Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lightroom Lesson



It has been awhile since the last Lightroom lesson, so today seemed like a good time to provide another one. Compare the BEFORE and AFTER photos of the dogwood blossom above. Look at the differences in the richness of tones and colors, of the depth, of the dimensionality.

The Before image looks OK until you compare it to the After. The whites are brighter, the greens more lively, the blues richer, and the contrast has been improved. Just a few very simple steps in Lightroom created this transformation which took less than 5 minutes.

This was shot on a sunny day, but the flower was in shadow. You can see some bright sunlight on the edges of the leaves, and the blue sky. In the original, the flower looked muted and flat. To improve the look of this image, and to make it look more like it did when I took the shot, here is what was done:

1. lighten the shadows by moving the Shadows slider to +64
2. soften the image slightly by moving the Clarity slider to -18
3. increase overall Saturation by +47
4. darken the blue sky (using the Blue Luminance slider in the HSL panel) to -22
5. increase the reddish tone on the petals (using the Purple Saturation slider in the HSL panel) to +28
6. brighten the green leaves (using the Green Luminance slider in the HSL panel) to +38

That's it. Six simple steps in just a few minutes improved this image significantly. Note that the information provided is not a recommendation or a template for adjustments to other images. It worked well for this image, but in each case optimization settings must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Shutter Speed 1/640 sec.  Aperture f/9.  ISO 400. Lens: Canon 100mm macro f/2.8L IS.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself."  --Coco Chanel


  1. Thank you for the wonderful lessons you provide. After the class in Richmond and with these follow-up lessons my photography has improved so much that I'm receiving compliments on my work.

    Always your student,

    Trish Brock

  2. That is GREAT news, Trish! I really appreciate your letting me know! If you have friends or colleagues interested in taking a Lightroom class, I can always arrange an "on demand" special class if there is enough interest.