Fundamentals of Photography: Deepening your Practice with Essential Techniques | Hannah Argyle | Skillshare

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Fundamentals of Photography: Deepening your Practice with Essential Techniques

teacher avatar Hannah Argyle, Photographer, Content Creator, Mum

Watch this class and thousands more

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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 (1h 7m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:05
    • 2. Light

      8:07
    • 3. Composition

      7:29
    • 4. Camera Set Up

      8:04
    • 5. Manual Mode

      7:15
    • 6. Editing

      13:17
    • 7. Editing Part 2

      17:57
    • 8. Class Project

      3:56
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About This Class

Knowing everything about a camera does not alone make a great photographer. 

Join photographer, Hannah Argyle, as she helps you to hone (and believe in!) your instincts as a photographer. You will ground these instincts with sound technical knowledge to help increase your confidence, to get more creative and begin to develop your own unique style. 

In this class, you will learn all the fundamental skills you will need on your photography journey! Whether you’re a complete beginner, feeling a bit stuck and lacking confidence, or want to push your work to the next level -  then this course is for you!

This course covers:

  • Working with Natural Light How to get the very best out of the light available to you, and what to do when those lighting conditions are less than ideal! 
  • Composition One of the key aspects to creating an unforgettable image. You will be provided with a handy checklist to help you know what to look for in a scene in case those killer compositions don’t come naturally to you. 
  • Camera Setup Hannah offers great practical tips as to how to set up your DSLR to minimise those frustrations and allow you total control over your photography. 
  • How to Shoot in Manual Mode A crucial step to having a deeper understanding of photography and the results you are getting! This knowledge will in turn boost your confidence and allow your creativity to come to the forefront.
  • Editing in Lightroom For that ultimate finish for your work! You’ll learn some simple workflows and handy tips for developing your signature style, as well as some pointers for when inspiration is lacking.

This course is primarily for DSLR users, but many of these skills are transferable and will be useful for the smartphone photographers amongst us too. 


Meet Your Teacher

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Hannah Argyle

Photographer, Content Creator, Mum

Teacher



Hey, I'm so happy you're here and have found my courses! 

I'm Hannah, a self taught photographer from the UK. I live with my two boys, and my very large rescue dog Albert. He's quite the star of my Instagram stories ;)

I came to photography later in life after my kids were born, and what I found was a creative outlet that gave me a new appreciation of the world around me, a community of like minded people on Instagram, and a career that I absolutely love! 

