Category Archives: Lightroom

How to Adjust Exposure and White Balance in Lightroom for Big Results

Today’s post comes from Heather at Two Blooms – Lightroom Presets!

As photographers, sometimes we can make the mistake of not changing our camera settings under different lighting conditions. I can’t tell you how many times I have had the PERFECT shot, but it was underexposed because I failed to change my settings in that moment.

As digital photographers, we are very fortunate to have programs to help us recover a poorly exposed image, Lightroom in particular. I could go on and on about the benefits of using Lightroom as a professional photographer, but today I am just going to cover one point: exposure and white balance. I will guide you how easy and quick it is to correct an underexposed image.

As you can see, the photo I will be correcting today is very underexposed and also off in color (white balance).

before

To correct exposure and white balance, we will be working with the panel on the right hand side of our lightroom develop module.

2-before panel

 

Step one:

First thing I will do is change the exposure by sliding the exposure slider over to the right. Moving the slider to the right will over expose the original photo, as moving it to the left will under expose the original photo. As you can see, I have moved the slider to the right to a +1.07, which simply means I have added a 1.07 stop of light to the photo.

3-after exposure

 

Step two:

After bumping up the exposure, you can now see that the photo is slightly cool in color. This is a white balance issue that can also be fixed easily in Lightroom. To me, the photo looks slightly blue with a hint of magenta. With that observation, I have moved the temperature slider to the right to offset the blue tones; this creates a custom white balance in Lightroom (note that the WB option changed to “as shot” to “custom” after I changed the slider). To offset the magenta tones in the photo, I have also moved the tint slider 7 points to the left towards the green side.

4-after temperature

 

Just by correcting exposure and color temperature, the photo quality has drastically improved. Since I have also taken this photo in RAW format, the photo itself isn’t degraded and does not appear to have been corrected in post processing.

5-final

Heather is a lifestyle family photographer based out of Cincinnati, OH and also the owner of Two Blooms – Lightroom Presets. Visit Heather on her website or Facebook!

Why Lightroom?

I get emails all the time asking about the different programs available for photo editing.  I still do the bulk of my editing in Photoshop, but I find myself lately trying to do more and more of my editing in Lightroom for time’s sake.  Although most people think that Photoshop is a MUST for photographers, the truth is that lots of editing can be done in Lightroom!  Today’s post is a guest post by Heather Ford, owner of Two Blooms – Lightroom Presets.  She is going to share the reasons she uses Lightroom for the bulk of her workflow and show you her quick editing process!

 

final

Why Lightroom?

Lightroom; the unknown land of editing for many photographers. At least it was for me when I first began my journey into my own photography business. The only reason I purchased Lightroom was because I wanted to start shooting in RAW, and Lightroom 4 was strongly advertised as “non-destructive” to RAW files. At the time, I had no idea what that meant, but I am so glad that I chose to use Lightroom for my post-processing workflow.

lightroom4_logo

I remember the first time I opened up Lightroom; I was scared. I was in unknown territory and I had no one to guide me through it. Thankfully, I was able to find a lot of tutorials online about getting started. Slowly, I became more and more familiar with the program and its many uses. For a long time, I had only been using Lightroom to organize my RAW files and export them to my desktop to start editing in Photoshop. Can you blame me? I had no idea that you could do amazing things in Lightroom; Photoshop is what I was taught in school and what I was familiar with. So, why Lightroom?

Batch Editing

For me, the biggest reason I choose Lightroom over Photoshop is batch editing. Yes, I know you can also batch edit in Photoshop, but it’s just not the same. If you are a novice photographer and do well with getting correct exposure with every similar image, batch editing can quickly become your best friend. If you have several images with the same lighting and backgrounds, you can simply apply or “sync” the settings to every like image! When you are shooting consistently and nailing exposure in camera, you will be able to sync your photo settings with ease and you will save time! That is a big thing for me. I am a mother of two little rascals, a house wife, an entrepreneur, and small business owner; time is VERY valuable to me.

Viewing and Organization

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Firstly, importing in Lightroom is just incredible. After all of my images are imported to my catalog, I can view the entire folder in the order that they were taken. Then, I can “flag” or mark the images that I choose not to keep and later discard them from my folder. This is really important for me because, being a visual person, I can see all of my images next to each other and make the decision on which to keep and which to trash; that is something that I cannot do in Photoshop. Lightroom helps me organize my photos better and gives me that visualization to see my entire session. After I have made my selection, editing becomes a breeze with batch editing and using presets.

Presets

Presets, in one word: AMAZING. Very similar to Photoshop actions, presets help your editing process by applying settings in just one click. Sometimes you will need to adjust the settings of a preset, just like an action, because it’s not always a universal editing step for every lighting type and situation. Presets have literally saved my editing workflow and opened so many new doors in my life!

Original Files Unchanged

You have your finished photos ready to go, now what??? Exporting! There are many options in exporting your photos; image quality, image size, format, etc. If for some reason you need to go back and make changes to my photos, the original settings are still there. You can re-edit your catalog images many times and export them. You never lose your original data in Lightroom; how wonderful!!! I cannot tell you how many times I go back to a favorite image of mine and re-edit it with new techniques and styles. It’s also great that I have all of my original files in one place if I need to go back and look for a certain image for a client if they request it in color or black & white.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Lightroom can offer so much to your workflow if you are busy photographer like myself! Of course, there are some things that Lightroom cannot provide you with like Photoshop can, such as doing head swaps or performing major retouching work.  But for most all other photo editing functions, Lightroom works great. Lightroom allows me to spend less time in post-processing and more time focusing on other things, like my client relationships and marketing. I am also a stay at home Momma and I don’t enjoy spending hours on editing a session when I could be using that time playing with my kids. Lightroom has opened so many doors for me, I know it can do the same for you!

