Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Laughter" ~ Good-to-WOW! ~ 'walk through'!

Ok, so here, as promised is my ' Good to WOW' tutorial (for LR3).

Remember this shot ~ my original SOOC...

OK, so what do I see?
A sweet shot of my son laughing, but it's underexposed. That's the main issue here. When I shoot indoors it's a juggling act with ISO and exposure. I often plum for lower ISO and a little underexposure, knowing I can almost always sort it out PP and thereby avoiding the introduction of excessive camera noise.
He looks a bit too pink maybe and his skin tones are a bit uneven.
It's pretty sharp, but most (if not all) images need a little bit of sharpening ~ that's kind of par for the course.
IF I were going to take this into PSE I'd also add a little canvas at the top of him as he is SO near the top of the image (but I'm not this time, maybe another..!)

My basic edit looks like this...

I used my very own one click edit ~  'Light & Bright Portrait (RAW)' preset.
 (click on the 'FROGPHOTOG FREEBIES' tab at the top of this blog to find all my presets on a  downloads page)

Following that, I used 'fine sharp' (another of my presets)  ~ I find this is great for pretty much anything, from portraits to landscapes, but it does need a little bit of extra-fine tuning sometimes!

Tip #1 ~ Sharpening Tricks...

Click 'fill' over on the top-left, in the Navigator panel, and make sure the area that is most important to you is in the middle as shown above.

Next go to the 'Detail' panel on the right-hand side.
Now, holding down the ALT key, click on the 'masking' slider (as circled) ~ you will now see the above effect. It works like a 'layer mask' showing you the amount of masking you are using. You are effectively masking OUT the sharpening effect of the sliders above. That may seem crazy, but mostly you don't want to OVER sharpen, especially hair and fur, and also, the more you sharpen the more noise you introduce too, so masking out the UNNECESSARY sharpening is a really good thing to do!
You can use the ALT key on the other three sharpening sliders too, to see more clearly the effect they are each having. Go on, have a play :-)

So, from the screen shot above, you can see how I left things!

I then applied my 'Std NR' preset ~ a preset I designed to just loose any low-impact noise, without compromising on detail. If my shot had been taken at a high ISO, or if my sharpening had been more severe, I may have needed to use my 'Strong NR' preset

Lastly I bumped my exposure up a touch more (to +087) and used my 'frog vignette' preset (which is super-subtle!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

But I promised you a vintage and a BW.

Press Ctrl+' (or right-click and duplicate) ~ this creates a duplicate image (of course) to work on. I actually did that twice as I knew I wanted to create a BW too this time.

So for the vintage (which is not VERY vintage actually, sorry, but I still like it) here's what I did...

Tip #2 ~Time to add some split tone...

you can see my settings from the screen above, but really you can have some serious fun with this! Wherever you move those little sliders & squares (in the colours box), you can see a real-time preview of the effect they are having on your image. I  it!!

Tip #3 ~ I added a colour 'gradient filter'...

In your brushes panel (see top right-hand side) select the shaded rectangle ~ this is your gradient filter. It uses the same 'effect' settings as the brush (which is to it's right), but differently! Select 'colour' where I have marked circle number 1 (I know it says 'custom', but that's because I made changes to the default). Now click the coloured box at the bottom (marked 2) and select a colour for your filter.  
THEN drag your filter across your image, as marked by my long red arrow (you can drag at any angle and any amount depending on the area of the image you wish it to affect. You can also rotate it).
Lastly fiddle with the settings (marked 3) until you are happy. You can even go back and change the colour if you like.
IF you want to change anything to do with the location of the gradient you can also do that. A dot will appear in the middle of the area. If you hover around it, you can rotate the gradient, and move it around. You can also drag on the lines to push them closer together or pull them apart. It's very versatile.
For this shot I used a colour gradient, but you can choose from any of the 'effects' in the drop-down, and I often use this tool to even out under/over exposed areas in my pictures.
It is possible to even save your own customisations as new effects. Don't be afraid to play!! You only have to hit delete  (or reset THE PANEL) if you don't like what you've done :-)

Tip #4 ~ on/off...

