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From Flat to Fabulous: My Start-to-finish Lightroom-only Editing Tutorial

Hi Gang: Thought I’d do something different for this Friday – it’s a start to finish video tutorial (below) on taking a flat looking out-of-the-camera image and bringing it to life without using HDR, without using any plug-ins, and just simple stuff right in Lightroom. Hope you find it helpful. 🙂

Have a great weekend (don’t forget to make your travel plans to join me and the crew in Las Vegas July 19-21st for the Photoshop World conference) and we’ll see you next week. 🙂



P.S. If you want to see a little “finishing move” I added to the final image you saw here (I did it over in Photoshop), go check out my tutorial on my daily blog – it picks up right where I left off with this image. 🙂



  1. Joseph 19 April, 2016 at 23:14 Reply

    Great tutorial Scott! Curious of your thoughts of sharpening images in LR after editing. I personally don’t like the default 25 setting and usually slide it up to 40 or 50. Thanks again for your tutorials. I like them allot.. 🙂

  2. Misha Jameson 14 April, 2016 at 16:03 Reply

    Thank you for the great tutorial. I learned a lot about LR’s presets, which I never use. BIG time savers. Thanks again!

  3. Zandemic 13 April, 2016 at 17:15 Reply

    Hey Scott,

    Absolutely loved this! It was very inspiring and now I just want to head home and see what i can do with a few potential keepers. Would be delighted to see more of these Lightroom videos. 🙂

  4. Kevin Bailey 11 April, 2016 at 20:33 Reply

    Nice tip! Always cool to see how far you can move an image from as shot to way, way better. Nice finishing move on your blog too!

    I read your blog every day! Don’t comment much but always appreciated.

  5. Natalie 10 April, 2016 at 13:16 Reply

    I LOVED watching this video– to see your workflow, using only the in-program features of LR, was fantastic and so enlightening (no pun intended ;-)). I certainly hope that you will make more videos like this, since I learned so much from this one!

  6. Dennis Manasco 9 April, 2016 at 14:20 Reply

    Wow! That was a pretty amazing correction, with minimal work. Thank you for a really good tutorial.

  7. Dek Leverton 9 April, 2016 at 07:35 Reply

    Nice one. Always something useful (and clearly presented) on Killer tips. And, thank you so much for the Heads Up on the Nik Collection news. I now have this free set of filters and am exploring them through Lightroom & PS Elements. Have a great time in LA.

    • Scott Kelby 9 April, 2016 at 09:25 Reply

      If I wanted the pillars straight, I would have done that either with a Tilt Shift lens when I shot it or in Lightroom afterward. I don’t like the straightened look – this isn’t architectural photography – this is art, and it looks just the way I want it to. 🙂

  8. Ven McAndrew 8 April, 2016 at 20:17 Reply

    Scott … love the before and after tutorials. Its like we’re in your head as you talk through the process… Is that good or bad? I always pick up a tip or two to add to the repertoire. Thanks and keep em comin!

  9. Vaughn 8 April, 2016 at 18:13 Reply

    All of us love photography, a visual art. I think that’s why so many of us really appreciate seeing what you do to process a photo. Love to see more.

  10. Patrick 8 April, 2016 at 11:28 Reply

    Thanks for sharing Scott. I have used these techniques on my interior images and it makes a big difference. I loved the finishing tip on your blog as well.

  11. Ernest Zuuring 8 April, 2016 at 09:14 Reply

    I’ve been a member of KelbyOne for two years and keep being amazed by what can be done.
    Love that LR can do most things. No switching. Scott is avery personable teacher! Please do more.


  12. Diego 8 April, 2016 at 07:52 Reply

    I want to add my voice to the other commenters. This kind of tutorials are awesome. To see how a Pro can get the maximum potential from a photography is really instructive. Keep the good work! We love these kind of videos!

  13. Dennis Zito 8 April, 2016 at 06:51 Reply

    Hey Scott,

    I really like these quick tutorials! I especially like the comments you make on what’s wrong with the photo and discussing how to go about correcting it. Learning to look at a photo and determine was wrong to begin with is something I need to learn. Some photos are really obvious, but some are not. I always learn a lot from these types of lessons! Keep’em coming.


  14. Juan Antonio Vizcaino 8 April, 2016 at 05:23 Reply

    What I like most of this kind of tutorials and videos is that you never know how much you can sqeeze a crappy photo, so I’m very delighted with this video.

    Thank you!

  15. Diego 8 April, 2016 at 04:06 Reply

    Wow, thank you very much for the tutorial. Really well explain and easy to follow 🙂

    I’ve reading some of your books and following your online tutorials for a while. Thank you very much for all your efforts on teaching us how to work with photos 🙂

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