I've only had Adobe Lightroom for about six months and I have a lot to learn about using it efficiently and effectively. Yesterday I sat down and read more about using Lightroom presets and brushes to edit images. Lightroom presets are steps that have been recorded and let you easily make changes to a picture, like turning it into a black and white image or warming it up. Lightroom brushes let you make localized changes to an image, such as whitening the eyes and smoothing the skin.
I learned that when you edit an image in the LR Develop module, you can save the changes you've made as a "Snapshot." This lets you go back to that version easily after you play more. I can see that being useful in making "before" and "after" pictures to compare and share. I used some of the tips that I learned to edit the picture below.
|Here's the "before" image that needs some work.|
|Here's the "after" image.|
I think editing is useful in making a good picture better. I like subtle edits. This picture needed to be lightened -- it was underexposed and too dark. After adjusting the exposure, I used the eye dropper to adjust the white balance slightly. Then I used brushes to whiten her teeth and smooth her skin ever so slightly. Can you tell? Last of all I used a brush to further increase the exposure on the left side of the picture below her arm.
Here are two of the sites that I looked around at yesterday:
- Thecoffeeshopblog.com - She has several free presets for LR, although most of her work is for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. She also has several tutorials that I found helpful as an introduction to concepts in Lightroom, like Pretty Eyes and Paint with Light.
- Pretty Presets for Lightroom - This site sells presets and brushes, but they do much more than that. Their products often have videos that show you how they work, like this one on LR brushes. The blog on this site has lots of great resource articles, such as the Mastering Lightroom in 7 Days series. There is an extensive library of webinars and video tutorials. I'll be doing lots of exploring there in the coming weeks.
One of the things I love about photography is the surprises I get when I upload images to my computer. I try to intentionally craft each photograph using lighting, composition, and patience. Even so, every now and then something surprising shows up when I look through the images. Sometimes it's a fleeting facial expression that got captured. Sometimes it's how the aperture combined with the compositional elements. Sometimes it's that the image turned out better than I was anticipating.
The picture above is an example of serendipity. This little girl didn't hold still for very long. I did not pose her in this position. Capturing a picture of her in the foreground, looking forward, with her parents blurred slightly in the background on each side of her was somewhat miraculous. :)
This picture is another example of serendipity. I was doing a late afternoon shoot with this mother and daughter. We had done a bunch of shots down in a valley and when we came back up (thinking we were done) the sun was just setting. I had not expected to get any backlit shots, but was happy with this one.
One last example comes from an indoor session. I was using my old camera on Live View, which involves the screen image blacking out for several milliseconds when taking the picture. I knew I hadn't gotten any genuine smiles yet, but when I uploaded this last image I found out that during those last black milliseconds a genuine smile had appeared and been captured.
I enjoy these moments of "engineered" serendipity.