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Lightroom “From Flat to Fabulous” Tutorial (with downloadable RAW practice file)

Download this RAW image and follow along as we go from the RAW image straight out of the camera to the final image, learning how it’s all done every step of the way (this is a perfect tutorial to do this weekend, or ya know, tonight).

But first…this:
Head up: my full-day Lightroom seminar is about to kick off for 2018 in these cities:

Houston (Feb. 26)
San Antonio (Feb. 22)
Atlanta (March 26)
Milwaukee (March 28)
Columbus (April 13)

Details and tickets at this link. – hope you’ll come out and spend the day with me. 🙂

OK, let’s get to the tutorial:

Hope you found that helpful. I have a WHOLE bunch more of these over at and you can join now for as little as $9.99 a month. Don’t spend another year not being a Lightroom shark – come join our community!

Have a great weekend everybody!



P.S. Go Jags and Go Vikings! 🙂



  1. k arnold 12 February, 2018 at 15:19 Reply

    Hi, I’ve been to a couple of your workshops/ seminars and have plans to go to PS world in a year/ looking forward! So commenting here as from another post you mentioned no one is commenting…I see this in two places – one here and one has no comments but here I see tons. I do binge reading so am just now getting to this – love it so far! Thank you!!

    • Karl Neumann 7 February, 2018 at 16:40 Reply

      Thank you Scott. I process images like this and was happy to see some of your methods were like mine and then really happy to see some new ones that will help speed up my processing in LR. I usually don’t like watching videos that are longer than 4 mins, but this one was very engaging and time flew by. Thank you.

  2. Tom Kinder 5 February, 2018 at 18:50 Reply

    I thought that this tutorial was clear and very helpful. It is easier to assimilate the use of one tool or technique at a time, but editing an image requires using multiple tools and techniques; so some integrated tutorials are very helpful. Providing the image was helpful, as it makes the tutorial active rather than passive.

    I had bookmarked the tutorial to do later, but then I saw your plea for comments. I have been busy with my educational time doing a KelbyOne course on Photoshop, and so I didn’t view this tutorial immediately. The KelbyOne course is by this Scott Kelby dude, and I have been learning a lot. He’s an effective instructor, and now I must return to the KelbyOne course.

  3. Mike LeGay 31 January, 2018 at 18:18 Reply

    I like the amount of good quality information packed in to a video that is less than 15 minutes. Helps workflow with a rather short investment of time.

  4. Keith Krueger 31 January, 2018 at 13:42 Reply

    I really enjoyed this video. It gave me a comprehensive look at what is involved in refining and enhancing a picture in LR. I vote for many tutorials that proved a start to finish learning experience.

  5. Billy Smith 29 January, 2018 at 12:54 Reply

    Brilliant video. Looking forward to your new Lightroom book coming out. One question – when are you bringing your Lightroom tour to Scotland?

  6. Lyle 25 January, 2018 at 14:41 Reply

    always enjoy the videos as it helps to understand and see some of the newer features.
    I would add a bit more contrast as the image seems somewhat flat and showing different ways of taking away from a flatter image would be great.
    keep up the good work.

  7. Steve rubin 23 January, 2018 at 19:37 Reply

    HI Scott, just catching up on my blog reading. Definitely keep doing these type of posts. As much as I’ve been doing LR, I still learned something from this example (the new color mask on the graduated filter). Thanks so much for what you do for the community

  8. Bren 23 January, 2018 at 17:28 Reply

    Thanks for this video Scott.. I am really going to have to retrain my brain now that the ‘Auto’ button does a better job than it ever did before.

  9. Patrick 23 January, 2018 at 16:31 Reply

    I am a big fan of Lightroom Killer Tips, so please keep them coming. Your from Flat to Fabulous video is great! Its just what I need to help integrate the tips – seeing the process. Its a big help so keep them coming.


  10. Terrance (Terry) Crooker 23 January, 2018 at 12:43 Reply

    Just got around to viewing this. It’s great! Thank you for taking the time to do this. Lightroom is a great product. I have been using it since it first came out. Without you and Kelby One I might not have found it and I sure wouldn’t know how to use it very well. I love this step-by-step videos and often watch them again and again. Yes I am and have been a member since the NAPP days. Thank again for all you and the others at KelbyOne for all the help and hard work.

  11. Dan 23 January, 2018 at 11:12 Reply

    Excellent as always! I’m always amazed how much you can pack into a short lecture. I’ll be coming back to this again.

  12. Sander Sanders 23 January, 2018 at 07:17 Reply

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry for being zo lazy as just tot watch your tuturials and posts without showing you my appreciation.

    I love your Posts and tuturials, so please continue! Live wil be so much more boring if you go offline!.


  13. Sander 23 January, 2018 at 07:15 Reply

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry for being zo lazy as just tot watch your tuturials and posts without showing you my appreciation.

    I love your Posts and tuturials, so please continue! Live wil be so much more boring if you go offline!.


  14. Marc-André Descôteaux 23 January, 2018 at 06:28 Reply

    It’s always interesting to see how a pro does it. Thanks!

    The sky was a bit too intense for my taste, but I liked the whole tutorial.

  15. Stefan 23 January, 2018 at 05:11 Reply

    Hi Scott,

    greetings from Berlin in Germany.
    Very nice to see that I (we) don’t always have to use Photoshop to bring a good photo to an excellent picture.
    Keep up the good work. It helps me to get better and better (at least I hope).

