Photo Editing An Overcast Day in Lightroom

For this edition of #FixitFriday photo editing I’m going to work on some of my favorite photos from last summer and in the process relive my Block Island dream trip.

My camera that year was a glorified point and shoot Fuji 1500S and I had not learned how to read histograms in camera.  I only had the option of JPS and can only dream of the possibilities if I had the RAW option. Most of the time the skies were overcast and cloudy, good when avoiding a sun burn, but I found it to be a photography challenge. The camera meter was reading the glare coming from the water and surrounding ocean. The result were photos that leaned toward the dark side, the cloudy skies were flat and drab. Although I reworked them a bit in Photoshop CS2 I still didn’t get good results.

Now that I use Adobe Lightroom  as my primary photo editing software program I have a much wider range of options with clarity, decreasing noise, saturation and tonal adjustments. I can instantly see before and after views and it is all non destructive to the original image. I love Lightroom, it is a wonderful photo editing program, every time I open an image I wasn’t quite happy with I find I can make it better even a jpg file. I can finally make a photo look like how I experienced the the scene in real life.

My goal with photo editing is realism. I’m not trying to create photo art, or make a photo look fake or something it wasn’t. The human eye can interpret a scene a the beach with so much more clarity and detail than a camera. Sometimes it takes some post production here and there with photography to return the photograph into an accurate depiction of reality.

Photo editing in Lightroom 4

Lightroom 4 screen shot (click for larger image)

I always shot on aperture priority and as a result many of my images were underexposed. These dark images took more editing than just increasing the exposure, I opened up the shadows, and eliminated the camera noise in the Lightroom detail option by moving the noise slider to the right.

On the left side of the Adobe Lightroom screen shot there are User Presets. Presets are saved adjustments you can use again for an image of the same type. For example overexposed images in bright sun is called “Dim the Summer  Sun” or “Bright and Sharp” for an underexposed image. Once a preset is saved it can adjusted and resaved under the same name. Presets save time when you have a batch of images under the same lighting that require the same adjustment.

Below is the straight out of camera shot and the resulting end photo in Lightroom.

SOOC (straight out of camera)

SOOC (straight out of camera)

Edited version, what do you think?

Edited Block Island photo in Lightroom 4

Edited Block Island photo in Lightroom 4

If you were to ask me what my favorite photo editing program is I would have to say Lightroom. There are many features I love about the program but my favorite is Lightrooms high dynamic range in opening up shadows and not blowing out my highlights. I also love the ability to edit a batch of photos in seconds with the settings from my previous photo.

But I still use Photoshop for my graphic designs involving text and layers. Adobe has a wonderful subscription program where for only $10 per month you can use both Photoshop and Lightroom creative Cloud all you want with no obligation.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom) [Digital Membership]Adobe Photoshop Elements 13The Photoshop Workbook: Professional Retouching and Compositing Tips, Tricks, and TechniquesPhotoshop Elements 13 For Dummies (For Dummies Series)



10 thoughts on “Photo Editing An Overcast Day in Lightroom

  1. Nice. Lightroom is a dream. Do all my editing there now. Well, all my editing of my Nikon photos. iPhone photos, usually not. And now I remember how I got to following your blog in the first place. We have Block Island in common. Been enjoying your blog a lot. Keep it up.

  2. I really like your pictures! Being a photographer I understand it can be difficult to choose the right ones but these are wonderful.
    I personally use a number of Lightroom presets to maintain
    some uniformity with my own.

    1. Thanks, glad you like them, I took the beach photos with a glorified point and shoot, and wish now I could go back. I would probably rent a camera now for the weekend, but I’m thinking I would then not be satisfied with my simple Rebel.

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