Adobe Lightroom

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a year of Adobe Creative Cloud. I'd been looking at it for a while, as a professional development activity, but the price had put me off. Then a special offer came along, which made it a wee bit more affordable, so I splashed out!

It comes with more than twenty apps, which is more than I can process in one go, so I decided I would start with Photoshop and Illustrator. I watched dozens of the online video tutorials, which were a great introduction to Photoshop. I haven't really touched Illustrator yet, though I will be doing. What I have discovered, which I really like, is Lightroom.

Lightroom stood out because, as well as the app, there is a web version of it, so I can use it wherever I happen to be. It will take a while of playing with the different sliders to know what works best, but it certainly helps solve one of my main photography problems.

I have a black dog. Black dogs are a pain in the backside to get good photos of. To make it worse, my sister brought her new puppy round yesterday and he is light coloured. So I was trying to photograph two contrasting coloured dogs in bright sunlight, neither of which was ready to stand still!

The original photo

Buddy and Liggy, sniffing each other and the ground on the decking

The main problems with this photo are:
  • Liggy is just a black mass, with no detail
  • Buddy is also rather dark (he's not in real life though)
  • The whole photo looks a little dull.

Automatic adjustments

Same photo as above but auto adjusted in Lightroom

The first thing I do is click the 'auto' button. This does some automatic adjustments, which are sometimes quite big, but often rather subtle. In this photo, Liggy (black dog) has been lightened a little, making her face more distinct. 

Then I play with the sliders:
  • exposure
  • contrast
  • highlights
  • shadows
  • whites
  • blacks
  • vibrance
  • saturation
  • texture
  • clarity
  • dehaze
There are others, but these are the ones that are making the most difference to my black/light doggy issues.

Same photo but the black dog is clearer and there is more light on them.

I prefer this photo now. Liggy is more distinct and less of a black shape. Buddy has a little more colour and doesn't look so dark. He also stands out from Liggy better, I think.

Another advantage of Lightroom is that you can create albums and store all your photos in the Adobe Cloud, which means they are easy to access and edit on the go. Of course, some of this can also be done in Photoshop. There seems to be a fair bit of crossover. And Photoshop does a whole lot more, giving the ability to correct things, delete unwanted items, clean it up a bit, etc. 

For everyday photo editing though, I think Lightroom is the most useful app I've seen in ages... and possibly the least well-known. 

Before and after

Original photo

Edited photo


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