The Best of Lightroom: Chapters 5 & 6

In these two chapters, we learn about the most essential editing tools in Lightroom. From previews to tonal curves to understanding the difference between hue, saturation, and luminance value. It also explains the differences between tools that are similar yet serve a different editing purpose. These two chapters have it all.

A typical preview of an image is as basic as it gets whereas smart previews allow you to work on an image even if the original file isn’t available.

The process versions use camera raw to analyze, process, and have better control over color and tone details all while having fewer artifacts.

The white balance of an image is affected by the lighting of an image as well as what your camera can capture. By adjusting the white balance you can change the tone of an image from warm to cold. Although you can adjust the white balance in the camera settings, you can also adjust it when in Photoshop or Lightroom.

When using clone mode, you are able to select an exact spot on an image and place it anywhere on the image. This is best to use when patterns or textures are in the image. Heal mode is used for places in an image that have color transitions like the sky or skin.

The brush spot tool overlays a soft-edged adjustment to an image. It has marker pins to help guide the adjustment and can be made more or less opaque. The circle spot tool has no marker pins and the target area (within the circle) will be the only section that is adjusted. This tool is good for portraits and specifically editing blemishes.

The next few images are some examples of the basic tools listed above that you can use to edit your photos.

In this image, a spot removal tool was used to remove a third pole that was in the center of the sign. Along with that tool, the clone stamp was used to help blend the areas that were slightly distorted.
In this image, the spot removal tool was used to remove small wires. Like the image above, a clone stamp was also used to create touch up what the spot removal tool missed.
In this image, the spot removal tool was used to remove unwanted bits of paper that were not caught in the initial image. Because there is not much detail in the background and surroundings of what was removed, the clone tool was not needed to touch up this image.
In this image, the circle spot tool was used to remove dark spots on the skin as well as touch up the dark circles underneath the eyes without making a drastic change.
In this image the cat’s eyes were originally red but using the spot removal tool, the pupils are changed to black and look as natural. (Link to image)

Cropping and rotating:

Cropping and rotating an image can create a narrower focus for the person viewing the photo. Think of it as a way to tell them what to look at without actually telling them; their eyes are drawn to what is in the center of the photo whether the subject is in motion or not.

This image was cropped to get rid of excess background and surroundings, making the focus the skipping rock and the ripples in the water.
This image was cropped and rotated so there was less background and the subject of the photo was not sideways.
This image is rotated to create an illusion that is harder to notice; the hand is holding the glass sphere somehow without gripping or dropping it yet the subjects face is not upside down.
This image is cropped and rotated so there is less background and to give the glass spheres shadows a different composition; the shadows are cast on the bottom and right side and the reflection of light is on the top.
This image was cropped down to only two polaroid pictures for the purposes of this post. Getting rid of the third polaroid picture also helped improve how straight the photo is.

Now onto more basic tools.

The color imbalance is when the light in an image has a deficiency in color. This can be adjusted in Lightroom or Photoshop by adjusting the white balance as well as changing the white balance on your camera.

These next five images have had a color cast adjustment to bring out the color where it is needed.

The color adjusted in this image is the shade of the brightest blue as well as the white; it was enhanced to create a more glossy and vibrant look.
The paper in the foreground was adjusted to create more of a contrast between the blue colors. Although it is not obvious, the entire image is made of the same sheet of paper, which is also the same color.
The color adjustment in this image creates a cooler tone to the image without being too harsh.
The adjustments made in this image also created a cooler feeling image as well as brought out the craters in the moon so they are more visible, without straining the eyes.
The adjustments in this image create a warmer tone as if the star-lights are emitting heat to the umbrella and its surrounds.

A graduated filter is used to create a straight edge, a feathered mask, or to adjust specific areas that are overexposed. Each of these can be adjusted without affecting the rest of the image.

The graduated filter on this image helps the harshness of the light to fade out across the image rather than blowing out all the light areas. It also creates softened and hardened shadows on the fruit.

The tone curve is a more precise distribution of tonal range in an image. The image can be sharped while reducing the noise as well. The tone curve is best used after the image has been processed with basic tools in Lightroom or Photoshop. The tone curve is measured on an x-y axis. X is the input information. Y is the output of that information.

The hue, saturation, and luminance values are made up of each color pixel. The most common combination of these values is RGB (red, green, blue). The values can be calculated from RGB values and vice versa. Hue is more natural than RGB values and you can darken or lighten specific colors; it is the color wheel. Saturation is the boldness/intensity of those hues and can range from neutral to vivid. The luminance values are a measurement of brightness in a color and can range from white (minimum) to black (maximum).

In this image, an adjustment brush tool was used (editing with camera RAW) to remove some unwanted lights in the background of the image.
In this image, the colors are adjusted selectively meaning that each hue (red, green, blue, yellow, etc) was adjusted individually rather than the entire image being adjusted on one scale. This allows for different tones in each piece of the image so it can come together as a whole.

To convert an image to black and white, open your RAW image in Lightroom. Select the image from the filmstrip on the screen and select “B & W” on the HSL/Color/BW header. After this, you can view the image in Loupe view to see the mixture of colors. You can manually adjust the image or adjust only the black and white hues of the image.

Converting an image to black and white allows for more movement and mistakes in an image. For example, fuzziness can be a part of aesthetic in a black and white image whereas if the image were in color it would be distracting.

Being able to refer to the Lightroom book (specifically chapters five and six) makes learning the platform easier. And though it can be fun to wing it, it is also fun to remember how you made your edits to your image; having the chapters nearby/ as a resource helps with that.