I'm passionate about sharing the things I have learnt along the way, and I teach photography on a one to one basis as well as through my online courses. Photography can be a source of ... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Hannah Argyle, I'm a self-taught photographer living in the UK. My photography journey began about six or seven years ago when I wanted to find a creative outlet and capture moments with my children, I want to help you to develop your instincts as a photographer, backed up with sound technical knowledge. This will allow you to eliminate frustrations in your work and help you to enjoy the process of creating your art. In this course, we're going to cover how to work with natural light, how to create fantastic compositions, how to set up your camera so you have complete control over your photography, how to work in manual mode, and finally, how to edit your photos using Lightroom. I'll be using a full-frame Nikon DSLR but most of the skills I'm going to be teaching you are actually transferable and are really helpful to know even if you're a mobile photographer. So let's get started with learning about light. 2. Light: First we're going to talk about light, which really is one of the fundamentals of photography. All good photography relies on good light. I'm going to hopefully teach you how to find the best quality light and how to work with it. The advantages of working with natural, ambient light, are that it's free, it's available to everybody, and in the right lighting conditions you just sometimes hit that absolute magic. Natural light is always slightly different and the quality of the light changes throughout the day. Once you really learn how to use that light to your advantage, then you can create some absolute magic in your photography. Obviously the downside to natural light is that you have less ability to control it. It's not like a studio setting where you can have consistent lighting scene all day long and you can shoot your subject as and when you want to. With natural light, we obviously have other factors at play. But to my mind, this is what makes photography exciting and interesting. Whereas the light may not always be ideal, there are times where you just get the most perfect light conditions and that's really exciting to work with. So the difference between soft light and harsh light - basically harsh light is the midday sun where the sun is very strong in the sky. This can create really strong contrasts and deep shadows, which is difficult to work and you will also get very high highlights and blown out areas in your photos. Soft light is the perfect light to work with in photography. We find soft light either when the harsh light is filtered through clouds, or in the first hour or the last hour of light in the day, which is called the golden hour. The light is much, much softer at this point and we can shoot towards the light for really dreamy effects. There are ways, of course, for which we can work with the harsh light and shooting in raw is really going to help you. I'll come on to this later. Sometimes half the street will be in shade and you can shoot the shady side of the street where you don't have the contrast of sunshine and shade. If you're shooting a person outdoors in the midday sun, the sun when it's coming from high in the sky is it creates a really dark shadows on the face. And you've got unflattering shadows under the nose and the eyes. Also you will probably find the person is quite squinting. If you are shooting a portrait outside, It's good to try and actually cut off the light from above that means the light is more directional and softer coming onto the face, do something like stand your subject under a tree or in a doorway on the shady side of the street. It's also really handy to carry a reflector with you. That way you can bounce some of the natural light back in and soften the shadows. It can be tricky obviously to carry reflector as well as a camera, so look out for natural reflectors, a white wall or even a white van, and you can shoot a subject near that. I would really encourage you to spend some time just watching the light. Really get to know the light in your environment. The light changes with the season as well, you'll find that the light has a really warm quality as the sun is setting and then turns quite blue, just before the sun sets. If you're shooting inside - interiors or still lives, find a place in your house where the light is best and this might take some time experiment and the find the time of day that suits you. Watch the way the light falls across the objects in your room and the way the shadows interact with those objects. You will really get to know how the light works, and I think this is really important. I think it's the first thing I do whenever I walk into a room is "where's the window, where's light coming from" and you really want to work on and build your instincts as a photographer in this way. Good tip actually when shooting flat lays is that if you set up your scene really close to a window, it's going to be quite evenly lit, whereas if you pull it further away you're going to get much moodier light with stronger shadows, which can be really nice. You can then work with the shadows and incorporate them into your composition. Once you've learned how to find the best light and how to work with it, then you can start to experiment with harsh light and incorporating those strong contrasts and shadows into your composition. This photo was taken in the desert in Dubai, and whereas I was hoping to catch the sunset, it wasn't possible. The moment we were at the sand dunes I had no choice but to go out and try and shoot. So as you can see, the sun is incredibly strong and bright but the shadow falling across the image makes quite an interesting part of the composition. And because I chose to face away from the camera, I didn't have to worry about strong shadows across my face. So I could just think about the shapes and the way that the shadow actually became a part of the composition as well. When I was in Venice some shots were not available to me. They weren't going to work because there was really strong sunshine falling straight across what I would have wanted to shoot. There were plenty of buildings that were in the shade, and as you can see from these examples, the strong sunshine actually created some really lovely reflections and colours in the water. So I may not have been able to take every shot I wanted to take, but by just working through what I had, I actually managed to capture some magic which wouldn't have been there on on a really dull and lightness day. It's really worth watching the weather forecast and learning to look out for things like a frosty morning or foggy morning. - you might get some light rays coming through the fog. trying to get out for those golden hours, and really creating a magical atmosphere in your photos. So you might think that a rainy day is, is the worst day to go shooting but it can really be worth giving it a go. It's worth remembering that when it's raining, it's not dark, so the sun is up there. If you can figure out which direction it's coming from, you can still use the