DON’T GET STUCK USING THE SAME TOOLS YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WITH, USE THESE 5 LIGHTROOM TRICKS TO REALLY GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PHOTO EDITS
We’ve all been there. You get back from a great shoot, take your SD card out of the camera, put it in your computer, import all of those juicy new RAW files into Lightroom and immediately start your editing routine in exactly the same way you always do. It’s normal, you stick with what you know and with what’s worked for you in the past. As the famous saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, which is true but sometimes it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone. Here’s 5 Lightroom tricks to help you shake that routine up a little.
These tricks are specific to Lightroom and good for more advanced photographers who already know the basics of photo editing. But feel free to follow along no matter what level you’re at, it’s always good to see how other people do things.
1) Adjusting temperature with Split Toning
Instead of using the temperature slider to add some warmth to an image, trying doing it with the Split Toning tool instead.
Using the Split Toning tool is a great way of controlling the overall feel of an edit as it allows you to add different colours and saturation in either the highlights or the shadows. If used correctly, the level of control this Lightroom trick gives you can yield amazing results.
In Lightroom, scroll down to the Split Toning tool (between the HSL and Detail panels) and open the colour palette for the highlights. Next choose a nice warm orange (if in doubt, lighter shades are better than darker ones) somewhere between the reds and yellows like in the photo below.
Next set the level of saturation you want. You’ll have to play around with it until you find something you like but I recommend not going too crazy with it here, subtlety is the key.
For the picture I’m about to show you I set the saturation to 14 which is just enough to give the photo some warmth but still look natural.
In a lot of cases I prefer the way Split Toning adds warmth to a photo over the Temperature slider
2) Setting whites and blacks quickly and easily
In the ‘Basic’ panel you have a slider labelled ‘Whites’ and one labelled ‘Blacks’.
Setting the white and black points doesn’t have to be a game of guess work. If you want to be able to easily see when the blacks start to bleed through, or when the whites become blown out, all you have to do is hold down the ‘option’ key on a Mac (or the ‘ALT’ key on a Windows PC) and adjust the slider.
If you’re adjusting the Whites the screen will turn all black and only the blown out whites will be visible. Use the slider until the whites just start becoming blown out and then bring them back down just enough so the screen is all black again. That way you’ll get a perfect white point like in the video below.
The same goes for the blacks, but when you hold down the option or ALT key the screen will turn white and only the blacks that are too dark will be shown.
BONUS TIP: ANOTHER WAY TO SET THE BLACK AND WHITE POINTS EVEN QUICKER IS TO HOLD DOWN THE ‘SHIFT’ KEY AND DOUBLE CLICK ON THE ACTUAL WORDS ‘BLACK’ OR ‘WHITE’. LIGHTROOM WILL AUTOMATICALLY ADJUST THE SLIDER TO THE POINT JUST BEFORE THEY START BECOMING BLOWN OUT.
3) Creating a fake sun-flare
Not everyone will like what I’m about to show you next, which is fine, photography is all about personal taste. But if used subtly and in a way that works with existing light, an artificial sun-flare can enhance images by emphasising shadows and natural light.
The only difference between the two photos below is that in one I have added an artificial sun-fare in the top right corner.