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Lightroom Settings You Should Know
This tutorial will focus on the Tone Adjustments in Lightroom and Adobe ACR. These are the most crucial settings to begin editing images.
This simple tutorial will show you how to prepare your photos effectively for further enhancement. This tutorial gives you a solid foundation of quality image detail. In many cases, this is all that you will need.
This tutorial is compatible with Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw
Start with a quick tip
Drag the sliders to the left if you’re using Lightroom to widen the panel. See the red (original length). This gives you almost 2x as much control.
Here is the original showing the loss of detail on the left and in the sky.
The order in which you will use the Tone panel is as follows.
First, we will reveal as much detail as possible in the highlights and shades.
Drag the highlight slider left to reveal the details in the sky. (Dehaze also reveals the details, but it also increases contrast, so it shouldn’t be used yet.)
Reduce the exposure a little if you still need to see more detail (depending on the image).
I like to reduce the contrast slider slightly to reveal more detail (Contrast Tutorial (See this to learn why)
Let’s reveal the details in the shadows (lower left of the image).
Slide the Shadow slider on the right.
Use the Shadow and highlight sliders for recovery. Always keep the Shadows on the right.
Always move the highlights to the right.
Note: The amount of movement will vary from camera to camera and from image to image. These were shot on a low dynamic range drone, so I have pushed them more aggressively than if they had been shot on a camera such as the Sony A1.
Now that we have opened the image up, we can now add more details. Next, we will add some punch.
Whites and Blacks can be used to bring back the contrast in the image without losing any details.
Let’s start with the whites.
While moving the whites, hold down the Alt/Option keys. Clipping indicators will appear on the screen. This will let us know if you have gone too far in removing highlight details.
Move the whites on the right to clean milky areas. This image is already bright, so it doesn’t need much.
Move the blacks on the left to enhance the shadows. Hold down Alt/Option to also see clipping.
At this point you can use other tools, such as Presence and curves. This tutorial focuses on tone adjustments. I hope it helps you get a good starting point to getting better edits.
This tutorial is a companion to this one on Contrast and Whites/Blacks.
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