Loving Lightroom

My husband is gainfully employed by a giant corporation.  He’s recently been working on a project that involves some photography, which has been a fun way for us to connect.  He borrowed my camera and tripod to take some pictures.  I guess that was helpful because the next day he told me that he (really his corporation) was buying the newest version of my camera body, an $800 lens and Adobe’s Lightroom for his project.  At that moment it was hard to not feel extremely jealous and … put out?  Yesterday, however, he told me how much he’s liking the efficiency of Lightroom.  That was much easier to get excited about!  Lightroom is quite a powerful program.  In honor of my husband’s enthusiasm for a photography-related topic I thought I’d share a a little about how I use Lightroom.  Before I bought Lightroom I was using Google’s Picasa.  It was adequate for organizing and doing simple edits like cropping, but lacked features I needed in order to dive deeper into editing.

Here’s an image of my cello-loving son that I’ll use to demonstrate the power of Lightroom.  It’s a JPEG image shot with a 35mm/1.8 lens at f/2.2 and an ISO of 200 with the flash.  Here is the original image, straight out of the camera.


The first thing I do when editing an image is check it’s temperature and tint.  I think those are ok for this image, since I’m fine with it looking like it was shot inside with a flash.  I think it’s a bit too dark, so I increased the exposure using Lightroom’s exposure slider.

Exposure (1 of 1)

Then I reduced the shadows subtly to regain some detail in the darker parts of the image.  This works even better with a raw file.  You can see the biggest difference on the right side of the image.

Shadows (1 of 1)

After that I used the vibrance slider to adjust the coloring just a tad.

Vibrance (1 of 1)

Then I used the heal and clone tools to get rid of the piano bench legs that are coming down out of the top on the left.  I did a quick fix here and some of the grey shadow is still present, but you can see the usefulness of this feature.

Healed (1 of 1)

Last of all I cropped the image slightly on the right side so that the visual emphasis is placed more on the cello playing and my son’s concentration.

Crop (1 of 1)

I made all these adjustments easily in about five minutes using Lightroom.  I used Lightroom’s Snapshots feature to capture each step of the editing process.   Then I used my own Lightroom export preset to quickly export the files in the size and dimensions that I wanted for this blog post.  Pretty slick, especially since I can batch process my other cello images with one click of the Sync button.