A not insignificant part of digital photography revolves around how you process your images.
I provide such an underwhelming introduction because I feel that processing is something that is necessary to digital photography, but not so important that you can ignore, or spend less time focusing on creating great straight out of camera (SOOC) images.
If you have an image that looks great straight out of camera (great light, great composition, sharp) then you’re going to be in a much better position when it comes time to process that image!
We use Lightroom to do the majority of our processing (saving retouching for Photoshop). I thought it would be useful to start an ongoing series detailing some of the steps used the achieve the before/after you see below.
Hopefully in this way you’ll be able to take a few tips and tricks back to your own images!
So the “after” of this image has three main adjustments applied to it to achieve the effect. (There are a few other minor tweaks:)
- White Balance: You can see that the before (SOOC) image is quite cool in temperature (blue cast). I used temperature to warm the image up. Finding the right temperature can be a bit tricky so you’ll want to be checking before after frequently (the backslash key).
- Vignette: This image has a really soft vignette applied, which I apply to most images. Applying a vignette helps draw your eye to the center of the image and keep your eye from falling off the image. Try to feather your vignettes well, keep the midpoint as far into the center of the image as possible, and finally make sure the effect is subtle. Some images look great with noticeable vignette, but if all of your images have a noticeable vignette it might actually distract the viewer from the subject of your image.
- Split toning!: In order to achieve the more filmic looking tones subtle split toning has been applied to this image. This is an area that you’ll need to experiment with in order to achieve an aesthetic you find appealing.
There you go! Simple steps to make a huge improvement. That’s the beauty of Lightroom, it’s clean, straightforward, and powerful.