Lightroom is a great tool for editing your images and making them stand out. You can make your photos look like they’ve been taken by a professional photographer in just a few steps. This article will show you how to make your photos pop.
TIP 11: Creating HDR Effects in Lightroom
In other to accomplish the HDR effect, you would usually need to install a plug-in in Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. However, what many people don’t know is that you can achieve the HDR effect by working with various tools in Lightroom. Before I start explaining how you can create HDR effects on your photos, you should bear in mind that you can easily save these adjustments in presets and use them whenever you want to accomplish the same effect next time.
the Develop module and head to the Basics section and make these changes:
- Contrast: +20
- Highlights: -80
- Shadows: +80
- Whites: +40
- Blacks: -20
These changes will increase the contrast and improve the dynamic range by recovering highlights and lightening the shadows.
Now, you should set the value of clarity to +25, and the vibrance value to +5. Adjusting the clarity slider brings mid-tone contrast to the image, which produces the impression of a sharpened photograph. The value of +25 is actually on a lower end of the HDR look, and if you want to make a greater impact, you can freely move the slider farther to the right. Basically, the higher the value of clarity, the more sharpened the texture of the photo.
Vibrance is also important for the HDR effect. If you want your photo to have a stronger and more drastic look, you can just move the slider a bit farther to your right.
This is our final step. Here, we’ll play with sharpening and noise reduction. The settings for sharpening are:
- Amount – 50
- Radius – 1.5
- Detail – 40
- Masking – 50
Here are the values for noise reduction:
- Luminance – 40
- Detail – 50
- Contrast – 20
- Color – 30
- Detail – 50 (Not a mistake, You will have to adjust detail in two different parts)
- Smoothness – 50
The settings I chose will apply a relatively slight amount of noise reduction and sharpening into the image without making any drastic changes. Naturally, if you want to accomplish a bigger impact, you can change the values. The beauty of Lightroom is in the ability to try out different values and choose the one you like the most. Below, you can see the before and after photos:
TIP 12: Make a fairytale-like sunset landscape
So, if you take a photo of a sunset and want to bring out all its beauty, then you will love this section. The best, easiest, and most certainly the fastest solution for achieving a fairy-tale like sunset landscape in photos is with the Split Toning tool. Split Toning is actually a technique originated in film photography, and its primary aim is to transform the colors of the image. When emphasizing a sunset, the effect is always stronger when other objects are just silhouetted against the sky. First, import your photo to Lightroom and press D to open the Develop module. To go with a silhouette, you have to adjust the black level or increase the contrast in order to make sure that the foreground is completely black. After that, scroll down to find the Split Toning tool. You will notice that the tool is split into two groups: For altering highlights For the shadows The balance slider is located between two groups. Your next step is to use the hue slider to get the color you want to see in the photo. Once you’re satisfied with the color, move on to the saturation slider and bring the value up (move it farther to the right) until you get the preferred intensity. Do this procedure with both shadows and highlights. This tool gives you the liberty to experiment with different values and color combinations. Try to choose and test different intensities or combinations in order to find out what really looks best on your photo. Remember, the goal is to make it look fairytale-like and natural at the same time. You can use the balance slider to adjust where the boundary between shadows and highlights is. You should use it to decide what portion of the image some color will occupy. When you’re satisfied with the sunset you see on your image, save the changes and you’re done.
TIP 13: Creating a dramatic portrait effect
Some portraits require soft and pleasing effects, and yet, there are portraits that look better with a dramatic effect. The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate how to create a dramatic effect in Lightroom with just a few clicks. The primary aim of this process is to create a rough and intense feel or atmosphere in the image. Naturally, the first thing you should do is import your photo into Lightroom. Here is how to create a dramatic portrait effect:
Open the Develop module (or press D) and go to the Basics settings. Then, adjust the settings as seen below:
- Exposure: +0.36
- Contrast: +50
- Highlights: -60
- Shadows: +40
- Whites: -50
- Blacks: -40
With these adjustments, we have successfully increased the dynamic range by changing shadows and highlights. Moreover, we have set a strong black point by moving the blacks slider to the left, which also increases the photos’ contrast. The photo you get after Step 1 may seem too saturated for you, but not to worry. That’s going to be fixed in the next step.
For this step, you also need the Basics settings, but these are the adjustments you should make now:
- Clarity: +90
- Vibrance: +20
- Saturation: -60
Due to the increased clarity value, the mid-tone contrast was boosted, which gave the sharpened look to the image. Desaturation resolves the problem from Step 1 and the image doesn’t look too saturated anymore. In turn, the photo has more intensity.