sun to create some beautiful lighting conditions. For example, in this portrait, I took of my kids on the beach in Sicily it was raining but there's this lovely light across their faces. The light is actually really soft and really flattering because of the clouds in the sky. So when we don't have the very best soft ambient light available to us, still get out and shoot. Don't miss an opportunity when you're traveling. or got your kids with you, still shoot whatever the light, and just try and get yourself in a position where the light works for you. But she took these two photos a month apart. In the first one, I got out for golden hour and it was actually a lovely misty morning there's beautiful beams of light coming through the trees. In the second one a month later, the leaves have all fallen off the trees and it was a very foggy morning. So it shows, I think really well, just how much the lighting scenario can alter a scene. So learning to identify and work with the light can take a little bit of practice, but it's really worth experimenting with and having some fun with. Now that we've looked at light, we're going to go onto another really important element of photography, which is composition. 3. Composition: Now we've learned a little bit about light, we're going to look at composition which is another really important element of photography. What I would think about is, what are you trying to capture here? Are you wanting to capture the atmosphere, like the big picture? Or are you taking a wide-angle shot? Or are you capturing the details, the small picture. One of the basic rules of composition is rule of thirds. And this is very simply if your image was divided into nine segments, and in fact, we've used rule of thirds in this setup here, so as you can see, I'm actually sat on the third line now. You can also see in these examples here - and why we do this is it just creates a really pleasing composition to the eye. You've got the negative space, which is the space which isn't filled with the subject matter, and that leads the eye into the composition. Another really effective way to compose a photo is using symmetry. If you've just got one person or object in the photo, it can be really effective to actually put them absolutely in the center of the frame. Leading lines is another really good way to compose a photo and is worth having a look around to see if there are any leading lines that you can use in a scene. Things that are really good for leading lines are things like tree-lined walks, jetties, fences, things that basically start at one corner of the frame and really lead the viewer's eye into a vanishing point. This is one of my favorite tree-lined walks in my local park, which you may remember from the last segment. This is where I took the foggy photo, and the golden hour photo. This photo was actually taken in the snow as you can see, and the tree-lined walk gives the perfect leading line all the way into that vanishing point. Another thing that photographers often look for, is finding a frame within a frame or some sort of natural framing in the scene. It's really effective sometimes to shoot through leaves, for example, or to find an archway or doorway or a window that you can shoot through, which creates a natural frame around your image. The archway provides the perfect kind of viewpoint. Once you've learned these basic rules of composition, there's all sorts of ways in which they can be combined to make more complex compositions that still work. It's worth trying to change up your perspective and look for slightly different and unusual perspectives. For example, crouching down low can be really effective, especially when shooting dogs, pets, or small children. And also shooting from down low can help to minimize the foreground, creating a more minimal composition and with less foreground distraction. Also getting up to a high vantage point can be really interesting. This isn't always easy to do, but if you can find a staircase or first floor window to shoot from, I've even taken step ladders on portrait shoots with me before, because just getting up high creates a completely different perspective that we don't often see. It's always worth looking out for what's happening in the background of your shot. You may be able to just move a step to the left or to the right and move an ugly lamppost or a bin out of shot. Pay attention to your perspectives. If you've got a straight line happening somewhere in your shot, a leading line or a straight line in the foreground, or a door frame, or a building it's worth just trying to get those perspectives right "in camera" and your lines nice and straight. We can tweak these later on in Lightroom and I'll show you how to do that. But if you're making huge adjustments, you're going to end up with distortion in other parts of the image. It makes them much cleaner, more pleasing picture when those perspectives are correct. One of the trickiest situations, I think, in my photography is when confronted with a whole field of flowers, you've got so much to think about. And it can be a little bit sort of bamboozling. Where do I begin? Obviously, it's lovely to capture that whole field at a wide angle, but also really nice to focus in on some of the details. What I do is often get down low to the height of the flowers and look for a flower that stands out. It may be a bit taller than the rest, maybe a slightly different colour. Maybe it's just facing you perfectly and the light is shining through it from behind. Just scan the scene and take a few moments and really look around and look for something that stands out and that is a little bit different. You can get down low, experiment with a few different angles, a few different depths that field. And you might just really be surprised at which photo works the best for you. If it doesn't come naturally, then give it a bit of practice and make a checklist either mentally or write it down on your phone so that when you're out taking photos, have a little look at your check list and look at this scene in front of you and think about what you're going to do. Is there anything missing? Is there anything else you could try? Is there a leading line that you didn't think about? And just experiment and basically practice. I think once you understand these rules of composition then you can start to break them a little bit and push the boundaries. For example, increasing that negative space and making a photo far more minimal. This way you can start to produce some really interesting results. Instead of putting the beach hut and the children on the rule of thirds line, which is what you might expect, I actually pushed them right to the side of the frame. And the thing that gives a nice vanishing point to the center of the frame where the beach huts, and the beach and the sea all converge right in the middle of the frame. It's worth keeping in mind when you're shooting that Instagram crops photos to a maximum ratio of four by five. This means that you're not going to be able to show the full frame of your image. It can be a little bit frustrating if you framed an image really beautifully, composed it beautifully within camera and then you