High Key Image Processing in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

High Key Image Processing in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

teacher avatar Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

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

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

    • 1.

      High Key Image Processing Effect in Lightroom and ACR -Introduction


    • 2.

      Pt 1 - Lightroom High Key Processing


    • 3.

      Pt 2 - ACR High Key Processing


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to edit images to give them a high key or very light look without overexposing them and compromising detail. This is a half in half before/after comparison for one of the images we will be working on:


More in this series:

Create Mood & Light in Evening Photos in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Creatively Relight a Photo in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Batch Process a Shoot in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Create a Calendar in Adobe Lightroom & ACR & Photoshop - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Create and Use Presets in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Remove Blemishes, Sensor Dust and More in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Craft Great B & W Photos in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Day to Night Processing in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Enhance Color in an Image in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Enhance Red in Your Photos in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Find, Download and Install Presets in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Fix Perspective and Lens Distortion in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Isolated Color Effect in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Keywording Images in Adobe Lightroom & Bridge - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Lightroom Overview - Is Lightroom for you? - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Mastering Printing - Create a Triptych in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Get Creative with Clarity in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Process Underexposed Images in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Roundtrip to Photoshop and Back in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Sharpen and Spot Sharpen Photos in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Silhouette Image Processing in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Hand Tint Image Effect in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

High Key Image Processing in Adobe Lightroom & ACR - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Frame Photos on Export in Adobe Lightroom - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Pick Your Best Photos in Lightroom - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ class


