It has been just under a year since I first started using Lightroom CC to edit my images, in that time I’ve learned how to completely transform photos and bring them completely back to life without them ending up looking forced and unnatural. I’m no photography or editing software expert, I’ve taught myself everything I know and I’m still finding out new tricks every day.
Lightroom CC tips:
- Always shoot in Raw! This captures all of the image data rather than compressing it with a format like JPEG and allows you to edit an image in far more detail.
- Don’t go too far. Once an image is starting to look over edited and unnatural it can soon end up looking cartoonish. Over editing always comes across as bad editing.
- Warm up green tones and cool down yellow tones for a more true to life feel.
- Use the healing brush to edit out litter on the street, crumbs on plates or stains on tops. There’s nothing worse than an empty crisp packet ruining an outfit photo!
- Make use of an external hard drive. To keep your editing software running smoothly, make sure you have plenty of disk space and are backing up your files externally.
- Be careful when adding in grain. Grainy images have become pretty trendy lately and as much as I love the effect it’s worth noting that they can often end up looking distorted when posted on social media.
Isn’t the result of editing on this image wild? My skin tone has been warmed up, the colour of my hair has been boosted and the harsh cool tones of the image have been adjusted. Lightroom is particularly great at recovering natural, warm lighting in darker settings.
I’ve only discovered the optics settings recently but have been blown away so far. The distortion correction works wonders on portrait photos and results in a more flattering, straightened out silhouette, along with stretching out any wonky lines. I use the lens vignetting option to either add light back into an image or to darken up the edges.
Sometimes I prefer darker, moodier looking editing and others brighter, white looking images. It often depends how much of the background I want to bring into focus and the overall vibe I’m trying to go for.
Yellow and orange highlights from overhead lighting are my worst enemy as they completely ruin the overall look and feel of an image if you like to go for a more muted look. You can see just how well these edits worked at taking harsh orange tones out of my blouse and the shelf behind.
I then chose to make use of the brush tool to cancel out the cool tones in my hair. It looks almost purple and isn’t a true representation of my real life colour and as this was in collaboration with a hair colour brand I wanted to get the tones spot on. As I’d cooled down the yellow and orange tones already, I didn’t want to have to warm up the entire image to do this so the brush tool worked wonders! It’s really handy if you want to adjust sections of an image.
For food photography, I usually like to add in a lot of light, whilst correcting any cool tones. You can see here how the beetroot soup looks so much more vivid an appetising after editing. I also liked how the napkin ended up blending in more so that the soup could stand out.
I hope all of that made sense. If you have any questions or want any further advice, just get in touch!