have to lose parts of the image. So what I do, and it's good practice I think, is to keep that ratio in mind as you're shooting. Basically you're going to lose if you're shooting portrait, the top section and the bottom section of your image. So it can be with just taking a couple of steps back or zooming out slightly, pulling a little bit further out from the image and making sure that you've got all the elements you wanted are still going to be in your frame. So we've now looked at light and the basics of composition. and we're going to move on in the next section to a little bit about camera set up. 4. Camera Set Up: Now that we have talked about light and composition, we're going to get a little bit more technical and talk about some camera setup. I think it's really important to set up your camera correctly so that you are eliminating those frustrations basically, if you have complete control over your camera, then you know what results you're going to get and if you aren't getting the results you want, then you know how to fix that. First thing we're going to discuss is metering. This is literally the way your camera reads the light in the scene. I think it's really important to choose your metering mode, knowing what is actually happening in that mode otherwise you can end up for example, trying to shoot figure stood at a window, you've got the light coming in from behind you and if your camera is metering the light in the whole scene, you could end up with a silhouette because the window light is going to be the most dominant part of the scene. You may not want a silhouette, you may want to correctly exposed to figure in the scene therefore, by choosing your metering mode you can choose how to expose that shot how you want it, and you have absolute control. All camera manufacturers do this slightly differently but in general, there are three metering modes. They are evaluative metering where the light is measured from the whole scene. Center weighted metering, where it's taken off a spot in the scene and some of the scene around it. And spot metering, where you literally meter the light of one single spot in the scene, which is where you put your focus point. To my mind spot metering is the most accurate. You will always know exactly what you're going to get and you are making that decision for your camera, it's not deciding for you. The next thing we're going to talk about is focus points, which I think this is one of the most important things actually in having complete control over your camera. I'm always amazed at how many people actually miss this step and even professional photographers they get frustrated that they've missed a shot or what they wanted to be in focus wasn't in focus. Modern cameras these days, they seem to advertise as it being a bonus of having more and more and more focus points You might notice when you half press your shutter that all these little boxes will flash up on your screen or in your viewfinder and that's your camera searching in the scene using it's intelligence to try and find what to focus on what I would say is your far more intelligent than your camera, no matter how good a camera can be, it's going to sometimes get it right, but sometimes make mistakes and you don't want to take that chance. So if you're shooting a scene and you've only got one chance, you want to make absolutely sure that you have focused on exactly the right part of someone's face or the right flower in a field, and you're not going to miss that shot. There's a really simple way of doing this and instead of letting your camera throw out all these multiple focus points, we just want to set our camera to a single focus point that we can move about in our view finder and focus on exactly the right part of the scene. This is quite simple to do again, if you have a little look in your camera manual or search on the internet, you can quickly go into your settings and set your camera to a single focus point. It's useful to know as well that you can then move your focus point around the view finder. So if you want to set your focus point on the rule of thirds line instead of in the center of the frame, then you can just quickly move over as you're shooting. The final thing we're going to discuss in this chapter is shooting in raw. Starting to edit in Lightroom made a massive difference to my photography, but honestly the thing I would credit with making biggest improvement to my photography was starting to shoot in raw. I can't emphasize enough how important I think this is if you really want to take your photography to the next level, I think it's an essential step. A raw file is very simply a collection of unprocessed data which your camera has recorded when you've taken a photo. The alternative is obviously a JPEG, but when your camera converts an image into a JPEG the photo is already processed to an extent and compression will be added, which adds contrast to the image but in processing that data, a huge amount of the information that was recorded on the sensor is lost. So shooting in raw means that every little bit of information in the colour channels, in the highlights and shadows, all that information is saved even if you can't immediately see in the photograph that you've taken. There are ra few difficulties with shooting in raw which needs to be considered before you make the switch. The first one as already mentioned is that you do need some sort of editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop. You can't simply send photos to your phone if they're in raw and edit them on mobile apps. The second one is that when you first look at a raw file you might think that it's actually made your work look worse. Raw files can look a little bit flat and a bit dull but this is because a jpeg has had that compression added already so it's already got a little bit more contrast and a bit more punch. It's already been edited to an extent, whereas a raw file hasn't. So initially, it can feel a bit disappointing. "I don't like it, my work looks worse now" but it's really worth persevering. The third problem is that raw files are much bigger. So you might find that your hard drive fills up much quicker on your computer but to be honest learning how to export your raw files and keep them safe on external hard drives or clouds is really good practice for photographers anyway, and will stand you in good stead as you start to build up a portfolio. Having well labeled and dated folders full of photos is really good practice, so it's not a bad thing. A great example of why it is so worth making the switch into raw is this photo which I took in Venice. I was faced with really strong clear sunlight all day, so I had no choice but to shoot at times straight into the bright sunshine. So as you can see in this photo, some areas of the photo are blown out and the highlights are too bright. The shadows are quite deep and the contrasts are quite strong. But in the edited image, I've actually managed to reduce the highlights and all the information that is in that image is being preserved because I shot in raw. If the camera had transferred this image into a JPEG before I'd started to edit, all of that information would have been lost. Actually there's some advantages to being in the sunshine because it's created these beautiful reflections in the water. I've actually been able to go into the colour channels and really pull out those beautiful turquoise water colours. This final photo is a good example to show you just how much scope and creativity you can have to play with the colour channels in a photo that's been shot in raw. This photo actually didn't need that much editing but what I have done is really change the colours to get rid of those earthy tones and transform them into these cool, soft seaside colours. So now we have sorted out your camera setup the final step to having complete control over your camera and your photography is going to be shooting in manual mode. So stay tuned for that, and we will cover that in the next chapter. 