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In this chapter, we're going to look at some workflow techniques that are going to be a bit more creative and free flowing, and in this first movie I want to take a look at how we can use color creatively inside of Lightroom. One of the reasons why I love photography is because you can use photography to experiment, to express, to discover, and to grow. And sometimes as photographers we capture images just to test out ideas, just to try to discover something new. And that was the case with these photographs. These are personal pictures. These are pictures which aren't created for a client or for a portfolio or for anything but myself.
These particular photographs here are captured at Brooks Institute, where I teach a photography school. I wanted to test out these lights. Now I never use lights. So I set these up and I asked a few of the students who were walking by to step in front of the camera, and this is what I got. And so I wanted to just have some fun with these. My intent with my workflow, it is not efficiency, it is not learning how to effectively work with these tools, rather it is creativity. Well, the first thing that I'll do with a set of pictures like this is just look at them.
I'll look at them in the Library module. To do that, well, press the E key, this will take these pictures to the loop view, then I'll use my arrow keys, and just scroll through them quickly. I want to get with what I have, what happened, how did that light work, what type of expressions or details can I notice in these photographs? One of the things that I noticed is that I like the light, and I think there are some interesting pictures here. Then I will select one or a few that I want to work on. Here, let's start with the beginning. I'll click on this first picture. I like the closed eyes, kind of that sideways glance, and I want to have some fun with color.
So let's go to the develop module. To do that, press the D key. Once inside of the Develop module, the first place I'm going to go isn't the Basic panel--in most workflows you start in basic, you turn on your clipping indicators--I'm going to skip that because I am not too concerned about clipping, rather I want to have some fun with color. So here we jump to the Split Toning panel. I'm going to add some yellows to my highlight. I'll bring those in, bring in a lot of yellow, perhaps some blues into the shadows--bring in a lot of blue.
As I do that the combination, well, it looks a little almost kind of sickening. It's a kind of green-yellow. It is not really working. Well, you can customize that. You can click and move this, perhaps, to find a better yellow or just remove that color. When I remove that yellow and desaturate it, all of a sudden I start to see something I kind of like that. I like that feeling here. I am looking to try to create mood or expression. I am not trying to create perfect pixels. Rather, I am trying to just express, experiment, discover. So far so good.
Well, after we added a little bit of color, I'll go back to the Basic panel. In the Basic panel I'm going to use some of my typical controls here. I like to add contrast to almost all of my photographs. Here, also a bit of clarity as well. What would happen if we were to remove contrast? Rather than doing what we always do, how about if we remove that? Well, this would give this a different look, a different type of a photograph. When you are getting creative you kind of want to go against the grain a little bit, swing these controls in really dramatic ways and just see what happens.
Sometimes you can come up with some interesting discoveries. Here I am reminded of why I like contrast. I like the depth and the presence that it adds to a photograph, so I'm going to keep that, boost the shadows a little bit, a little bit of detail inside of there, and perhaps a little bit of vibrance as well, and then modify my color temperature and drag that to the right to see what yellow does. Drag it to left to cool it off. Perhaps just a little bit off to the right, a little warmth there. Well, this processing, it's just kind of fun. Let's look at it before and after.
Here's before and then here's after. The next thing I want to do is exaggerate the vignette. I want to darken up those corners. We can do that by going down to our Lens Corrections panel. You will find that all the way down here in the stack, and if you click on the manual button that allows you to increase or darken those edges. And I want to do that, darkening up the edges of this photograph. Well, once I have applied these settings to one picture, I then want to apply them to the other two--these other two pictures which are sitting next door to this picture, all captured by the same person, the same light.
So we'll click on the first image, hold down Shift, and then click on the last image and then click on the Synchronize button. This will open up a dialog which allows us to choose what we want to synchronize. Now when you are getting creative, you may not even remember what you have done, so here what I'll do is simply Check All, click on this box here to make sure all of those options are selected, and then click Synchronize. When we do that we'll now have all of these images applied with these settings. At this point, I like to survey these pictures. I like to see if they might work well together.
To survey the pictures or to see multiple pictures at once, press the N key. This will open up this view in the Library module. Now we could change this or could remove photos either by clicking on the X in the bottom corner here. So we now have two pictures up. We could remove that one. If we want to add a picture, hold down Command or Ctrl and click on that photograph in the filmstrip. When I do this, it gives me this really interesting view of these pictures side by side. It makes me think, well, this kind of diptych, this two-image view might be fascinating. I'll press the L key to dim and then darken all the way, press the L key again and it just gives you this kind of an interesting view of these photographs.
Then we can turn the lights back up by pressing the L key. So what is the whole point with this movie? Well, the point is that sometimes when we're working in Lightroom, we get too technical, too functional. Every once in a while you just want to have some fun. One way that you might have fun with your own personal projects is by experimenting with color. And then by using the other controls--contrast and clarity, those other settings, or perhaps other settings like adding a vignette-- in order to creatively modify your pictures. And the great thing about this is that this is completely nondestructive. If ever we want to reset these images, we can always do that. And then, finally, after you have made those adjustments, you want to evaluate those pictures in a creative way, perhaps by using survey or maybe by dimming the lights. And by doing this and by making adjustments like this, well, we can keep that creative spark alive inside. If you can remind you why you got into photography in the first place, it can remind that photography-- well, it's about experimentation, it's about testing out ideas. And by playing or tinkering--or having a little bit of fun like this--well, many times this can sharpen your skills. And one of the results is it can improve your other workflows as well.
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