Welcome back again guys, hope you all are doing fine. Today, we take a quick look at the Adobe Lightroom and some of its basic features. Many of you might be thinking what Adobe Lightroom is.

Adobe Lightroom is an image processing software and it is basically used for processing images taken out from a camera or phone. Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom is not capable of using layers, merging images, or rendering any text or 3D objects. On the other hand, it is capable of performing extensive but non-destructive editing of images. Lightroom is used by many well-known photographers as well as amateurs. Once you get a hang of it, I bet its that simple to use but immensely powerful. Now that we have a small idea of what Lightroom is, let’s jump into the walk-through!


Lightroom is based on certain workflows:

Library:


The Adobe Lightroom has an inbuilt library system that manages the collection of images that one intends to edit or process. It basically sports functions such as importing, exporting and organizing images based on their metadata or exif. The library would look something like this:

1LR1

The import option in the File menu at the top left will show up as the image below:

1LR2-Import

Develop:

This is where most of the magic of Lightroom lies. This includes all the functions that a full scape photographer needs to retouch his/her image successfully and effectively.

Let’s see what they are:

The Histogram:

It gives all the info regarding the opened image in the form of a graph. From left to right, the order of info is as follows: Blacks-Shadows-Exposure-Highlights-Whites. You can see these areas in the graph by hovering your mouse over the vertical lines inside the histograms. Read more on Histograms here.

1LR3-Develop-Histogram

Now , not everyone looks at the histogram to edit their pictures and never will it always end up into a good image by doing so. Furthermore, right below the histogram there is a space for showing the basic exif details/metadata of the image which includes the ISO, Focal Length, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

Tools:

The Lightroom has six basic tools right below the histogram. They are:

  • Crop tool: to crop the image
  • Spot Removal tool: to remove spots, pimples, dust etc
  • Red-Eye Correction tool: to correct the red color in eyes
  • Graduated Filter tool (M): horizontal/vertical selective adjustment
  • Radial Filter tool (Shift+M): effects like vignette and other radial adjustments
  • Adjustment Brush tool (K): Brush is the most useful tool of all I use because it gives the power to select objects exclusively (unlike the above two filters) by simply brushing over them.

LR1-Tools

Basic:

This development section/panel deals with the basic color correction and exposure adjustments like those mentioned in the histogram plus some clarity and saturation. This section helps in bringing out the true colors or even in exaggerating them. 😉

1LR3-Develop-Basic

The adjustments are done using sliders that take both negative and positive values. Before you learn further, I would suggest you guys to try these options and see how its going. Once you master this, you can head over to the more advanced sections below the Basic.

P.S: Over doing some of the options can result in noise in the image, like over doing clarity or increasing shadows way to much can produce noise in the darker regions.

Tone Curve:

Many of us use this term ‘tone’. We say, “awww that pic has got some awesome tone to it”. Well, this curve can’t achieve all the effect you wish for, but it helps in setting the basic tone to the image. A tone curve is a curve that has four sections: Shadows-Darks-Lights-Highlights. As you can infer from these names, the tone curve decides the transition from the shadows of the image to the highlights.

1LR4-Tone

It can produce smooth shadows or harsh highlights or pleasing highlights and whites as well. It all depends on how you manipulate the curve using your mouse! You can set the curve using the sliders just below it as well. Read more about Tone Curves here.

HSL / Color / B&W:

HSL or Hue-Saturation-Luminance section/panel helps in defining the amount of colors present in the image. It makes the image to pop out certain colors over the other or diminish the color as well. The same goes with Color, where there is more flexibility on each color or in other words, Color is another layout arranged or viewed by color instead of viewing all at once.

1LR5-HSL

B&W basically converts the image into Black and White, but even then you can manipulate the amount of black and white based on the presence of colors. As we know, the level of black and white in an image represents the luminance of colors.

More about HSL/Color/B&W over here. 😀

Split Toning:

Split toning is used to separately tone the highlights and shadows with their own Hue and Saturation. You can warm up the image by applying yellowish Hue to the highlights of the image or cool the image by applying blueish Hue to the highlights.

1LR8-Split-Toning

Playing with shadows is a bit tricky than highlights as there is a little/any information for the LR to work with and may result in image noise. Now this, to a certain limit is possible in a good way, if the image is RAW as it will usually contain more information.

Detail:

Well, you can guess what this panel/section is about. Here you can sharpen the image and add noise correction to the image. By now then many of you might be thinking, well if you can sharpen the image in post, you can then get an out of focus image or blurred image to be sharp on the eye? Well, NO. That is never possible. This tool only helps in popping the pixels out in order to emulate/enhance digital sharpness.

1LR6-Detail

For an image to be sharpened in post, the image has to be in tad sharp focus out of the camera itself. What I mean to say by that is, suppose you have a portrait of someone, and you tried to focus on their eye. If you have focused well, the eyes would have already been in great focus, but if you move while you capture, then the eyes are thrown out of focus. In the second case, am afraid the Sharpening won’t help you to bring back the sharp eyes you wanted!

Noise can creep up in your image due to many reason. For example, the main reason is using a very high ISO range while capturing the image, or while shooting for a prolonged time, the sensor of the camera tends to heat up which would then result in digital noise. Apart from this, noise (both noise and color degradation) can happen when long exposures are done. Noise correction in Lightroom is in fact very good.

P.S : I would recommend using a lower ISO wherever possible, or reduce the shutter speed to compensate for lower ISO restriction that you impose on yourself as a photographer.

Lens Correction:

Lens correction section deals with the various aspects of anomalies caused by the lens used to capture the image. The anomalies include the various lens distortions, vignetting and chromatic aberrations. The correction parameters are different for different lenses and that’s why Lightroom has an option to select Lens profiles.

1LR7-Lens

Lightroom has an eye dropper tool by which you can manually select color-fringed areas (read about it in the hyperlink of chromatic aberration) and correct them.

That’s all with this post guys. Have a nice day. Lightroom has many other options and some cool features too. I learned Lightroom without any tutorial or guidance, but let me tell you, If I could do it, you can do it too. 😉

If you have any doubts or areas I missed, please comment below and I’ll be happy to help you out.