Skill Level Intermediate
- In this week's episode of Photo Tools Weekly, we will begin a journey from ordinary to extraordinary. There's really a distinct difference between the way that we see the world and the way that the camera records it, because the camera sees things objectively. And we often see the world the way that we project our vision onto it. So here in this episode, we're going to talk about how we can further or clarify our vision, starting off with a raw capture. We'll begin in Lightroom, and then eventually we'll finish off this project in Photoshop.
All right, well, if you are ready for an adventure from ordinary to extraordinary, let's dive right in. Here it goes. The photograph that we'll be working with was captured earlier this year in Lake Tahoe. And here we're going to begin our workflow in Lightroom, although you could also begin with Camera Raw. Either way, you can do the same exact thing. This is the raw file as it appears straight out of the camera, so we need to do a little bit of work on it. So we'll go to the basic panel. Into the basic panel, I like the colors, so I'm not going to modify my white balance settings.
I will increase my exposure just a touch and a little bit of contrast. Now we can see there's sort of a hot spot over here, so I'll bring that down with my white slider. I'll drag the white slider to the left. That's just creating a little bit more of an even color there. Next, we'll bring up the shadows a little bit, just a touch there. Now, at some point, I also want to check the detail that I have. The way you do that in Lightroom is press the J key. That turns on your clipping indicators so that if you see this kind of warning here, it tells you, hey, you know what? You have an issue in this area.
So it's wherever you see that type of a warning. In this case you can see it's blue. That's telling me, hey, I have an issue in the deepest, darkest tones. And with this image, there really isn't any problem, so when I press the J key, I'm not seeing anything, that's a good thing. All right, next I'll add a touch of clarity, because I like that mid-tone kind of contrast snap that you can add to a photograph. With my exposure, if I want to fine tune that, just hover over the slider then tap the down arrow key, or the up arrow key, to make incremental exposure adjustments.
All right, well, that's it in Basic, not a ton to do here. Next, I'll go to work on the details. And in the Detail panel, we can do some sharpening and noise reduction. So in order to do that, what I want to do is zoom into an area of the image, maybe right over here. And because this is such a high res file, if I press the I key, you can see it's almost 8000 by 5000. So a lot of information here. We're seeing really up close to that info. So we're seeing a little bit of noise. So I'm going to reduce some of that noise there with my noise reduction slider, and pull out a little bit of color noise.
As far as the sharpening goes, I'll bring the sharpening value up, and the radius I'm going to drop down. This is a pretty high res capture, so the radius will tend to be higher for the higher res files that you have. Although, you can always hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and click and drag on that to see where the right spot for that is. And, actually, I take that back. I think a little bit less looks well with this. And, of course we want to click and drag around a photograph and just see the details that we have to work with, and what not. Speaking of detail, I'll leave the detail value down at zero, because there's no need really to bring out any more texture or detail in the image.
All right, well, that's all that we need to do there in Detail. What else do we need to do? Well, whenever you have a photograph that includes sky, what I like to do is to use the Spot Healing Brush, it's this one right here. And then I like to press the A key, or just click on the Visualize Spot tool down here. It's in the toolbar. And as you drag this to the right, it's going to show you any potentially problematic areas. In this case, as I drag this over, all of a sudden, we see what looks like almost constellations up here in the sky.
And what this is is this is dust that was on my lens. I happen to have been just walking around one morning, came up on this scene, and really had a vision for the photograph, and hadn't cleaned my lens. So I have to deal with that. And often that happens, especially when you're shooting like I was. Like I was shooting at f/16, so lots of detail there. And, in the sky, this is where these things show up. Now you can't necessarily see these. But I want to take advantage of this tool in Lightroom while I'm here, because really it's difficult to try to replicate this type of feature in Photoshop.
So you want to work in the tool with its strengths, right? Photoshop does really good with other things, as we'll see. What I'm going to do later is I want to get rid of a few little items in regards to some distractions in the image. We really could only do those in Photoshop. So, here, again, I'll just make this quick, I'm going to click through all of these. And then what you can do is press the A key or just turn that off. These are all the areas that I've worked on. And, again, it's not like you can see huge big problems. Actually, I can see one little one right there.
But, we can see how that's helped. Press the H key, that hides all of those circles. You want to make sure that all of the edges and everything look good. Now what about zooming in on the image? Here, I'll zoom in over here to this area. We could try to deal with some of these smaller issues over here. So I'm just going to make my brush really small. And I'll tap on these little guys. And what's happened here is it actually didn't do a good sample area. So I'm going to zoom in closer so you can see what I'm doing here, and so I can see what I'm doing. (laughs) All right, so what it did is it actually, we'll wait for this for a second, it actually sampled another problem.
And so what I want to do is rather than have it sample another problem, I want it to sample something good. So I'm just going to delete this for a moment, and just get rid of it. And I'll start over and click on this. And then while that's active I want to make sure that it's sampling a good clean area, so perhaps something like that over there. And then I'll make my brush nice and small, click on that. Sometimes what happens with this, once you get into a textured area, is you need to be a little bit more precise. So rather than do any of that here, I'm going to do that in Photoshop, it'll be just a lot faster.
Okay, well, here in Lightroom, we've done a pretty good job. We're working on some of these little teeny problems. And I saw one more there, so I clicked on that. And once we've finished that, we click Done. So the foundation for the workflow, let's go back and review. We started in the basic panel. We walked through the sliders and made some pretty minor adjustments. Next up, we went to the Detail panel. There, we zoomed into 100%, so that we could apply an appropriate amount of sharpening and noise reduction.
And then last but not least, we went to the Spot Removal tool, and here we used the Visualize Spots feature, which allowed us to find some of those problem areas so that we could then clean those up. Now that we've done all that, we'll click Done. And the next step is to send this over to Photoshop, so we can do some of our work there. To do that, we'll go to the Photo pull-down menu, then choose Edit In, and select Edit in Photoshop. Go ahead and click on that. What will happen here is it will apply all of these settings that we've made in Lightroom to the file and send it over to Photoshop so that we can continue our workflow there.
Now, before we get off the races here in Photoshop. What I want to do is just think about what is it that really want to do with this image? Here, I'll create a new layer and grab my brush, make the brush smaller. I'm just going to circle a few things. Like I want to get rid of that little stick right there. I also want to get rid of these shadows I'm seeing on the pier, and that little deal there. Want to get rid of these boats. So maybe I'll circle those up. And there's a little bit of the wake in the water. Want to fix that.
Now I notice in the sky, it goes from bright over here to dark over here, I want this to be really uniform. So here, in a sense, I have my roadmap. You don't necessarily need to draw it out like I've done. But it just helps to say, okay, this is what I want to work on. This is my vision. I want to create an image which is really minimal, which is really bright, has more interesting blues to it, and I'm just reducing some of the clutter that I'm seeing in the frame. All right, well, now that I've done that, I'll trash that layer, and then begin the workflow of retouching away some of the issues and improving the color and tone.
And on that note, that wraps up this week's episode of Photo Tools Weekly. If you want to see how we're going to use Photoshop in order to finish off and perfect this photograph, join me next week, because next week I'll be showing you how we'll do just that. All right, have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye for now, and I'll look forward to seeing you next time.