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

Top Teacher

Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. High Key Image Processing Effect in Lightroom and ACR -Introduction: Hello. I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this Graphic Design for Lunch Class, process a high key image in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. In addition to teaching Illustrator and Photoshop, the Graphic Design for Lunch series of classes also includes some photo editing and photo management classes. These are taught for both Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw, as both applications share the same base code. This means that within one class, you'll simply focus on whichever application you prefer to use. Today we're looking at high key image processing, creating images that are really light and bright, but still with detail. Now as you're working through these videos, you might see a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class, do two things. Give it a thumbs up and write just a few words about why you're enjoying the class. Recommendations like this help other students to see that this is a class that they too may enjoy. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments, and I look at and I respond to all of your class projects. If you're ready now let's get started with some high key image processing. First of all, in Lightroom, and then, we'll head over to Adobe Camera Raw. 2. Pt 1 - Lightroom High Key Processing: This is the first of the images that we're going to be working with, I'm going to process in Lightroom first, Adobe Camera Raw second. Of course, you can do exactly the same thing in each of the programs, and we're going to give you both of these images. They're both raw images, so you can open them in whichever application you wish and follow along. I'm going to start by cropping this image. I think it's going to look good at a one-to-one crop. I've selected the crop overlay tool, clicking "Open," the panel here, I'm going to choose a one-to-one crop. In Lightroom, you'll drag the image inside the crop rectangle, works just a little bit different, in Adobe cameras. That's going to center this here. Now, the image is a bit underexposed, you can see here that it's underexposed. The whole concept of high key, is that, it's a lighter result, so we want to go for a lighter result. I'm going to start cranking up the exposure on this image. Just being aware that I don't want to blow out my highlights. So I to turn on my highlight clipping warning, which is this little indicator here, and you will say that when I go too far with my highlights, you have to push it quite away, to get there, I get this red color and that's my highlight clipping warning. But you can see that because we're working with a raw image, we've got a lot of movement in this image, so we can take the exposure up quite high without actually blowing out the highlights. Now, with contrast, I can take it up or down. I want a high key effects, so I'm actually going to bring the contrast and I'm going to flatten out a little bit, just bring the contrast down to give it a dreamy look along the way. Now, with highlights, it's a temptation because we're going for high key effect might be to wind the highlights up, but it destroys the sky, and it was actually something interesting in the sky. So I'm actually going to take the highlights the other way. You can start seeing the strikes in the sky and a little bit of color there. I actually really like that effect, so having brought down my highlights, I could perhaps crank up the exposure a little bit, if I need to. But I still want to keep that sky detail if I can at all. Next, we'll look at shadows. Now, shadows I can take to the left to deepen the shadows or to the right, to open them up. Again, because I'm going for a high key effect, I think I'm going to head upwards with the shadows and just lighten this a little bit. Now, if you're following along, at this point, if you've had a look at the image, you would see that it is just full of noise. This was shot at a very high ISO value, and it was shot in early evening, and it's just crackerjack full of noise. So we're going to deal with that in a minute, but just be aware that it's a very noisy image. Now, with white, we're going to look at the white points. I'm going to hold the ''Alt or "Option" key and just check my white point. Well, I've got a whole heap of little white dots across the image. If we have a look, these are in these lights here, then we may or may not be able to get that data back, I'm going to try and see what I can do. Again, holding ''Alt" or "Option" and taking the white slide to the left. Yes, I can get that data back, so I'm actually going to do that. You'll see, if you have the highlight clipping warning on, if you've got clipped highlights, you'll see little red areas there, and I could see little red pixels before I reduced the whites. Now, with the blacks, I don't think I really want to work on the blacks, but let's just say what they are. So I'm holding the "Alt" or "Option" key, and to get black into this image, I'm going to need to take the blacks all the way down here. You can say that the blacks are now running into this side of the histogram, but it's darkening the image a whole lot more than I really want the image to base. I'm actually going to set the blacks backup to their original value and just go for a slightly misty, lighter image. Clarity is a midtone contrast enhancement, which may or may not help this image. If we drag this to the left, we get a fuzzy look, that's what clarity does in a negative direction. If we take it to the right, we're going to add a little bit of grit to the image, and that's going to add a bit of contrast. So obviously, all the way to the right is way too much, but we may want just a little bit of clarity. So it's really up to you whether you want a bit of clarity or not. I like this area in the image and to see it a little bit crisper perhaps than it is right now. With vibrance, that's going to increase the saturation in under saturated colors, which pretty much here, is pretty much all of the colors. We can adjust vibrance, but I don't think this image actually needs it. So to reset vibrance to its default value, I'm just going to double-click on the word vibrance, that works in Lightroom. Any one of these