Adobe Lightroom: Editing Photos Start to Finish (For Beginners) | Sean Voelger | Skillshare

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Adobe Lightroom: Editing Photos Start to Finish (For Beginners)

teacher avatar Sean Voelger, Digital Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. RAW or JPEG?

    • 3. File Organization

    • 4. Importing

    • 5. Selection

    • 6. Editing

    • 7. Exporting

    • 8. Closing Remarks

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About This Class

In this course, I'll be showing you my entire process for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom start to finish. I'll be sharing with you some great tips and tricks along the way; for example, things such as how to effectively import or what file formats to choose. The videos are made to be short, sweet, and to the point, so if that's what you're looking for, you came to the right spot.

Of course, in order to follow along you will need some kind of version of Adobe Lightroom. If you don't already have it, you can get it right here with this link: Adobe Website

Here is one of the photos I use as an example, this one is edited. I try not to go overboard with anything and keep the integrity of the photo by upping the lights and contrast. Lightroom is great for editing photos in bulk, I can create adjustments and copy them over to as many photos as I want!


Now, If your interested in REALLY manipulating a photo, spending a lot of time on it, then I would suggest checking out one of my Photoshop courses!

I'll link my beginners course down below if you're interested!

You also may be interested in a course where I show you how you can create imaginary landscapes in Adobe Photoshop!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sean Voelger

Digital Artist


Hello! I'm an Artist creating, discovering and exploring. I want to share what I've learned along the way. I grew up in NY and have been creating art for a long time, there's nothing I would rather do! For the most part, in terms of medium, I'm all over the place; it's hard for me to settle on something. Usually, I stick to digital mediums, traditional paintings and drawings using anything from charcoal to oil pastel. But for the core part of me, I'd consider myself a digital artist.

I plan on creating more and more Skillshare courses as I continue and evolve my own personal skills to share to the world. I'm always trying to improve my courses as new ones come out, so be sure to check them out!



