Tutorial – Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes

Landscapes are the most important part of my photography.

My initial motivation for developing Rapid 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 Rapid Editing System to edit landscape photographs on a daily basis.

LRES_Landscapes_Title

The logic behind the Lightroom Rapid Editing System is straightforward; you create multiple editing versions of the same capture and later select the one that reflects your artistic style or your taste.

I am confident that my approach to photo editing will help you to supercharge your creativity by offering various, sometimes even unexpected ways to edit landscape photographs.

You will learn:
  • How to install STYLE and ADJUSTMENT presets to Lightroom
  • How to apply presets to a photograph
  • How to use TOOLKIT to fine tune the photo after applying one of the presets
  • How to read Lightroom Preset Editing Formula

 

Installation

If you have a problem installing the presets, I have a simple tutorial on how to install the Lightroom presets in just a couple of minutes. How to Install Lightroom Presets

Setting up the Lightroom

After you installed my Lightroom Presets and restarted Lightroom, you need to switch to the DEVELOP module of the Lightroom by selecting the DEVELOP option from the top menu.

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 Vol.1 – Landscapes
  • Photo Traces TOOLKIT

To start, open the PhotoTraces Vol.1 – Landscapes folder.

 

Tutorial Images

For today’s demonstration, I selected three landscape photographs in RAW format.

Please note that everyone who purchased my Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes has access to the original source images in RAW format, the same images that are used in this tutorial.

Demo Photo 1

The first photo I used in this tutorial was taken 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 main issue with this photo is that it is too dark. When I was taking it, I purposely set my exposure for the brightest area of the scene – the sky – making sure I captured its details and, as a result, the rest of the image is underexposed.

The goal of Lightroom editing is to make it brighter, recover the shadows, bring back the colors and increase contrast.

To apply the preset to the selected image all you have to do is click the name of the preset in the PRESETS Panel.

Natural Preset

The Natural Preset is one of my favorites as it gives your landscapes a natural look with rich colors and well-defined skies.

I like the result that the preset produces, but the image is too dark for my taste, it is way too underexposed.

This is when the TOOLKIT comes into play.

The TOOLKIT is the collection of 40 Adjustment presets. 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.

  1. To make the image brighter, all I have to do is to apply 02. EXPOSURE ++ adjustment and the photo looks much nicer.
  2. 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.
  3. Also, I want to increase the contrast in midtones. I apply 17 Clarity ++
  4. At this point, I am satisfied with the final result and all I have to do is to add vignetting. Once again, I use a process of a trial and error by applying adjustments 31 Vignetting +, 32 Vignetting ++, 33 Vignetting +++. The adjustment 32 Vignetting ++ produces the best result so I keep it.

Below is the final look:

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Natural preset
  • 02 Exposure ++
  • 09 Open Shadows +++
  • 17 Clarity ++
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Here is the Lightroom Editing Formula for this shot: Natural (2, 9, 17, 32).  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. For the name, I use Lightroom Editing Formula.

If you want to learn more about the Lightroom Editing Formula, please read Introduction to Lightroom Rapid Editing System article.

 

Now I am going to give you a few creative options for the same capture.

Preset: Point Lobos

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Point Lobos preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 20 Vibrance +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Point Lobos (1, 20)

Preset: End of Summer

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • End of Summer preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 10 Open Shadows ++++
  • 31 Vignetting +
  • 39 Sky Blue Darker ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (1, 10, 31, 39)

Preset: Easy Cross

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Easy Cross preset
  • 03 Exposure +++
  • 9 Open Shadows ++
    12 Contrast +
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Easy Cross (3, 9, 12, 32)

Preset: Skyshine

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Skyshine preset
  • 9 Open Shadows ++
    16 Clarity +
  • 31 Vignetting +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Skyshine (9, 16, 31)

Preset: Drought

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Drought preset
  • 03 Exposure +++
  • 9 Open Shadows ++
    12 Contrast +
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (2, 8, 16, 20)

Preset: High Pressure

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Pressure preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 09 Open Shadows ++
  • 21 Vibrance ++
  • 31 Vignetting +