slides can be reset to its default value by just double-clicking on the word. Saturation, will saturate all colors. Again, if we didn't need vibrance, then we probably don't need saturation. Now, at this point, we may want to have a look at the noise in the image. If you zoom in here, and hopefully, you can see on your screen that these pixels are all different colors. This is an area of blue-gray, and we would expect to say blue-gray pixels, but in fact, there are pink pixels and yellow pixels, and blue and green. This is called color noise, and to get rid of it, we're going to the detail panel. Now, because this is a raw image, Lightroom by default, will always give it a color noise reduction value of 25, it's just that's not nearly enough for this image. So I'm going to crank this up, and I'm going to take it up to about halfway, about 50. That's pretty much killed the color noises, there's still noise in the image, it's just no longer color pixels. Now, I can bring back the detail if I want to, and that will just soften the image a little bit. Reducing noise is always a compromise between losing detail and losing noise. As soon as you try and remove the noise, you're going to flatten the image a little bit. It's going to get smoother, you're going to lose your sharp edges. So you never want to overfix your noise, you always want to opt to have some noise and still retain some sharpness in the image, unless you're doing something like we're doing here. Because we are looking for a softer high key look, we can compromise some of the sharpness in this image and flatten it out by flattening out the image and removing the noise at the expense of these sharper areas. That's why I'm increasing my color noise reduction, bringing back detail. You can try smoothness and see if that helps. If either of those settings help a little bit, I think increase smoothness, will actually help just a little bit here. If we've dealt with color noise, we still have the problem of luminance noise, that's the other noise. It's a monochromatic noise, and we've got plenty of that. So again, I'm going to crank up the luminance noise reduction. Again, be aware that on most images, you will not want to do this very heavily and certainly, just because 50 cleans it up, doesn't mean that 100 it's going to be a whole lot better. You really need to be careful when you're doing noise reduction, not to smooth the image too much. But here, because of the image effect we're looking at, we can deal with that. So I'm actually bringing detail all the way back and I'm setting my luminance noise reduction to what would generally be an extraordinarily high value. I'm actually allowing some smoothness in this image just to get rid of the noise. Now, having done that, I can sharpen the image, even though typically in other applications, sharpening would just sharpen your noise, in Lightroom, you've got protection against that. So what I'm going to do is wind up my sharpening to about 100/110. I like to throw quite a bit of sharpening at my images. With radius, I'm going to hold the "Alt," or "Option" key and just drag on this slide. Now, I'm going to take it all the way up to the far end because that's probably what you can see most. When I take it up there, I'm seeing halos around the edges in the image. What I wanted to do because this image was fairly sharp out of the camera, is wind this back until I can just begin to see the lines in the image. I want to see some white lines, but not too much of them. I'm thinking 0.8 or 0.9 is probably a good value for this image. For detail, again, I'm going to hold the "Alt" key and just wind up the detail and just see where the sweet point is. Well, typically, when you're dealing with buildings, you will look for this relationship between the radius in the detail slide. A fairly low radius and a slightly higher value on data, so you get this angle here. That's a good relationship between radius and detail, when you're dealing with images that have lines in them, like for buildings or even for landscapes. For people, you'll go the other way. For faces, you want a higher radius and a lower amount of detail, just as a rule of thumb. Now, let's have a look at the masking because right now, the sharpening that we're applying to this image is being applied across the board, and we're sharpening all those noisy pixels that we just took all the trouble of removing. So I'm going to hold the "Alt" or "Option" key and start dragging on the masking slide. At the zero position, everything is white, but as I move the slide across, you'll see that parts of the image become black. What this is, is the black areas Lightroom will not sharpen and the white areas, it will sharpen. I'm looking for a sweet point here, where the edges in these buildings are going to be sharpened, but the other areas, the areas that are particularly noisy, for example, are not going to be sharpened. Around 75 is a good setting for this image. Now, the benefit of using the sharpening tool in Lightroom, is that you can sharpen your images pretty heavily because you've got this masking ability, where you can remove the sharpening from areas that you don't want it applied to. Now, before I finish up with this image, there are a few things that I want to address, and one of them is that, the image is very blue. I'm going back to the basic panel here, and I'm just going to adjust the color in the image. I could use the white balance selector, but that's probably not going to do the job here. It's probably going to be easier if I just adjust this manually. I'm going to add a little bit more yellow into the image, and because it was shot at sunset, I'm also going to add a little bit of magenta, giving it a pink-purple tone rather than the blue tone, that's warming it up, it's making it a more attractive image. I'm also interested in this area here, the reflections in the water, and I may want to enhance them a little bit, so I'm going to the adjustment brush because the adjustment brush that's going to let me select this area. I don't want to auto mask on, I want a reasonable size brush and I don't want too much of a feather. I'm just going to brush over this area here. If you want to see what's happening, just click on "Show selected mask overlay." This allows me to paint on the area, where the reflections are in the water. Now, I'm going to turn off the show selected mask overlay, and now we can make our adjustments. Now, in Lightroom, you don't have to have anything preset for that tool before you use it. In Adobe Camera rule, that's not the case, you will need to have set something, otherwise, you won't be able to use this tool. