Adobe Lightroom 2.1, Localized Editing

In the past the only way to properly adjust different parts of an image was through the use of layers in Photoshop.  The process is a bit complicated and time consuming and many photographers feel it’s not worth the trouble.  A few months back Adobe came out with their new release of Lightroom 2.0 and changed the way we do such things forever.

From original to final picture using Localized Editing

First frame:  The first shot in this image block shows an out of the camera sample  of what you get without Lighroom.  Notice how dark her face?  If I’d have upped exposure to properly expose her face the water behind her would have been blown out and the frock she was wearing would be overexposed.  More I wanted her to stand out from the background and foreground and the natural light just wasn’t going to allow my vision.  The exposure in this first frame was the best compromise using available light.

Second frame:  I’ve brought the file up inside Adobe Lightroom 2.1 and have selected the “adjustment brush” in the develop module which activates our localized editing.  Making sure “smart mask” is checked allows me to paint with my brush in the desired areas and not worry too much about painting over major line contrasts.  In other words I was able to select the brush size and type, and then “paint” her face, hands, and arms and have the brush easily and almost automatically stay on the hands, face and arms without spilling over into the rest of the image.  Once the areas are painted I fine tune the desired changes, in this case I brought up the exposure on her face almost a full stop, kept the color neutral, and added just a bit of sharpening to her face.

Third frame:  Not satisfied with the second frame I opened a second “adjustment brush” area and painted the water behind her and brought it’s exposure down 1.3 stops.  You can have as many adjustment brush areas as you want and can go back and forth between the designated areas to fine tune your adjustments.  This is much easier and quicker than using layers in Photoshop.

Feature Image:  The very last details of this image were done in Photoshop CS3 and include a fine level and sharpening adjustment, conversion from RGB Pro to SRGB for web view, conversion from 16 to 8 bits, and a saved in jpeg format with a health dose of compression to create a file size compatible with a fast loading web page.

Lightroom 2.1 is a very powerful and easy to use package.  You can even make your own web galleries and even a web site using Lightroom.  You can begin at a beginner stage and move into more advanced feature sets as you go.  You’d be surprised how much quickly you can learn to use Lightroom 2.1 to an advanced level in a single day workshop.  You could probably master Lightroom in a two day workshop.  Compare that to spending months and months learning on your own, or a semester in a community college class.. and you still wouldn’t know all the tips and tricks a pro uses.. without a pro showing you.