If you use Lightroom you will no doubt be familiar with the clarity adjustment slider. This can be used to adjust the midtone contrast of an image. Increase the contrast and the finest details pop out of the image. Reduce the contrast and the image takes on an ethereal haze.
In addition to the main Clarity slider found in the Develop module, a clarity slider can also be found in each of the Gradient tools as well as the Adjustment Brush. With the main Clarity slider so easily placed, it can be easy to forget about these other sliders, which is a mistake.
If you ever find yourself in a position where you want to make an object stand out from its surroundings you can achieve this with the Clarity adjustment. But rather than use a global clarity adjustment select the adjustment brush. You should then use this brush tool to outline the object you want to emphasise. Having done this you can apply the Clarity adjustment selectively to the object.
In the image above I wanted to make this door handle on the inside of a steel door stand out from the door as otherwise the image would appear flat. The adjustment brush tool was used to select the handle so that Clarity adjustment could be applied to just that area. This is also a great technique to use with architectural subjects. Also don’t forget that you might need multiple applications with the brush to achieve the desired effect.
One thing that I love to do is shoot panoramic images. I have an XPan Panoramic film camera and for digital I have a number of tripod attachments that allow me to shoot sequences of images for stitching. What I also do a lot of is shoot “informal panoramic sequences” where I hand hold the camera. I enjoy this but to be honest, I seldom get around to stitching these. I will go as far as grouping the images into a stack in Lightroom but then having to export them to Photoshop or Hugin in order to do the stitching is a little bit too much effort for me.
This is where the new stitching tool in Lightroom has taken me by surprise. I didn’t expect to like it very much but in fact I love it. All you need to do is select the images you want to merge and then chose “Photo Merge| Panorama…” from the Lightroom pop-up menu. This provides a dialog where you can select from one of 3 methods of merging the images or select the auto option. There is also an auto crop option to produce the finished image. Usually I am not a big fan of any tool that starts with the word “Auto” but these actually work very well.
The other surprise about the panorama stitching (besides the results being excellent quality) is that you can merge vertical image sequences as well as horizontal. By vertical I am not referring to the camera being held in the portrait format but shooting a sequence where you start at the bottom and move the camera upwards vertically. All this is done automatically before the resulting image file is created and saved into your Lightroom catalogue as a DNG file rather than as a TIFF or JPEG. The DNG format then gives you lots of flexibility to edit the image further.
This is a very well put together solution and for those who are interested I have posted a demonstration video on my Lenscraft website. If you are not already a member, do sign up as it’s completely free.
Now I need to find some HDR image sequences to try out the merge to HDR feature.
This week has just run away with me again. I think the problem (besides too much work and my mum still being ill) is that I love to experiment. I have just spent the last hour developing some Lightroom film-like presets. So I decided to save some time and share a recent image processed with one of the presets – no other adjustments, just a Lightroom preset.
Have a great weekend everyone.
I promised I would do it if anyone asked, and you have. You can now download my Faded Summer Colour Lightroom preset for free. The preset was used to create the image above and the one in my previous post.
You can download it from a new Presets and Textures page on my Lenscraft website. You will need to log in as a member to download the file (but membership is free). When you download the zip file it contains the preset, installation instructions and a thumbnail sample image.
I hope you enjoy.
Yes, I know that I keep going on about using emotional triggers in photography but it’s a fascinating subject. It’s also a great way to make ordinary images more interesting. And if you want to consider yourself as more of a visual artist than a photographer, I would say it’s pretty much essential.
Today’s example shows the creative impact colour and tone shifts can have. For your reference, the original image is shown below.
The global changes I have made are to the colour, exposure and the contrast. I have also increased the clarity in some areas of the flower using the Lightroom Brush tool. If you look carefully on the lower stem above the bud, you will find a greenfly hanging upside down. I thought twice about removing it but decided to leave it in.
If I were to produce this as a finished arty image I would probably blend the image with a textured background to add even more appeal. But as this example is about colour and tone, I have restricted the adjustments to exposure, contrast and colour. If you are wondering which tools I used to make all these changes, everything was done in Lightroom.
If you are a Lightroom user who likes the image and are interested in recreating the look with some of your own work, please let me know. If it’s a popular adjustment I will make it available on my Lenscraft site as a Lightroom Preset that can be downloaded.
I have some good news for all you Lightroom users who own a Panasonic GM1. You can now download for free my custom camera profile at my Lenscraft website. This profile works with Lightroom and can be used instead of the “Adobe Standard” profile.
Once installed you can select the profile in the Develop Module under the Calibration section.
In order to access the profile you will need to be working on a RAW file shot with a Panasonic GM1. If you are editing a TIFF or JPEG file you will see “Embedded Profile” in the Calibration section. If you are editing a RAW file and can’t see the profile you have either:
- Installed it to the incorrect location
- You need to restart Lightroom (following the installation)
- You are working on a RAW file that isn’t from a GM1
I admit that it’s been a while coming but I have finally managed to shoot the XRite ColorPassport in suitable lighting conditions to generate a profile for the Olympus EM5. To be honest, I didn’t expect the new profile to achieve much as the EM5 produces good colours already and in any event, Lightroom includes a few alternate profiles. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I generated this profile and tried it out in Lightroom. The images are noticeably stronger and more natural than using the Adobe Standard profile. I also like the new profile more than the other options that now come with Lightroom for this camera.
If anyone uses Lightroom and an Olympus EM5 (shooting in RAW format) then you can download the colour profile for free from my Lenscraft web site.