Lightroom: questions, answers, tips, and how to's

BBW

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
Sprinkled about throughout a number of posts we've had some people share how they use Lightroom to achieve certain things. Thanks to olli, we have an excellent sticky thread that is a resource we can go to and add to for RAW Processing Resources. However, I'm starting this for members to add their own "tips" and ask questions about Lightroom.

kusch recently explained in another thread how he created a blurred effect on a photo where everything had been in focus - you can see the results here: https://www.photographerslounge.org...or-how-process-photo-914/index2.html#post8331 and I'm copying his explanation of how he achieved this in Lightroom below:


BBW, I use lightroom now for 2 weeks, just playing with it, so I am not an expert, I just like to play (sometimes I am still a little kid :))
So I saw the topic starters request, saw people writing that it is not possible, and started to play with lightroom, sorry that I hijacked the TS's picture ...
Let me try.....

I used the graduate filter under the histogram picture, put it there in the picture where I want the blur. Position it somewhere where you want the blur (you can reposition it afterwards the way you want). Does that count for one click? :biggrin:
I have put the sharpness (in the window that appears when you click on the graduate filter) at minus100. Click 2? :rolleyes:
And then I play with the mouse, move it left, right, up and down till the part of the picture I want is out of focus. 3 clicks, ha ha ... .

Damned, I realise my english language is so bad to explain this :)
I think kusch's description is quite helpful and it's a method I've never thought of trying. I have seen this graduated filter used to created a strong dark shadow area...almost but not quite a kind of vignetting. It's a tool that I need to experiment a bit more with.:wink:
 
Nov 27, 2010
Laurel, MD
I do this quite often for my B&W images as it boosts contrast while expanding the overall tonality in the midtones. (before you do this, the standard advice of shooting in RAW and calibrating your monitor goes without saying)

1.)slide the black point slider so that it touches the edge of the histogram

2.)slide the "brightness" slider towards the left and darken the image dramatically. How much depends on the image but you want anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the right side of the histogram to be blank. Yes the image will be very dark and look bad.

3.)slide the "exposure" slider over towards the right until the image looks good

this works because of the different ways that lightroom manipluates data with the brightness and exposure sliders, what you are doing is expanding the midtones while not changing the darks or the lights, very similar to usuing a compensating developer with B&W film in a darkroom.

With some images the above results may look a bit flat, if that is the case use the curve tool to boost contrast a bit
 

BBW

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
How to back up Lightroom using your external hard drive for MacIntosh folks

This morning I received an email from MacCreate and, among other things, it included a link to this article on Seven by Five photography magazine's site: "A Complete Guide to Backing Up Photos in Lightroom". I don't know if it is truly "complete" but it does give a very good overview with some finer points, just in case anyone isn't backing up their LR catalogue.:eek::wink:

P.S. John turned me on to MacCreate and I found it quite helpful especially when I used to use Aperture.

P.S.S. It appears that Seven by Five has some other handy articles for LR use, as well - from presets that one can download from other sites and more. I've only just begun to look around.
 

tanngrisnir3

Regular
Nov 11, 2010
Lightroom question from absolute beginner.

Just started using LR3 a few days ago, coming from a .jpeg/Photoscape background.

Also got Photoshop, but I'm taking classes for that.

My question is this:

When I import RW2 files into the program, they appear in that band across the lower end of the screen. All fine and dandy so far. However, in that side-scrollable band they're in, they appear richer and deeper in comparison to when I double-click and open them, when they then appear mildly blown-out and over-exposed, which just adds more work/steps for me to correct in the workflow process.

Does anyone know if this is some preset that I don't know about?

It's a true pain in the ass to have this happen, so I greatly appreciate any answers.
 

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
Sunny Frimley
The raw files are as they should be, i.e. pretty neutral so that you can adjust them to your liking. I guess what you are seeing is the previews. The photos appear much brighter as they import but after a minute or two Lightroom presents them in their unadorned form. Once you get to know your preferences it should be easy enough to set up LR to process them upon import so that there is minimal processing still to do if this is what you would like! I don't know much about Lightroom really, it's an ongoing process for me too ")
 

BBW

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
Tann, I know at first that RAW does seem as though it takes more effort...and I suppose it does, however the larger file offers much more detail opportunity...shadow and highlight control, etc. When I first started down the digital path, I only used the jpegs from my Olympus. Some people are very happy with jpegs, and you've certainly done well with them, but many swear by RAW. I was fortunate to get some helpful pointers when I first began using Lightroom, then finally I bought the NIK plugin software and have been very happy with my results.

