Lightroom Tip of the Week

Have you ever wanted to change the color of what someone is wearing or increase the saturation of a one particular color in an image?  This is where you go to the HSL/Color/B&W module.  Remember the following definitions:

  • Hue is the actual color, ie. if you see a red sweater, the hue is red
  • Saturation is the intensity of that color
  • Luminance is the brightness of that color

Let’s say you want to change the color of the jacket someone is wearing.  If the jacket is, say, purple, you’d have to move the Blue, Red and Purple sliders independently of each other depending on the actual hue of the jacket.  Lightroom makes it much easier.  So easy, in fact, that I never use the sliders.  Look at the image below.  See the Target Adjustment Tool (Red Arrow)?  Click on that and your cursor changes to the TA tool.  Click/Hold on the color you want to change while in the HUE panel and move the mouse up or down to change the hue.  Want to increase/decrease the intensity of the color, do the same thing but while in the Saturation panel.  Same thing for luminance. Note that more times than not, more than one slider will move.  This is because most colors are a combination of colors, not purely one color.  Lightroom knows this and does the work for you.  Want to darken the sky on the image below or change the water to be more blue and less green, use the target adjustment tool while in the Hue panel and watch the magic.  Try it.   Hope this helps.


Lightroom Tip of the Week – Spot Removal Tool

As our cameras get more and more pixel crazy, editing our images takes more resources and taxes our computers. Do you need to go out and buy a new computer just to run Lightroom 4.3? If you’re shooting a 36 megapixel D800, maybe. But otherwise, there are a few things you can do to boost the performance of Lightroom.

First of all, before you do ANY editing, determine if you need to use the spot removal tool to remove sensor dust spots, blemishes or anything else. If you do, use this tool first, before doing anything else. If you use the spot removal tool on a fresh, untouched image, it will work way faster. Otherwise, it has to burrow down through all the adjustment commands in order to know what needs to be removed or cloned. Remember, in Lightroom, you’re actually creating a set of commands stored in a database to create a preview of the edited image. You’re not actually affecting pixels like you are in Photoshop. So, using the resource heavy spot removal tool before making any other adjustments will definitely speed up the processing.

Lightroom Tip of the Week

Here’s a quick one that you may not know about. If you want to check to see if your blacks and/or highlights are being clipped in an image (you know, the same thing as seeing the BLINKIES on your camera LCD screen), just hit the J key while in the develop module. The clipped, or blown out, blacks will show up in blue and the clipped highlights will show up in red. You can then adjust your exposure, shadow and highlight sliders to bring back the detail in those areas.  Also, note that the triangles on the histogram will be in white.  Click on either of those (left for blacks, right for highlights) to isolate one or the other.


Use Bracketing for More Than Exposure

When we think of bracketing, most of us immediately think of exposure.   All bracketing means is taking multiple shots with +/- adjustments.  While I use exposure bracketing the most, I also bracket aperture quite often.  Aperture is the opening and closing of the lens to determine how much light hits the sensor.  It also controls your depth of field or how much of the image, from front to back, is in focus.  Actually, I like to think about it a different way.  Depth of field is how much of the image is out of focus.  Why?  Because often, when composing an image, it’s what is out of focus that matters most.

When considering the depth of field, take a look at what surrounds the focal point of your composition.  Blur the background and foreground in your minds eye while determining how much blur you actually want.  While this takes practice, it will be very beneficial.


This is where aperture bracketing comes into play.  If you bracket your aperture settings, you can see on your LCD or on your computer at home, just how much blur you want to achieve the artistic vision you are seeking.  Take the image of the tricycle below.  I took this at a recycle dump.  There was tons of clutter everywhere but I saw this sad, abandoned trike leaning against a dumpster.

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Adobe Lightroom Tip of the Week

It’s a brand new year and now is a good time to update your Metadata presets in Lightroom.  If you haven’t created a preset, just go to your library module and down to Metadata.  Click on Edit Presets and add however much information you want to be attached to y our images.  For me, the most important parts are the copyright and creator.  The copyright protects your images (to some degree) and the creator information allows others to see how to contact you so they can pay you 6 figures for your image!  Note the Rights usage Terms that I use in the example below.  Remember, Windows users, that you can create the circle “C” by hitting ALT+0169.

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Protective Filters… should you use them?

I am often asked by my students and Seattle Photography Club members whether or not they should use protective filters on their expensive lenses.  In my career, I’ve gone back and forth on this one myself.  However, over the past few years, I’ve come to a conclusion which i will share with you now.   See, just by reading my blog, you’ve saved hours and hours of research and deliberation.

B+W Protective Filter

So here’s the deal.  First, if you are paying big buck for a lens such as the 70-200 f/2.8 or any 2.8 lens, for that matter, why would you add a piece of inferior glass to the package.  The lens maker designed the lens with a particular number of glass elements.  Are we to decide, 9 isn’t enough, I’ll add another.  BUT, dear reader, if you do want to add a protective filter after reading this, then, by all means, do so.  However, spend the money to get a good one from B+W and get the top of the line.  Prepare to spend $100 or more for a 77mm UV filter.   I’ve seen $20 Colkin filters on $1500 lenses.  What?

Anyway, here’s my take on protective filters.  If you hit your lens hard enough to break the filter, guess what happens… the filter will shatter and those shards of glass will scratch the front of your lens.  The best protection for your lens is to always keep the lens hood attached.  You can knock it pretty hard and the lens hood will take the shock and protect your element.  I never take mine off except to attach the Lee Landscape filters but when it comes off, back the hood goes.  Always!

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