How I Edit My Images With Lightroom
Editing blog images on Adobe Lightroom can be an absolute minefield at first, but with even a small nudge in the right direction, it can become a game changer for you blog. The internet is so saturated and with the visual aspect playing such a big role, having good strong photography is a major plus. Initially, I put these strong images down to the camera, but soon learned just as much comes from the person behind it and the work that comes after you put the camera down. The very first time I edited an image, I was around 10, and following an online tutorial to the tee. I was creating a fancy-schmancy desktop background of Hilary Duff and with armed with my step-by-step instructions my desktop was envious. I've been an Adobe Photoshop loyalist ever since but I can no longer justify the time it takes me to edit a full image set. I gave Adobe Lightroom a try in a hope to cut my editing time down (any Photoshop users will understand the struggle) and although the program was a minefield at first, it has since changed my editing process for good. I've put together a quick step-by-step guide of the steps I take edit my own images, although these may not the way to do it, this is the way I edit my own images, and it is the way I've found most time effective.
In the middle of the colder months, I want my images to be warm and inviting. While in summer I'm happy to cool them down and make everything white and bright, mid November the last thing I want is a cool tone. The Treatment tool in Lightroom makes controlling this extremely easy, albeit sensitive. Temperature works within an extremely small range and this means that the slightest adjustment can change an image completely. For this image, I went to +10, but I'll generally play around with the scale until my image is warm, but not yellow. This depends on your own taste, but play with the scale until you reach your ideal.
If there's one thing I love in a blog it's vibrant images. When I first started shooting pictures on my DSLR, I was surprised at how dull and lack lustre they could look in comparison to what I would see in front of me in real time. These images can be brought back to life through a quick edit. I'll always up my Clarity, (not really needed on an image shot on a DSLR) by 5 or so, just enough to make it really sharp. I'll then slide the Vibrancy right up, anywhere between 30-70 dependent on the image I'm working on, and then almost contradictory, I'll reduce the saturation, as often the colour will be a little bit too in your face.
Adusting the Tone of an image can transform it completely, but for me, it's where I tend to go awry. When I started with Lightroom I spent hours fiddling with Exposure/Blacks/Whites, going round in circles each time. I would lose clarity and end up with a dull and/or over exposed pictures in a worse state than what I started with. I discovered the Tone Curve in Amber's post, and it transformed the way I edit. I no longer touch the toggles under 'Presence' unless something is drastically wrong with the image, i.e VERY under exposed. Instead I'll make by changes by making a slight sideways 'S' on the curve, being careful not to over expose or flatten my image.
I may love vibrancy, but I'm also not a big fan of too much colour. I'll often dilute the background colour, whether that be of the sky, of the sea, or the grass. I use the sliders under HSL, and it's as simple as choosing any overbearing colour and reducing the saturation. It's different for every image, but it's so easy to make small adjustments until you finally get the desired look. The screenshots have dulled down the end result, but you can still see the difference that a few small steps can make to a picture.
In this particular example, I may have warmed it up too much and removed too much blue for others liking, but my Instagram is very much yellow toned and this allows everything to look cohesive over there. The editing process is simple enough, but what really makes Lightroom a game changer is the ability to apply these settings to a full photo set. On this particular day, after sifting through and deleting the images where my finger was covering the lens (more than you would think), I had 75 photos to edit. On Photoshop it used to take me 10 minutes or so to edit an image, and with 75 images you can imagine how long this would take me. Lightroom gives you the option to easily copy all of the edit's you've made to an image, and then apply them to a set. As you can see below, I've chosen three other images taken on the same day and simply duplicated my edit. None of these are perfect, but the outcome even before any tweaks is a quick, easy and effective edit. It goes without saying I'd go through and alter the contrast or colour in each, but these changes would take seconds, rather than the 10 minutes it would take me on Photoshop. Using the same editing process for an entire image set means by blog posts have a cohesive look, and it's easy to create a 'theme' on Instagram without actually having to try for one.
I love the options that Photoshop gives, but I also love not having to spend six hours editing one set of photos, which Lightroom allows me to do. For blog images I cannot recommend the program enough, like most Adobe products, it is on the pricier side for myself I have an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Subscription, which costs me £9.98 a month and means I have access to both Photoshop and Lightroom, and I get more than my money's worth. If your not convinced you can try a Free Trial, but I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.