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Grading in Lightroom

Lesson 28 from: The Ultimate Photo Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales

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Lesson Info

28. Grading in Lightroom

Finn's editing process in Adobe Lightroom: Basic Adjustments, Tone curve, HSL Panel, Split Toning Sharpening, Camera Calibration, Gradient & Radial filters.

Lesson Info

Grading in Lightroom

Okay, we're still in light room here and I'm gonna quickly walk you through a typical grade on an image. In this case, I'm gonna use the board shaping room the start of our shoot, which is lit by fluorescent light before I go anywhere with this I have an idea of my end point in mind. It's a bit like my story. I like to know where I'm gonna go with it, rather than just like start winding around sliders. And that's based on a couple of factors, where the image is gonna sit within the story the final set of images but also the lighting conditions of the image itself. In this particular case, as I said, this is lit with fluorescent lighting. It, the whole scene feels really industrial almost sci-fi in nature. So I wanted to give it that sort of spin, just to play on that. So I'm thinking like a cold blue kind of like a kind grungy, cold environment. There's nothing natural about this scene. So bearing that in mind, and thinking about where this image is gonna sit within the actual story. T...

his is my starting point. The end point I know is gonna be the same guy surfing on a beach at sunset, which is gonna be really beautiful, natural scenery. Orange, pinks in color tone, cuz of the sunset. So how can I oppose that orange and pink colorway? If I look at a color wheel the opposite color to orange is blue, blue and orange are therefore complimentary colors. I know they're gonna work well together. So again, that reinforces my decision making in terms of where I'm gonna go with this image. So I know I'm gonna sort of tip it towards the blue end of the scale. So this is the straight, raw capture. This is where I'm gonna go with it within Lightroom. And this is the final image, after I've done further color correction within Photoshop and also a plug-in. I'll walk you through this process in the next episode but for time being let's stay in Lightroom. So starting with some basic color correction, the highlights were massively clipped. You can tell this, using this little thing here, I'll tell you, you know, where the highlights get, where you've lost any image, it's just gone to flat white. So what I'll do, initially, is just to bring all that back using the highlights slider. I know I'm gonna be quite purposeful with my tone curves are my HSL panel. So in terms of introducing color, so I'm gonna flatten out the file using these sliders, bringing up the shadows bringing up the whites, bringing up the blacks. Dropping the clarity down and also dropping the saturation the tone curve is where most of the color grade comes in. I use the RGB curve to fade out my blacks create four points along this curve so I can affect just the bottom half, just the shadows. If I didn't have these points on this graph by pulling that up, it would pull this curve and pull this entire curve up and really mess with the image. The red curve again, make four points along here and pull down on the shadow section. This is your shadows. This is your highlights. So by pulling down on this section of the curve I can introduce blue into the shadows. And by pulling up on it, on this highlight section, I can introduce a sort of red tinge into the highlights here. Green, I'm trying to just pull that outta the image entirely. So by pulling down on this curve in the shadows this will introduce a little bit of magenta into the shadows and pushing up, we'll introduce a little bit of green into the highlights. Actually I'm not actually sure I want that. I'll leave it as is for now. Blue across the entire image. I'm just introducing a touch of blue. So touch of blue into these highlights. Mm. Pull it slightly out into the shadows here. So that gives me a sort of a general tone. So that's yeah, my vision for it was to give this sort of like cold, industrial feeling, play on the whole look of the image. And I think I've achieved that here. So all I'm doing with this HSL panel is actually popping my character, popping the flesh tones out of that background, without it, that flat grade across it you can see his flesh tones have gone a little bit blue a little bit weird, looks a bit peaky. So what I'm doing here is just popping the orange, popping the yellow, and adjusting the hue of just these tones, just to pull 'em out of their background. Split toning. I have a bit of a process when it comes to split toning. As you can see I'll introduce another layer of color over the top, more dusty pink into the shadows, and a sort of tealy blue into the highlights. Now that comes from image research I've done at the start before I even shot anything. I did some image research on my client, the Land Rover company, but also the story. So longboard surfing. I love looking back into the stories of brands before I work with them and see where they've come from. See if there's anything that I can reference. One in terms of the type of images I'm gonna make, but also in terms of the grade that I'm gonna apply to the final set. So I have a little trick, which dates back to my time as a graphic designer when I was creating color palettes for, you know, brochures or websites, I do create a mood board, like this, from stuff I pulled off the internet, flatten the image, make sure you've got one-layered image, up to filter, pixelate, and mosaic that entire board. Cell size about 150. Now that's gonna average out the colors within that mood board. And from this, you can then use your color picker. Where's my color picker? Yeah. To pick up on dominant colors within the mood board. So I can really lighten this up, like dusty, peachy pink, and these blues, these tealy blues. So then I will use those and values with my split toning. So that's where that thinking comes from. Detail panel, add a bit of sharpness to the image. It's quite noisy. It's ISO 1, 2, 5, 0, it was pretty dark in there and he was moving fast, so I had to have a high shutter speed, hence the ramped ISO here. So I could sort of freeze a bit of action. So it is quite a noisy image. So make sure you put your masking, boost your masking a little bit. So you're not accentuating that noise. And I bang a bit of noise reduction in there too. Lens corrections, remove the aberration in this image. I don't want to enable the profile correction. I really like the natural vignette. This 24 mil lens is gonna, is bringing to the scene, focusing the eye on my subject. I'm also accentuating that using a radial filter and that's focused on the center of the image where I'm introducing a bit of exposure and sharpness. So I'll just share that without that, it's a lot flatter and the eye isn't being drawn into my subject as much as with it. So now we have a solid grade. I will turn that into a preset and apply it to all of the images that were shot under similar conditions within the boardroom. And then I will take the image through, to Photoshop to do some final retouching, taking out the GoPro in the corner of the ring and also putting some grain into the shadows, using a plug-in called alien skin exposure. But all of that is in the next episode, following this. (calm music)

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Ratings and Reviews

Brent Morris

Fantastic My thoughts on the storytelling workshop. The short is; it’s fantastic. The long is I loved all the details covered, from shot types and the ideas behind them to the call sheets and shot lists, and the whole process. I felt like I had a better understanding of how to schedule a professional shoot and I really felt like I had a much better grasp on many ideas and concepts, and I believe I’ve been able to improve my photography with them, so thank you and Finn. It really is fantastic.

Oswaldo Martinez

A path to better stories Very happy I got this workshop. Finn and Alex do a great job at teaching highly useful methods and specific advice to help you improve your own work, and more importantly, tell better stories that are meaningful to you.

Tommaso Selleri

Simply the best This is simply the best workshop out there on photography and storytelling. Finn is awe inspiring and so real and authentic. A pleasure to watch, a joy to learn from such master. I really hope a volume 2 is coming soon! Thank you for this one!

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