"That's not what it looked like when I shot it!" If you've ever said or thought those words, guess what? You have a color management problem. It's so important for the images you create to look and feel the way it was when you saw the scene with your own two eyes.
When it comes to using multiple camera models and manufacturers, images photographed in the same place and time look different. As photographers, we focus on controlling this variance of brightness and color of light in a multitude of ways. Whether that’s using Auto, Priority Modes, or Manual settings in-camera, we constantly worry how this will look on the computer screen as well as images side by side. Regarding exposure specifically, we have standardized ways to keep this in check in-camera using blown highlight preview mode or showing the histogram on the display screen while shooting. Color consistency between multiple cameras is a whole other monster.
When it comes to traveling and personal photography, I like to edit and share my images on the fly. This means I'm not waiting to connect to my RAID storage drive at home before I can get started on my images. I want to quickly ingest memory cards, save Raw files to a fast external drive, and add my photos to Lightroom. Lightroom Classic is typically my go-to for photo gigs, however, in this case I want to be mobile and share edits fast. This is when I use Lightroom CC. I can truly travel light for post-production and have the ability to edit from my phone.
Capture One has been around for quite some time, and it’s partnered with Phase One—you know, those super-expensive cameras that probably none of us will ever be able to afford or find a very practical way to use even if we could. They’re great, don’t get me wrong—that’s not where I’m going here. I’m simply saying that it’s a $50,000 camera, so you can expect pretty high-end things from that company. Their editing (and really, originally tethering) program is called Capture One. Now, I haven’t used this for very long, it’s only been about six months, but what I can tell you is that once I saw the difference between Lightroom and Capture One, I just wasn’t satisfied in Lightroom anymore.
When it comes to editing creatives, I want to work in Lightroom so I can quickly apply different styles to my images with a single click. Beyond applying just a preset, you have the ability to add a more creative shift to your images using profiles. Applying a profile is the newest way to shift your corrected image to the next level without requiring you to re-edit—it’s the one-click solution you’ve been waiting for. Here is why I use profiles and how they’ve transformed my editing workflow.
For wedding photographers using Lightroom, it is no secret that Adobe likes to launch new versions in the middle of our busiest season. What are we supposed to do—drop everything we’re working on and upgrade? Well, it’s not so simple for most users to jump to the next version, because things change. Upgrading can set back your post-production workflow, adding pain to your already-busy schedule of editing and meeting client delivery deadlines.
Soft-proofing in Lightroom provides a great option to review edits before sending them into Photoshop. Along with this, you can prep files for print directly from Lightroom to keep things simple. Let’s look at how to apply basic retouching in Lightroom.
The majority of your workflow is spent on editing, but we need to make sure to maintain that same efficiency during the finalization process as well. That starts with sorting and syncing images by camera capture time, although you may have done this prior to culling.
Now that we’ve finished correcting color and exposure, it’s time to get creative and show off our best work. When it comes to creative editing in Lightroom, there is a lot we can do without having to jump into Photoshop. That’s exactly what I want to cover in this article, while also offering workflows for Lightroom to Photoshop for that extra level of editing.
Dialing in color doesn’t have to be as painstaking as it seems. Remember to start with a color profile that looks closest to how you want your images to look. Then the rest will fall in place in terms of controlling brightness, tonal recovery, and white balance.