Lightroom: Develop module, Editing & batch Processing
The develop module is where we'll be doing all of our image adjustments.
Lightroom's develop tool is a RAW processor, much like Camera Raw in Photoshop. This means that the adjustments you're making take full advantage of the deep layers of information stored within a RAW file, retaining as much detail and image quality as possible.
You may notice that the tools look slightly different and behave differently when working with other types of files, such as .jpg's, .psd's or .tiff's. Because these are not RAW files, the develop tools won't be as effective, and might even cause significant quality degradation with certain adjustments. Always try to make the bulk of your adjustments in RAW format!
Adjustments in Lightroom are saved within the catalog, and they are non-destructive, meaning none of the adjustments you make will have any effect on your original file. There is no need to 'save' anything because we aren't physically writing any new files. Adjustments only get applied to the file on export, where you make a new copy of your original file.
On the righthand panel you have all of your RAW processing tools that provide you with a multitude of creative possibilities. That said, this course is not really focused on the creative process of colorizing & toning your images.
There are numerous tutorials out there that cover all of these tools and how to use them. My suggestion is just to take a bit of time and experiment with all of them to get a feel for it.
I will, however, go over my personal tips & suggestions for an efficient workflow.
• Basic adjustments first.
I always recommend starting with a color neutral image, even if you want to do heavy stylizing. White Balance & Exposure settings alone should get you about 90% of the way there. Make sure that these are set correctly before proceeding to other adjustments.
• Keep adjustments light.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Pretty much always avoid the extreme ends of any slider. Image quality can suffer quickly otherwise.
• Play with profiles.
Your camera has built-in profiles that affect the RAW data of your image - this is different than slider adjustments. You can also play with built-in Adobe profiles, or even third party profiles for an even greater range of creative choices.
• Understand your limitations.
Lightroom is powerful - but it's not magical. Don't try to force extreme changes or detailed retouching - some things are better left suited to Photoshop.
Presets are essential to a fast, efficient workflow.
They've lately been a really trendy sales item for nearly every semi-popular photographer out there. You can and should be able to create these yourself, in a way that better suits the way you shoot.
If you do prefer using purchased presets, there's a neat plug-in called Fader that allows you to change the opacity on an entire preset as if it were just a layer in Photoshop to give you an extra layer of control.
There's a lot you can do with presets to save time. My suggestion is to keep presets generally light, and then fine tune the adjustments for each specific shoot, or even particular set - with this fine-tuned adjustment you can create a new, temporary preset to finish your image set.
Alternatively, you can utilize the Copy, Paste & Previous buttons for quickly copying over adjustments.
When using any batch tools:
• One-click edits are not realistic.
Don't try to make your preset be an all-encompassing adjustment. Your images from every shoot are likely to be very different, so there is no one-size-fits all option here. Generally, your presets shouldn't adjust settings that tend to vary from image to image - such as WB & exposure.
• These should expedite your process, not slow you down.
If you're always doing the same thing to every photo, such as adding grain & a little bit of sharpening, just make a preset for that. Take advantage of automation!
• Review your work.
When batch editing many images, it can be easy to overlook a few that were not properly fine-tuned by a batch edit. Double check to make sure no further adjustments are needed.
When it's time to do real retouching or make serious edits, you'll want to open up your images in Photoshop. Fortunately, Lightroom & Photoshop integrate almost seamlessly making this part of your workflow very natural and simple.
Once you've made your RAW adjustments in Lightroom and you're ready for Photoshop, you can hit Cmd-E to open in it Photoshop. Photoshop will create a .psd copy from the RAW file. Once you're done and the file has been saved, it will automatically be added to your Lightroom catalog right next to the original file.