I was recently contacted and asked if I wanted to share an instructional post.  I know that graphic design is kind of a mystery, and for a lot of people, it’s like taking your car to the mechanic, you know what you want the end result to be but you have no idea how to get it done!  So I am sharing a tutorial on a very valuable graphic design tool that breaks down photo editing step by step (time to improve those selfies!).  I hope you enjoy!

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Introduction to Lightroom

These days, becoming a qualified photographer is a much harder task than it used to be. Industry advancements have made it possible for almost anybody to access to a digital camera, which could lead to the mistaking notion of ‘Why do we even need professional photographers?’ But then again, technology can help us succeed in the industry with the advancements made in digital post-production.

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Adobe Lightroom emerged in 2006 as an independent project of the creators of Adobe Photoshop, and today it has created its own niche within the worldwide photography community. With the aim of improving post-production workflow, Adobe Lightroom features a friendly-looking user interface that not only professionals can use, but beginners as well. It is not intended strictly for improving already completed photography, but also for teaching users how to become better at their daily jobs.

Considering all of these factors, today we are going to learn what makes Adobe Lightroom such a versatile tool for photographers.

Presets inside Lightroom

Unlike Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom does not care too much about Plugins. On the other hand, Presets are the star of Lightroom’s advanced adjustments. Defined as sets of instructions on Lightroom native tools, presets can help users achieve a desired effect in only a few clicks rather than working for hours to process large batches of images.

The great thing about presets is that you don’t even need to know how to operate Lightroom on a professional level in order to make them suit your needs. All you need to know is where to get them and how to install them in Lightroom’s install folder.

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How to develop your pictures with Lightroom

The way we work inside Lightroom can be defined as the user workflow, and applies to all users, regardless of their level. In order to show Lightroom’s full potential, we are going to perform a full postproduction process using Sleeklens presets to help us.

Open up Lightroom, and you will find yourself inside the Library module. From there, access the Import window and browse through your media source to find the images you want to process. Lightroom will recognize almost any format, even though it is best if you work with RAW files, as they do not suffer compression adjustments like JPEG files do.

After selecting which picture you are going to work with, switch to the Develop module.

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Inside the Develop module we have three main areas:

  • Panel on the left: Preview and Presets area
  • Central area: Where our image is being shown; also provides access to the Before/After view mode
  • Panel on the right: Histogram and all tools needed to perform postproduction on our picture.

Before doing anything else, start adjusting the White Balance of the picture, as this will affect the whole feeling of the image. You can perform these adjustments either with the Dropper tool (sampling at a neutral gray area, R, G, B values must be equal or pretty similar) or with the Temp/Tint sliders.

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Move to the Basic Adjustments. First I’ll reduce the Exposure a little bit.

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Then I’ll increase the Contrast. As you can see now, the image looks a bit dark, so we need to work with the other sliders in order to balance out these values.

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Since there are some metallic elements in this scene, I am going to reduce the Highlights value.

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Clarify the Shadows by moving the slider towards positive values. The image will start to look brighter.

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Increase the Whites but being careful not to add too much light.

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Also, clarify the Blacks – keep in mind that we want to avoid having too much dark area in this picture.

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Move to the Clarity slider and increase its value. You will be adding more detail as well as clarifying the scene.

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Add a bit of Vibrance to bring life into the softer tints of the image.

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And increase the value of Saturation as well, but not too much, or the result will not look realistic.

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Once we reach this point, we can be satisfied enough with the result, but I am going to apply some tiny adjustments with the sliders in order not to have such a dark image.

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Then, I can move into applying filters to my image. The pack used for this guide is the Food Flux Preset pack from Sleeklens. As you can see, great adjustments can be achieved with just one click.

Apply the Food-MedContrastLightRight, and the whole scene will start to look brighter. It is important for me to check that our picture doesn’t pick up too much Film Grain when applying this Preset, which is a common issue with most Presets.

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Finally, I’ll add a Vignetting effect with this same preset pack, choosing the Black Vignetting preset.

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Let’s do a Before/After comparison to see how our adjustments improved the picture.

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The result is fairly obvious – in just very few clicks, the image condition has improved, becoming pleasant to the eye. As you can see, Lightroom doesn’t have any hidden features that take months to learn, everything is right there for you to use, and only time and practice will tell how good you will eventually be at it.  If you are interested in buying Lightroom Presets then can visit our site Sleeklens.com or like our Facebook page. You will find a big variety of bundles along with tutorials and videos on how to use Lightroom.