Now that you understand why Lightroom is a great editing software, I am going to demonstrate my very own editing process that I implement in every session that I edit.

My Lightroom Editing Process

This is how my image looks when I first import into Ligthroom. This being a RAW image, it lacks dimension and contrast.


 

The first thing I do when editing a photo like this is add a little bit of contrast. In this case, I am just going to darken the shadows. I just move my blacks slider to the left, you will see that it now reads -15 instead of 0.


 

Next, I go ahead and sharpen my image. Since this isn’t a close-up photo, I can get away with sharpening up to 100 on the scale. This part is a MUST do when exclusively editing RAW images in Lightroom.


 

Then, I go over to my presets folders and choose which kind of edit I am going for. In this case, I am wanting a bright edit, so I choose ‘snap crackle pop’ from the ‘TB Color Rush’ folder. This preset really packs a punch with dull, flat images and really brings out all of the details and color.


 

The last thing I do is figure out if I need to do anything else. The photo is a little of the cool side, so I go over to the temperature slider and slighting move it to the right to warm it up. This gives the photo a warm and inviting glow. Now I am finished and ready to export to my desktop.


 

Now that you have seen how simple it is to edit in Lightroom, what are you waiting for? Don’t waste anymore time in an editing program that isn’t efficient for your workflow just because you think there aren’t other options. I know you will find ease in editing with Lightroom and Two Blooms Lightroom presets!

-Heather Ford

 

Heather is a natural light lifestyle photographer based out of Cincinnati, OH. She is also the founder and owner of Two Blooms-Lightroom presets. Her two boys (whom Two Blooms was named after) are her driving force and her husband is her rock and guardian. They live a simple and frugal life in the countryside.

 Visit Heather at the Two Blooms website or on Facebook.

Editing Snapshots with Lightroom

 

Hello hello!  With the holidays right around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to show you how you can use Lightroom to quickly edit all the snapshots you’ll be taking!  Hopefully you will be taking lots of photos of the impending festivities.  :)

 

When I am taking snapshots, especially of my kids, my first priority is to capture the moment.  I don’t have time to mess with my camera, so I typically don’t shoot in Manual mode – I often shoot in Aperture Priority (AV) mode or Program (P) mode.  My white balance is on Auto (AWB).  I do still toggle my focus points to focus on the eyes, but I’m really just trying to get the shot before the moment passes. 

 

Since my camera doesn’t have a flash, indoor photos taken with an overhead light usually don’t come out pretty.  As a result, the images often need a little TLC.  Lightroom is the perfect tool.  :)  It is great for making quick, effective edits to your photos. 

 

For a basic clean edit in Lightroom, I typically adjust  white balance, exposure, brightness, and contrast  where necessary.

 

Here is my before snapshot:

Yikes!!  Can you say orange?!  My camera’s Auto White Balance setting obviously does not do a great job at adjusting the color of light in these scenarios.  If I had my camera on the ‘Tungsten’ White Balance setting (it looks like a light bulb), my results would have probably been better.  But again, I don’t usually have time to switch my camera settings for snapshots.

 

Okay, here we go.  :)  Once you are in Lightroom, make sure you are in the Develop module.

 

I am going to focus on the Basic Adjustments Panel.

 

Obviously we need to adjust the White Balance (the color of light).  I can just start adjusting the ‘Temp’ and ‘Tint’ sliders, but I am first going to see how close I can get using some of Lightroom’s tools.

 

Since I shot this photo in RAW format, I can use the built-in ‘Tungsten’ setting and it would be like I had used this setting in-camera (again, tungsten is for regular lightbulb-type light).  I clicked on the ‘WB’ options and chose Tungsten to see how this would affect my photo.

 

Here is the image now:

 

It looks a little better, but it’s not right yet. 

 

Another trick to try when adjusting white balance is to use the eyedropper tool and selecting the white of an eye.

 

The reason this often works is that the whites of the eyes are usually a neutral or close to it.  A ‘neutral’ is when Red = Green = Blue.  In other words, a neutral is white (R=255, G=255, B=255), black (R=0, G=0, B=0), and any shade of gray where the red, green, and blue values are the same.  They whites of the eyes are often a shade of gray, or close to it.

 

To try this method of correcting white balance, select the Eyedropper tool…

… and select the white of an eye…

 

Here is the image after setting the white balance using the eyedropper tool:

 

It will need some tweaks, but this white balance looks a little closer to accurate than the ‘Tungsten’ setting. 

 

Because this snapshot is also slightly underexposed, I made adjustments to the Exposure slider.  I also increased the Brightness and Contrast a bit.  Then I only had to tweak the ‘Temp’ and ‘Tint’ sliders a tiny bit because the ‘Eyedropper on the eye’ trick got the white balance pretty close!  Here are all the adjustments I made:

And here is the after snapshot:

 

Super quick, and a pretty dramatic difference!  It’s still a snapshot, but it’s one that will look much better in my photo album than the Before.  :)  The great thing is that I can copy the adjustments I made to this photo and paste them onto other photos in the series, saving me even more time.

 

So take out your cameras and get snapping over the holidays!  Making adjustments to your snapshots is super quick and easy with Lightroom.

 

PS – So in an attempt to make good choices over Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., I tried a new exercise video this morning.  It was a Billy Blanks dancing video, I thought it sounded fun.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I sure hope there are no hidden cameras in my basement, and I hope my family wasn’t spying on me.  I certainly won’t be winning any dance competitions anytime soon!!  What a sight I had to be!  :)  Oh well, I’m trying.

 

Have a great Thanksgiving!!