5. Manual Mode: So now we have covered how to get your camera set up well, you're ready to start shooting in manual mode. A lot of photographers choose to shoot in a semi-automatic mode, even professional photographers which is absolutely fine but I really think it's worth learning how to shoot in manual mode so that you understand all three aspects of the exposure triangle and how they are affecting the results you're getting. This way if you come up against any problems you can understand how to fix them this really allows you to further your photography with more creative work. The three elements of shooting in manual mode are the ISO, the shutter speed, and the depth of field. The ISO is your camera's ability to capture the light so if you increase your camera's ISO, your picture is brighter. There are some extra considerations to be made in choosing your ISO, because essentially the lower your ISO is, that is going to give you the absolute best picture quality. I think photographers are always trying to shoot at the lowest ISO they can. However, I think it's a mistake to be too adamant on having a low ISO. My tip would be to choose an ISO that gives you correct exposure and gives you enough leeway on the other settings because a little bit of grain in your images isn't necessarily a bad thing unless you're going to blow your photo at the size of a billboard and we can always deal with grain in post-processing as well. The depth of field is literally how much of the field in front of you is going to be in focus. We can have very shallow depth of field, which might only be a few millimeters or a very deep depth of field which will be everything from the foreground to the background of the photo in focus. The setting for the depth of field is the f-stop. Some lenses go as shallow as f1.2 or 1.4, which will give you a very small area of the image in focus and everything else will be nicely blurred out. Whereas for example, a landscape photo might be taken at f 16 or 17, which will give you everything in the field in focus. This is also described as the aperture settings. There's another thing to consider I think when choosing your depth of field, because when we have a low f-stop, this is actually when our aperture in the camera is wide-open and allowing more light into the camera. So as you go higher in your f-stops, so a deeper depth of field, you are actually closing the aperture in the camera, allowing less light into the camera. The final element of the exposure triangle is the shutter speed, or literally the speed at which the shutter drops to capture the image. we can use shutter speeds to freeze the motion in a photo. we can also use shutter speeds creatively For example, you can use a slow shutter speed to actually show motion in the image. So say a cyclist is speeding through a scene if we use a fast shutter speed, we're going to freeze that motion, which can actually make it look like the cyclist hasn't moved. Whereas if you choose a slower shutter speed, then you're going to have a nice motion blur, which shows that the cyclist was traveling at speed. So these three elements of exposure need to move in relation to each other one decision will have a knock-on effect on another decision. If you, for example, choose a shutter speed of 1/400, and then decide that you actually need a faster shutter speed of 1/800 you will then, in turn have to alter either your f-stop or your ISO to compensate for that decision. So all of this can feel a little bit daunting like you've got a lot of decisions to make but honestly it really does become second nature and you'll soon become really accustomed to figuring out quickly what settings you need to choose. So there is a little bit of a thought process that I go through which might help you. The first decision I would make would be to choose your ISO. Hopefully this isn't going to change too much whilst you're shooting and usually light conditions will stay fairly consistent, unless you are going indoors and outdoors and indoors again, and then you'll have to rethink. But if you arrive at a scene and you're going to be shooting outside and it's a little bit dark, or fairly overcast, then you might choose an ISO of 300 or 400. If it's a bright sunny day, then choose an ISO of 100. If you're shooting indoors, may be an ISO of 800 or higher. But once you've chosen your ISO, then hopefully for the next 10 minutes or half hour while you're shooting your light conditions are going to stay fairly consistent and your ISO, you've chosen it and you can stick there. The next thing you might want to think about is choosing your aperture or your f-stop. This is going to depend on the subject matter you're shooting for example, a flower in a field, you could go really low with your f-stop and shoot this with a really, really nice shallow depth of field that's going to give you a lovely blurred out background. Go all the way down, get the aperture wide open, lots of light coming in and you'll have a lovely shallow depth of field. If you're shooting a person then you might want to compensate with a slightly deeper depth of field. You don't want to miss getting the eye in focus that's really important and obviously by letting less light into the aperture as we increase our f-stop, that's going to affect, in turn, the shutter speed. The final decision we're making is the shutter speed. This is the thing that as I'm shooting in manual mode, I'm changing rapidly as I'm shooting. You can make very quick adjustments to your shutter speed, which will correct your exposure if a cloud comes over or you move under a tree If you don't want to miss the shot, you know, there's nothing worse than coming home and looking at a series of lovely photos you've taken of children, and they move their hands really quickly and you've got blurry fingers, and to me, it ruins that photo and it's a no-no, I wouldn't use it. So I would rather increase my shutter speed to make absolutely sure that if I want the motion to be frozen, that's what I'm going to get. So now we have covered all the aspects of how to get your shot right in the camera and the final thing we're going to look at as editing to really breathe a little bit of magic into those photos. 