I've merged your post into this thread. I'm not sure if you'd seen this thread or not.

P.S. You also might want to take a look at this post in the sticky thread above (Raw Processing Resources) as it's all about Lightroom resources.
 

olli

Super Moderator Emeritus
Sep 28, 2010
Sofia, Bulgaria
olli
Tann, what you see in the scroll bar and other small versions of your images are preview files that LR creates and uses when you open it. This is so that every time you open the programme it doesn't have to start loading 8-10 MB RAW files to populate the previews in the scroll bar. Once you import an image, even if you then delete it you will still see these preview versions since they are part of the LR catalogue. It's only when you double click to get the larger image for processing that you get the real RAW image.

If you are consistently getting over exposed images you can either adjust in camera or you can batch process the images in RAW and apply whatever correction you need to every file at the same time.
 

pictor

All-Pro
Jul 14, 2010
When I import RW2 files into the program, they appear in that band across the lower end of the screen. All fine and dandy so far. However, in that side-scrollable band they're in, they appear richer and deeper in comparison to when I double-click and open them, when they then appear mildly blown-out and over-exposed, which just adds more work/steps for me to correct in the workflow process.
Photographing raw implies more work than photographing jpegs, because you don't get processed pictures. All raw processors like Lightroom, Aperture, ... apply some default processing, since the raw data has to be interpreted in some way, but apart from that you have to do all processing yourself. The interpretations of the raw processors differ from each other and some processors offer more than one possibility. In the Develop module of Lightroom you can set camera calibrations (it's the last folder) like the profile Lightroom should use. For some cameras there are more profiles and I set the profile as default which I like best (it's Camera Neutral). Both Canons I own are interpreted in the way you describe if Adobe Standard is set as profile, but setting a different profile results in a completely different behavior. Maybe that helps.
 

madmaxmedia

Veteran
Nov 10, 2010
Los Angeles
I don't think shooting RAW necessarily has to entail any more work (if you don't want to work more.) You can always create a default setting for your camera that includes lens correction, a bit of sharpening and NR, etc. and BAM- for many photos that default preset will be just fine and every bit as good (or better) as an in-cam JPEG. If you want to further improve your images then the RAW will give you more latitude. The only negative is the RAW files take up more storage space (if you are space limited.) People compare RAW to having your own darkroom- in terms of versatility it is true, but not in terms of absolutely required workflow.

Trawling the interwebs for free Lightroom presets is also a fun pastime- Amsterdam 1976, Holga NYC, yadda yadda yadda...But actually it is fun. :) I got a nice Western look for this set:
Bella Riding 03-05-11 - a set on Flickr
 

madmaxmedia

Veteran
Nov 10, 2010
Los Angeles
Just started using LR3 a few days ago, coming from a .jpeg/Photoscape background.

Also got Photoshop, but I'm taking classes for that.

My question is this:

When I import RW2 files into the program, they appear in that band across the lower end of the screen. All fine and dandy so far. However, in that side-scrollable band they're in, they appear richer and deeper in comparison to when I double-click and open them, when they then appear mildly blown-out and over-exposed, which just adds more work/steps for me to correct in the workflow process.

Does anyone know if this is some preset that I don't know about?

It's a true pain in the ass to have this happen, so I greatly appreciate any answers.
It's possible that you accidentally created a preset for your camera. When you open one of these RAW images and click on the 'Develop' tab, are any of the settings out-of-place (like increased exposure or brightness, etc.)

Also, if you take RAW+JPEG, you might want to compare the JPEG and RAW- are the JPEG's also overexposed? It sounds like something funny is going on.
 

tanngrisnir3

Regular
Nov 11, 2010
It's possible that you accidentally created a preset for your camera. When you open one of these RAW images and click on the 'Develop' tab, are any of the settings out-of-place (like increased exposure or brightness, etc.)

Also, if you take RAW+JPEG, you might want to compare the JPEG and RAW- are the JPEG's also overexposed? It sounds like something funny is going on.
Actually, yes.

