Before / After - Lightroom Photo Editing

I have people who reach out on a regular basis asking a wide range of photo questions, but mainly about my editing.

So I thought I'd share a little bit + give my Lightroom settings I used for this sunset series.  

You can also see how dark I typically shoot. I always, always, shoot dark. However, I also have a powerful camera that allows me to really push the exposure to still get the brightness I want. (Nikon D810) 

I don't believe in Presets being a magical tool to fix an image, but I do believe they're a great start. A lot of people ask what presets I use and the answer is: only ones I created myself. Every image still needs adjusting, but it keeps my work consistent in certain areas. 

So I will place a preset I have created and make a few adjustments. I will then sync it across the series and make even more adjustments for each image. 

Below are my Lightroom settings I used for this sunset series. (Each photo varying slightly.)

LR COLOR EDITS: 

  • WB: 6,172
  • TINT: -7
  • EXPOSURE: +1.45
  • CONTRAST: +45
  • HIGHLIGHTS: -42
  • SHADOWS: +35
  • WHITES: -21
  • BLACKS: -10
  • CLARITY: +22
  • VIBRANCE: -5
  • SATURATION: -11

TONE CURVE:

  • HIGHLIGHTS: 0
  • LIGHTS: 0
  • DARKS: -25
  • SHADOWS: -13

COLOR SETTINGS:

GRAIN EFFECTS:

  • GRAIN: 24
  • SIZE: 23
  • ROUGHNESS: 28

These photos were also pulled into Photoshop for additional burning & dodging. (Comment below if you're interested in my process with that as well!) 

That's cool...but how do I create my own? Especially if I don't know where to start? 

Well, if you're like me, then you start by looking at what you like and try to mimic it. I believe along the way you will discover your own style + your own "custom" presets. 

Comment below if you liked this post and you'd like to see more photo-editing tips! 

-Tara