Y’all know I love & adore LR. I thought I’d take you through my general workflow. First things first: I choose which catalog to which I will upload (I keep separate catalogs: one for each year for family stuff, one for each year for client stuff, one for florals, one for each year of my son’s school yearbook, etc.). So in this case I’ll be uploading yesterday’s family pics, thus I’ll choose Kellers 2010.
Then I’ll import my photos from my memory card. The following (pictured below) import box will automatically open. I’ll choose a file in which to place my original images. I’ll briefly glance through my thumbnails and discard any losers. I’ll back up to my z:drive (in case anything happens to my desktop computer). And I’ll add any keywords that I want automatically applied to these images.Ok. Ignore that I screwed up my import and placed my misc. February images in my misc. January File. oops. I’ll rectify that later. Or not. :-}
Moving right along to the fun stuff: the Develop Panel. Here’s the important (and confusing) thing to understand about editing in LR. Your original files exist where you first imported them. They remain UNTOUCHED and SAFE and in their SOOC form despite all the experimenting and changing you do in LR. All of your editing in LR is like a transparency (a “tracing”, if you will) that you lay over your original photo. It’s that transparency that lives in LR. The SOOC photo + the transparency don’t “live together as one” UNTIL you export the new edited image. More on that later. Back to editing …
I usually first look at the overall color balance and adjust as necessary (I almost always add a little warmth – more yellow on the temperature slider). The next thing I look at is my histogram (chart at top right). I look for gaps on either end. If there is a gap on the right side, I increase exposure and/or brightness til the gap goes away. If there’s a gap on the left side (and there is in this case), I will increase my blacks til the gap goes away (this adds contrast and detail and color saturation). The next thing I do is hit “J” to have LR show me all the blown highlights (red) and lost shadow detail (blue). The below screen shot shows my increased blacks (to take away the histogram gap) and all my blown highlights – the red parts. As you can see I have lots of blown highlights. I will use the Recover slider to bring back detail on the couch and K’nex creation. I will not worry about the large red area in the window (nothing there to bring back). If I had lost shadow detail (would show as blue areas), I would use the Fill Light slider to recover those details. Now that the necessary corrections have happened, I’ll play with all the other sliders. I’ll usually bump clarity a bit (defogs the image), sometimes add a little vibrance (bumps saturation without messing with skintones so much), see how medium contrast looks on the tone curve, I’ll usually bump orange luminance (for portraits), add some sharpening, and maybe a little vignetting if I’m trying to draw focus to the center of the photo. After I have a good clean color version, I’ll often try a bunch of fun different presets (see this recent post displaying my preset experimentation ). To create another edit I usually make a virtual copy (Ctrl-apostrophe). In this case I only wanted to create b/w version. (below shows SOOC, color edit, b/w edit). If I needed work that could only be accomplished to my satisfaction in Photoshop, it is at this point that I could hit Ctrl-E and LR would automatically send my image to PS for further work. Upon completion of PS edits, when I close the image, it would be sent back to my LR catalog as a new image with a unique name.So, at this point, I have my SOOC image (which, remember lives untouched in its original file) and two new transparencies of my edits. If I want to now use these new, improved images for anything (blog, print, etc.), I need to EXPORT them to create the final “merged” jpg. So I’ll highlight both my edits (from the Library mode grid) and hit Export (see button in the lower left area). Clicking “Export” will bring up the export dialog box:
At which point, I export the new merged images to (in this case) my blog folder. Typical blog settings for me are: Filename, jpg, sRGB, Quality 80%, resize to fit 700 px width, resolution 72 pixels per inch, sharpen for screen amount standard. (this, btw, can be saved as an export preset). Typical print settings would be: Filename, jpg, sRGB, Quality 80%, no resize, resolution 300 pixels per inch, sharpen for print glossy or matte. This may sound like a lot of steps, but the slider adjustments actually go quite fast, as does the export process once one gets the hang of it.
If you would like to experiment with LR yourself, you can download the demo version from Adobe free of cost.
And please ignore my funky spacing in this post. I'm playing around again with Windows Live Writer. And it throws me for a few loops.