What I want to provide ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: my name's Shawn Soldier. I'm an artist. I've been doing photography for a pretty long time now retired. For me, it's truth. But in many different ways, difference really depends upon the relationship between the artist and the viewer. When it comes down to editing my opinion, you're just beginning, you know, it's really, uh, this opportunity Teoh really express what your artistic intentions are and really fine tune what needs to be done. So in this course we're looking at late room. I mean, we showing you my entire process for editing photos start to finish first, we'll look at some of the best file formats to use after importing some other inhibits. Be editing in no time now I made this course specifically for beginners. Light room is a great platform to work off of, so I divide this into short video, so be easy to fall along. So if you're ready to get started, we can get right away looking at some basic file formats. Thanks. And I'll see you there 2. RAW or JPEG?: raw or J bag. What is it? Well, before we get started in light room, we have to understand this topic. If you're already familiar with this, you can skip ahead. However, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, I highly suggest you watching raw in J peg our file formats within the camera and on your computer. If you're using a phone or haven't changed any settings in your DSLR, the chances are you're shooting in JPEG. J Peg is the most common file format. Essentially, what it does is that it compresses your image into a small, easily usable file. This makes it great for sharing and saving space. This, however, comes at a cost information. Switching to raw will give us a much wider range for capturing details. This makes wrong great for editing. For example, if we had a photo that was too bright, we could bring those highlights down to reveal detail. This is something you cannot dio with Jake. I realized most of you are coming to this course with all your photos already taken. If you shine J peg, that's okay. We can still continue. I just wanted to throw the subject out there is could be vital is getting the best image possible in the future. If you plan on editing a photo, I suggest switching toe raw. So now we're gonna move on and head over to file organization. 3. File Organization: before we import, we need an organized way to store files. If you already have your own system for organizing files, you can step add. I'm gonna be showing the system that I use for all my photography, So I'll just put my folder here called Photography here. I have sub folders in much I separate by year. If I click Photography 2019 you'll see more sub folders by which I call batches. These batches contain the actual photos and an additional sub folder named Picks Pixar. All the edited photos from this patch think of a batch as a photo shoot. It's all the photos taken from one event when I create a new batch, which I'm going to create one. Right now, I start with the batch number. In this case, it's six because the last one was five and then what season we're in, In this case currently of shooting this video we're in summer and then a brief description of what's in this badge. So I have a bunch of photos from a hike. I just went on. So today I'm gonna be using that. I'm just going to name it the trail name which was could be in bed. Okay, you can name it whatever you'd like, as long as there's some sort of organization. So in here, I always make a pics folder. This is where all our processed images will be if you shine raw. I like to make another folder containing those particular files. My name it raw, followed by the batch number in this case, it six. If you only have J Peg, you can skip that set. So that's really it again, you can organize it in any way you'd like. Just don't dump everything into one folder as it will make your life. Much are. Now we can move on to importing. I have a few tips and tricks on how to make the process much easier. 4. Importing: there's many ways to import into light room. First, I show you some effective ways on how to get your photos from your camera onto your computer. This could be done through a cable, WiFi and many other ways. But say I'm gonna be showing you how to do it from an SD card in SD Card Reader. You're DSLR should have an opening where your SD card is located, and you can pop that out and put it into your SD card reader. Don't put it in just yet. If your computer's been on for a long time, I highly recommend that you shut it down and reboot at first. This will highly reduce the chance of the card getting corrupted. And, yes, cards can get corrupted. Although it's very rare, it can happen now when you reboot your computer, give it about three minutes to warm up. And don't plug anything else into the computer. When you're ready, you can launch late room. Now that that's done, we can plug in our SD card, try to do it quickly and don't wiggle it around. When you plug it in, you may get a notification or folder will pop up on your screen, depending on your settings. If you already had light room open, it should automatically bring up your files like here. If nothing happens in light room and you didn't get a folder like this, you can bring up your files over here. Look for it over here. And you can usually find a folder that says D. C. I am. You'll have toe. Probably open up some additional folders to find it, and all your folders will be here. Then you can open up light room and drag and drop those into light room. Since light room opened, we're just gonna exit out of that. I'm gonna break down this screen so it's easier to understand. Over to the left is where all your files on your computer are. You can scroll through him like this and all that. This is for finding your phone photos. But since we always already found them, we don't have to worry about that. In the middle is where all your photos should be. They should all be selected with a check mark. You can check all photos appear to select all over to the right is where our photos will be stored. You should navigate through to the folder we made earlier called Ross Six. And if you have J. Peg, you can just find the Batch folder. So I'm just gonna go ahead, scroll through it and try and find it. Photography started 50,019 batch six and raw. So I'm just gonna select that now we have a few more options at the top. Move and add should be great out like so. If not, that means your files air already on your computer. The remaining option should be copy and