Lightroom 101: Basic Panel with Colleen Bies Photography

January 13, 2019

Lightroom 101: Basic Panel with Colleen Bies Photography

(transcription below)

I’m recording this because I had done a Lightroom 101 class in my home, just to kind of show other photographers some of the simple things, or the things that I think are pretty simple and basic in Lightroom, that I think everyone should know when you’re using Lightroom for editing, whether you’re editing portraits or weddings or whatnot.

So, just to start off right away, I’m going to make the assumption that everyone knows to import their photos into Lightroom so that they can actually start working on them. We’re going to be in the develop module first, so I’m going to pull that down a little bit here, so you can see.

Lightroom has this library where, that’s where all your images kind of live there. That’s your library where you can import your photos in from there, and choose where you want to work on your images, like if you have multiple folders that you have imported into one Lightroom catalog, but I would highly recommend using one Lightroom catalog per folder of images that you have. So, for example, every session should have its own Lightroom catalog. That’s just my recommendation. Otherwise, you do it however works for you and your workflow.

So, here we have the library, the develop, MacBook slide show print web. Honestly, I just library and develop, and I really don’t go into anything else. You can probably find a lot of other tutorials that go through everything else, but today I’m just going to be working in the develop module.

And in the develop module today, I just want to talk though just the basics panel, so I’ll do multiple little ones, so if you only want to watch one portion versus another, you don’t have to watch the whole entire thing and skip through it. You can just watch one portion.

Today, I’m just going to go through the basics panel with you all, and in this basics panel, so you can see right here, let’s collapse all of these, and we’ll just open. So you have this basics panel, tone curve, HSL color, split tone, detail, lens correction, transform, effects, calibration. Today, we’re just focusing on basic.

With our basic panel, you can choose the treatment if you want color or black and white. So, black and white’s super simple, it actually just takes everything into black and white. So you don’t have to change it, it will automatically change your profile here to Adobe monochrome.

But, if you want to do it in color, I think it actually defaults to Adobe color. You can choose to do Adobe landscape, portrait, standard, vivid. I just have these two in here because if you click on “browse,” in your profile, you can actually browse and choose if you want different profiles. So, like eight. If I wanted this modern eight profile, I could choose to make that my profile, and you can actually use this slider to enhance that effect or not so much.

I don’t use this at all, but it’s just kind of interesting to take note, if you are someone that’s curious and wants to do something a little bit different to your images, especially if you’re looking to really add something that looks a little bit different, but then consistent at the same time. This is the way to more or less put a filter on it, and I’m sure I’m not using the technical terms. By no means am I an expert in this. I’m just going off of what I’ve used in the past and what I know within Lightroom and kind of the dumbed down version, I suppose, of how I use it, because I don’t get that technical with my editing.

So, let’s go ahead. I’m going to close that, and we’re going to keep this at Adobe colors. So we can go back to the way it was, fully normal. You can always hit “reset” if you’re thinking that you need to reset back to the original.

So, with that, I keep it at Adobe color. So, this is your white balance here. If you’ve done anything with white balance, most of you know, you can choose to add shot, auto, daylight, cloudy, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, whatnot. Those are all the same settings that you have the ability to change on your camera as well. If you decide to keep it in auto, and then you want to just kind of modify your white balance in Lightroom afterwards, this is a good way to do it.

You can always use this dropper, which I call a color picker. Not a technical term, again, but it’s your white balance selector, or dropper, or color picker, however you want to call it. What you can do is click on that, and then what you want to do is find a white or grayish area within your image, and the idea is that, you see these numbers underneath here where it says, “Pick a neutral target” and reds, RGBs, so your reds is 93.9, 94.2, 97.6.

Ideally, what you’re looking for is you’re looking to find something that’s going to be in that gray, neutral tone, gray or white, that’s very neutral, that’s going to come as close as you can to those same numbers. So, this is 65.6, 65.7, 67.8. It’s kind of pretty darn close, so I might choose that and make that a little bit easier for choosing where I want my white balance.

So, you can see, this is the before the white balance, and this is the after the white balance. Obviously, beforehand, it was a little bit cooler, so once we change to the after, you can see that. And I’m doing that by hitting the backslash button just above my return key, so in between my delete and return key on my keyboard, if you click on that, you’ll be able to toggle between your before and your after right in the image.

All right. So, moving forward. If you don’t want to do that, you can literally just choose to use your white balance by using these color temperatures. You can choose the color temperature, you can choose the tint, and let’s just undo those because we don’t want that, but that’s just to give you an idea of what you can do.

Here we have our exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks. I actually do all of my other adjustments, so I do all of these adjustments, tone curve through calibration first, and I have a preset that I’ve created for all of those items, and then the only thing I have to do after I’ve applied my preset upon import to all my images is I just go through my basics panel and I make my adjustments from there.

Exposure is pretty simple. It’s just how you want to expose your image. So, if you click and drag, you can see in my histogram right up here that my exposure is going up, up, up and away, which we don’t want that. All right?