6. Editing : We are going to have a look at editing now Editing, I think is a really important element in your photography and a way that you can really give your work an individual style. I think it's worth really spending some time getting to understand good editing and this is going to help you keep your work and really recognizable look and feel. I think a lot of success as a professional photographer or on social media comes from being able to deliver to a client what they expected of you that's why they hired you. they like your style! This doesn't mean you can't experiment and your style can't evolve I think it's important that it does - my own work goes through periods of having cool tones, or warm tones or being very colourful, or quite muted in colour palette a lot of that depends on the season or where I've traveled recently, what subject matters I've had, but I'm always trying to stay true to my style and to deliver what is expected of me. So we're going to dive straight into Lightroom. and to begin with I'm just going to show you what some of these modules on the right-hand side actually do. The ones that you're going to need the most. So up at the top pair we have a little bar and in here we have the crop Very simple This is where you can choose the ratio and it gives you some set options or you can enter a custom one. I am going to crop this photo to 4x5 as she can see - just click done. Here is the spot removal tool this can be really useful if you just have something straightforward that you want to remove from a photo if I click on this image and zoom in on these leaves in the foreground say somebody had left a crisp packet here, which I hadn't noticed and I wanted to remove it very simply, can put a spot over the object, click on it and Lightroom will auto-select a patch to place over it If he don't think that patch works particularly well you could drag this spot and select a different one remember, this is a really small thing in the foreground which nobody is massively going to notice you can also alter how much of a feather there is, that is the outside area around that object, or the opacity of it so if you want to maybe minimise a feature but not remove it completely, you can reduce the opacity. Click done. Yhe other one which is going to be really useful to you is the local adjustment brush, which is over here on the right-hand side. This is one of the most powerful tools in Lightroom, which gives you the ability to make huge alterations to your images. If I click on this, you can actually see where I have done some adjustments on this image. So one spot I've put on is here, and if I click on that, you can see where I painted on, basically. to increase the colour and the texture in the autumn trees, they were a little bit lost before. So you can literally paint this on where you want it to go and increase the saturation, increase the texture and clarity. Similarly here in the sky, if I click on that, you can see where it's painted on. And it literally just I reduced the highlights in the sky to bring back that sky a little bit. So I can treat this one area of my picture completely differently to how I treat the rest of the image. And this is brilliant for working with skies or with a figure in your image. This next panel here is the adjustments panel. This is your basic adjustments - exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows - where you're going to come across the things which you have probably seen in mobile phone editing apps. There is a couple of extra things, texture and clarity in here as well the clarity is quite literally how clear if something is you probably going to want to treat this one gently. If you add too much clarity I'll just take that right up so you can you It gives the picture a kind of hyperreal look It's too much, it's too strong. So a little bit of clarity can be nice, but you're not going to want to go too far with that, The next one here is the tone curve. Now, this can be a bit of a minefield and it actually took me a long time to get to grips with tone curves, but it can be a really useful thing. You can adjust the tones, the highlights, the whites, the blacks, the mid tones in your image without affecting the adjustments that you've already made above, here. So what you can see here is what we call a classic S-curve. And this basically adds more contrast to an image which was quite flat to begin with because it was a raw photo taken on a very overcast and dull day. In fact, not long before the sun set so there wasn't much natural light. I'm just going to reset the channel and show you what was done. So you can just see immediately how much contrast it takes out of the picture. You can set points by just simply clicking So this is for the shadows, This point here is for, sorry, that one was for the highlights, this point is for the shadows, this is for the mid-tones. So an S curve would be to increase the highlights and the shadows. And that gives the image more contrast. Than if he wanted to lighten the midtones, you can move that point back up. So this is one way that photographers ive their work that recognisable feel. So some photographers might, for example, consistently clip the blacks in the image, which gives the photo a very filmic vibe. I actually had done this in this photo. So if we take this point here which is for black and literally drag it up that reduces the blacks and the photo and makes them gray and similarly with the whites To drag this point down, it takes the absolute true whites out of the image completely. The next module down we have is the HSL and colour channels. This is a way of really getting creative with your work, and I feel is a good way of really pushing your work to the next level. You can basically work with each separate colour in the image without affecting the others So rather than simply reducing the saturation and the whole image, you can take one colour out of the image completely which is a fantastic way of enhancing for example, the autumn colours in the image. The next module down is the colour grading. This again, can look a bit daunting but there's a couple of really useful things which I think is easy and it's helpful to know. If you click on the top here this is going to give us the shadows and basically, in this colour wheel, we can choose to add any of these colors to the shadows - you can see as the wheel moves around so this is going to add some red into the shadows and if I move this further out, then you can see the red increasing. This is going to add some orange into the shadows, some warmth, and if I come around here, you can see how blue this makes the photo. You can really, really start to get creative with this. It's well worth a little experiment with. I would go gently, as with most things, but yeah, worth having a play. If you click on this one, this is going to now work on the highlights. So I might, for example, choose to add more blue into the highlights to enhance the blue sky and blue in the water. and then I can do that as you can see, it's not affecting the oranges so it's a really effective way of working with the tones in your image. Next down we have detail. It's always helpful, I think, to add a little bit of sharpening to your image. Don't go wild because you're going to start to make it look a bit fake. And if you have noise in your image