Landscapes are the most important part of my photography.
My initial motivation for developing Lightroom editing system was driven by my personal needs. The goal was to speed up my editing workflow and to be more consistent with my landscape photography.
Later I adopted the system to other aspects of my photography, such as People Photography, Architectural Photography, HDR photography. But the driving force of the entire process was always the landscapes.
Today, I would like to show you how I use the Lightroom to edit landscape photographs on a daily basis.
Setting up the Lightroom
If you have an existing Lightroom Catalog, open it.
If not, you need to create one.
In Library Module select the folder to where you imported 3 demo images in Lesson 3. In my case, it is 2016-01 JUMP START.
Select landscape photo by clicking on it.
Next you need to switch to the DEVELOP module of the Lightroom by selecting the DEVELOP option from the top menu.
Next, I suggest watching this short video to be more comfortable with the entire process.
When you are in the DEVELOP MODULE, on the left SIDE, select the PRESETS PANEL and open it.
Inside of the PRESETS PANEL you will find two new preset folders:
- PhotoTraces FREE Collection
- Photo Traces TOOLKIT
To start, open the Free Collection Folder.
The landscape photo I selected for the demonstration I took in Hawaii at sunrise. This is a typical landscape capture where we have the wide open skies with the well-defined clouds, the mountains, the open water (ocean) and the foreground vegetation.
The problem with this photo is that is too dull. The sky is a bit overexposed and as the result looks washed out. The foreground vegetation is too dark and lacks contrast and colors.
The goal of Lightroom editing is to make the sky darker, recover the shadows, bring back the colors and increase contrast.
The fastest and the easiest way to bring this image back to life is to use Lightroom Rapid Editing.
With only one click we can completely change the way image looks.
To apply the preset to the selected image all you have to do is click the name of the preset in the PRESETS Panel.
The best way to use Lightroom Rapid Editing is to go through the rest of the PRESETS and to see which one produces the look that you like the most.
Not every preset will work with every image, so the goal is to find the ONE that works the best.
Let’s say that I like the look of the NATURAL preset the most.
I like the result that the preset produces but the image is a bit too dark for my taste and I want to increase the contrast as well.
This is when the TOOLKIT comes into play.
The TOOLKIT is the collection of 40 Adjustments. Each adjustment does not create any specific look or style, but it helps us to fine tune the photo after applying one of the presets.
- To make the image brighter, all I have to do is to apply 01. EXPOSURE + adjustment and the photo looks much nicer.
- I also want to open up the shadows by making only the dark areas of the image brighter.This is a trial and error process. I start by applying the OPEN SHADOWS adjustments from #07 to #10. I can see that 08. Open Shadows ++ is a bit too dark and 10. Open Shadows ++++ is a bit too bright, which means that 09. Open Shadows +++ is the right adjustment for this particular image.
- Next, I am going to increase contrast by applying 12.CONTRAST + and 17. CLARITY ++. (The Clarity is the variation of the Contrast which amplifies the details of the image).
- At this point, I like what I see but I want to try and make the sky area darker.I start applying adjustments 35, 36, 37 with the goal to find the best fit for this photo. 36. ADJUSTMENT ++ looks just right.
As you can see we managed to achieve an interesting result in only 6 clicks. I call this approach to edit photos the Lightroom Rapid Editing.
Now we recap every step of the editing process:
- Natural preset
- 01 Exposure +
- 09 Open Shadows +++
- 12. Contrast +
- 17 Clarity ++
- 36 Sky Darker ++
Here is the Lightroom Editing Formula for this shot: Natural (1, 9, 12, 17, 36). It starts with the name of the preset and follows with the numbers inside the brackets, where each number represents a specific ADJUSTMENT preset from the TOOLKIT collection.
When I am happy with the final result, I use the Snapshot functionality of Lightroom and save my editing steps as a new Snapshot by clicking PLUS sign.
For the name, I use Lightroom Editing Formula.
These are three main steps of Lightroom Rapid Editing:
Exercise for this Lesson
Using Lightroom Rapid Editing create 3 more editing versions of the same photo on your own.
Please complete the editing steps of the following Editing Formulas.
When you are done, save each version as a new Snapshot.
And this is the final editing versions for your reference:
End of Summer (27, 32)
Hawaii Sunset (4, 8, 16, 31)
HDR Blend (13, 27, 32)
If you have any questions, please use the comment section below, I will be glad to assist you.