Lightroom OnlyLightroom Tips

Day 4 of “I’m Giving Up Photoshop” Month

Happy Friday! Welcome to Day 4 in my self-project-ish, month-long postings of images I’m only using Lightroom to edit. If you’re just coming in to reading this and haven’t read the original post where I wrote why I’m doing this, then make sure you check that out too. Okay, here goes:

The Photo
This photo is pretty interesting because it was taken hand-held, mid morning (not sunrise), while stopping along side of the road in the Palouse area of Washington State. It was an unplanned stop for just a minute and I think I had just pointed my camera and shot through the window, but it ended up being a favorite of mine.

I think you’re going to like the processing here though because it’s deceptively simple, but I find it works on a lot of photos.

(click to see the image larger)


Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Tamron 24-70mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/180 second
ISO: 100

Like usual I started out in the Basic panel. But this time, rather than going through all of the toning settings like Exposure, Shadows and Highlights, I just click the Auto button. Look at the difference. Pretty crazy huh?


So what does Auto do? It basically does what we usually do with the Exposure, Whites and Blacks sliders. It looks at the Histogram and makes some automatic adjustments. Now, it doesn’t work like you see here on all photos, but I have to tell ya’, it’s definitely worth a try when you start editing a photo.

I did, however, just reduce the Highlights slider a little to bring back some more detail in the clouds.


I changed the Camera Calibration profile setting to Landscape. It wasn’t a huge difference but I like what it did for the overall color and contrast.


The Sky
What really struck me about the photo was the clouds in the sky. Lots of texture that can really benefit from the Clarity adjustment. But I didn’t like what the Clarity slider did to the grass at the bottom. It made it a little too contrasty and I liked the softer look there. So instead of adding Clarity to the whole photo, I used the Graduated Filter and dragged from the top down to add Clarity to just the sky.


Too Much Blue
I noticed that the increased Clarity made the sky darker and almost too blue. It’s like there’s a glow/halo around the clouds. But I’ve found a little trick to help out. If you increase the Shadows slider while you increase Clarity, it tends to keep the photo from getting darker in the sky.


Even More Clarity
Here’s another little known trick. Let’s say you want even more texture in those clouds. But you’ve already max’d the Clarity slider out at 100. Well, you can add yet another Graduated filter on top of the last one. Essentially, you can stack adjustments so that you can get even more of the effect. It’s not something I do with many settings, but if you want that ultra-contrasty look, stacking Clarity adjustments can be really cool.
(Note: This works with the Adjustment Brush and Radial Filter too)


Rather than sharpening the whole photo in the Detail panel (which would add noise and texture to the sky), I used the Adjustment Brush with some Sharpening (and just a little Clarity) on the grass.


Hmmm…. I Wonder What’s Next 😉
We’re pretty much done but you know we have one more thing left right? Yep! A Vignette 😉 I used the Effects panel for this one and darkened the edges a little.


That’s pretty much it for this one. It’s kinda crazy just how good of a job the Auto button does on it. But hey, I’ll take it when it works and it’s always worth a try first. Here’s the Before/After view.

[tabs slidertype=”images” auto=”yes” autospeed=”4000″]
[imagetab width=”836″ height=”558″] [/imagetab]
[imagetab width=”836″ height=”558″] [/imagetab]

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here Monday!