this is what to get rid of it. Because this was taken when it was quite dark, so if I zoom in you can see there is some noise here in the trees and if I reduce the noise you'll see it disappear. It can take a second to catch up sometimes. There it goes.. I don't necessarily, unless your picture is incredibly noisy and it's really bothering you, I don't necessarily see any reason to reduce the noise. It can make pictures look for very plasticine-y and kind of smooth them out too much. So I would go gently with that one but it's useful to know it's there As we were discussing when we talked about manual mode, it's better to bump up your ISO, expose your shot correctly in camera if you need to. So don't be afraid of the noise - go for those higher ISOs if you need to because you can deal with the noise in your images in post-processing. This next module down is Lens Corrections. and this is a really really helpful trick to know about. If you tick this box for enable profile corrections Lightroom is able to read which camera and which lens you took your photo with and apply a standard correction to your photo, which is going to compensate for any vignetting and distortion that occurred because of the lens you took your photo with. Most lenses have a certain amount and this will remove that straightaway. If I click it now, you can see a slight difference. Sometimes the edges of the photo a good bit darker, or the distortion is throwing out the perspective. So it's worth checking that box and saying if you prefer the result. And in the transform module, this is how we deal with perspectives and correcting them It's also handy to know the rotate here, instead of in the crop, it's actually far easier to move this slider than trying to drag the corners of the image around in the crop module. So if you've got a very fine adjustment to make, to how straight your image is, come down to the transform module and use the rotate here. You get a much finer grid on your image as well and you can make really, really tiny adjustments very easily. But I'll show you more about perspectives when I come to editing a photo for you. So those are the basic modules of Lightroom now I'm going to edit a couple of my photos with you to show you exactly what I did. 7. Editing Part 2: So we're going to jump right in and I'm going to show you how I've edited one of my photos. I'm actually going to work with this photo seeing as we've mentioned it a couple of times through the course, and I think it's a good one to show you how to work with the colour channels for some nice creative effects here So if I just click on here, I can show you the before and after if this photo - as you can see the light conditions were really perfect that day I got out early in the morning and shot in the golden hour, the photo is slightly underexposed and this was actually done so that I didn't lose the highlights in these rays of light I wanted to really make sure I preserved that element of the conditions so I've slightly underexposed the the image just to make sure that I kept up detail. So here is an unedited version of the photo for me to show you. Now the first thing I'm going to do is actually come in to crop this photo so I know exactly which areas of the image I'm working on. I'm going to crop to 4x5 for Instagram. If I drag it around slightly at that corner, just straighten it up then I want the leading lines of the path to obviously be right in the center of the frame, as well as myself. That looks about right. and then we can just click "done" Next thing, I'm just going to brighten this photo by a stop, and then add some contrast. The contrast is obviously the difference between the lights and darks in the image. and because this photo was shot in raw, it does look a little bit flat so this is just going to add a little bit of contrast to the image. Now to compensate for having increased the exposure, I just want to pull back the highlights a bit to make sure that the whites in the image aren't too bright then to lighten up the shadows I just move the shadow slider this way a little bit you can see now starting to get something where the lights and the darks in the photo marry together a bit better. Add a touch of clarity, and that's going to give the image a bit of punch again. Now coming down to the tone curves I'm actually just going to, instead of doing a classic S curve on this photo, because I've actually already adjusted those elements in the adjustment panel, I'm just going to increase the midtones a little bit. Andyou can see those mid tones just brightening up nicely. Sometimes it's just a process of fiddling with a few different bits and coming back and keeping on reworking things keep until you get something you're really happy with. I don't want the image to look to flatten and two-dimensional. But I do want it to look nice and bright while still preserving those gorgeous rays of light. Okay Now the next thing I'm going to do, and this is something which I think is really useful to know, is I'm going to work a little bit with the individual colours. So because I went to enhance the autumn feel in this photo, this is sort of what I'm aiming for most of all, is to enhance the autumn aesthetic and also to preserve those gorgeous rays of light. I'm going to take the hue of the greens all the way to the left So we're aiiming to make everything warmer, more autumnal less of those green hues. If I come into the yellow, I can also move that completely away from the green side and now you can see it's really starting to change. We can even make the oranges and little bit more red. Let's increase the saturation on these a little bit as well. This is an edit which I actually have kind of tweaked numerous times in the year or so since I've taken it. And sometimes by revisditing a photo you can just continue to push that edit a little bit further you might come to it again and think I'll just go a little bit more extreme with those colours and see what happens. If I drag the corner of that tone curve down and actually just, remove the pure whites in the photo now we've got a bit more of a classic S curve happening Dehaze isn't something that I often touch, but I think it's going to work quite well in this photo I'm going to go a touch higher with the exposure and reduce those highlights a bit more. Now you can see the whole photo is starting to look much closer to how it did in my original edit. I'm actually going to come down here and warm up the shadows slightly. If I click on this one, I can actually introduce warmth into those shadows, Just again, to really press home, that autumn aesthetic I'm just going to crop a little bit more out of that path, come in a little tighter, If you're not completely sure whether your picture straight. rather than doing yourl straightening in the crop module, it works well to come down here to Transform. Actually you get a much better grid on your screen. and you can just really... obviously, I was on a hill anyway, so I just want it to look as straight as can be and make sure the trees are straight. Okay, So this photo is now starting to look how I want it to look. It's nice and bright, nice and colourful. I like to go in quite gentle