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to increase the clarity a bit because I want this to look a little bit crisper. But the upshot of increasing the clarity as same tool dark and this a little bit. I may look at this point at increasing exposure just a little bit to compensate, but not so much that you would actually notice that I've done it. Now, I'm saying that a little bit. I've taken that 0.29, I'm going to take it down to about 0.25 and see how that looks, and then I'll click "Done." Because we're going for a high key look in this image, we could also add a vignette, but in this case, we're going to add a white vignette rather than a dark one. I'm going to the effects panel, there are vignettes in the lens correction in the effects panel, but you will need to be using the effects panel when you do something like this because this is a post-crop vignette. The vignette in the lens correction panel works on the entire image, but we've cropped the image, so we want our vignette to appear over the cropped image. Now, with our post-crop vignette, if we go to the left, we're going to add a darkening to it, If we go to the right, we're going to lighten it, just very little amount. So I've got plus 10 on this. There are three styles of post-crop vignette, you can use highlight priority, color priority, and paint overlay. Typically, I find that highlight priority works the best, and in this case, it certainly does work the best. These are completed image, let's wind back and see where we came from, so I'm just going to press the Backslash key here. This is the image post-crop, but before we did any of the work on the image, and this is it afterwards. We've created a high key, somewhat ethereal style image from the original image, and we've done that all in Lightroom. 3. Pt 2 - ACR High Key Processing: Here's our second image, the second one we're going to process, and I have it open here in Adobe Camera Raw. Now, the Adobe Camera Raw develop engine is exactly the same as you have in Lightroom. You could follow these exact same steps in Lightroom or you can follow the Lightroom steps in Adobe Camera Raw, all the tools are here. I'm going to start with this high key image processing effect by cropping this image, and I'm going to use that Instagram look crops. I'm going to crop it to one to one. Here's my crop rectangle. I'm going to drag it up here. In Adobe Camera Raw, you'll be dragging the crop rectangle, not the image. A little bit different to Lightroom, but same result. I'm just going to click on another tool just to commit to that crop. Now, the image itself is underexposed. We have no highlights here, these are the lighter edges of the histogram. These are the darker edges of the histogram, and we don't have any really light pixels. Since we're going for a high key image effect, we need those lighter pixels. I'm going to start dragging up on the exposure slider here to just lighten the image, but without overexposing it. I don't want to run this into the edge here, but because this image was shot as a raw image, it's actually a DNG image, you'll find that there's a lot of movement in adjusting exposure on this because there's plenty of image data here. For contrast. Contrast is going to be the tonal range. How much difference there is between the lightest pixels in the image and the darkest pixels in the image? If we were to increase contrast, we're just going to boost that difference, and that's not the look that we're going for. I'm actually going to back this off quite a bit. I'm going to take it to a negative contrast. Trying to make the tonal range in this image a little bit less, so there's less distinction between lights and darks. For highlights, typically, again, you might think, well, I'm just going to bring up my highlights because I want everything to be light and white, but high key doesn't just mean blowing everything out and making it all white. High key is still keeping it interesting. What I'm going to do here is actually bring down the highlights because there's some really interesting cloud detail in here that I would like to keep. Bringing down the highlights has adjusted the histogram a little bit again, so I might be able to get a little bit more exposure, but still keeping this detail in the highlight area. Really critical to still have an interesting image at the end of this effect. The trees are relatively dark here. We can lighten them a little bit by using the shadows adjustment. If we take shadows in a positive direction to the right, we can lighten up the shadow detail. Again, that's like flattening contrast a little bit. We will check for black and white points just because we should. I'm going to hold Alt as I drag on the white point. I'm going to see where my white point is. Well, it's coming in mainly along this edge here. I've got the highlight clipping warning tone on, so you're seeing where that highlight detail really is. Well, I'm going to hold the Alt or Option key and just back that off a little bit so that I don't get blown out highlights, but I've still been able to add a bit more white into the image. But, of course, because we saved those highlights, we're still keeping these clouds in here. Let's have a look at the blacks again. We probably don't want a black point, but let's see how far away we are from a black point. Well, unsurprisingly, the black [inaudible] pixels around the edge here. I'm just going to move that up a little bit. In fact, I'm just going to take, again, it back to its default. I just really don't want any blacks in the image too much at all. With clarity, we're going to get bitten a little bit here with this image because there is some really nice detail here. But we may want clarity to be removed from these outer edges of the image, but not from the central portion of the image. If that's the case, and we want to remove clarity here, but still keep detail in this portion of the image, we would be better not to adjust clarity using this particular slider. We would be better to apply it using, say, a radial adjustment, and I'm going to do just that