I know some people do video tutorials and I thought about it. But decided to keep it like this for now. Unless y’all are dying to hear my sexy man voice.Ok not really mannish- but I’ve had many emails saying that many of you much preferred to go the snip route than video route. If I get enough feedback in the future swinging towards the other way- I am happy to do video.I am also considering offering up an image with my tutorials so that you can literally play along- please let me know if you’d be interested in that. <3
So here we are with a step-by-step. If you have any questions about this tutorial or do not know how to use something mentioned in this tutorial- please ask in this post so that others can be helped. No such thing as a stupid question! There is a lot to read, so grab a cup of coffee!
So here we are going to take a purposefully overexposed image and show how amazing it is to 1) fix this in RAW and 2) how to edit so thoroughly in Lightroom that you only have to move to Photoshop to play for some fine tune tweaking. And that, my friends, saves you a whole lotta time if you have a set of images to work on. In a future tutorial I will cover batch processing a little bit but won’t touch on that here.
So here is my image:
In this next step- I not only fixed the Exposure (see slider) until she was completely exposed correctly with no red blinkies (that shows clipped highlights), but I also warmed up the image some. I liked where my tint was but felt it was too cool – so I warmed it. You may need use the dropper to fix your white balance.
Lightroom has a little quirk that I found a work-around for. Even when you have the highlights marker checked (in the Histogram box), Lightroom still sometimes has some blown Reds (or greens or blues) even though it doesn’t show (but it shows in PS by passing the dropper over especially the cheeks/nose/forehead but other places too and seeing 249+ in the Reds/Greens/Blues). I automatically use the Recovery slider at 10 after adjusting the Exposure itself. Sometimes I use more but I personally never go over 30 (skin tones get gross and weird). We want NO blinkies on the face. Lightroom doesn’t have RGB the same way PS does so you can’t just ‘check’ like we do in PS. Annoying little quirk that I hope Adobe fixes one day but it’s not enough to make me stop using it!
Also for adding color globally- I use the Vibrance slider. It is so much kinder to white folks skin. We have a tendency to get orange faster (bleh) and Vibrance saturates color minus the extra orange. For people of color- I actually often prefer the Saturation slider. Play with it and find what suits you best. Just be warned that going over 10-15 in LR can sometimes blow the Reds out and make them look like hot molten neon magenta- especially for us Nikon folk (Nikon thing). So find a happy place with saturation/vibrance. And remember if you bump the color in Lightroom- take it easy in Photoshop with adding color.
I adjust the Tone Curve, Contrast, Blacks…I really bump up my Darks AND Shadows in the Tone Curve and rely on Contrast and Blacks to add contrast and pop. Take it easy with the Blacks and Contrast though ok? if you like crisp images- using a heavy hand on the Blacks, Contrast and even the Shadows (going – not + with the slider) can make the image look very heavy especially around the eyes. Remember you can always burn those lash lines later if they need more pop.
Next we are going to do a simple simple eye pop in Lightroom. So many people think it can’t be done- but it so can and EASIER than in Photoshop (depending on your methods). I turned my mask on in LR so I can see exactly what I’m ‘painting’.
So here was an eye pop in Lightroom.
You can actually go EVEN simpler than this by swiping the entire inside of the eye but you need to be careful of the Saturation setting.
If the person has some red eye (red veins etc) going on- you make them more red. Ewe.
Now let’s pop the background. Now THIS part is cool. No multiple layers one swipe! If you REALLY want to make the background pop urban style really push the Saturation, Clarity, Contrast and Exposure (to the negative) and paint it on. Adjust the sliders as needed even after painting. Super cool thing about doing this in Lightroom! Easy to adjust! If you need to vary up the effects of what you’re doing- simply click NEW every time you need to do a different effect with the Adjustment brush (it’s sorta like starting another mask layer in Photoshop).
Can I fix a little scratch or pimple here and there in Lightroom? Why, yes you can!
We’re ready to leave Lightroom!
Now I personally export as TIFF (you can do PSD too) and then pull it into Photoshop/Elements. After I am done editing in PS/PSE I do NOT flatten my image. I simply hit SAVE (not save as since I exported as PSD or TIFF) and it saves alllll my layers open.
Why do I do this? In case I or a client needs some little thing fixed. If it’s on a certain layer- isn’t it easier to go to the layer and tweak than RE-EDIT the entire thing?
Now here I check my skin tones. Making sure they are pleasing to me. Orange skin is yuck. Red is skin is yuck. It’s not at all flattering to the person in the image. This is the reason why I took the time to learn how to edit nice skin tones. <3 I’m not covering skin tones in this tutorial, other than to check them. Elements users disregard this portion.
I could tweak the skin tones a little more BUT this is close to her real skin tones and I prefer the person to look themselves even if that means the numbers are slightly ‘off’.
Now I check around for ‘hot spots’ or areas of overexposure.
When processing bright (like I often do) it’s important to do these AS YOU WORK so you can nip it in the bud as you go.
Elements users you CAN check this part!
So that’s a basic edit for me. I could leave it alone and be happy. But I want to play.
Now I run a simple action for fun, because I can. And my results:
See that wasn’t so hard was it?
Start to finish this took me less than 5 minutes to accomplish.
Once again if you have ANY questions about what I’ve covered in this tutorial, please ask! Preferably here, not in email so that your question can help others.