Most people who think about photography think that all photographers just use Photoshop. It comes with the synonymous term of “can you photoshop that out?”, “will you photoshop my face?”, or whatever other ridiculous question someone could ask us.
I want to address two items today. First of all, most photographers don’t start out with Photoshop – we use Lightroom. Lightroom is a much better program for photographers. It has all the same features as Photoshop’s Camera Raw portion, but it’s built for ease of use and ability to copy and sync edits on multiple images. The bottom line – Lightroom is amazing, and most photographers don’t need Photoshop. Really the only time a photographer would need Photoshop is when doing graphic design, or when heavily editing an image that is far beyond the scope of Lightroom.
Second, I want to show a tiny nugget of what is possible in post production when you shoot in Raw and use Lightroom to edit your photographs.
I took a short trip up Big Cottonwood Canyon the other day. I took a few fun shots of the river than runs down the canyon. You can see the raw version of the image below:
You can see that the image lacks some visually appealing elements. The sharpness is not great, the colors are super cold, and everything just seems a little dull.
Here is the image that I edited in Lightroom.
You can see that the edited image is a lot more appealing. My editing techniques are pretty simple, and the best way to learn, like I always say, is to just get in there and mess around. I have found that most of the time I like to warm my images up a bit (depends, if it needs it), I then will bring down the highlights, take up the shadows, lightly bring up or down the whites according to taste, bring up blacks, add clarity, add a touch of vibrance, take sharpening up to between 70 and 100, and then I usually add noise reduction, which can just give it the final great look that I want. I also remove chromatic aberrations, and sometimes I will use the profile corrections feature if I want to remove distortion or something like that.
I also love playing around with other settings to create the look of old film, or I really like vignetting on images (some).
Check it out, and remember to shoot in Raw. I promise you will have much more to do when you get home, but will learn a lot more about photography and what you can do with your images.