in a minute. But before we leave these adjustments here, let's have a look at vibrance. Now, vibrance is going to saturate undersaturated colors. We might get a little bit of mileage out of a little bit of vibrance here. Let's look now at how we would adjust for clarity and I'm going to the radial filter. If you don't have a radial filter, if you're operating on an older version of Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, you could just do this by painting on or off with the Adjustment Brush, but I'm going to use the radial filter. I'm going to drag this out and just pop it into position here. Now, radial filter is obviously a circular or elliptical filter. I'm going to position it pretty much over the central portion of this image where I want to retain some clarity, some details, some Christmas in the image. Here's the clarity slider here, and clarity is actually already turned on for this adjustment, but we want to double-check before we go that we've actually got the correct adjustments. So let's have a look here. Well, yes, when I decrease exposure, I'm affecting the middle of the image, which tells me that if I increase clarity here by adjusting the clarity slider, then I'm going to be increasing clarity in the middle of the image. That's exactly what I want. Now in the most recent versions of Adobe Camera Raw, you have this additional brush tool here. What this allows you to do is to add or subtract areas from the impact of this filter, this radial filter. What I want to do is add just these top corner bits. Let's go to the brush, and let's go to the plus brush, add to the selected adjustment using a brush, and let's just paint over this area up here. I just want a little bit of additional clarity in this area of the London Eye. I can also bring it into perhaps just these top struts here. I just want to avoid doing too much with the trees. Obviously, the area that we're affecting is going to be the area outside the ambit of this radial filter. Because inside it's already being affected by our clarity adjustment, it's outside that is not. Let's just click away. Now we can go ahead and add an additional adjustment, but this time going the opposite way. Let's go back and get our radial filter. Let's put it in position. It's going to be pretty similar to the last one. The green dot is the one that we're working on. I'm going to bring this in just a little bit. But for this one I'm going to affect the outside, so I'm going to click on outside. You don't have that inside-outside option in Lightroom, so you may have to test to make sure that you're impacting the correct area. Here, of course, we don't want a plus 50 clarity. In fact, we want a lesser clarity. You can see if we take it all the way down, how much fuzzier it's going to be or softer it's going to be. Well, I want it to be a little bit softer, but not all the way softer. I also want to remove these areas that we've just crisped up a minute ago from the impact of this. We're going to brush and this time we're going to do minus because we want to erase this from this area. Let's just go and just remove those bits and the struts as well. We don't want these to be affected by the adjustment we've just made. Now, let's click away from it. As we did in the other image, we can add a vignette to this, lightening up the corners of the image, and we do that from the effect area. Here's our post crop vignette, and we're just going to wind that up a little bit. Again, we'll probably won't highlight priority, but you may want to test this to see what you get. I'm going to go for highlight priority. Maybe just bring it down a little bit. Before we leave this image, we may want to look at the temperature of the image. It is a very cold image. It has a lot of blue in it. If we were to increase the temperature a little bit, we're going to add a little bit more pink into it. I'm just going to turn off this highlight clipping warning so I don't continue to see that. I'm just going to wind up the temperature a little bit to add a little bit more yellow into the image. I could add a little bit more magenta as well by just adjusting the magenta slider here. You can also, of course build in a little bit of color if you want to with something like the Adjustment Brush. Let's just go to the Adjustment Brush here. I'm going to reset it so that everything is zero here, but I'm going to add a little bit of color with it. I am going for a pinky color here. Let's just wind down the actual color there and click "Okay." I'm just going to bring in a small amount of color along this line here. I'm just painting it onto the image. I'm just following the lines of the sky here. I could also add a little bit in here. There seems to be a line a little bit across the sky there, and perhaps in under here. You can add a [inaudible] of the very faintest hint of color back into the image using this color tool. Now, if you want to adjust it and make it a little bit more saturated, you can do so. Just come back into the color selector and just increase the saturation on it. Of course, you can reselect a different color if you wanted it to have yellow looks, you can do that. Just add in some yellow there. But I'm going to go for this pink magenta look here and click "Okay." There you have a high key image effect. The processing has been done here in Adobe Camera Raw. What you're looking for here is light, bright image, but still with some detail in it. We've been able to do that using the tools that we have here in Adobe Camera Raw. Your project for this class is going to be to create a high key image processed effect yourself using either Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, and post an image of your completed processed image in the class project area. I hope that you've enjoyed this class and that you've learned something about processing images in Lightroom and in Adobe Camera Raw, and creating a high key image effect. If you did enjoy this class, please, when you see a prompt to do so, give it a thumbs up. These recommendations help other students see that this is the course that perhaps they too might want to take. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments. I look at and respond to all of your class projects. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of Graphic Design for Lunch, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon.