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Lightroom 5: 02 Optimizing Your Photos

with Tim Grey

Video: Evaluating images

Learn how to use the Develop module in Lightroom 5 to optimize the appearance of your photos: from general contrast and tone adjustments to retouching and creative tints.
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  1. 24m 47s
    1. Evaluating images
      4m 55s
    2. Utilizing the Grid and Guide displays
      2m 53s
    3. Seeing a before-and-after view
      5m 13s
    4. Reset, History, and Snapshots
      8m 15s
    5. Optimizing offline images
      3m 31s
  2. 21m 55s
    1. Starting with a Develop preset
      2m 23s
    2. White balance adjustment
      5m 27s
    3. Overall tonal adjustment
      7m 2s
    4. Working with Clarity
      2m 38s
    5. Boosting colors with Vibrance and Saturation
      4m 25s
  3. 43m 8s
    1. Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve
      7m 9s
    2. Advanced color adjustments
      3m 58s
    3. Graduated adjustments
      5m 8s
    4. Applying a radial adjustment
      5m 43s
    5. Painting adjustments into an image
      8m 54s
    6. Sharpening an image
      7m 35s
    7. Camera calibration adjustments
      4m 41s
  4. 32m 40s
    1. Cropping and straightening photos
      5m 24s
    2. Applying noise reduction
      6m 36s
    3. Removing chromatic aberrations
      4m 18s
    4. Lens correction adjustments
      3m 32s
    5. Correcting perspective
      4m 44s
    6. Removing red-eye
      2m 18s
    7. Cleaning up blemishes
      5m 48s
  5. 21m 57s
    1. Converting to black and white
      3m 4s
    2. Adding a color tint
      2m 17s
    3. Split-toning effects
      3m 34s
    4. Adding a vignette effect
      4m 19s
    5. Adding a film-grain effect
      2m 55s
    6. Saving a Develop preset
      3m 24s
    7. Working with virtual copies
      2m 24s
  6. 11m 49s
    1. Adjusting multiple images with Quick Develop
      3m 12s
    2. Duplicating the previous adjustment
      1m 54s
    3. Copying and pasting Develop settings
      2m 47s
    4. Synchronizing Develop settings
      3m 56s
  7. 13m 1s
    1. Basic Photoshop workflow
      5m 46s
    2. Stitching panoramas
      4m 25s
    3. Working with HDR images
      2m 50s

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Lightroom 5: 02 Optimizing Your Photos
Video duration: 0s 2h 49m Beginner


The powerful adjustment controls in the Develop module of Lightroom 5 can help you optimize the appearance of your photos: from general contrast and tone adjustments to retouching and creative tints. Learn how to boost color, sharpen details, crop and straighten images, and add subtle effects like split toning and vignettes. Author Tim Grey also shows you how to use Lightroom and Photoshop together to apply adjustments that go beyond the capabilities of Lightroom alone.

This course was created by Tim Grey. We're honored to host this training in our library. Watch more courses in this series here.

Topics include:
  • Evaluating images
  • Adjusting white balance
  • Working with Clarity
  • Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve
  • Painting adjustments into an image
  • Applying noise reduction
  • Correcting perspective
  • Converting to black and white
  • Duplicating adjustments
  • Stitching panoramas

Evaluating images

Before I jump in to applying adjustments to my images in the Lightroom Develop module, I'd like to take a moment to evaluate the image. Now of course I've probably already evaluated the image, at least to some extent. After all, I would typically be working in the Library module, reviewing my images and deciding which images I felt were my best or those most worthy of sharing with others in a variety of ways. And its those images, the ones that I feel are worthy of a little bit of extra effort that I'm likely to bring into the Develop module in Lightroom, in order to optimize their appearance.

In other words, I don't tend to focus at lot of energy on finding problem images and attempting to salvage them in the Develop module. But rather, I take some of my favorite images and work with those ones in the Develop module, trying to make them look their absolute best. Once I've found an image that I like, and that I would like to spend a little time optimizing, I don't jump right into the optimization but rather, try to take a moment to evaluate the overall image. And there a variety of ways that I'll go about that. One is to simply take a moment to step back and look at the overall image.

Consider, is this an image worth working with? Are there particular problems I need to pay attention to? In this case, for example, one of the things I'm a little bit concerned about are the various distractions. You can see that there's a branch coming across the elephant, almost up to its eye and there's some other branches down at the bottom, some of them just barely entering the frame. And some of those might prove a little bit distracting. It certainly provides a sense of context for the scene, but they're also an element of distraction. But there are other things that I want to take a look at as well, and that generally involves taking a closer look at the photo.

As a general rule, I'll switch to the one to one zoom setting. I can do that by clicking the One to One option up on the Navigator, or I can simply click on the image to zoom to a one to one ratio or a 100% zoom setting. And then click one more time on the image to go back to that Fit in View option. When I'm zoomed in at that one to one ratio, I'll also click to drag to pan around, checking various areas of the photo. In most cases, I'm really paying attention first and foremost to sharpness, noise and other potential issues with the image itself.

In other words, the overall quality of the photo. Keep in mind that in addition to clicking and dragging to pan around the photo within the main image display area, I can also click in an area in the Navigator in order to identify a particular portion of the image that I'd like to take a closer look at. In addition to zooming in and evaluating some of the details in the image, I also like to apply some exaggerated adjustments to get a better sense of some of the issues that might be inherent in a particular photo. Very often, for example, I'll increase contrast significantly for the image looking for areas that look problematic.

Obviously, by increasing contrast so significantly, the shadows will block up and the highlights will brighten up a bit, and this can actually help in terms of identifying problem areas in the photo. I look for things like bright halos along edges, perhaps chromatic aberrations, and other indications of potential quality problems in the image. I also like to take a look at color problems that might develop within the image. And for that I'll utilize the Vibrance and Saturation adjustments. And at this point I'm not really thinking of them as adjustments per say but rather, evaluation tools.

So I'll increase the value for both Vibrance and Saturation all the way to their maximum values. This obviously makes the color look a little bit overdone. Well, okay, a lot overdone. In some cases, extremely overdone, but it can also help to identify potential color issues in the image, things that I'll want to keep an eye on as I continue to optimize the appearance of my photo. We can see lots of areas of yellow, but also hints of magenta, blue, and cyan in various areas. The key thing I'm looking for here is colors where they don't belong.

Certainly, there's a lot of yellow in the tusk, for example, but that's somewhat to be expected. It's not exactly a surprise. But I'm glad to be aware of it so that I can pay attention as I'm applying various adjustments later in my workflow. I also notice, though, a little bit of magenta, for example, down in the bottom right corner, and that color appears a little bit out of place. Now, bear in mind that color is being extremely exaggerated at the moment, but the point is that I want to be aware of these potential color issues so that when I'm applying adjustments, I know what sorts of things to keep an eye out for.

The bottom line is that I try to take a somewhat careful and measured approach to optimizing my images. Instead of jumping right in, I'll take a little bit of time to evaluate the image itself. And also to think about what sorts of adjustments I might want to apply to that photo in order to make it look its absolute best.

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