FOR THE LOVE OF PICTURES
Ever wonder how we edit our images? Do you want a quick and easy way to edit your own phone snaps or even your DSLR images? It’s all about Lightroom Presets!
We love taking photos.. duh, obviously – we love Instagram! We’ve been taking snaps with anything we could put our hands on. From Canon DSLR, to many iterations of the iPhone, to drones and camera gimbles, to Sony Mirroless, all the way to GoPros, 3D and Polaroid cameras. Often times especially while traveling, the best photo is not about the composition but if you get the shot (the timing) – we’re not the type of couple to pose, set up intricate shots and spend a lot of time on a single image (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we’d rather experience all of it first hand (and we’re also pretty goofy so there’s that too).
The “Just Wander Pack” is now being introduced at a reduced price for a limited time.
YOU SHOULD STOP USING INSTAGRAM FILTERS
“Instagram filters” have been around long before Instagram, they were just called something else. I remember shooting on a Pentax K1000 and developing images in a dark room trying to achieve various practical effects that would alter my photos. Years later, I was using physical Tiffen filters on matte boxes to play with density, skies, water and color correction. The main issue with these techniques as with Instagram filters is that they just cover your image with a “baked in” look. There is very little wiggling room with them.
The image on the right of the Arc de Triomphe during the Tour de France was taken with an iPhone 5s and edited within the phone using Snapseed, Filterra or Enlight.. I’m not really sure anymore and that’s also the problem; I do not have the original picture to play with because I got lazy and discarded the picture from my camera roll since it wasn’t of great quality to being with.
If I would have taken this picture with a “proper camera” in RAW mode with a flatter profile, I would have kept the high quality original file and all its information for later post-processing. That’s the point of shooting RAW: your camera will embed so much more information into that digital file that you will be able to make variations of the same picture by playing/editing those details and tweaking them to your heart’s desire. It gives you more options and more opportunity to see where you can take that image.
WHY ADOBE LIGHTROOM? A LITTLE HISTORY
I’ve been using Adobe products since the early 1990 when they were expensive and most folks were “sharing” licenses of their breakthrough Photoshop app (the most pirated software in history behind MS Office). I had to wait 17 years for Adobe to release Lightroom which would change the way I take, classify and edit pictures. Previously, I would edit layers within my images in photoshop and create “actions” to paste those effects onto multiple files. Lightroom made it possible to, non-destructively, edit images and quickly apply those changes to an entire album and go back to my original file in one click of a mouse. All original files would remain untouched and backed up into a library.
The other great thing Adobe did was that, in 2011, they changed their business model to subscription based which made it more affordable to use for the every day user. At the time of this post, Adobe charges $9.99 for their Photoshop/Lightroom package.
THIS IS WHERE LIGHTROOM PRESETS COME IN
Without a doubt, the fastest way to use Lightroom is with presets. We have put together 23 of our most used presets. These are perfect for many different types of images ranging from nighttime, sunsets, indoors, beach daylight in portrait, landscapes, nature, crowds and architectural.
The RAW slightly underexposed image below can, with one click of a mouse, get a total different feel. The edited image looks sharper, finds some details in the shadows and brings color into the highlights.
The next edit shows how color can affect an image. Tones were altered, shadows, highlights and especially the blues. It almost looks like a totally different image taken with a different camera.
In this next shot, our sister in law is shooting waves crashing onto the rocks below. I underexposed the shot just slightly, knowing I would be applying this preset to it. The edited image looks like a bounce card was used on her face (on her bottom left) and makes her skin tone glow while the background water and sky lose a bit of their harshness and get that trendy teal highlight.
HOW TO ADD PRESETS TO LIGHTROOM
Adding presets pack to Lightroom is quite easy. Launch Lightroom and click on the preferences panel. Under the Presets tab, click on “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”.
Take the “Just Wander Presets” folder you just downloaded and drag it inside the “Develop Presets”. You’re done!
Quit and launch Lightroom again and you will see the presets on the left pane within the develop tab.
THE RIGHT CAMERA SETTINGS AND MORE TIPS
It’s also important to know that your camera settings will have a direct impact on our Lightroom Presets. As we stated before, we shoot everything in RAW format and in manual mode on our Sony A7ii camera.
- The most important thing is to shoot using a flat profile. A flat color profile (also known as a “log” setting depending on your camera – Canon has C LOG and Sony has S LOG, although some models don’t have it so you need to manually adjust your settings to “flatten” your image) is a low contrast, high dynamic range and flat color profile that provides the base for color grading, allowing you to play with the color and sharpness in post, rather than baking in that effect within the camera. Yes, some might say that cameras nowadays are so advance that the automatic setting works just fine. I would disagree – learn your camera’s manual setting from top to bottom, it’ll be the best thing you do for your camera game.
- When possible, especially in low light situation, break out the tripod. A good sturdy tripod will ensure your images will be sharp and your subjects in focus. Also, it might lead to some fun long exposures too 😉
- Get yourself a Variable Neutral Density filter and use it. They will make your pictures and videos look incredible polished, especially outdoors when you need to bring down the exposure while still shooting with a wider aperture or slower shutter speed. Something like this one: Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter , don’t just buy this one, make sure it fits your lens (55mm, 77mm, etc) *not an affiliate link*