copy. Is DMG this? What transfers the file onto your computer? A copy is going to transfer the files as the file formats from the camera. Copy is DMG is a little different. Listen, get really confusing really quickly, since it's something that people rarely use nowadays, we're just not gonna worry about it. So I'll just hit copy. It's already selected as copy by default. Once you have all that settled, we can hit import. After that, your library will show up and all your photos will start to be imported. When the Progress bar in the top left is done, you can remove your SD card. It should automatically pop it out right here, ejected. But you should still pull it out physically. The next step is going to be the selection process. This is where we'll choose a few photos to edit. Also, be showing you how to edit all your photos in the editing vase very quickly if you want to at the mall. 5. Selection: So now we need to find the best images from this photo shoot. Remember, I'm gonna be splitting this up into two scenarios. First, we're gonna look for the best single image. Then I'll show you how to edit all your photos really quickly and effectively. So let's say we have 5100 or 200 photos all the same thing, but slightly different. And we only want one really good one. How do we do that? Well, if we click down here on this rectangular button or double click the image, this will make it larger. You can also hit F for full screen. If you can really see your photos down here, you can press f six. Bring them up or down or hit this arrow right here, starting with the left. Most image. We can use our arrow keys to find our best one. Whenever you come across. Ah, image that you like. You should press five. This will raid as five stars and you'll be able to see it down right here. You can also click here to rate images from 1 to 5 stars for images that you know will not work. You should press X. This will gray it out down here, so it's easily visible. Now let you know that you did not want that one, and this will help narrow it down so we can find out which ones work. You can also press right here to undo it. Let's say you break it down to two photos and you can't decide which one to pick. What we can do is compare them side by side by pressing C. Clicking on one down here will change the left image while changing the right arrows will change the right image, and you can just compare them each one, whatever you like. And this is very useful for sandwich when you want to pick. If you still can't decide what I can recommend is stepping away from your computer for at least two hours or getting some sleep and looking at them again, you can ask other people as well for a fresh viewed and get their opinion. Remember, we still need to edit them, so if you truly cannot decide, I recommend editing both and then doing a final comparison. If you've been Xing out your photos, you should get them off of light room. To do this, we can go to photo, delete rejected photos, then you'll get this window. If we click, remove. This will get them off of late room. It won't delete the actual files off your computer. Think of it as light room, hiding the photos. If you do want the photo, the files deleted, you can select delete from disk. Either way, you can still get them back. Whether it's from their cycling been or the folder we made. It's a good idea to clean up your space is it makes the whole process much easier. So if you're ready to move on, we can now start the editing phase. 6. Editing: So now we're at a point where you've imported your photos, selected a photo work with, and now we can move on to editing. First thing we're gonna do is select our photo and hit Develop over here in the top. Right. This will bring up the editing panels Over to the right is where we'll be working. Most is where all your adjustments will be. I'm gonna guide you through my process and feel free to fall along. So the first thing we should look at is cropping. We just click this button at the top here, our image will be over laid with this box, we can click and drag this in from the corner, side to side and up and down. Something really useful to know is that in all a dopey programs, if you press shift while cropping, it will crop it to the ratio of your image. So you don't stretch anything. You can also hold down all to center down your image. When you're done cropping, you can hit this button again or you compress done. Okay, Now we're gonna move down to the first panel here under basic. This is where all our adjustments will be for me. I will start at the top and work my way down the best way to find out what each slider does . It's just experiment. If you hover over a slider and press the up and down arrow, it will increment either up or down. The exposure slider could be really important. Usually the photo needs to be brighter than you think. As your screen is coming through his light, I would try incremental it up than down doing comparisons back and forth. If you look up at the top, we have something called a hist O gram. Hey, still, Graham tells us how much darks lights in color we have over the image. The left is our darks, and over to the right is our lights. Think of all these as our data in the image. If most of the data is to the left, then that means we have a lot of dark areas. The general rule is that a good image will have a diverse history. Graham. In the top corners of this program, you'll see two triangles repressed the left one, for example, and bring down our exposure. You will start to see blue spots in our image. This means that the blue spots are so dark that no detail could be made out in them. This is the same for the other triangle, except it's when your images so bright that I can't make out any detail. It's important to remember that sometimes it's okay for things to be to break or too dark. If the sun's in, your photo is going to be very bright over. That's simply how it looks. If you fix something being too dark or bright, adjustments can be made in this area again. The best way to find the right adjustment is to just experiment. So from here, I would just work your way down filling with the adjustments as you go. I won't talk about all of them, as they could be pretty self explanatory, but I will mention some important ones. For example, some of your images may have noise in them noises when your ice so is too high, and if you zoom into your image by left clicking, you may see some grain. To fix this, we can scroll down to detail under Noise Reduction and AMP. Up Lou Minutes. This will reduce noise at