How to Enhance Street Photography with Lightroom
“Photopoet” Josep Fàbrega Agea alters light and color in his street photography to create a look that evokes a feeling of contemplation. See how Agea makes a few adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and then saves the edits as a preset for use throughout his work.
Take a one-minute look at Agea’s technique; the steps are written out below.
Before You Start
Feel free to use Agea’s unedited photo from one of his recent shoots for practice, or use your own.
Get the Shot
Agea captures lonely and melancholic scenes in his street photography and enhances them through the use of high-contrast shadows and highlights to create visual poetry.
Step 1: Shed Some Light
Agea wanted to lighten up the photo, so he increased the Exposure. Then he adjusted the Contrast and Shadows to elicit a stark difference between the deep blacks and the areas of light in the scene—creating a look that has become a characteristic of his work.
Step 2: Create Mood with Color
Next, Agea used color to set the mood of this photo. He increased the Vibrance and then used the Color Mixer to fine-tune the prominent colors in the composition. He started with orange to create the right blend of Hue, Saturation, and Luminance settings. Then he worked through the other colors until he was satisfied with the results.
Step 3: Color the Tones
To bring out the details of the photo, Agea increased Clarity. Then he used the Split Toning panel to add varying shades of yellow to the shadows and highlights. Experiment with different tones to see how they affect the look of the photo.
Step 4: Create Focal Points
Agea selected the Brush tool and brushed over the person and the sign on the wall. Then he increased the Exposure to brighten those areas in order to draw the viewer’s attention to them. He tapped the O key on his keyboard to cycle through the brush overlay options. The red mask showed him the areas that would be affected by the edits. The default brush settings worked well for Agea. You can expand the Brush options to adjust the brush size and other settings to your liking.
Step 5: Save for the Future
When Agea was finished editing, he created a preset. To do this, he clicked Presets at the bottom of the Edit panel. Then he clicked the three-dots icon, chose Create Preset, named it, and clicked Save. He can now access his custom preset from the User Presets section any time he wants to quickly apply the same edits, to unify his style across more of his street photos.
Develop Your Own Style
Presets offer a way for you to find and apply a unique look to your work. Once you discover the settings you like, save them to a preset so you can spend more time shooting photos and less time editing them.