Before / After: California Redwoods Lightroom Editing Tips

On our recent road trip we stopped along the Avenue of Giants to take in the California Redwoods. My mind was blown! I couldn’t believe trees like this existed. Walking among them was magical.

Photographing them turned out to be quite a challenge. Showing the scale of trees and just being able to capture their sheer size was quite difficult. The widest focal length we had was 24mm – so a wider lens would have been useful.

Anyways, here’s a fairly straightforward before / after:


Photo details: ISO 2500, 16mm (24mm equivalent), f/5.6, 1/160s. Taken with a Fuji X-T2.

Having the kids an I standing in the photo definitely helped give scale. We’re actually standing on a natural log bridge and there is a stream running below. Lauren did frame some shots with the stream to better show that we’re standing on this bridge, but then it took away from the height of the trees which is why I decided on the shot above.


So first off, here is the adjustments I made under the basic panel:

Basically the goal editing this image was bring more attention to the people in the image (the kids and me).

The upper part of the image was quite bright so I started out reducing the highlights and whites.

Then I used a radial filter to basically create a vignette over the whole image except for where the kids and I are standing:

Here are the settings for the radial filter. I basically just reduced exposure, but I still wanted good detail in the shadows which is why they’re bumped up.

If you haven’t used the radial filter before, it’s definitely worth getting to know. I would say it’s probably the adjustment tool I use the most to help draw attention to a subject.

After I applied the radial filter I went back to the basic panel and fine tuned shadows, and also bumped up clarity and saturation.

I liked the look of saturation in this photo (vs. vibrance), but it made the colors of our jackets too intense, so I manually reduced saturation of those colors.

Finally, I finished things off with a bit of additional sharpening. Total time spent editing was probably around 5-10 minutes (I started this edit then decided I needed a nap, and came back to it an hour later, which is why I’m a bit uncertain how much time I spent on it, haha).

Achieving a look like this Lightroom is really quite easy to do. If you’re interested in following along with other examples I have a couple video tutorials (Before/After and Before/After: Black  & White) where I work through editing different images from start to finish.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Did you like the editing, what would you have done differently? Thanks!

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

Before / After

Before / After

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2 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Hi Rob,you have a lot of potential ,it is difficulty to notice the difference though edited looks much clearer,otherwise seem good all

  2. You forgot a d in and (it says an) in the second paragraph of the before section. Otherwise nice artical.

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