the cost of detail in your image. As you can see, the image tends to get much softer, so don't use it too much. You can use sharpening, however, the more you increase that, the more noise you'll get. I tend to stay away from this slider. Another way to stay away from noise is to not make your shadows brighter. The darks tend to hide the noise, and bringing those shadows up will increase the noise. Another important panel is lens correction, which is right under the detail panel. I always check these two boxes. This will fix any distortion that you may have had. One of the one that I use often is under effects for vignettes. Bringing this down will dark in your edges and bring it up will brighten them. I wouldn't go any more than 15 but if you think it's necessary, keep going. Once you get to the bottom, I would start back up on the top under basic and adjust if necessary. Now I kind of skipped over this a little bit, so I'm going to just go ahead and just play with sliders, and that's really all you have to dio just get it until it looks right. So here's a good example with the highlights. As you can see, the clouds are pretty difficult to see. And if I scan over my highlight triangle, you can see that it's red. So what I can do is bring down these highlights and we could start to see some of the clouds. All right, so remember not to bring up the shadows too much as that could reveal some noise. Um, it's OK to bring it up a little bit. However, I think we're going to bring it down just just a bit. The whites are gonna be your brightest highlights in the black sort of your darkest shadows . So I'm just gonna keep messing around of this and you won't have a good balance of whites and blacks shadows and highlights and for clarity, clarity is pretty much sharpening. I wouldn't go over 10. I usually like to put it at 10 and just gotta be a little bit more clear. That's all Clarity. Does Vibrance usually like to bring a vibrance and saturation? Vibrance is pretty much the fine tuning of saturation. If you want to think of it like that. You can also bring it down completely if you want black and white. Over here, we have more fine tuning highlights thes air. Great to condemn s around with those now. You can always go back and see what your original image looked like by hanging the ah, back slash on your keyboard. This is great for comparing. Now let's say there's only one part of the image that I want to adjust. What I can do is hit this brush tool over here and I can paint in what I want to change. I have all my adjustments right here, and it will only affect the area in which I painted. I can change my brush size by pressing the brackets on my keyboard and I can erase by holding Alz. There's also some settings down here where I can change the feathering which will make the edges softer. To go back to adjustments. I need to click the brush again to disable it if I want to go back to it and you depressed the brush and also click this dot to get the settings I was just using. If you start painting and do not click the dot, you'll start painting a new area of pain, which will have different settings. Another really useful thing is the spot removal tool. This will get rid of any small, unwanted areas. This is really useful. If you want to get rid of any pimples or respects of dirt, all they need to do is click over what you want to get rid of. It doesn't always work, but generally it does. So it say. I want to get rid of this. I just have to align it and click. It will go ahead and try and find another spot in your image to try and replicate it. Anything see again? It doesn't always work, but generally it does. Layer mostly comes of some presets. If we look over to the left, you can open some and try out some if you like, however, I rarely use them. You can make your own preset to to do this. Once you have all your adjustments made over here, you can press the plus button right here over presets, and you'll get this window first. You can name your preset, and all these boxes are just the settings over here, you can enable or disable certain ones. If you'd like over, I would generally keep them all on except for transform and thes filters. After that, you can click create, and it should show up under user presets. If we looked the other images, we can actually go ahead and select that preset, you know, apply all the settings we just had on this image. Now what you could do is individually press all these images and select that preset. However, there's a better way. So if all your images are all relatively the same, what we can do is right. Click are edited image. Go to settings copy settings. This will bring up a familiar window where we can enable certain adjustments. I would leave local adjustments, transform spot removal and crop unchecked as these air very specific to each image. After that, we can click copy, and this will save the settings from this image. So what we can do down in our film strip is select the Left most image scroll over to the right, hold down shift and click the right image. This will select everything in between and we could click on any photo and right click go to develop settings and go to pay settings. This should paste all our settings from this image across all the images. And this is really great for editing all your photos really quickly. If you had a lot of adjustments than to be a good idea to go through all the photos just to make sure they look right, so that's really it for editing. Make sure to play around with it and familiarize yourself with the panels. The last thing we need to do is export. 