Head to the detail section where you work on sharpness and noise reduction. Here are the adjustments you should make for sharpness:
- Amount – 90
- Radius – 2.0
- Detail – 60
- Masking – 0
Settings for noise reduction include:
- Luminance – 30
- Detail – 50
- Contrast – 25
- Color – 30
- Detail – 30
- Smoothness – 15
The final step in creating a dramatic portrait is to add a vignette. In the Post-Crop Vignetting section, you have to change the amount to -20. Your portrait is ready.
REMEMBER: You can create a more dramatic look by increasing or decreasing some values. Play with the settings and presets in order to find what you like best.
TIP 14: Creating a Lomo Effect in Lightroom
Fun, vintage-style photos are highly popular now, and you can easily create lomography in Lightroom.
First, open the Develop module and head to the Basics section where you will have to make some changes. Here are the values I used for my photo:
- Exposure: +0.25
- Contrast: -25
- Highlights: -10
- Shadows: +20
- Whites: -10
- Blacks: +10
- Clarity: +20
- Vibrance: -10
- Saturation: -10
REMEMBER: Every photo has its own story, setting, and scenario, so you may need to make tweaks in some of the settings listed above and change their value up or down in order to get the best results for your particular image.
The next step you have to do is change the tone curve. For the purpose of this photo, I chose medium contrast from the drop down menu in the lower right corner.
After changing tone curve, you can move on to add a slight hue. In the hue section of HSL, you have sliders and options to change different colors, such as red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple, and magenta. For my photo, I chose purple (+10) and magenta (+5).
Once you have picked a color you want and adjusted the hue, it’s time to play with the split toning effect. As you’ve seen in TIP 12, here you are able to adjust highlights and shadows.
For highlights, I chose:
These values give a golden tone to highlights, which are perfect for a lomo effect.
For shadows, I used these values:
- Hue – 290
- Saturation – 50
The purpose of these values is to provide the lavender lomo look to the overall image. I also moved the balance slider to +25.
In our final step for creating the lomo effect, we will add just a bit of grain and vignette. Again, the strength and intensity of these effects can vary from photo to photo, and you can use the values I set as guidelines to do your own. For vignette, I used a value of -50 for amount, and left the other settings as they are. This move gives a dark vignette that is moderately strong.
For the grain, I chose these values:
- Amount – 20
- Size – 40
- Roughness – 60
And you’re done.
TIP 15: Create a high contrast black and white photo
Sometimes you need a lot of colors to make a statement, and in some cases, all you need is a black and white photo to send a powerful message or to showcase all the beauty of some object, person, etc. In this section, I will show you how you can do it.
Import your photo to Lightroom, open the Develop module, and head to the Basics section. There, you will notice sections named color and black & white and; of course, you have to choose the latter. This step automatically converts your photo to the black and white version, and in the next steps, we will work on achieving a high-contrast effect.
In this step, we will bring a dull black and white photo to life. You still need the Basics section, and here are the values you should insert:
- Exposure: +0.12
- Contrast: 85
- Highlights: +10
- Shadows: +15
- Whites: +10
- Blacks: -12
- Clarity: +20
With these values, we gave a major boost to contrast and a moderate boost to clarity. Due to slight increases of exposure and relatively small boosts to highlights, shadows, and whites, we have also lightened the photo. This is important because black and white photos often become a little darker than you intend, particularly if you plan to print the image; therefore, lightening black and white photos is necessary.
This is our final step. Here, we have to make some adjustments in the detail section and set the values for sharpness and noise reduction. For sharpness, I chose a value of 50 for amount. On the other hand, I chose 30 for luminance. Basically, values from this tutorial work on most photos that you want to turn into high contrast black and white images.
TIP 16: Creating a grainy matte effect in Lightroom
A matte effect is simple to create in Lightroom. It can be done in several ways, and in this section, I will show you the easiest method.
The first thing you have to do to achieve a grainy matte effect is to make adjustments of the tone curve. Changes you make in this section include adding one new point and lifting the left end-point slightly. The curve, seen on the image below, is the foundation of matte effects.
Now, open the Basic section in the Develop module and enter some values. Here are the changes I made:
- Highlights: -15
- Shadows: +40
- Blacks: +10
- Clarity: +15
- Saturation: -10
If you’re not happy with the changes you see on the screen, play with the values in order to get the best result.
The next step for us is to add a subtle Split Toning effect, and you can do so by going to the Develop module – Split toning. I entered these values for highlights:
In the shadows section, I made these changes:
- Hue – 270
- Saturation – 10
The Balance remained intact, i.e. the value is 0. In order to strengthen the split toning effect, you can increase the saturation value.
Now, all we have to do is add grain. The values I entered are displayed below:
- Amount – 40
- Size – 30
- Roughness – 40
NOTE: Make sure to experiment with values and add values depending on the photos. For example, you don’t want to get too much grain in your image. If you think your photo has too much grain, in order to fix the problem, just decrease the values you entered.