that allow us to make the most of the pixels we do capture. The reason the sharpening and noise reduction sliders are contained in the same Detail panel is because they work together and should be considered two sides of the same coin. 132
  133. 133. Sharpening is all about enhancing edge detail. Noise reduction is all about smoothing unwanted artifacts (noise) that can increase with high ISO settings and long exposures. Smoothing is the enemy of sharpening, so your task when using the Detail panel is to find that sweet spot of smoothing out unwanted noise while protecting (and enhancing) important edge detail. Lightroom needs your eyes to help it discern the difference. 133
  134. 134. CHECKING DETAILS To evaluate your photo effectively for sharpening and noise reduction you’ll want to zoom down to (at least) 1:1 view to see what is present in the image before moving any sliders. 134
  135. 135. The easiest way to do that is to click in the main area of the photo to zoom to 1:1. There may be some cases where you will want to take a peek at higher zoom levels to really see what Lightroom is doing to edge detail, but for most photos 1:1 works great. To go deeper, click the zoom level drop-down menu on the Navigator panel and choose a higher zoom level (such as 2:1). Click the photo once more to zoom back out. A neat trick to easily scan through an entire photo at 1:1 using your keyboard works like this: 1. Click once in the top-left corner to zoom in to 1:1. 2. Evaluate that section of the image. 3. Press the Page Down button to have Lightroom scroll down a precise amount to display the next section of the image. 4. Evaluate that section and press Page Down again. Continue to press Page Down to travel through the entire photo. Lightroom will continue to move you downward through your photo until you reach the bottom of the image. The cool part of this technique is that once you reach the bottom you only have to press Page Down once again to have Lightroom scroll over to the top of the photo one screen width to the right so you can proceed down through the next part of the photo. You can also press the Page Up button to proceed in the opposite direction. Give it a try and you’ll see that it is a very efficient means to quickly scan every pixel in your photo. Note to Mac users, depending on your keyboard layout you may not have a Page Down/Page Up button 135 Changing the zoom level.
  136. 136. labeled, but you should be able to get the same functionality by holding the Fn key while using the Down/ Up arrow keys. The Detail panel also comes equipped with its own 1:1 preview window (Figure 3). If you don’t see that in your panel you just need to click the black triangle in the upper-right corner of the panel, which will reveal the preview window. You can click and drag in that preview window to view a different part of your photo in there, but an easier way is to click the square crosshair-like icon to the left of the window to enable it, and then just move your cursor over the part of the photo you want displayed in that zoomed window. Press the Esc key to stop using that tool. Ctrl-click (Windows, right-click) inside the window to change its zoom level. 136 Detail panel’s 1:1 preview window.
  137. 137. THE ROLE OF SHARPENING Lightroom was designed primarily as a workflow tool for photographers shooting raw formats. It is important to remember that if you shoot in JPG mode then the camera has already applied some level of sharpening (and possibly noise reduction) in the process of saving the JPG to your memory card. For this reason, if you do shoot JPG your results from the Detail panel will not be as good as if you were working with a raw capture. A raw photo is unprocessed by the camera and contains 137
  138. 138. a much greater amount of data than the JPG version created by the camera. The ability to have such a fine level of control over sharpening (and noise reduction) is one of the major advantages of shooting in raw. The purpose of sharpening at this stage in your workflow is to make up for the inherent softness of digital capture, which is why this phase of sharpening is often referred to as capture sharpening. Although this is starting to change with higher resolution DSLRs, most digital cameras use an anti-aliasing filter (also known as an optical lowpass filter) to soften the image data in an effort to prevent a problem called moire. Moire can occur when there is a repeating pattern in your subject, such as a window screen or a fabric pattern, which creates an unwanted color artifact in that area. While softening the detail slightly reduces the likelihood of moire the tradeoff is that you get softer image detail. If you have a camera that lacks an optical lowpass filter then you will want to use a really light touch on the amount of sharpening. No amount of sharpening can correct an out of focus image. If your photo is in focus, then Lightroom’s sharpening can enhance detail, which draws in the human eye. Lightroom’s sharpening controls, are all about edge detection and enhancement: • Amount: This controls the amount of sharpening be- ing applied. The higher the amount the more sharpen- ing being applied. • Radius: This determines how far that sharpening amount extends from the edges being sharpened. The higher the radius the farther the reach from the edges. • Detail: This determines how much of the finer detail between the prominent edges has sharpening ap- plied. The higher the setting the more of the finer detail edges will be sharpened. • Masking: Provides a means to protect areas of the im- age from having sharpening applied. Masking set to zero means all areas will have sharpening applied. A high masking setting means only the most defined edges will have sharpening applied. 138 The Sharpening controls.
  139. 139. Every raw photo has a default amount of 25 applied to it. Non-raw photos do not have any sharpening applied by default. In many cases this default amount is just fine, so don’t feel the need to move sliders around just because they are there. In fact, Lightroom comes packaged with two excellent sharpening presets that are a little more fine tuned than the current default. If you expand the Presets panel, then look under Lightroom General Presets you will see one called Sharpen - Faces and one called Sharpen - Scenic, and they can serve as an even better starting point for images that match those descriptions. Give each one a click to see how their settings vary from the default. Notice that with the Sharpen - Scenic preset the Amount and Detail sliders increase, while the Radius slider decreases and Masking stays at zero. Conversely, with Sharpen - Faces Radius and Masking increase along with the Amount, while the Detail slider is reduced. The key difference between scenic images and images of faces is that typically the more scenic subject matter contains a greater amount of high frequency detail (lot’s of fine edges) than your typical portrait photo (lot’s of smooth areas), which drives the differences we see in the settings contained in those presets. To help you evaluate the effect of the settings you apply you can hold down the Option key (Windows Alt) while moving each slider. When moving the Amount slider you will see a grayscale version of the image, which can help you focus on the details. 139 These sharpening presets are great starting points.
  140. 140. Using the Option/Alt key in conjunction with Radius or Detail displays the edges in your image. This keyboard combo is most useful with the Masking slider as it will reveal the actual mask that is generated by Lightroom as it finds the edges in your image. Areas in white will get the full amount of sharpening applied while areas in black (this area increases as you increase masking) are not sharpened at all. This is incredibly useful for preventing the sharpening of noise, which we’ll cover next. How much sharpening you apply to any one photo is a combination of subject matter and personal taste. My recommendation is to go with less at this stage. You can always add more sharpening to targeted areas in your photo later in your workflow if needed. 140 Lightroom automatically creates a mask based on edge detail.
  141. 141. REDUCING NOISE At the beginning of this chapter I mentioned that reducing noise involves a certain amount of detail smoothing. We just looked at the set of tools designed to help enhance detail, so as we venture into noise reduction we want to keep the big picture in mind that these controls work together, and that we don’t want to undo all the sharpening work we just did. 141