Monday, May 9, 2011

Lovin' Lightroom

I have really fallen in love with Lightroom 3. I had previously used Photoshop Bridge. With Bridge, I would apply some rudimentary settings.  I would then take my images to Photoshop and apply actions (these are meant to be handled by Bridge, but I find that system clunky at best). The organization Bridge applied was nice and it allowed me to non-destructively make changes...
Now, with Lightroom, it truly has taken my processing to a whole new level. I still get the non-destructive editing... but now I have so much more control over my images... from noise to components of tonality, to special looks.
Besides having much more control over the organization, virtual copies, and snapshots of my processed images, the Presets have given me great control and creativity over my work.
I began by downloading a few presets. I studied what had been done in those and then tweaked them to make my own. The next step was to create presets from scratch.
It's kind of like going to a restaurant, finding something that really sparks your fancy, and then coming back home and trying to re-create it. I feel like I have the tools to do so with Lightroom. This is beginning to sound like an ad. But being able to re-create a look is really important to me, because it gives me the confidence to select a setting and take control of it and give it the feel that I want. In addition, it gives me the flexibility to offer my interpretation of the setting. It's like reading Jane Eyre and having my vocabulary soar to new heights... I just can't help but be inspired by the quality works of others. Enough rambling...

I have alluded in the past to enjoying Cliff Mautner's work.
I have developed a few presets that help me get a similar feel to my photographs. I really like the low key look with the highlights bringing the viewers attention to just what I am trying to portray. It helps me communicate better through my images.

Here is an example... the first image is how it came straight from the camera:
The part I want the viewer to focus on is the expression with an emphasis on the eye.  They are over-exposed here.  Since I am shooting in RAW format, most of the detail is going to be retrievable.  
I made a setting that decreased the exposure by about 1.5 stops and separates out the tones a bit... bump up the lights, tone down the darks (basically creating contrast selectively, without doing much with the shadows or the highlights), and applied a vignette.
With one press of a button (applying my preset), I get this:

There are a few images where I would take them to photoshop or use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to do some selective lighting... but that seems to be the exception.

So, I really like Lightroom and the control it gives me over my images.

Pic of the Day:
This guy does some great work... He merges the real with the surreal with his photography and Photoshop in his work.

1 comment:

SkyTang said...

I came across this page where the Photoshop Guys have posted 100 reasons lightroom is better than bridge.