Avoiding a few basic errors in Lightroom Classic


03 Jul
03Jul

Lightroom Classic is a popular piece of editing software to both beginner and veteran photographers. It’s complexity can make it fairly difficult to master, and even professionals still make mistakes.

Even experienced photographers  who have been using Lightroom for some time should double check to ensure that they are not making any of these common photo editing errors.

Are You Making These 6 basic Post-Processing Mistakes?

See something you can relate to? Don’t panic, We’ve taken this opportunity to not only identify some of the most common mistakes photographers make in post, but also how to fix them.

Most of these points are also valid for other photo editing software and not just Lightroom Classic.

  • You don’t organize your photos properly

If you’re like most photographers, you have more photos than you know what to do with so that is are quite normal. However, uploading hundreds of photos at the end of each shoot adds up quickly to some big and overwhelming numbers. Luckily, Lightroom’s built-in features make organizing photos a total breeze.

Lightroom Classic Library

Investing a few minutes into photo organization will save you hours later. Use some of Lightroom’s features such as keywords, star rating, and colour labelling, along with carefully organized photo folders. This will give you great results.

There are also plenty additional sources which can help with this. In trouble with doing this? Drop us a line or give us a call.

  • You keep too many photos in the hope of rescuing them with post-processing

It’s easy to shoot anything and everything, then import tons of photos into Lightroom and pick the best shots. Maybe you’ve organized your files using Lightroom’s features (avoiding the first mistake above), but you’re reluctant to delete any of your images.

Yes, it’s difficult to part with a photo permanently by tossing it in the digital rubbish bin, but not everything you shoot is going to be a winner. Perhaps you think that, with enough post-processing skill, once you get to that level, you can rescue any shot. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.  Sometimes, it’s just best to let a photo go. By that we do not just mean the OBU’s (Obvious Bugger Ups) but even the other better shots. We use a comparison based approach which is like a tournament style elimination. So, after you’ve organized your photos but before you begin the editing process, best to get rid of your worst shots. To be totally honest, we keep way too many as well so do not beat yourself up about this. Small note: We are sure you know that Lightroom does this in batches so it’s really easy to mark and delete in bulk, which we do.

3. You don’t learn or use keyboard shortcuts

Like other editing programs, there’s certainly no shortage of keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Lightroom!

Some photographers find themselves intimidated or overwhelmed by the number of keyboard shortcuts available in Lightroom. Trust us, your edit workflow will be improve (and speed up) once you train yourself to use shortcuts. Start small, but take a moment to analyse your workflow. Take note of the functions you use the most, and use keyboard shortcuts for just one or two of them the next time you spend time in Lightroom. Then, slowly increase the shortcut repertoire you have. A word of caution, do not use shortcuts that make you lose concentration on what you are doing. Like an artist, the brush and paint used must be those best suited to what is trying to be achieved.

4. You do not check clipping

Often, you may not even realize that when you’re adjusting aspects of your photos in post, you can be decreasing the overall quality of the image. You may be clipping your photos’ tones with your modifications. In other words, your post-processing may result in a loss of detail in the shadows and highlights of your images.

Shadows and Highlight Clipping

To ensure that you preserve the details you worked so hard to capture, press J in Lightroom Classic to check for clipped tones (or leave this feature on, we do). Clipped shadows will highlight in blue and clipped or blown highlights will become red. Once you’re aware of the problem areas, utilise your knowledge of exposure adjustment to get back those lost details.

That is also good use of a keyboard shortcut.

5. You over-process your photos

With so many options to edit your photos in Lightroom, it can be difficult to pick only a few adjustments. Many beginner photographers think that implementing a bit of every modification available to them will make for the best photos. Avoid this at all cost!

For example, be careful not to apply too many effects, overuse vignettes, or add too much fading or blurring. While cautious use of these features can highlight the qualities of a great image, overdoing it may only cheapen the appearance of your image. This comes down to getting it as right in camera as possible and applying a “less is more” editing approach.

6. You don’t bother with the histogram

The histogram – most if not all photographers have heard of it, but many fail to fully understand or ignore the extent of its helpfulness as they process their images.

Lightroom Classic Histogram

Instead of ignoring the histogram, or just seeing it as one of Lightroom’s fancy tools  which is not really necessary to achieve the best final edit, take time to learn how it can help you to accurately adjust the exposure of your images.

Most of us rely on our vision during post-processing.  We subject ourselves to errors caused by inaccuracies in our monitor’s brightness or saturation or even the lighting where we edit. By using the histogram to determine whether or not you’re maintaining appropriate highlights, shadows, and overall light levels, you overcome any discrepancies caused by a screen’s poor calibration or situation of where we edit. By the way, screen calibrations is hugely important.

As a rough rule of thumb, if your histogram information is concentrated to the right, your photo is likely too bright and it may have blown highlights. Similarly, a histogram concentrated to the left indicates a photo which is too dark and that shadows have lost details.

No matter your skill level, Lightroom never fails to offer the photographer something new to learn. Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes, make adjustments, and streamline your workflow.

The great thing about photography is after all, that there is always room for improvement.

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