Lightroom - Before & After Editing

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Anonymous
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#1
If I had to choose 1 particular area that I am especially weak at, its the post processing. I was initially dismissive but I've since come round. I needed to know what certain attributes did but I then found that daunting but then again, I managed to figure out manual controls on my DSLR so I got to it. I downloaded Lightroom Mobile and it took me time but I've managed to figure many of them out. I since took the plunge and got the desktop variation. I bought the subscription method and it was something I had to justify but its not exactly a dent in my income so I took the plunge. I used it well but am at a point where I'm thinking should I just cancel it as every time I had edited a photo, the end result has been laughable. They have a hint of a heavily edited HDR photo. I've seen some superb before and after photos of lightroom editing so I know its me whose lacking creative flare and to an extent, some motivation as well. I have a good deal of photos on my hard drive which require editing, many of them are bracketed images. I like to think of the many photos I've taken, their should be at least a handful of them which I "improve" on.

I was wondering for those who use Lightroom, could you possibly post before and after photos of your work.

Regards,
 
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1,373
Name
Chris
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#4
My general rule of thumb when learning a new image editor and using every slider experimentally is to find where I like each slider to be, and then back it off 50% of that. Then before exporting the edited image I'll go back and turn each adjustment off in turn to see what its contribution is. About half of them end up revealing that they're actually making it worse so I leave them off. Then I check the final result against what happens in another editor I'm well used to when I just use the "fix this image" default buttons. Then I have to go back and work out what I did with the new editor that made it worse :)
 
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3,475
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droj
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#5
I really don't think that there's a lesson available for this. I think it's a about a capacity for self-review, and is a maturing process, and might take time. But time doesn't matter, does it?

Do what you want to (on a particular image) - then walk away, & come back to it in a month or a year after working on many other images in the meantime, and see what gives. But don't obsess about it, just let it come in its own time.

Photography at its best is half craft, half art. The craft is hard enough but can be learnt, the art part is imponderable.

Lightroom as a processor is very powerful, but also very simple. Push every tool you can find only to see what it does, not to feel that you have to use it all the time.

It might be work, but it can be satisfying. It might be play, but you can learn to control it to your ends.
 
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2,869
Name
Richard
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#6
Before (unedited Raw file)


After


The secret is not to go mental with any of the sliders. Nothing in this image will have gone above 15 on the sliders, a little goes a long way.
 
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241
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Anonymous
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#9
Taking cues from @Snapper67 , I'll upload a photo to see what others come up with. It's a landscape of the Peak District and sadly, I never shot a single RAW photo that day. I'm quite miffed when I discovered this. Anyway, I hope it is sufficient enough to warrant a good edit.

Thanks @RichardC27 . These are the kind of posts I was after. Just to see by what degree people are editing their photos and if their is a common theme. I suppose it makes the thread interesting so people can showcase their before and after edits.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NqQ833P_A47ePEk96jQBHEbPU1Wj-6KK/view?usp=sharing
 
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15,330
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#10
Taking cues from @Snapper67 , I'll upload a photo to see what others come up with. It's a landscape of the Peak District and sadly, I never shot a single RAW photo that day. I'm quite miffed when I discovered this. Anyway, I hope it is sufficient enough to warrant a good edit.

Thanks @RichardC27 . These are the kind of posts I was after. Just to see by what degree people are editing their photos and if their is a common theme. I suppose it makes the thread interesting so people can showcase their before and after edits.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NqQ833P_A47ePEk96jQBHEbPU1Wj-6KK/view?usp=sharing
Maybe something like this...

DSC_0667-Edit.jpg
 
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421
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#11
Quick effort - I went for a similar crop as twist except a 16:9 aspect ratio. Most of the landscape is in shadow which will be tricky for any editor but I tried to bring out as much as I could. If I wanted to spend longer on it I'd edit out the twigs in the bottom left. 20170204-DSC_0667.jpg
 
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3,475
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droj
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#12
To get the most out of LR you MUST shoot raw, especially with an image like this that is tonally challenged.
 
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3,475
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droj
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#13
DSC_0667-11.jpg

Here's a very quick & dirty go at it (cobbled quickly in PS then LR).

A raw file would have provided greater reserves especially in this case in the shadow areas.