If you want to check to see if you like the adjustments you made you can. Do you see where I marked on/off on the above screen shot ~ this does literally that. Like the eye button in PS(E), it turns the effect on and off. There is one on each panel and they are very useful :)

Finally I added some 'grain' (effects panel) ~ settings +15/25/50
and tweaked the vignette ~ -24/54/+36/84/0

& Voila!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Super-simple this... I used my 'Blue/Gold' preset (in the RAW set) and then sync'ed to the basic edit to re-set exposure, etc...

Tip #5 ~ syncing...

Select the image that you want to sync TO (i.e. the one with the correct settings ~ marked 'A' in the scrolling gallery at the bottom) and THEN the one you want to copy them into ( the one you're working on ~ marked 'B'). The highlighting should appear slightly brighter on the image you clicked first.
Now click the 'Sync' button (1) ~ the pop up box will appear. Select everything you want to sync. In this case the circles marked (2). When you press 'Synchronize' (3) these settings will be copied onto your current image. (Ctrl+Z to undo (as always) if you do it wrong, or don't like the result!)

You can use this very handy tool to batch edit. SO if you have several images taken in the same lighting, you can edit one and then sync all the other too it! It saves a tonne of time, as then you only have to make minor tweaks of each image, instead of starting from scratch over and over!

You can actually use in 'Library' mode too, but you need to use the 'sych settings' button there ~ not the 'sync' one (confusing I know!)

To finish finish off this BW I adjusted the exposure a touch (+78) and clicked at the top to convert it to Black & White. Although it was already BW, this made a slight difference that I liked.


To conclude ~ a little something to make you smile...

If you have any questions about anything here please fire away in the comments box!
I hope some, any, or all of this has been helpful to you, especially if you are using LR3 (and if you're not yet, but hope to in the future, then bookmark me!!)  :-)
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm teaching my Granny to suck eggs to some of you, but I've assumed knowledge of nothing so as to try and avoid anyone feeling left out!

I look forward to seeing your edits everyone..! 

Please link up below.


Rosie@leavesnbloom 27 July 2011 at 11:35  

I really like the way you've worked on the exposure of this shot and how you've masked on the sharpening.

I've had lightroom 3 for a year now and I rarely use it. I just about know the basics and do all of my editing in CS5 though I have a few favourite presets in LR that I use now and again. I'm planning on doing a masterclass on LR3 over the next few weeks and I'll have to download your presets. I also need to learn how to do batch editing. Thanks for sharing.

Chrissee 27 July 2011 at 19:17  

Great tutorial. Thanks!

Ashley Sisk 27 July 2011 at 20:17  

I finally was able to walk through all of your steps. This was great...seriously - I feel so much better about operating in LR. I appreciate you taking the time to write all this out! You're the best.

Evette Mendisabal 27 July 2011 at 23:08  

Oh Caroline, he is ADORABLE!!!! What a sweet little laugh. My kids and I were giggling right along with him. Thanks for sharing. :o)

Jill Samter Photography 28 July 2011 at 05:41  

Great tips! I love LR3 and am having a blast learning the new things that LR2 missed!

Your son is precious! Great edits too!

Shari 28 July 2011 at 13:16  

oh HELLO! I wanted to let you know that Ashley sent me over.

I am so so so happy to have found someone that work in LR! You don't know how happy that makes me!! Look - I am doing a Happy dance-
*happy dance*

I am not your newest follower!!

Courtney 28 July 2011 at 14:25  

Hi! New follower and very new to Lightroom 3 so this is perfect! Thank you so very much & I'm excited to grab some of your freebies. Your son is precious!

The Shades of Pink 28 July 2011 at 14:30  

Wow at that tutorial, I'll have to spend some time really reading through it. Beautiful edit.

Mama Monkey 28 July 2011 at 22:35  

Please, ALWAYS do your tutorials using an assumed knowledge of nothing!!!! It's great :) And it gives me even more lightroom envy. Hopefully soon it will be loaded on my computer :) Your little man is so beautiful!

Michelle 29 July 2011 at 04:41  

Thank you for sharing! I recently got LR3 and while I have been slowly learning it, there's still so much "basic" stuff (like that on/of thing -- AMAZING! I've been looking for that! lol) that I have yet to learn!

Thanks for taking the time to write this all out and sharing your knowledge.

I tried using the split tone thing, and either I didn't pick the right colors, or it just wasn't working for me... ah, well! :)

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