Welcome to our photo editing basics guide.
Focus will be on the following workflows, on the club night associated with this we will be covering these two workflows side by side to show the similarity but also the differences.
Other software editing packages are available for RAW processing and more advanced photo editing such as:
This site gives some quick descriptions of some of these:
The package shown in the demonstration and walk through is based on the Adobe Photography Plan, which is a subscription services that can be paid for monthly or annually:
This gives you a control panel on your laptop where you get the option to install various apps including these:
We are going to start with Adobe Bridge and Lightroom side by side to show the differences between the interface and the purpose of the packages.
First of all, with Adobe Bridge, browse to the folder containing the image(s) you wish to look at working on. In Lightroom, you can go to the "Folders" section on the left hand side tools followed by hitting the add button, browse to the same folder and you will have the option to start adding the images into Lightroom's catalogue ready for processing.
With Lightroom, on the right hand side tools, you will see an option to apply develop settings during import. If you always apply lens correction for example, or permanently under expose all images by 1ev stop, you can save default editing options as a template for application during import. With Adobe Bridge, you can select one or more image to edit at the same time and edit them all to the same base settings during the open process.
In Lightroom, let's go ahead and add those images into the catalogue so they are ready for editing in comparison to Adobe RAW and Photoshop. Note the tick box option to "build smart previews", previews can be generated as you edit each image, generating them now will take longer but can speed up the editing process later on.
Once imported, the images should now be sitting waiting to be worked on with a new set of tools available on the right hand side of the screen:
We're now at a common starting point for comparison between the two different workflows being discussed in this post. As mentioned above, this is where Lightroom is useful for its catalogue capability. More on the use of the catalogue capabilities can be covered off in separate short sessions on future evenings or future blog posts specifically on this subject.
Bridge and Lightroom share many commonalities, essentially the core difference is the separation from editing that Bridge allows where Lightroom does everything in the same tool. Organising images is similar in both such as tagging with labels or creating stacks of related images such as several shots designed for panoramic merging, or perhaps 3 or 5 images shot as bracketed images ready for merging. This will be demonstrated including the different panels available such as the keywords panel to aid in organisation and searching and the EXIF information as shown as follows:
Locate the image we are going to be working on in Lightroom or Adobe Bridge and let's get started.
Within Lightroom, you will see a series of options along the top right of the screen. Click on Develop to enter into the develop module, it should look something like the following with all the tools available on the RHS of the screen:
In Adobe Bridge, right click on the image and choose open or click on the icon demonstrated to open into Camera Raw:
You will start to see similarities straight away in the tools now available on the RHS of the Camera RAW application and the Develop module of Lightroom. Hence working from Bridge into Photoshop via Camera RAW is not a large leap in terms of how to edit the image itself.
The available tabs of controls in Camera RAW are described in the following web page available on Adobe's Website
The first tab of controls cover the following which are common with those found in Lightroom under the "Basics" tab:
On the images below, the LHS shows Lightroom where you can see the different control panels are labelled in text form. On the RHS, Camera RAW replaces this with a horizontal tab layout represented by icons. These icons represent the same tools however so the same editing capabilities are available from both. They are in slightly different order, but everything is available.
The adjustment controls shown in Lightroom (top image) are available as a standalone toolbar along the top in Camera RAW (bottom image)
"Tone Curve" is the next control, it allows very accurate adjustment to the complete tonal spectrum of the image. You can select control points to adjust the image until it perfectly achieves what you want. Drawing in a "S" style curve for example has the effect of increasing contrast.
"HSL" is the next control and is probably the most powerful set of controls beyond the "Basics" control panel. HSL stands for "Hue", "Saturation" and "Luminance". The slides allow each of those 3 elements to be individually adjusted for the 8 colour channels. When processing in Black and White, they switch to single sliders for the 8 colour channels which adjust luminance only. The sliders will be demonstrated on the night so the effects can be clearly understood.
"Split Toning" is a very creative option for taking a different approach to what might otherwise be a monochrome image. It allows different colour bases to be applied to the shadow tones vs the highlight tones. This can be used to great effect with images that contain strong tonal differences such as landscapes and some forms of astro photography such as Milky Way images.
"Detail" is a very useful set of controls for increasing sharpness in the image and also controlling visible noise within the image.
"Lens Corrections" is very useful when shooting in RAW, shooting in JPEG don't allow the same options to be available. Lightroom and Camera RAW can fetch lens and camera presets to help correct any edge distortions, or subtle vignetting automatically to save any manual editing being required. This is very subjective as sometimes it helps the image but sometimes it actually detracts from the original capture. Check first to see if your camera is already doing this in camera, otherwise it can over-correct if applied twice.
"Transform" is the control panel for anyone who loves architecture photography and landscape photography in general. It can be used to correct a large variety in perspective distortions such as fixing leaning lighthouses and perspective distortion from shooting a tall building from its base rather than looking flat onto it from its centre. Easiest to show this in action than explaining it in text.
"Effects" are where you can add vignetting to your image to help draw the viewers eye into the centre of the image. An additional control allows the editor to simulate grain from the file era to achieve exactly the look required rather than the default clean look that digital photography often gives.
"Calibration" is the final set of controls and generally shouldn't require to be touched unless specifically calibrating your screen or print settings due to colour differences.
Camera Raw contains two additional control panels which are Presets and Snapshots. These are represent in different sections of the Lightroom layout on the left hand side with different drop down areas respectively. Several presets are directly available and customised ones can be created. The use and creation of presets will be covered later in the season on an additional club night.
The demonstration on the club night will take you through a sample of images and the effect that these controls have on the end result. If time allows, further editing options such as merging images to form a Panoramic may also be covered.