The crops above don't do it compositionally because they take half the interest out of the frame. The road and cars have vital contextual presence, and we NEED that sunlit hill, indeed it's probably the main character in the frame ...
 
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402
Name
Dougie
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#14
DSC_0667.jpg

I've kept the full image and just done the processing I would normally do on this kind of image,

Cheers,
Dougie.
 
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droj
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#15
Good old Dougie! In a way I like your stab better than mine.

Now then, are we all going to level the water? Myself, I don't think that it's an issue in this case - let's say that along with the cars, the tilt gives the image a certain dynamic repose. You can deaden an image by over-correction as easily as you can over-liven it into a cartoon of itself.
 
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droj
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#17
I'll have a bash at that one tomorrow. It's too late now. But there's a certain dynamism of wind in it, so I won't necessarily be out to make everything level and rectilinear, as a pedant might.

Engineering and art are not the same thing!
 
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1,401
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#20
I’m fairly new to lightroom/editing as well and your first post rings plenty of bells, less is usually more, but and this is a big BUT that I found, I asked the same question as generally you only see the finished product and wonder how much, if any work has been done.

You can post some pics and some will say, to dark, to light, to contrasty, but and heres the kicker, it’s your photo/art/interpretation, so try to forget what’s right/wrong and do what you like,(but take the advise onboard) I found that once I got over the “what would others do” that I finally started getting things I liked, everyone’s different, play, be silly, slide bars left and right, reset, do it again, you’ll find what works for you.

Then you’ll start learning bit by bit, a few below that most wont like or will rip apart, but I really like them, no idea why, but that’s the beauty of this hobby.

A random shot from football.
Football
by Wayne Scott, on Flickr

Not really the best, if I’m honest, prob a little contrasty, some blown highlights, maybe under exposed?, high ISO, noise etc But I really like it.

Below, I played a lot to get the dust and such to stand out, again technically prob not great, but one of my favourites and that’s what it should be, what tickles your taste buds
PPMC -Tincleton-002.jpg
by Wayne Scott, on Flickr


Oh and tha chances are, what you do today, may look crap tomorrow, I find myself retouching images all the time.
 
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droj
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#21
First better than second. Grit (you know what I mean), mud, poise, physical effort - the darkness keeps it alive.

Second too pale & even in tone, so the surrounding leaves distract from the rider, who needs more isolating prominence. You could even add a vignette, without it getting too obvious?
 
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2,318
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Graham
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#22
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421
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#23
The crops above don't do it compositionally because they take half the interest out of the frame. The road and cars have vital contextual presence, and we NEED that sunlit hill, indeed it's probably the main character in the frame ...
I guess I went for the crop because the fence cuts the frame in half, and I don't like roads & cars in shots :LOL:
 
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2,701
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Brian
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#24
Before (unedited Raw file)


After


The secret is not to go mental with any of the sliders. Nothing in this image will have gone above 15 on the sliders, a little goes a long way.
This highlights that so much is personal preference. If I have done this I would have completely toned down the red/white kerbs going across the frame.
 
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2,869
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Richard
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#25
This highlights that so much is personal preference. If I have done this I would have completely toned down the red/white kerbs going across the frame.

That's the thing, it's completely down to personal preference. The kerbs are pretty bright red in real life so I left them like that, whereas a lot of people would have toned them down a bit.
 
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4,171
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Dave
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#26
I'll have a bash at that one tomorrow. It's too late now. But there's a certain dynamism of wind in it, so I won't necessarily be out to make everything level and rectilinear, as a pedant might.

Engineering and art are not the same thing!
Quick edit in Lightroom... :)

 
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17,491
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Steve
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#27
The other thing I'd add is you don't always have to fill the whole histogram - once I figured this out I realised a lot of my images were far too contrasty which made them look un-natural.
^^^
100 times this. When using levels or curves it's tempting to stretch this out - and you should but not totally - some scenes are low contrast and should remain low contrast. Most images I see these days seem too contrasty for my eye IMHO.
 
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3,475
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droj
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#28
Two very quick bashes, tonally the same -

DSC_1403-12-1.jpg DSC_1403-12-2.jpg

Neither is meant to be definitive in any way - they're both a quick play-around to see what gives.

