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!
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.
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?
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, 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, 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 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.