We are so fortunate to have Olivia from OliviaIrene Photography back with us again this week to further discuss Lightroom. If you missed her previous post where she provide tips and insights into her workflow, you should definitely check it out here. This time around she is giving us some helpful resources to get you on your way. Thank you so much Olivia for this very informative post. I think I've got a little studying to do!
Last month, Kristina asked some of KK Groupies if we would be willing to write a guest post for her Moms Who Click blog, and I sort of, tentatively raised my hand and asked in a quiet voice, “Can I do a post about before/after edits using LR and what I’m learning?” (Secretly, I was hoping she would say, “NO! ARE YOU CRAZY?” but she didn’t. She said, “Yes! Sounds great.“ So now I’m stuck! But here goes.
Back in October I did a series of posts with before/after edits using Lightroom 4 and a little Photoshop CS6. You can see some of them here and here. I think I ended up with about 15 posts, not 31, but who’s really counting and keeping score? I learned more about both programs. And I’m still learning.
I’ve used LR for several years as an organizing tool. I used it mostly for importing images from my camera card, and I would do a few of the most obvious adjustments, mostly adjustments for white balance, exposure. Somewhere along the way, I learned that if you clicked on those little triangles at each end of the histogram and turned them “black,” then you had the image within the “correct” ranges for exposure, blacks, highlights, etc.
After a bit of playing with some sliders, I used the Ctrl-E shortcut and opened the images in CS6 to finish my editing by making additional adjustments in levels, hue/saturation, contrast, etc., running creative actions, or applying textures and veils and whatnot.
Now, after taking Kim’s Roundtrip Lightroom class, I’m learning even more.
But what I really want to do is share some of the resources that have been most helpful to me. These are not necessarily in any kind of order of preference, but just some that I go to for reference, instruction, and help:
Gavin Grough, The Photographer’s Workflow: A Practical Guide to Digital Post Production Using Lightroom 4. This e-book has been extremely helpful in setting up LR and establishing a workflow. His process has ten steps divided into two parts: planning and implementation. From this book, so far, I’ve taken away the importance of labeling, flagging, and naming files and folders. I still have a lot to learn. Included with the book are a set of 30 presets (still getting the hang of them) that are useful in the editing process.
Sean McCormack, Essential Development: 20 Great Techniques for Lightroom4. If you haven’t discovered David de Chemin’s wonderful library of ebooks at www. craftandvision.com, you need to go there NOW! Where else can you buy quality photography guides for $5.00 each, and even get a couple free ones? I’ve just dabbled in this book, but from this book, I took a better understanding of how the histogram worked. Now, it has become one of the first tools I use when I process a photo in LR.
Kim Klassen’s Round Trip class. Kim’s class is wonderful—it is down to earth, easy to follow and basic. She introduces the student to the basics of LR beginning with organization. Now that is one of my pitfalls with LR (and with Bridge when I first used it). Now, I think I have a system that works for me: I import images into a folder for the year by DATE. Right now, I’m “reorganizing” my catalog by moving files into subfolders by MONTH. So my structure looks something like this:
>2013 (the year)
Each LR teacher will give you their system for organization, but you simply have to work out the best system that works for you.
David du Chemin also has a book where he takes you through his Lightroom process (and for the life of me I cannot find the book or think of the title!) His philosophy is that when we edit, we do not necessarily edit for “correctness” but for “vision”—our mental picture of what we want the final product to be. That, more than anything else, has guided me whenever I edit. I edit until it looks the way I want it to, the way I want it to tell the story.