7. Exporting: Okay, now we have our photos edited, and it's time to export. So the export one photo we need tohave it selected, and then we can go over to file export. This will bring up the export window. We want to get our photos back to the folder we made earlier. So to do this, if we look over to the left, we will see light room presets and user presets. Don't worry about the light room presets. We're going to make our own before we make our preset. We need to change these settings first, so the first option should be export location. I would change this to choose folder later, as were generally gonna have to use a new folder every time we export. The rest should be fine. And we can skip file naming and video under file settings. We can change our file format. If you're completely done with your photo, you can set it to J peg. But if you shot and raw and plan on coming back to it, you can click original, which will be the original file former that it came in. Color space is a little different if you plan on Onley viewing this online. Then I would select S RGB s RGB uses colors that are good for sharing and viewing on the Internet. If you plan on printing, you should select adobe RGB as it's a color space created four printing. This is usually an option you can select in your camera before you take the photo, which will increase the accuracy for it. Finally, we can move on to image sizing, which is very important, especially if you want to print. Make sure of resized to fit is selected you're on with, and height and pixels is selected. Size is going depend on what you want. If I have a photo that looks nice and I just want to store it on my computer, I would send my dimensions at 2000. By 2000 I wouldn't go much lower or higher. Remember, if you checked resized to fit, it will not change the ratio and will adjust to the size you set. I always send my resolution to 300 as it's a good foundation to work off of. If I were going to print this, I would change the pixels two inches and adjust accordingly while also upping the resolution as increase the size. Once we're all set, we compress the add button over to the left and name this preset. When you name your preset, you can hit, create, and then we can now use this preset over here and use it over and over on our photos. This will always be here under user presets. Whenever we want to use it, we can just select. Last thing we need to do is hit export. Then it's gonna ask us where we want to export to. I'm going to navigate through and find the folder we made earlier photography to those in 19 and I'm gonna put it under picks. Then we can just hit select folder and it will export it. So we still have all these other photos to export as well. To do this, we need to the same exact thing except select all our photos. Remember to do this, we need to select our left most image scroll over to the right, hold shift and press the right most image. We already selected this image, so we're just gonna de selected by holding down control and left collect. Then we want to go to file export. Let's bring up our window. Make sure user presets, Um, whatever you named it selected and we can hit export. Since I edited all these photos, I'm going Teoh, drop it in into our picks, Holder Shots like that folder and it will start to export appear in the top. So if we look at our folder over here, all are edited Photos are in there Now, if you're completely done editing, you can go back and delete your raw folder. Raw files take up a lot of space. So whenever I'm done editing, I just go ahead and delete them. Now, if you do this, you can't anthem anymore in light room. So make sure you're done. You can still edit the JPEG files. However, you cannot edit the raw files. Light room will save all the work you do when you close it. So opening it back up will leave you in the spot. You left often. So thanks for watching. I hope you learned a little bit about light room. If you want to follow me and skill share, that would be great. If you want to have some more classes that I've done, that would be a great as well anyway. Thanks for watching. And I'll see you later. Bye. 8. Closing Remarks: all right. Looks like you did Congratulations. So, yeah, now that was just my process of how I edit all my photos was so great about light room is that you can edit images in bulk without compromising too much quality. Now, usually, if there's one image I really like and want toe work on, I'll usually bring it right into Photoshopped. Photo shop is great for editing one image in spending a lot of time on it. Light room is more about editing multiple photos and organizing sets of them. But anyway, I just want to quickly sum up what we did in the course. Just so it's all fresh in your head. First we looked at whether we should shoot in Raw or Jay Pek. Shooting and raw is going to give you higher quality and mawr information. But with that, you compromise space. However, J peg, you get lesser quality unless information, but they barely take up any space at all. So I'd only shooting raw if you're if you know you're going to have a photo you really want to work on next. We created a file organization system. If you want to use mine as a template and make your own twist on it or just completely copy . I mean, whatever that's completely fine organization is really, really, really important. Trust me, there's a photo you need. Fine. I can't find it. Well, it's kind of a problem. Just don't put everything in one folder that will be just a mite mayor. It really just slows all all of your efficiency, all of your production down. And it's just it's not, anyway. Next we imported. There's lots of ways to do that. But be careful about corruption. It happened to me, can have a new you and really sucks. But you can do things to prevent it. After that, we selected one photo out of many similar ones. Light room is so perfect for comparing, and it really helps you make decisions. So then we edit it, using many different sliders and techniques. Remember, you can copy your settings in Payson across all your images, very useful, and finally we export it. Remember, raw files take up a lot of space, so if you find yourself not using them and recommend just deleting them, there's no use of just hanging on to them, especially if it's just out there for, like, a few months. You've already edited it anyway. Now there is more toe light room, not too much more that I would consider it to be vital. However, now that you know these basic steps to using light room learning, anything else should be much easier. In fact, if you start using MAWR Adobe programs, you'll notice that you might not be all that bad a thumb. Adobes programs are very similar, like almost all the shortcuts are exactly the same. Photo shop has a few similar tools spot tool or the brush tool, things like that. So what I recommend now is just get your fluff familiar with the program, edit some photos and maybe even click some buttons you've never seen before. Just see what it does. Light room can also be used for and organized photos kind of like the system I created with my files. However, I much prefer to just use my files on my computer as an organization system that is completely up to you. I always see it that there's no wrong way of doing something. There's okay. There's a lot of ways to travel somewhere, but whether you do it by car, plane and even talking. Still going arrive at same place. But anyway, thanks for watching. I hope you learned a little bit of a light room and thank you. See you later by