I originally created the Rapid Editing System for my photography with the goal of simplifying my entire photography workflow and freeing myself of as much time as possible.
But, when I shared the new system with my students and readers on my blog, I realized that it also had the potential to be a great educational tool.
Learning the art of photography is not rocket science but, it is an ongoing process. It takes time to learn and put all of the pieces together. There is simply no other way around it.
One of the most confusing and time consuming pieces of the photography puzzle is photo editing. The most frustrating part of learning photo editing is that it takes too long before you can see any sort of results that you can be proud of. I know because I went through all of the hurdles myself.
Many beginners give up too quickly when they realize how much effort and time it takes to learn photo editing.
With the Rapid Editing System, you reverse the learning process of photo editing. First, you achieve results you can be proud of by learning only the essentials. Then, you master the more advanced concepts by reverse engineering the system itself.
Right now, after completing six lessons, you should be comfortable with achieving interesting results by using my Free Lightroom Preset Collection. However, this does not mean that you have learned everything about photo editing and Lightroom. It is only the beginning.
Reverse Engineering Strategy
The next step is to start learning more advanced features and techniques.
If you’ve noticed, during our mini course we have not touched the right panel of Lightroom – not even once. This panel, which is also known as the Development Panel, is where the main editing tools are located.
It is time to tackle them.
Go to the Develop Module of Lightroom.
First, select the demo photo we used in Lesson 4: Editing Landscape Photos and apply
Hawaii Sunset (4, 8, 16, 31) Snapshot to the image.
This editing version was part of the exercise from Lesson #4 . If you never created this particular version, simply follow the Lightroom Editing Formula by applying Hawaii Sunset preset first and than the following TOOLKIT Adjustments: 04 Exposure -, 08. Open Shadow ++, 16 Clarity +, 31 Vignetting +.
This is the result you should get:
Next, go to the Development Panel (Right Panel) and open the Basic Panel. Now, try to understand how the effects were achieved by reverse engineering the presets.
Two of the most important adjustment sliders for landscape photography are Highlights and Shadows. In 90% of cases when we edit landscapes, we need to make sure we preserve the details in the sky area (highlights) while also recovering the details in the underexposed areas (shadows).
Play with the Highlights and Shadow sliders to see how it affects the photo.
Tone Curve Panel
Even though the Basic Panel gives us a few options to control the contrast in our photos, I like to use Tone Curve to boost the contrast by increasing the values of the Lights and decreasing the Shadows.
HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) Panel
These sliders allow us to adjust the colors of the image individually. For example, to make the sky darker and more vibrant, we can boost only the blue hues.
Split Toning Panel
These adjustments help us to create a Cross Processed look in our photography by assigning different colors to bright and dark areas individually. In this case, I added a yellow hue to the highlights to create a warm feeling of the tropical sky.
The Detail tools let us reduce the digital noise in the photos and increase the sharpening.
Do not worry if this is too confusing as it is impossible to grasp everything in one short lesson. But, by taking it one tool at a time, you will be comfortable with Lightroom editing in no time.
Developing Your Own Style
After you are comfortable with the editing tools in Lightroom, it’s time to start creating your own presets.
You do not have to start from scratch. Use one of my presets as a starting point and build from there using the Lightroom editing tools as you let your creativity guide you through the process.
The goal of this phase is to create a set of Lightroom presets that reflect your vision, taste, and your artistic style.
The creation of your own presets and developing your personal artistic style in photography is outside of the scope of this course. But, I hope to give you a clear road map as to where and how you should channel your efforts.
I hope that my Lightroom mini course helped you to jumpstart the process of learning photo editing to take your photos to the next level.
There’s no need to worry. I am not planning to abandon you after you completed the Jump Start course. I will keep sending you tutorials and tips to help you become a better photographer. And, do not forget to visit my blog for new articles dedicated to different aspects of travel photography.
Good luck and talk to you soon.