How To Edit In Adobe Lightroom

By | 20/11/2022

How to edit photos in Lightroom

How to edit photos in lightroom: Image shows landscape photo

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

When it comes to editing your images, many beginner photographers struggle to know which tools to employ and how much editing to do. Knowing what each editing tool does tin streamline your editing process and really help you go the best out of your image. Every bit most photographers use Lightroom to edit their photos, we’ve compiled a quick guide on how to edit photos in Lightroom
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For our full list of recommendations on editing tools, accept a expect through our round-upward of the best photo editing apps. Lightroom does take the tiptop spot here, only nosotros have some good recommendations for people working on a budget, and for those who don’t need all of the bells and whistles.

Learning how to etch and take a photo is 1 matter, simply learning how to edit them is an aspect of photography that ofttimes gets overlooked. If yous’re shooting in RAW, your camera only captures the cadre information of the scene without whatever kind of processing, this can make an image look tedious and lifeless. Editing can be necessary to bring your photo to life and run into or enhance your creative vision. Editing your photo doesn’t have to hateful hours and hours on Photoshop creating an entirely new image consisting of dozens of composites. A few uncomplicated tweaks tin transform it from good to cracking.

The lessons hither are only a guide, every bit there’s no right or wrong way to edit. Information technology’southward all most your vision and developing your style as a photographer. Editing can make or suspension an image, so y’all need to understand the tools you can use to help get the best out of your photo, and know when an paradigm is over-edited.

In this step-past-step guide, we volition be editing i specific image from an unedited RAW file to the finished product.

How to edit photos in Lightroom: Before image

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Lens correction and transform panels

You’ll first demand to import the photo into Lightroom
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. 1 of the simplest ways is to open up Lightroom, click on the File tab at the top, then scroll down to ‘Import photos and videos.’ (You lot can also add information technology to a collection from here if you wish). Once that’s done, 1 of the first things we like to start with is the lens corrections and transform panels. These are found under the ‘Develop’ tab or ‘Optics’ module, depending on what version of Lightroom you’re using. This duo of tools correct any lens distortions on the paradigm and allow you lot to experiment with the geometry of your shot.

Lens Correction

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

In the lens panel, shown above, click on ‘remove chromatic abnormality’ and ‘enable profile corrections’. This can occasionally burnish upwards your image, so information technology’s better to do this before making any other adjustments. You can encounter these boxes below.

In the transform panel, which you can see beneath, nosotros tend to use ‘Car’ or ‘Full’ to straighten the image. It can sometimes distort the photo too much, if that happens, skip this step. Afterward, nosotros crop and rotate the image as much as needed.

How to Edit Photos in Lightroom: image shows adobe lightroom


(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Light levels

The next stride is to wait at the overall light levels. The histogram shows that the image is by and large quite well exposed already and then it doesn’t need much aligning. The left side of the histogram represents the shadows, and the right side represents the highlights. Pay attending to the histogram every bit you’re making your adjustments, as the backlit computer screen will make your image look brighter than it is. You ideally desire your image to exist level, without having the whites or blacks peaking at either end.

You can see the adjustments made to this image below. Nosotros increased the exposure so the image was brighter overall, then brought the highlights dorsum downwardly slightly to avert losing the detail in the sky.

Low-cal Exposure

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Some other fashion to adjust the light levels in your epitome is by using the Tone Bend. Similar the histogram, the left part of the tone curve represents the shadows and darker parts of the paradigm, and the right side represents the lighter tones. You can see the background of the tone bend box mimics the shape of the histogram. For a more visual view of which tones yous want to adapt, try out the luminance range tool in the Masking section. Here you can use sliders to select specific tones in your image to give yourself more control over the light levels. You tin besides add/subtract from a mask, so if you only desire to conform the tones in a select part of your image, you lot tin can castor out the highlighted areas y’all don’t want the mask to bear on.

The tone bend tool gives you much more than control over the calorie-free levels than the sliders. Experiment with the tone curve and see what results you get. Different images need different adjustments, however, a gentle S-curve is a great place to start. The S-curve darkens the shadows and brightens the highlights, which adds contrast to the epitome.