So, at any point in time, if you just double click on your sliders, they will automatically return to where they started at. So, that’s an easy little trick if you wanted to just get back to normal, if you weren’t sure, and you want to go back. There’s also this history panel on the back side here, so you can actually go back from the beginning of when you imported it all the way till where you are right now. So, that kind of makes it pretty simple.

And actually, we’re going to go back to the history, and I actually just want to go back to where my white balance was, because that’s where I want to keep it. Yes. My white balance was right there and I want to keep it that way.

Your contrast is again, it’s just your contrast between your blacks and the whites. This is like overall contrast, though, so it’s going to do it to everything within your image. If you look at that histogram, you notice that everything is kind of scrunching out and about, and the further I go out, the more that contrast splits off between the two and then the less contrast, because everything’s coming together, and it’s making that very faded, very flat, dull look. So, that’s your contrast.

Your highlights are affecting your highlights, so your very, very bright portions. So, these bright portions are highlights. These are your midtones right here, and on your histogram, these are your black shadows area.

With that being said, if you … I’m on a Mac, so I apologize, I don’t know what it is on a PC. I used to, but I’ve been on a Mac for so long that I don’t remember anymore. But if you hit the alt-option key while you’re on this highlight slider, so I’m pushing that down right now, and if I click on the highlights, and I pull that back or forward, that’s actually going to show me where my highlights are.

So, if I see my highlights are there, I can keep coming back, back, back, back, back, and right about there, I don’t see anything anymore. So that means all my highlights are good, I’ve been able to rescue any of my blown-out highlights. They’ve been rescued, and all the way there.

If you find that you take your highlight slider and you slide it all the way to the left, and nothing has … you still have white spots all over your screen, if your screen still looks like this even after you slid your highlights all the way down, that means that those highlights are completely blown out. There is no detail at all in them left, and no matter how far down you go on your highlights, you’ll never rescue them. So, I would only go down on your highlights up until the point where you can still rescue what you can. But anything that you can’t rescue, I wouldn’t go down any further, because then it is actually going to change the look and feel of your image.

You can do the same thing with your shadows by clicking that alt-option key, and also doing the same thing. So, at some point, again, this is going to show you where your shadows are going to be all gone, where you can rescue all of your shadows or not. There’s a little tiny piece right in here that if you click on here, there’s a little yellow spot that you can see there on the screen, and that means that that’s pretty dark and you might not be able to bring the shadows back in from there. So. that gives you an idea. Otherwise, you can just do it simply by look, and you can look at your shadows and choose where you want to see everything.

This works with your whites, again, same thing with just all the whites within your image versus your highlights, and then same with your blacks. So your blacks, if you see anything that, if you go all the way here … so when you bring the blacks to the right, what you’re doing is you’re shifting your blacks up, so you’re making them brighter. You’re bringing more light to your blacks, and if you shift them down, you’re bringing them down. You can kind of look at that. You can see that in the histogram as well and how that’s changing. So, that’s an idea of what it is with your blacks.

And again, use the alt-option key as you’re changing some of these, because it will give you a good idea of where you want to stop, if you don’t want to blow out your blacks or blow out your highlights or your whites or whatnot. You can do the same thing with exposure as well, and I think … no, not with contrast.

Your clarity slider. So, for your clarity slider, this can be kind of an interesting issue for me. Again, I don’t know a lot of the technical terms, but me, clarity is moreso your contrast within your midtones. So, anything within this midtone area, so from here to here, that’s what I’m thinking, between your shadows and before it gets to your highlights, anything within that midtone area, to me, that’s what clarity is affecting. And it’s more so affecting your textures. So, some people could consider it like a part of sharpening, but it’s not technically sharpening, but it does add more clarity to your image.

Here we go. High, high clarity at 100%, and low, low clarity at zero. So, it gives you an idea of what that looks like. Sometimes you might want to go to a small clarity level if you want to try to almost soften skin without softening skin, but just keep in mind that that’s going to end up softening your overall image. If you’re doing a lot of details with a lot of texture, then bring it up a little bit, but really, it’s up to you and how you want to see that.

And then, your dehaze is just whether or not you want to add haze or take away haze, especially like if you’re shooting into sun, you want to take away some of that haze from the sunlight, that’s a good spot for you to just take that slider and dehaze some of that out.

Your vibrance, a lot of times with vibrance and saturation … saturation is simple. Saturation is literally just the saturation of all of the colors within the entire photograph, where your vibrance is moreso thinking about the contrast within your colors. For example, if I bring my saturation all the way up, I’ll see that their skin tones are super orange, right? But I bring the vibrance up, it’s not saturating their skin tones. It’s just taking the contrast of color within their faces, and upping it a little bit more. So, that’s kind of your difference between vibrance and saturation, or at least where I think it is.

But, I am coming close to 15 minutes, which is all the limit that I get in this recording. That is the basics panel. The next video I’ll do, I’m going to talk about the tone curve a little bit, and then we’ll go on from there, and if you want to keep up, you can always follow me on my YouTube channel. Otherwise, I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, but I’ll post a couple things here and there as I see them, and just general knowledge of things in Lightroom and even Photoshop as I see maybe are needed in the creative community, especially for photographers and whatnot.

That’s all that I have. Thank you guys so much. I hope to see you guys again soon. Bye!

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