photo by filmstudio via iStock
If you’re new to Lightroom, or even if you’re just trying to be more honest with the way you edit your images (I’m looking at you, presets), you may be feeling a little overwhelmed.
But, with the help of Nigel Danson’s simple Lightroom editing tips, you’ll be editing like a pro in no time.
While you should obviously watch his entire video, I’ve pulled out a few of my favorite simple Lightroom editing tips for you below.
Closely Examine Your Photo
photo by andresr via iStock
Before you do anything else with an image in Lightroom, take your exposure slider and push it all the way down. This will allow you to see where all of the detail in your photos is located, since it will darken parts of the image without as much detail.
Then, do the exact opposite. Take your exposure slider and push it all the way up. This will, once again, allow you to see a ton of detail in your photo that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen if you hadn’t checked it before you began.
By messing with the exposure slider before you actually start editing your image, you’re figuring out what details you want to get from your finished image.
Mess with Your Contrast
photo by recep-bg via iStock
One of my favorite simple Lightroom editing tips is to mess with your image before you’ve even begun to edit it.
Just like you changed the exposure in the tip above, you’ll now change your contrast. Adjust your contrast slider all the way to the left, examine the photo, then slide it all the way to the right and examine the photo again.
This will allow you to figure out where you should slightly increase or decrease your contrast before you get too far into the editing process to recognize something this basic.
Importantly, you will have to know how to use local adjustments to change the contrast on specific parts of your images. If you don’t already know how to do this, then you could benefit from this Nigel Danson video.
Focus on Local Adjustments
photo by RossHelen via iStock
I’ve noticed that a lot of beginner Lightroom tips really focus on changing an entire image. Or, worse, they’ll focus on using presets from other photographers in order to edit their images.
While there is a time and place for global adjustments to your photos, not enough photographers are focusing on local adjustments in their images. This means that a lot of the detail in your photos is likely being lost. Doing this may also make your images look to be of a lower quality. It’s something I can automatically pinpoint when I’m scrolling through Instagram and I’m sure you can too.
So, while you’re learning how to edit photos in Lightroom, actually learn how to edit your whole image. Try not to touch the adjustments on the far right of the screen too much before you start changing only certain aspects of your photo.
Never Think an Image is “Too Far Gone”
photo by Morsa Images via iStock
One sort of toxic idea in the beginner photography community is that you can mess up your editing so badly that you need to pull up a copy of your original file again and start over. But, if you’re following all of the simple Lightroom editing tips that you should be, then there’s really no way to ruin an image in Lightroom.
For instance, let’s say that you accidentally overexposed your image, like the one shown above. The detail that you think you’ve lost is still there in the photo to some degree. You just have to get it back.
And you can by using local adjustments to reduce the exposure wherever you need to.
HDR Isn’t Outdated
photo by FilippoBacci via iStock
HDR used to be associated with pretty terrible images that a lot of photographers were obsessed over in the early 2000s.
But, there’s a time and a place for everything when you’re learning how to use Lightroom, even HDR.
In order to use some of these simple Lightroom editing tips, you’ll need to adjust the way that you’re shooting. This is one of those tips.
So, while you’re out shooting, take the same image two or three times. Take it where you normally would, then go down a stop or two and take the image, then go up a stop or two and take the image. This will allow you to have a broader dynamic range when you actually edit your image.
Given the fact that most of these simple Lightroom editing tips don’t take any real time from you, it may be wise to play around with your exposure in this way while you’re shooting to see if you can’t really change how great your images look.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reduce Clarity
photo by Alan Currie via iStock
A lot of Lightroom tips for 2021 are all about increasing the clarity of your images. People are almost afraid to lose any detail.
While I love a crisp, clean photo, I also understand that there are certain photos which call for a little added moodiness.
It’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to reduce the clarity of your images. Sometimes, by reducing the clarity, you’ll actually add a feeling of ethereal beauty to them.
Alright, guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of simple Lightroom editing tips. Let me know which ones you end up trying!