Photoshop has been the industry standard for almost all types of photo editing needs. But recently, Lightroom is taking a lot of responsibility to itself. It is offering a lot of specific features and tools that aren’t available in photoshop.
This article is not going to be a tutorial where we show you how to use the tools. Rather, use it as a guide and a reference on how to use Lightroom for professional wedding photo edits and a general overview of what can be done with the software.
We will be first discussing the prerequisite and then move towards the editing process. Hopefully, you will find this article useful and will serve you well in your post-production process.
Why choose Lightroom?
Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom lets you easily manage, search, and organize photos very conveniently. You can alter the meta descriptions, rate, comment on photos, and do much more fairly easily.
Regarding the actual editing process, Lightroom’s functionality is very similar to that of camera raw of photoshop. But it is more modified and advanced. As both are adobe’s products, you will find many tools and features in common. Consider lightroom as a stripped-out version of photoshop with added features and geared towards a set audience.
If you know photoshop, then the only thing you need to get started with Lightroom is to understand the interface, the rest is fairly similar.
Don’t Forget to Backup
Assume you’ve shot a wedding and it went really well. After reaching home or office, you’ve started the post-processing. Halfway through the editing process, the hard drive crashed! It is a nightmare for anyone. Forget about the payment, think about lawsuits if you’ve signed an agreement with the client.
We always recommend photographers to take backups as soon as possible and keep multiple of them until the final files are delivered. Consider having hard drive backups and also cloud backups. Google and Dropbox offer cheap cloud storage options, these are amongst the most reliable ones, so consider using those.
Import and Organize
The organization is the key to efficiently and quickly editing photos. During the wedding, there will be several occasions for which you will need to group them in different folders.
Firstly, select the photos that need to be edited. You might have well over a thousand images and all doesn’t need to be edited. Pick the ones that are important and delete the rest. We would recommend asking the client which ones they want to keep.
Import the photos to Lightroom. Create a catalog, this will keep everything organized. You will get an option to edit the meta descriptions of the photos. Set those details and also import them as smart previews. This will be very helpful for less powerful computers. Smart preview will simulate images as if these are a minified version of the raw files. The final output will still be the actual resolution, so don’t worry about it.
White Balance & Exposure
Sometimes photos might come out overexposed or underexposed. Lightroom’s white balance tool can be used to conveniently fix this issue just by using the sliders. Another common issue is with the shading. You need to have an understanding of the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows in order to get a proper looking image. Adjusting the shading can really make the image pop.
You also have access to the HSL panel that you can use to adjust specific colors without affecting other colors. This falls into the color correction part, so more on that in the latter part of this article.
Noise and Haze Reduction
When shooting outside, it is very common to have haze flashing into the camera frame. A beautifully shot photo can get ruined because of it. But luckily, lightroom offers a dehaze tool, that is really effective in eliminating haze from the image.
Noise is another issue that photographers often faces while shooting at night time environments. Photos need to be well-lit, so for that ISO needs to increase. This results in producing digital noise/grains to the image. You will need to eliminate those in the lightroom as well.
Remove Unnecessary Things
Having spots, scratches, and unwanted objects are very common in any type of photography. Use the spot removal tools to clean up the scratches and other unnecessary details. But make sure not to mess up the texture. Use cloning tools to remove the spot as well as match it with the texture of the surface.
Often objects or even people pop up in the photos where they are not intended to be. It can distract the image from the main subject. Remove those as well.
Color Adjustment & Correction
Colors determine how people will perceive the images. Due to variations of lighting, colors get slightly altered. And it’s a very common issue of wedding photos. Often there is a specific theme that everyone follows in the wedding event, such as very specific dress styles and colors. If these colors get changed then that might be an issue for the client.
Lightroom offers various tools you can use to make precise corrections to any color range you want. You can use the HSL option for fine-tuning any particular color without affecting the other. There’s also the saturation slider, useful for selecting and changing multiple colors. If the images are looking dull, then just enhance the vibrance instead of using HSL or saturation sliders.
Crop and Straighten Images
Pictures might come out to be slightly off-angled. That is commonly due to the photographer’s errors. But luckily, these are easy to fix. Use a straightening tool to make them properly fit the screen.
Don’t forget to crop images where necessary. Out of the whole image, there might be a very specific area that you want to focus on. So, for that, crop into the main subject and remove things you don’t want to include.
One perk of using Lightroom is the ability to use presets. Many excellent photographers and designers have made their custom presets and have made them available to download. You can use those to make your images more attractive. Or you could even create your own preset.
Knowing Lightroom is a valuable skill that can take you to a different level than others that don’t know it. If you can’t manage time to edit photos yourself, then you can outsource it. And know exactly what you need, how much time it takes to perform the task, and how much should it cost. You could be more productive, as you can plan things ahead. Learning this software becomes almost a necessity if you are a self-managed wedding photographer. But learning it will definitely take time. With a bit of patience and effort, you can definitely learn it without any issue.