Make It Impactful: Optimizing Images with Lightroom
Sometimes you capture the perfect photo in just one click—but perfection usually takes a little more effort than that. We asked three top-notch photographers—Katie Orlinsky, Gareth Pon, and Ted Chin—to show us how they take a photo from good to great, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. Then we invited our readers to try some of their tips on a photos of their own, for a chance to win (the entry period for this contest is now over). The winner, chosen by Orlinsky, Pon, and Chin, received a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, a $1,000 Adorama Camera gift certificate, and a one-hour mentoring session. (We will be running four Make It Impactful contests in the summer and fall of 2017. One of the four winners will be randomly selected to win our grand prize: a trip to Adobe MAX in Las Vegas!)
KATIE ORLINSKY’S PROCESS
The trio started with a picture of sled dogs that Orlinsky had taken along with many other photos of dog mushing in Alaska. “A client asked me for an image that captured Alaskan dog mushing,” she says. “They wanted it to include dogs running and the epic Alaskan landscape. I knew I had images that fit the bill
Lightroom allows you to sort photos by multiple criteria—including file name, date, rating, and color label. Orlinsky likes to sort and cull photos quickly, applying ratings and colors to her photos using key commands (1 to 5 are ratings; 6 to 9 are colors).
GARETH PON’S PROCESS
Pon imported Orlinsky’s photo and switched to the Develop module (View > Go To Develop). Before he began making adjustments in the Basic panel, he moved the exposure slider left and right to get a feel for the photo. “Ideally, you want to make sure your image is at a good exposure before you start playing with it and making other adjustments,” he says.
The Graduated Filter lets you make all kinds of adjustments but confines them within a rectangle (click on the rectangular icon, fourth from the left, to access it). The adjustments are strongest in one part of the rectangle and gradually fade out, so the final effect is convincingly subtle.
After selecting the Graduated Filter, choose any of the adjustment sliders, and click and drag to create the filter. The longer the distance between the start and end point, the more gradual the effect. Drag the pin to reposition the adjustment, drag the outer line to shorten or lengthen the effect distance, and drag the center line to change the filter’s angle.
Pon continued making edits, bringing up a side-by-side before-and-after view to check his progress. (To do this, make sure that the Before And After view mode is activated by clicking on the arrow at the bottom right of the image window. Then click on the rectangle with Y icons.)
TED CHIN’S PROCESS
As a perfecting touch, Chin wanted to use Lightroom’s Radial Filter to draw viewers’ eyes to the image’s focal point—the dogs and the sled tracks—and to add drama to the photograph.
He increased the contrast in a Radial Filter that encompassed the sled dogs, and he used two more filters to intensify the color and contrast in the sky.
Chin applied several radial filters in concert with other adjustments to increase contrast in select areas of the image and to boost color—such as the blue in the sky.