Some exposure settings were off from what I take (almost universally EV-1 or 0), and I was also shooting jpeg + RW2.

Hmmm.....
 

Janis

Regular
Nov 22, 2010
Central Texas
I am trying LR and really like it but sometimes it scares me! I need a good book and was looking at some on Amazon and wondering which ones you guys think are best. (I do want a book as opposed to video tutorials.) Also, I would prefer a book that is not trying to be cutesy and funny. As in just the facts, please. Thanks for any recommendations.
 

olli

Super Moderator Emeritus
Sep 28, 2010
Sofia, Bulgaria
olli
My recommendation would be Martin Evening: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Bookhttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=seriocompa00-20&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />.

Encyclopedic - nearly 700 pages. Clearly written and illustrated with step by step directions for everything. 'Just the facts' as you say, nothing cutesy, nothing chatty. There's also an [URL="http://www.peachpit.com/promotions/promotion.aspx?promo=137856"]companion website[/URL] with videos, templates, images and other downloads that goes with the book.

The only downside is that it is so comprehensive it can seem overwhelming but the clear jargon free writing helps and the benefit is that as your LR skills develop you will never outgrow the book. I've been using Evening's book since it was published and was using his LR2 book before that.

Another option might be [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPhotoshop-Lightroom-Digital-Photographers-Voices%2Fdp%2F0321700910%2F&tag=seriocompa00-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325]Scott Kelby, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book[/url][img]http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=seriocompa00-20&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />. This is the book that was recently up for grabs here on Serious Compacts. While Kelby probably knows everything there is to know about LR this book didn't seem to me to be as comprehensive as Evening's book. (I don't own Kelby's book but have looked at it instore and online). There is also the small matter of style - if you don't want cutesy, chatty, funny Kelby's style might not be for you.
 
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BBW

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
Janis, is there any chance you can compare these two books? Maybe at a library not too far away or a bookstore?

olli's descriptions of the books are very good. I have both and have found both helpful...however there is a third option if you can handle a PDF style book, though I believe she does have a paper version, too: Victoria Brampton aka the Lightroom Queen Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen
 

Janis

Regular
Nov 22, 2010
Central Texas
Thanks, you guys! I had forgotten about Martin Evening's books and will also look into the Lightroom Queen. I have some very basic stumbling blocks I have got to get past. It's actually possible the local bookstore has one or two of them. Since moving out here I sometimes forget you don't have to buy everything online, sight unseen.
 
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BBW

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
Janis, if and when you have specific questions, please start a new thread with a title to match and I'm sure that people will be more than happy to help. Don helped me a great deal with setting up my catalogue system and I never, ever would have figured it out without him.
 

pictor

All-Pro
Jul 14, 2010
Sorry for a long quotation of a post I wrote earlier today, but it may help as an example how to organize ones photographs:

I use Lightroom for everything including uploading the photographs from the memory card, developing them, exporting them to JPEGs, and organizing both raw files and JPEGs. I have done that from the beginning. It is best to do that from the beginning. I use the following folder structure:

2011/2011-11/2011-11-20 (for JPEGs)
2011/2011-11/2011-11-20/DNG (for DNGs)

Lightroom copies the files from the memory card to the right folder automatically, one just has to configure it correctly.

After exporting the DNGs from 2011-11-20/DNG as full-sized JPEGs to 2011-11-20, I have to import them in Lightroom (it needs only one mouse click to refresh the folder). The JPEGs are organized in hierarchical collections in Lightroom. I use the location as my main criterion. I can jump from a photograph in a collection to the folder easily. From there it is easy to get the raw file. I have found that this suits my needs best.

I backup the whole folder structure and the catalog on an external hard drive, such that I have everything twice.
I want to add, that it makes much sense to tag your photographs. One should tag the DNG files, since the tags are exported, too, if one exports a photograph as JPEG. This helps a lot to find all photographs of a given topic. I have not done this very consequently until now, but at least I know, I should do that.

Note, that the way I organize my photographs is very convenient. If one adds tags, too, one is able to find ones photographs by date, location and topic.
 

pictor

All-Pro
Jul 14, 2010
I forgot to mention, that I give all my photographs a name consisting of the date and the time the photographs were taken, 20111120_143521.jpg for example. This makes it very easy to find the original files of a photograph and there are no pairs of photographs having the same file name.
 

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