Tone Curve

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Color adjustments

Once you’ve adapted your light levels, you can move on to the colour adjustments. It’s necessary to exist careful with colors and non go overboard as it can make your image look unnatural. Y’all want to enhance the colors that already exist- sometimes less

is more. Increasing the vibrance brings out the colors in just the midtones, as opposed to the saturation slider which increases the saturation and intensity of every unmarried color in your image. Experiment with both of these sliders and find the deviation between the two. Nosotros don’t commonly touch the saturation of the whole image, but rather the individual colors in the HSL panel.

HSL Panel

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

In the HSL console you can manipulate the hue (tone/shade), saturation (intensity), and luminance (brightness) of each colour in your paradigm. This worked well for the warmer colors in our case. Nosotros boosted the saturation and luminance of the orange and yellows to heighten the warm golden hour light on the hills in the foreground. This tool is great for editing astro shots, every bit y’all tin can actually bring out the unlike colors in the constellations.

Another way to enhance the colors in your prototype is with colour grading. Here you tin can adjust the color of the highlights, midtones, and shadows. This is another tool that is best used in moderation. As this image was taken in the evening, we warmed upwardly the highlights and chose a blue tone for the shadows. You lot can also use a color range mask, which enables you lot to select a certain color or range of colors in your image and manipulate those further.

Split up Toning

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Down in the ‘Detail’ panel you tin farther refine your image. This is where y’all tin sharpen the prototype and apply any noise reduction adjustments. This epitome was shot at ISO 800 so there was a small-scale amount of racket that needed cleaning upwardly. You need to exist mindful of noise, particularly when editing astrophotography and nighttime images. Reducing noise can sometimes atomic number 82 to eliminating stars and detail in the sky that you desire to go on. This is where prototype stacking comes in handy, there is software that is designed for editing stars and astrophotography images without sacrificing quality and sharpness. Encounter our guide on how to reduce dissonance in astrophotography for more tips.


(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Editing individual elements

Now that all your global adjustments are done, you can movement on to editing specific parts of your image individually. You can see we lost some of the detail in the highlights in the sky due to brightening the exposure of the whole epitome. To correct this, y’all can use the Select Sky tool in the Masking panel and Lightroom will find and mask the sky in your paradigm where you can brand adjustments as necessary. If you’re using an older version of Lightroom, yous can as well apply the linear/graduated filter for this.

In the image below, the cerise mask shows which function of the image is affected past the filter, and you tin come across the adjustments existence fabricated in real-time in the thumbnail on the left.

The radial filter does the same thing only in a circular gradient – you lot can discover this under the Masking panel, or next to the graduated filter if you lot’re using an older version of Lightroom. One time you’ve applied your filter, y’all tin can adjust the light levels, saturation, and sharpness (among other tools) of that highlighted section.

Graduated Filter

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

The castor is some other actually handy tool for making adjustments to small areas of your image. With it, you lot can farther select parts of the epitome to be edited where a graduated or radial filter wouldn’t exist appropriate. In this prototype, parts of the foreground are a picayune nighttime, so we painted the darker parts with the brush tool to brighten them up. As these areas were naturally in shadow, nosotros made certain non to brighten them likewise much to avert them looking unnatural.

Brush Tool

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

The spot edit tool (or healing tool) is particularly helpful for cleaning up any unwanted subjects in your image, for case, it tin exist used to remove people, rocks, or rubbish. In our case image, we used it to make clean upwards the dry patch on the shoreline. Select the spot edit tool, and click on the expanse of the photograph you’d like to clone out. Motion the copied area around the prototype to observe a section that is like in color & texture to supercede the bit y’all don’t desire with. Oft Lightroom volition automatically identify a spot that information technology thinks is the most accurate.

Lightroom editing is non-subversive so y’all can experiment with different tools, disengage contempo or accidental changes, and revert back to your original prototype at any fourth dimension. Go and experiment!

The Spot Edit Tool

(Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

Final results

How to edit photos in Lightroom: Before

(Prototype credit: Kimberley Lane)


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Kimberley Lane is a landscape & seascape photographer living in South Wales. Originally using photography equally a way to cope with health issues, she aims to portray a feeling of calm and peace through her images. Her piece of work has been featured in a number of national photography magazines.