Why This Photographer No Longer Uses Sliders to Edit His Images

There is a veritable plethora of ways to edit any image, and each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. This interesting videos discusses why one photographer chose to stop editing using sliders, instead relying solely on local adjustments. 

Coming to you from Thomas Heaton, this fascinating video follows him as he discusses why he edits his images solely with local adjustments now. While this may take a bit longer, I find it to be quite the intriguing method. The most obvious benefit is that you build the image up from scratch. Whereas with global adjustments, you'll eventually have to tweak local areas, starting with local adjustments allows you to bypass this. I personally think this makes the process of editing more immersive, simply because you're focused on each individual detail throughout the process. On the same token, it's important to take time to zoom out and examine the image as a whole. I personally find that it's easier to go overboard with local adjustments, which might not be clear until one zooms out and sees them in context. Check out the video above for Heaton's full thoughts. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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16 Comments

Stephen Holmes's picture

I see editing locally to be philosophically similar to shooting film. It slows you down, makes you think about and carefully consider the changes you're making and why you'd make them. It forces you to immerse yourself in the image (in the same way you consider exposing a film exposure for a given scene). I have to say, I do like the approach :)

Perfectly decent idea except for Lightroom's pathetically slow masking brushes and their relatively crude selection controls.
I would add that the example file is hardly a heavy lift for editing in any regime.
For commercial work LR is a start but hardly the end. So much editing requires very precise masking and blend modes that precludes LR.
Better to open as smart object in PS and then use smart adjustment layers.

Jaap Venhovens's picture

Exactly my thoughts, if you're doing many local adjustments, use photoshop. Way more options (blending modes etc), better organisation/overview on your edits and LR slows down to tedious levels with each local adjustment.

Logan Cressler's picture

I agree with you, and hate lightroom because of its terrible performance with local adjustments especially if you have LC turned on.

However, for a landscape photographer like Thomas, who is just editing a landscape and doing one or two at a time, I really dont think this is an issue, and I will say, that using at least some local adjustments can make landscapes radically better for most photographers that dont use lightroom.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Its quite amazing what Heaton has been doing with his images. He is a photoshop rookie, but that has had little to no effect on the quality he has been producing over the past few years.

Just because someone is a 'YouTuber' doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Followers and subscribers have surpassed actually skill and creditability.

William Faucher's picture

Except Thomas Heaton is a humble dude. I enjoy watching his stuff. Its slow-paced and less technical, but he has this oldschool spirit that I enjoy greatly. Its an opinion piece, not fact. Photography is art, its all about what YOU think and what works for you as an individual. He expresses his thoughts to others, but in no way does that mean you have to take his word for it.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Local adjustments are something I often used to overlook, but I’m trying to work on more and more. They really can make an image to from good to portfolio grade.

I love Thomas’ videos, however, the unfortunate part of his photo editing video is that they suffer from the same thing every pro’s videos do. If you’re not using the CC version, some of the features don’t apply to you. Sadly the version of Lightroom I’m using doesn’t have the luminosity feature.

This is a really useful technique. Any advice or videos for a similar technique for us non-subscribing Adobe using plebs?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

To me it's still using sliders, just locally. May be the title is not complete.

Logan Cressler's picture

"Why T̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶P̶h̶o̶t̶o̶g̶r̶a̶p̶h̶e̶r̶ Thomas Heaton No Longer Uses Sliders to Edit His Images"

FIFY

David Penner's picture

Says he doesn't use sliders but still uses sliders just locally. Out of all the photographers he shoots with he is the most popular but seems to be the least experienced.

Logan Cressler's picture

I guess that shows the importance of personality when you are making videos for people to consume

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Anyone else getting a British digital Bob Ross feel? A BDBR if you will. 😂 The music and describing the edits etc. ☺️

The headline is very misleading. The article is about local vs global adjustment rather than about not using sliders. Sliders are used to set the values for both local and global adjustments. I might expect a little more precision in language here.

Scott Mason's picture

A bit different approach, but having adjustment layers which you can revert back to is useful. It's the way I learned how to edit! This is almost the same idea, but the Lightroom version.

Wow! People still use LR?! I can do everything he did with one program called Capture One Pro 12. I rarely have the need to use PS in my workflow.