Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Newbie's Guide to Editing in Lightroom

Hello and happy Friday everyone!  So this past weekend I didn't get a chance to photograph my latest project which meant that I had nothing to edit and share with you guys. I know--booooo

I typically take my blog pictures on the weekend and then work on the posts throughout the week.  A big part of the work is actually in the photo editing and I would say it's probably what I spend most of my time on. But not as much time as I used to spend on my old photo editor!  So it got me thinking and actually inspired me to take this week to share something a little bit different from the norm with you all today.

I've been blogging for almost 3 and a half years and up until last fall I used a basic free online editing program called Fotor.  It worked decently well and was better than nothing, but I could never get them to turn out quite exactly how I wanted them to. 

I'd heard amazing things about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 but kept putting off purchasing it because well...I'm super cheap. However when I got a new laptop I decided to finally get on board and you guys--I am so happy that I did!

Although I was super excited to edit my first photo, I was also mighty intimidated. Any type of change really can be scary, but I was determined to start getting some better pictures. I still have loads to learn, but I want to share my very simple method for editing photos in Lightroom with you guys in case any of you are considering switching over.  Key word being  "simple" because I am not an expert in any way shape or form! All right, enough chit chat--let's get started!

1.  Import

The first step is getting the photos imported.  After going to File and selecting Import this screen will pop up.

I've learned that there are actually a couple of different ways to do this, but the easiest way for me is to save the photos that I want to edit from my SD card to a folder on my hardrive and then open it up in front of Lightroom like so. From here I simply select and drag the photos directly into the Import screen. Easy peasy!

Once they load I then click "Import" down on the bottom right of the screen.

2. Editing

Next, I click on the Develop tab to take me into the editing where all of my photos are neatly displayed on a slider along the bottom. I like that you can scroll through them and go back and forth between each one which is something that I couldn't do in Fotor. Now it's time for the real fun!

The first thing that I like to do is click the auto button because it will automatically adjust the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks.  Pretty cool, right?

I almost always tweek them a little bit but this feature is an amazing time saver to get me started.

My favorite part is turning up the clarity. This really makes the photo look crisp and closer to how it looks in real life. However I've learned that you have to be careful about going too crazy here because too much of it can make the photo start to look grainy and we don't want any of that!

I then scroll down to the sharpening section. The auto button that I clicked on earlier also adjusts this but I usually like to add a little more.  I also turn up the luminance because it really smooths the whole image out and gives it a nice polished look.

It may be hard to tell here, but if you look at the TV screen in the picture above and compare to the one below you can see that turning up the luminance completely removed that little bit of grain that was starting to show.

3. Exporting

Once I am happy with how it looks I click on the bubble on the upper right corner of the image on the slider below to save it to something called the Quick Collection.

When I am ready to save all of my images, I go to the lower left corner and change the view to Library Grid and select Quick Collection.  I then hit control + left click on all of the images that I want to save.

After they have been selected I hit control + shift + E to bring up the Export screen.  You could also go to File, Export.  From here I save them to the folder and rename them. I also have them resized to fit my blog.

Finally I add a beautiful watermark in one simple click.  In Fotor I had to manually create it for every single image I created and it was the worst!  It's so nice to have it done automatically for me.

And that's really all there is to it!  Well at least all that I have learned so far. Let's take a look at a before and after. This is what the photo looked like straight off of my camera with no editing:

Keep in mind that because I shoot in RAW they always look super dark when I first load them to my computer.  This how it looks after getting a little bit of magic treatment in Lightroom:

Pretty darn amazing, right?!  I'm so happy that I finally took the plunge and I can safely say that it has been money well spent. 

Besides the beautiful quality of the photos I would have to say that I love Lightroom because of how much time it helps me save.  I almost forgot to mention that there is a preset option that you can use so that you can copy and paste all of your settings on to other photos.  So if you have a whole batch that were taken in the same lighting conditions you can drastically cut down on editing time because you aren't starting from scratch on each one.

If any of you have any tips or see something that I'm missing I would absolutely love to hear about it in the comments!

Alright my sweet friends I hope you enjoyed today's post, and you all have an incredible three day weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

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