Lightroom Editing Formula: High Pressure (1, 9, 21, 31)

Preset: Shark Cove

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Shark Cove preset
  • 03 Exposure +++
  • 12 Contrast +
  • 2 Vibrance +
  • 31 Vignetting +
  • 39 Sky Blue Darker ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Shark Cove (3, 12, 20, 31, 39)

Preset:  Analog Wave

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Analog Wave preset
  • 03 Exposure +++
  • 16 Clarity +
  • 39 Sky Blue Darker ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Analog Wave (3, 16, 39)

Preset:  Clock Tower

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Clock Tower preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 08 Open Shadows ++
  • 30 Vignetting 0

Lightroom Editing Formula: Clock Tower (1, 8, 30)

Preset: Harsh Shadows

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Harsh Shadows preset
  • 02 Exposure ++
  • 31 Vignetting +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Harsh Shadows (2, 31)

Preset: Broken Clouds

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Broken Clouds preset
  • 03 Exposure +++
  • 08 Open Shadows +
  • 31 Vignetting +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Broken Clouds (3, 8, 31)

 

When I am done with the editing, I have the Snapshot Panel of Lightroom filled with 12 editing versions for this particular photo.

As you can see, we managed to create 12 distinctive looks for the original capture. Now, all you have to do is to select the version you like the most. There is no right or wrong selections here because photography is a visual art where all choices are purely subjective.

Please note, in the real life scenarios I normally do not create 12 editing version of the same image. It is total overkill. I did it with the purpose to better demonstrate the power of my new system. Normally, I create 2 or 3 versions before I am ready to make a selection.

Demo Photo 2

The second photo was one I took in Point Lobos State Reserve (California) in the early evening. The photo has some very dark areas in the shadows and a slightly overexposed sky.

Below are a few ideas and techniques on how to improve the capture with the help of Lightroom presets.

Preset: Broken Clouds

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Broken Clouds preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 09 Open Shadows +++
  • 20 Vibrance +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Broken Clouds (01, 09, 20)

Drought

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Drought preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 09 Open Shadows +++
  • 12 Contrast +
  • 16 Clarity +
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (01, 09, 12, 16, 32)

High Pressure

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • High Pressure preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 10 Open Shadows ++++
  • 21 Vibrance ++
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: High Pressure (1, 10, 21, 32)

Sunshine

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Sunshine preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 9 Open Shadows +++
  • 33 Vignetting +++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Sunshine (01, 9, 33)

Pinkish Hue

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Pinkish Hue preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 09 Open Shadows +++
  • 12 Contrast +
  • 21 Vibrance ++
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Pinkish Hue (1, 9, 12, 21, 32)

 

Photo 3

The last photo is one I took during my coastal drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the California State Route 1. I took it in the vicinity of San Simeon in the early afternoon.

As you can see, this is a challenging photo to edit as it has very dark areas and a washed out colorless sky.

But, even when we deal with the very challenging photos, we still can use the Lightroom Preset Based editing and achieve interesting results.

Point Lobos

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Point Lobos preset
  • 9 Open Shadows +++
  • 31 Vignetting +

Lightroom Editing Formula: Point Lobos (9, 31)

HDR Blend

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • HDR Blend preset
  • 10 Open Shadows ++++
  • 31 Vignetting +
  • 34 Sky Neutral 0

Lightroom Editing Formula: HDR Blend (10, 31, 34)

Drought

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Drought preset
  • 01 Exposure +
  • 32 Vignetting ++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (01, 09, 32)

Beyond the Reach

Here are the exact editing steps I used to achieve the final look:

  • Beyond the Reach preset
  • 10 Open Shadows ++++

Lightroom Editing Formula: Drought (10)

Conclusion

As you can see the Lightroom Rapid Editing can help you to drastically speed up the process of photo editing and to improve your photography at an accelerated speed.

If you are interesting in an adoption of Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes into your photography workflow, you can learn more about it here:

  • waouu, all styles are wonderful 🙂

  • >