Can I hear strains of Reginald Dixon filtering out of the tower ..?
 
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17,491
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Steve
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#29
First better than second. Grit (you know what I mean), mud, poise, physical effort - the darkness keeps it alive.

Second too pale & even in tone, so the surrounding leaves distract from the rider, who needs more isolating prominence. You could even add a vignette, without it getting too obvious?
I don't agree - the second feels far more natural and the first too dark, forced and heavy. I do appreciate I enjoy a less contrasty lighter rendering of scenes compared to most though.

With the second I'd load up curves and probably move the bottom part ever so slightly down but not by much.
 
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3,475
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droj
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#30
the second feels far more natural and the first too dark, forced and heavy
No1 can be said to be too dark - for certain purposes - but for many images there's no single (tonal) interpretation that's 'right'. It's not necessarily about aesthetics, it can be about 'message'. How we imbibe ('see') pictures can range from cerebral to visceral and all mixes in between.
 
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3,475
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droj
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#31
If I did more to the tower image, then I might nudge the colour temp a bit towards Graham's go at it above ...
 
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Paul
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#32
every time I had edited a photo, the end result has been laughable. They have a hint of a heavily edited HDR photo.
Grab yourself a massive handful of bonus points! The fact that you are noticing that they look crap is great. So many people don't, think they fantastic, and then post them online. This is how you see so many of these bad 'HDR' photos to compare them too.

So you are doing one of two things wrong. Either you are simply pushing everything too much, subtle adjustments are required.

Or you are not shooting perfectly in the first place, then trying to adjust and again push everything too far.

Your images should look good as they come out of the camera. These lightroom tweaks, are just that tweaks.
 
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3,475
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droj
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#33
These lightroom tweaks, are just that tweaks.
That's a bit facile. Of course one pays attention to light and exposure in camera, but if you are importing raw files from there on, the operations you do in a processor like LR are just that - the processing. Not pratting about, but core business.
 
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12,759
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Toni
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#34
Your images should look good as they come out of the camera.
No. The RAW image is a starting point created in a way to allow you to shape it to the final form required. It can look good SOOC, but if the dynamic range is broad or you intend a particular end result then it could look a mess before work starts.

For the OP:

Factory process-7890-2.jpg

Factory process-7890.jpg

Factory process-2.jpg

I wanted the detail in the sky, preferably with the sky fairly dark in the final image which meant under-exposing the shadow areas on the factory, knowing I could pull them back in both Lightroom and the subsequent mono conversion. The original is dull, flat and dark, and a perfect starting point for manipulation.
 
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Dougie
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#36
That's a great edit Toni, but again we don't know the photographers intention and it's all down to personal interpretation as this thread has really shown.

Been great to see them all.

Dougie.
 
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888
Name
Jay
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#38
I used it well but am at a point where I'm thinking should I just cancel it as every time I had edited a photo, the end result has been laughable.
I don't think you should let this crush your self confidence. Loads of people despair (inc me) when starting out with Lightroom or Photoshop or when changing between the 2, when used to one of them.

Young children don't start off sprinting, they have to crawl, then walk etc. Its like that learning anything for most people.

What you edit now, you would edit differently in 6 months, differently again in a year, in 3 years you will be thinking 'what WAS I doing?!! when I edited that.' To make things more complicated not only will you learn additional skills, but chances are your personal style in photography will be developing in parallel, which will also change how you want edits to look anyway. Its common to go back and reedit files years later.

Stop worrying, keep trying and you will get to the image you want in the end. Even weird results can have useful long term info in them.
 
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12,759
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Toni
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#39
As Jay said, don't feel discouraged, but do invest time in developing your processing skills.

The key tools for me revolve around managing overall brightness, temperature & tint, highlights and shadows with both the basics sliders and tone curves, black and white points, clarity & vibrance/saturation - pretty much in that order. Early on I'd push the clarity slider right to bring out detail in an image (clarity can make highlights sparkle) and overuse gave a really hard and unpleasantly crunchy feel to the image. Now I prefer to push clarity left & use highlights and shadows to bring out details instead. I use the brush and gradient tools a lot too, rebalancing parts of the image to look natural.
 
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