How to Edit Photos in Lightroom

Knowing how to approach and execute post-processing correctly can substantially enhance your final images. This fantastic video guide will show you how to get it done in Lightroom. 

Coming to you from Pat Kay, this insightful video begins by demonstrating how to properly manage your initial shot settings. Kay emphasizes understanding the intent behind your shot. For example, he discusses an image of the famed Chureito Pagoda during the Sakura season, elaborating on why he chose to underexpose the image slightly to preserve highlight details. The explanation includes adjusting the preliminary settings in Lightroom to correct elements such as horizon leveling and lens corrections. Adjustments like rotating the crop to ensure a level skyline and adjusting lens corrections for distortion are foundational to creating a clean base image to work with.

Throughout the video, Kay progressively dives into exposure correction, which aims to set the image to a neutral baseline before diving into more creative editing. This involves managing the histogram effectively, raising shadows, lifting the blacks, and balancing the highlights and whites. This step ensures the image is balanced in tones and primed for detailed editing. In terms of the importance of contrast, he dives into creating an “S curve” using the tone curves, noting that adding contrast not only enhances the tonal range but also boosts perceived sharpness due to the added difference between darker and lighter pixels.

In further detail, Kay covers the essential steps of color correction and grading. This begins with white balance adjustments to set the mood of the image correctly, followed by global adjustments in vibrance and saturation for balanced color tones. He demonstrates the use of the HSL sliders to refine specific color values, enhancing the red hues to appear richer and adjusting blues to add a touch of elegance to the sky.

A critical component illustrated in the video is the use of the masking and gradient tools for targeted editing. Kay makes specific areas of the image, such as the Sakura flowers and Mount Fuji, stand out by painting over these areas with advanced tools like clarity and dehaze for added texture and contrast. This enhances the viewer’s attention to these key elements, ensuring a harmonious and captivating photograph. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Kay.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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