As I mentioned in this post, I was hoping to undertake a new project a month for the year 2013. One of those has been to really familiarize myself with using Lightroom 4 in photo editing and workflow. My photo workflow of the past has been historically abysmal. Terrible. iPhoto would import. I'd pick things I wanted to look at in photoshop, I'd edit one at a time and save in terribly odd folders in one of two different photo folders on my hard drive. This created a LOT of duplications and a very grumpy Mac. This year, I really want to do things differently and keep my machines running much smoother.
The promised ease of LR's batch editing and importing and exporting, not to mention handling of RAW files, really drew me in to giving LR another really solid look. So far, I like what I see. Upon start up, I can import straight off of my SD card and then go through the photos quickly and "flag" the images I want to keep and edit further or discard for whatever reason. (sidenote: discarding images has always been a problem for me. While I try not to shoot 94045984509 of virtually the same image, more often than not, there will be some similar shots that just really don't need to be taking up precious MB's on the external hard drive (and especially not on the computer hard drive). So I cull the herd, so to speak, and away we go!
In LR, I then tweak things like exposure (I like to use curves), but LR does a nice job of having a handy toolbar on the right side where you can make all sorts of little adjustments to brighten, and tweak your image. Now, once I think I've gotten an image looking very nice, I can choose to "edit image in photoshop". And so, if I think it's worthy, I will. Well - for me, that little bit of editing can make a big difference. Photoshop has the ability to take something very nice to something special, at least in my opinion. Now, I know there are a whole lot of add on LR presets you can buy (I've got my eye on you VSCO) but I've invested a bit in a variety of Photoshop actions that I'm happy with using, and then, of course, I adjust the heck out of those in order to fit my particular image and style. So...into photoshop you go.
To illustrate what I'm talking about, I have placed two images that I took from a recent photo session of my friend's gorgeous baby. They are obviously the same image, but I only edited the one in LR and the other was after a brief trip through photoshop. (By the way, I realize I have probably lost and bored about 100% of my usual readers - unless you're still there Dad?) Moving on. The image on the left is straight from LR and the one on the right was finished in Photoshop.
Which version do you prefer? The differences are subtle, but there. Let's see...
Now - as with most things photography, personal preference is highly subjective, but for me, I prefer the Photoshop edit. I think it just takes a lovely image and makes it pop. But in a good way. I tried not to make her eyes look like someone from the Twilight movies. I have promised myself I will not over process some poor unsuspecting person's eyes to look either lupine or satiated vampire. Just - not doing it. But I think the PS edit gives her eyes a bit more depth and her skin a tad more creaminess.
Now, the awesome thing about Lightroom, is that once I've edited my image in LR, it BRINGS IT BACK! So I can see that same image in my LR lineup, alongside the original. Lightroom keeps the images "offsite" so to speak in a catalog folder. This keeps your original RAW file unchanged completely (including any mucking around you may have done in LR). I have to say, it's pretty nice. Once you're done editing, you can export your images to either a catalog folder of LR's choosing or to one you name yourself. It's nice. I'm liking this. And now it's up to you to delete all the extras. Don't want those RAW files anymore? Then drag them to the recycling bin! Your pretty edits are all safe in a completely different folder! This isn't making sense? That's okay, it didn't make much sense to me either for a while, and I'm also really terrible at explaining things to people pretty much at all. So I'm saying, YES! You can love both Photoshop and Lightroom. Do you need both? NO! If I didn't have either and really wanted to take my personal photos just a bit farther, I'd say LR is absolutely perfect. You don't need Photoshop. And with all of these people creating sweet LR presets, you can achieve that "just a bit more special" look that suits your taste and personal style with a few aftermarket downloads. If you're like me, who was introduced to Photoshop long before I ever bought Lightroom, I'm sort of attached to PS and can't imagine not using it. I have a way I like to do things and I really enjoy using actions and filters and all sorts of things that I know how to use in PS that I have no clue how to use (yet!) in LR.
And, just for fun, here's another photo of this sweet little lady that I am so thrilled I've been able to photograph back from when she was still a bump in her mama, to when she was brand new, and now at 6 months. Yay! I've had so much fun taking pics of this sweet little model. <3
So - if you do feel like commenting, tell me, do you like random photography tip related posts on this blog? Was this informative at all? Boring? Just stop writing altogether? Keep it to just pics of my kids? Feedback feeds the soul. I'm trying to figure out what to do here on this my little corner of the webiverse. xo