Ever since the invention of the first darkroom, the art of editing a photo has been one of the most essential steps in photography. Harnessing your post-processing skills can transform a good image into a great one and can bring out the charm and emotion of the scene you originally observed.
However, when it comes to the world of post-processing, it’s a whole other art form to be respected. Adobe Lightroom is one of the most widely-used image editing software and whilst a professional freelance photographer will be quite familiar with it, we wanted to share 5 simple but effective tips for the beginner photographer.
(1) Apply a Lightroom Preset upon import
A Lightroom Preset is a pre-determined position of all (or some) of the sliders in Lightroom. This essentially means that you can edit a photo to your liking, and then save that exact combination of slider positions for future use!
As well as uploading a Lightroom Preset, you can also create your own. However, you can extend this functionality a step further by automatically applying your chosen preset upon importing into the software. Incredibly useful if you’ve been out shooting all day and either have a bank of similar images or simply like a certain starting point.
To do this, use the ‘Apply During Import’ pane in the ‘Import’ dialog, and select which Lightroom Preset you’d like to apply automatically.
(2) Hold down the Alt/Option key when making adjustments
There’s plenty of effects that you can use on your images in the Develop module, and most of them are easy to immediately see. For example, if you increase the saturation, your photo will lose a bit of its colour. However, there are effects that aren’t quite as evident!
Fortunately, you can simply hold down the ‘Alt’ key (on PC) or ‘Option’ key (on Mac) whilst moving the adjustment slider to see more information live on your image. This helps you make the precise adjustments you want.
(3) Put the focus on your image with Lights Out mode
Although quite useful, sometimes you don’t want your focus to be interrupted by the Lightroom interface. Luckily, Lightroom have the answer to your woes! It’s called the Lights Out mode.
To enter Lights Out mode, simply press the ‘L’ key whilst in the Library module. This will cause the area surrounding your image to dim, and tapping it again will completely black out the area. By pressing ‘L’ a third and final time, you’ll reset the view.
(4) Removing pesky dust particles
No matter how clean your lens is, there’ll always be occasions where you’ll end up with dust particles on the sensor or lens glass. However, thanks to Adobe Lightroom, they’re easy to manage and remove.
Simply select the ‘Spot Removal’ tool (keyboard shortcut is ‘Q’) and then click the desired spot in your image. Lightroom will automatically remove it by cloning another area onto the spot. If Lightroom didn’t get it quite right, you can adjust where you’re cloning from by the moving circle that appears.
(5) Don’t forget to shoot in RAW!
Lightroom works best when processing RAW images, which offer the most latitude for making adjustments. Although you can also process and edit JPEGs, we’d recommend that you set-up your kit to shoot RAW to get the very best from the software.
Short of deleting your image entirely, every adjustment you make within Lightroom can be undone! Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore the software.
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