increments with my editing and like I said I might come backat a later date and have another look at this photo think actually I can go a little bit more punchy, little bit more vibrant with the colours. But I like to keep my editing as natural looking as I can and not go completely wild but I think it's really important to say that with editing there's absolutely no right or wrong with it. I think it's important for you to develop what works for you. and your results are not going to be right or wrong. It's all very much down to individual taste. One last thing that might be useful to show you here is actually the adjustment brush. Because I've increased the saturation on the image as a whole, I think the figure in the middle here is looking a little bit unnaturally saturated So what I'm gonna do if I actually click on the image and zoom in, and then click on the adjustment brush up in the top right-hand corner, you will see this panel come up this is actually adjustments that you can apply which will only affect the area of the picture that you paint on the adjustment brush. So as you can see now around my mouse, I've got these two circles. The inner circle is where the brush will be applied, and then the outer circle is the feather. You can actually change the size of the feather, here... I'm going to make the feather smaller because I'm working quite detailed area a really super handy trick to know is about this automask box here If I uncheck that box and start to paint over this area with a brush that is too large you'll see - I'm just going to show selected mask overlay down here you'll see that it's quite difficult to keep within the lines. So I'm just going to right-click and delete what I've done there, and come back at it again with the auto mask checked. And this time paint over again and you'll see Lightroom dioes a really good job of selecting exactly the area that you want to mask. It doesn't always get it right, but it's pretty good. And if you go over, all is not lost. I'll show you how to just tidy up at the end. If I go that wild over my legs, so it goes outside the area, come back over here and you have Brush A, Brush B and Erase So if I click on Erase I can actually then just remove this area where I went outside the lines. Now if I just uncheck the "show selected mask overlay", then you'll be able to actually see what adjustments I make. Now, everything here was gone very blue I'm just going to decrease the saturation a liuttle bit there. So just blends into the scene a little bit more. We could add a bit of contrast just to make it bit more punchy. I'll do a few adjustments just so you can see how it works. Increase the temperature a little bit to fake that figure look a bit more at one with the scene and I could reduce the noise, as you can see I took this photo at ISO 2000 so there is a little bit of noise there in the shadows. Done. And there we go. I'll just compare it now to my original edit and I didn't straighten it the same, but it's not far off. So like I said, I sometimes come back and edit photos again, and sometimes come and tweak them. Sometimes I come and scrap and edit completely and take a different approach. I think if you are feeling really stuck with a photo and you don't know how to tackle it, just step away and leave it for that day. I often find if I'm traveling and working away, I'm really excited to get my photos off the camera. I try and edit them after a long day shooting and I just end up feeling really disappointed and flat and I don't know how to approach them and then after a good night's sleep, I wake up in the morning and I'm feeling really creative and I actually edit them really quickly and everything goes really smoothly. So it can be with just stepping away and coming back at it with a fresh mind. Another good trick, I think if you don't know where to begin with editing your photo is go back through your own work and find an image where you really like your edit and simply copy and paste it on to the next photo. See if it works, see what doesn't we can maybe that will give you something to work from. Similarly, using presets, a lot of photographers use presets and I tend to not use them very often but why do you think is really helpful about presets and you get lots of reasonably priced ones, is you can actually learn an awful lot from them. I think it's worth getting some presets, going into the colour channels, looking at how they have treated the individual colour curves and the treatment of the highlights and the shadows and you can actually learn quite a lot about how they've created the effect created. So they can be quite a useful tool to learn from as well. One last thing I just like to show you in a little bit more detail is the transform module, which I'm just going to use this photo which I took in Ile-de-Re in France, earlier this year and as I mentioned earlier, because when you're photographing a building, obviously you're at street level so you're five or six feet in the air and you're obviously taking photos of something that's much taller. So you're always going to get a little bit of distortion and you'll find the top of buildings need to be pulled towards you slightly. So obviously I've done my best to get this building nice and straight, as you can see, down this left-hand edge here the building just disappeara a bit obviously I could crop in a bit closer but the door and everything is still going to be slightly out. So in the Transform module, again, it's worth trying. the Lightroom auto Sometimes it gets it really right, and sometimes really wrong in this instance it actually did quite well, but if I take that off again, and I come to the vertical slider and just move that to the left, you can see the top of the building dragging towards me. And she gives me lots of good grid lines to just double-check what I'm doing. I;m going to move the horizontal as well and just try and pull this right-hand side of the building towards me very slightly. I'm looking at the top window frames and they were just about a millimeter out. Obviously, this is a really old building, so nothing is going to be completely bang on. But it's really worth playing about, giving this a few minutes of your time and making sure things are the straight as they can be it definitely helps an image when things as straight as they can be. Another useful trick actually is you can change the aspects on a photo. So if you wanted to building to look a bit taller than it was to create more of a sense of size, a sense of scale, then you can actually alter the aspect by dragging it this way. If something right at the top of the building didn't quite fit in your crop, you could actually change the aspect by moving the slider to the left and making the building a bit squatter. So that is essentially how to use... if you come back into the crop module and just click on the "constraint to image", then it will make sure that you don't get any of these white areas just where you've altered the perspective in the crop, they are sometimes quite difficult to spot. That gives you a brief overview of lLightroom and hopefully it will give you an idea of just how creative you can get using this software.