Shoot & Edit~Thanksgiving EDIT

This week over at Ramblings and Photos, Ashley writes about her workflow when editing as part of her tutorial for this week’s Shoot & Edit. In the past two years, my workflow has changed drastically with the help of Lightroom (LR). Initially, I was hesitant to use LR because it seemed like just one more thing to learn. However, now I really feel like I do 80% of my editing in LR and then migrate to PhotoShop to fine tune things. LR makes it very easy to batch edit and sync settings between similar photos, which, to me, is what truly speeds things up.

When I’m editing a session, I look through my photos and use a rating system to help speed up the process as well. In a batch of 100 photos, for example, I might have 20 that I really like. Using the ratings, I generally use stars and just give five stars to the ones I like most, helps speed the editing process as well. When I get ready to get down to business, I just use the filter to display the specific photos I want to work on.

From there, I pretty much go down the panel on the right hand side of the screen.

  • Adjust White Balance: I’ve been trying to manually set my white balance in camera lately, but I find that sometimes I’m still off.  The beauty of shooting in RAW is that you can make most corrections as needed in LR by applying settings for white balance.  In this particular photo, I used the dropper to select a grey area to adjust the white balance.  The change was minor.  And, with the processing in PhotoShop, you can’t really tell a change was made.  However, I wanted to start as close to accurately as possible.  In one of the LR courses I took at the University of Hawaii, the instructor shared that the correct white balance usually falls between as shot and auto.  Most of the time, I find this to be pretty accurate.
  • Exposure/Recovery and Fill Light/Blacks:  I always make sure to check the tiny blocks above the histogram to check for clipping masks in my photos.  Overblown areas will appear red and underexposed will appear blue.  If this happens, I used the slider to adjust exposure/recovery and fill light/blacks to eliminate as much of the clipping as I can and to get the exposure the way I want it.  Once again, most of this should be done manually in camera, but it’s great to have the ability to check these things in LR.
  • Brightness/Contrast: I usually don’t do much with these two sliders.  I have noticed lately, however, that when I open photos in LR the brightness automatically seems to be increased a bit.  I find I make adjustments here if I’m going for a particular look.  For this photo, I increased contrast just a bit.
  • Presence (clarity, saturation, vibrance):  For me, I feel like this is the first place where I can change the feel of a photo in the editing process.  For example, I have seen people whose work consistently has a slightly under saturated feel to it.  Likewise, I have seen those whose style is always to increase vibrancy.  I’m not sure where I fall on this one yet.  Honestly, I really just like playing around with my photos right now.
  • I then cropped this photo to eliminate some of the wasted space on the left.
  • From there, I always add sharpening and de-noise if needed in LR before playing around with presets or moving into PhotoShop.  It’s a mixed bag for me as to what I prefer.  I think some of the LR presets are lovely.  Others are not.  I do, however, like being able to see the effect before applying it.  I recently purchased RadLab thanks to their Black Friday sale, and have to say I love it because I can be in PhotoShop and see what the recipe is going to look like before adding the layer to the photo.  And, unlike presets in LR, I can then go in and use layer masks to refine where I want the effect as well.  PhotoShop actions also trouble me sometimes because they have these really cute names, but I can’t always remember what the action looks like without running it.  As a result, I spend way too much time playing with the actions.  RadLab really speeds up the process for me and, I feel, gives me more control of how my photo looks.
  • For this photo, I finished up in LR and then moved over to PS and played around with RadLab and Totally Rad Dirty Pictures to get a look I liked.  I knew I wanted a vintage/antique feel, and RadLab made that really easy!

See original post here.



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  1. Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:59 am by Gina | Permalink

    I love that corn- it’s fabulous!

  2. Posted December 2, 2011 at 1:05 am by Ashley Sisk | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing your workflow – seems to be very similar to mine.

  3. Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:22 am by Emily | Permalink

    Wow I love that shot! Those purple flowers are gorgeous!

  4. Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:01 am by Cedar | Permalink

    Very detailed work flow! Thank you for taking the time to write it all out! Lovely photo!

  5. Posted December 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm by Christine | Permalink

    I have a very similar workflow. Do you find that things like noise reduction work better in LR or PS?

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