  16. Brad Balfour 22 January, 2018 at 22:12 Reply

    Scott: Need to let you know that this is the kind of tutorial I like best. It’s the same reason that the only episodes of The Grid that I must watch are the blind critiques. It’s a peek inside the editing process where you explain the Why and the Goal for the photo. I don’t need another explanation of what the clarity slider does. But I do need insight into what makes a good change vs a bad change. What is over processed and what is not enough. What edits ruin the shot vs make the shot.
    And just so you know, a friend of mine mentioned to me last Friday that he had just watched the tutorial and loved it. And this is someone who does *not* regularly watch them.
    Keep it up. Don’t lose faith. And if you keep making these kind of tutorials, I’ll try and remember to provide feedback without being prompted (guilted?)

    • Brad Balfour 22 January, 2018 at 22:15 Reply

      Also… the one thing that would make this even better would be if you showed an A/B comparison of the final single exposure you did vs the HDR processed version. I’d really like to see exactly what is better or worse for each. And it might just show that by shooting raw you really don’t need to do HDR and bracketing

  17. callmebob 22 January, 2018 at 17:52 Reply

    You know how comments work: give away a platypod for best comment on the video ! 🙂 (yeah, I’m sore I’ve never won one… 😉 )

    Good use of tools – the new Auto tone did a pretty good job on this one. Could have showed CTRL to trigger the mask on and off while painting with brush – works nicely to clean up things like the columns, areas on the walking path etc. With the range tool, do you use a box more often than SHIFT dropper in several places ?

  18. Rod Apfelbeck 22 January, 2018 at 16:30 Reply

    Videos like this are very helpful. It’s one thing to see an individual technique explained, but to look at the before picture and think what needs to be improved and then to watch you go through what you think needs work and actually do is helpful in a completely different way. And then the before/after next to each other remind you how much you can improve a shot in a short time. Thanks!

  19. Ken Franklin 22 January, 2018 at 16:30 Reply

    Hey Scott,

    I enjoyed the video as well and have been a KelbyOne member for awhile now. I especially like all the information regarding the special features within tools. For example, when using the gradient tool you can go back with a brush to remove the effect on a building or some structure, as you did on the wall in the video. Got that from you man!! I say keep them coming. Thanks.

  20. Craig 22 January, 2018 at 15:28 Reply

    Hi Scott — These are great!! I have loved tons of them — the red car in cuba (I learned to clarify the stones), The blue water and ship in Sardinia – they are all great. (WOuld love more sports!!!)

    I have a few questions:
    Why didn’t you do the CA right away? I saw you went back, but just wondering.

    What does Adobe say about simply replacing the LR replacement tool with the PS replacement tool?

  21. Brian 22 January, 2018 at 14:44 Reply

    Hey Scott – only had a chance to see this today (Monday) but certainly did enjoy it – you really should consider doing more of these, as I for one find them very helpful. Keep up the great work.

  22. Jim Thielen 22 January, 2018 at 13:46 Reply

    Sorry Scott

    Sometimes in the chaos of life one forgets to give thanks where thanks is due. So thanks! I enjoyed the video (I really enjoy your style) and do look forward to more.
    It was a good refresher. Was glad to pick up the tip on the drag feature for selecing a group of colours.

  23. John Williams 22 January, 2018 at 11:58 Reply

    Scott, I will be teaching Lightroom Classic soon to local camera club members and techniques you covered in this video will be used in my course. Thank you for doing “Start to Finish” videos.


  24. Carl Stammerjohn 22 January, 2018 at 11:10 Reply

    Always good to see someone else’s take on editing a photo. Rarely do I not pick up some new tip or way of thinking. In this case, I did not realize you could drag over an area of sky to select a range of colors for the mask tool. Thanks!

  25. Phil 22 January, 2018 at 10:36 Reply

    I find practical examples like this to be extremely informative and helpful & have played a key part of me progressing from photos that suck to photos that suck a bit less (probably the best I can hope for). Thank-you for the time and effort you put into them, it is always appreciated.

  26. David Ling 22 January, 2018 at 09:53 Reply

    Mea culpa. Please continue with some of this length, even if only occasionally, as I find them very helpful refreshers.

    • Harry Kitch 22 January, 2018 at 10:40 Reply

      Sorry that I didn’t leave note that I really liked this video. I usually feel that I can’t add much of substance to you more experienced users, so I “lurk” in the background.

      I agree that this one would be stronger without the HDR comparison since that isn’t your goal. But a great refresher on how to fix various issues we see in our photos.

      One aspect of these start to finish videos is that they need to explain the vision of the finished photo. I have a hard time visualizing what the photo could look like. Spending a bit of time explaining what you think you can get out of the photo before you start would be helpful ( at least to me).

  27. Jan Thiessen 22 January, 2018 at 09:12 Reply

    Please don’t stop doing start-to-finish videos, just cut them down a little. These days, 11:33 is a very long time. You devoted 1:51 to showing how you were NOT going to use HDR.

    I love Benjamin’s 30-second tips, but I also want to see your start-to-finish. Just a bit shorter.

  28. David 22 January, 2018 at 08:03 Reply

    Scott: absolutely guilty as charged–watched the video, learned a LOT, kudos for the raw image to follow along with, and I didn’t leave a comment. I’ll sentence myself to an hour of watching a bad reality TV show to re-calibrate myself to what is “bad video”! Seriously, I found this episode one of the most useful ones you posted. You explained why you did each of the changes, which to me is just as important as explaining how to make a change. Please keep up the good work, and I promise to comment more often.

  29. Lori 22 January, 2018 at 06:57 Reply

    LOVE the Start to Finish videos!!! More, more, more! I said “WOW” several times during this video and thank you for sharing these detailed instructions.

  30. Dennis Zito 19 January, 2018 at 09:17 Reply

    Hi Scott,

    I live in San Antonio and I’m a Kelbyone Pro member. Is there a special discount for the Lightroom course?


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