This is not your typical How To Use Lightroom article. I want to share my story and reasons why I use Lightroom to edit my photos. After you understand the 5 photo editing tips, or reasons, I hope you are then able to decide if Lightroom is the right software for you.
I am a photographer with a varied history of experience and levels of expertise.
As a teenager, I focused solely on attempting to permanently capture special memories or moments that made an impression upon me personally. I had no training or expertise. I did not even comprehend basics such as the rule of thirds. Looking back on those old pictures I don’t see any images that are inspiring or contain any level of “wow factor”. They are still, however, important to me from a sentimental viewpoint and certainly serve the purpose for which they were captured.
I bring these old photos into this discussion because their relevance lies in the foundation they provide to all my current endeavors. I look on my development as a photographer as an extensive line of baby steps that encompassed decades. The images I shoot today are certainly of a much higher quality due to better equipment and increased knowledge, but I still see the influence of those early images. They are the heart and soul of my current work, the basis of my passions. I photograph what impacts me as a person and as an artist. That individual style forged from the heart is what truly makes the difference in the images we produce.
The advent of digital cameras certainly revolutionized photography. For me the real revolution came in my discovery of program software such as Lightroom. Currently I integrate Lightroom and Photoshop as part of my normal processing to accomplish my final vision for all my images.
Lightroom is my primary work horse and about 90 percent of my photo processing is done there. I shoot in raw and make every effort to dial my images in at the time of capture so that composition, light, and subject are all what I envision. After obtaining the desired images, I return home and enter my 21st century dark room, my office. This is where the final step of the image creation occurs.
Lightroom is a powerful tool for image organization, but the full potential is not easy to grasp. These resources are very helpful to learn all about organization in Lightroom:
When it’s time to select the images I want to process, the layout of the work window is very conducive to evaluating and choosing images you want to keep or discard. It allows me to easily move from one image to another as I compare and critique them.
This is where Lightroom really shines. The software allows you complete control over image aspects such as contrast, exposure, and highlights. The software also provides many options pertaining to color and shade. I find Lightroom to be easier, quicker, and more complete than Photoshop in basic image processing.
Black and White, Sepia, or altered temperature images can be easily created with presets or tool bars. Lightroom allows you to create or download setting presets so you can have photo editing with one click!
Lightroom also provides many brush options that allow a great deal of detailed processing work to be done. We have all dealt with images that contain flaws within specific portions of the photo that detract but do not destroy.
A good example of this would be one that I have dealt with in photographing bald eagles on occasion. It can be easy to capture the image with the bald eagle head too bright with no highlights, as seen above.
When I set the palette brush to highlight adjustment, it allows specific correction to the eagle’s head to bring out the detail without affecting the rest of the image. The various palette brushes available allow a great deal of artistic expression in establishing a mood or message within your image.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging uses three photos, taken at different exposures, to create a more complete image. You use editing software like Lightroom to put those three images together and highlight the best parts of each photo.
Lightroom is a tremendous tool for creating a panoramic image. Once the challenging field work of capturing the various images is complete, it lets you easily merge those photos of a landscape into a breathtaking panorama.
You can see a quick preview of the panorama and make adjustments to it before the merged image is generated, making it simple and user friendly.
I do most major repair or alteration work in Photoshop. Lightoom makes it easy to move the image directly to Photoshop. This is a big time saver. I complete all my basic processing in Lightroom, move the image to Photoshop for any major repair or alteration I desire to do, then save the image back to Lightroom.
In the photo above, I wanted to remove the person hiking underneath Double Arch at Arches National Park. I circled the hiker in the photo. I applied the landscape presets I like to use in Lightroom then moved the image to Photoshop where I removed the hiker.
After removing the hiker, I saved the image back to Lightroom and saved the completed photo.
Lightroom itself has many repair features that are quick and helpful that don’t require the use of Photoshop. The software provides exceptional spot removal, red eye repair, and cropping tools. There are also tools for noise reduction and sharpening that are very effective and easy to use.
For me, the discovery of Lightroom was the capping stone in my creative process. I had used Photoshop for years but incorporating Lightroom into my photography repertoire dramatically improved my organization and processing speed.
I recommend Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers. It’s $9.99 a month for access to the best photo editing software – Lightroom and Photoshop. The monthly subscription program means you don’t pay for one version of software then pay at a later date when there is an upgraded version released. You have access to all the latest upgrades all the time!
Camera Gear: We rely on our Camera Gear Checklist to make sure we pack the necessary, and possibly needed, equipment in our camera bag.
We utilize Pinterest to organize the information when researching travel locations. Photo Jeepers has a Photo Tips board and Travel Photography board where we only pin things we have read and find worthwhile. Use our boards to help you become a better photographer. Save this to your photography boards and share with your friends!
Resources for travel photography, hiking and outdoor adventure we recommend and use: