Adobe Lightroom: RAW Edit 71 (FroKnowsPhoto)

adobe lightroom raw edit

RAW file 71

This weeks file is kinda cool. I’m looking forward to editing this! What do you think before you read on? Will I crop it?

You better believe I’m going to crop it. The subject is far too small in the frame for my liking, he almost looks lost in there. This is a dramatic shot and drama is human. We need to see his face! You’ll see the extent of the crop in the finished edit at the bottom of the page.

To be fair, this was taken with an 18-200mm lens racked out at 200mm and judging from the type of shot I’m guessing there wasn’t much chance of the photographer getting any closer…

Let’s just have a quick check of the exposure before we get editing.

raw71 histogram


Nailed-on perfect. This was shot in aperture priority mode with no exposure compensation so the camera has done a really good job with this, although the even lighting and tones in this shot will have helped in that regard.

So what do we want to achieve with this edit? I think we should focus on the climber and his expression. At the moment we’re just looking at a man climbing a cliff. I want to see a man risking his life. Which do you think carries the most impact?

What does the expression on his face say to you? Grit? Determination? Concentration? Fear? Why not use these as inspiration for our edit? Why don’t we make the image gritty, contrasty, sharp and dark?

raw71 basic panel

Basic panel adjustments.

I’ve made a lot of contrast adjustments in the basic panel. I’ve pushed the exposure up 1/4 of a stop, boosted the contrast to +68 and made individual tweaks to the shadows, whites and blacks. I’ve also moved the clarity slider up to +37 which gives a lot of ‘grit’ to the edge details in the photo. Lastly, I’ve taken the saturation down to -51.

With these adjustments in place the edit is looking pretty good, except for one thing… our subjects face is far too dark.

dark face

The expression is completely lost.

A face cast completely in shadow is a definite no for this photograph. It ruins it. But worry not – we can fix this with a local adjustment brush.

dark face painted raw71

Less is more.

By painting in some positive exposure of +1.71 and reducing the contrast on his face we can restore the expression. Just be careful not to overdo it because it can easily look unnatural.

The last two tweaks are to sharpen the image and apply quite a hefty post-crop vignette of -46. And there you have it…

froknowsphoto raw edit 71

The finished edit.

So what do you think? Comments, questions, suggestions? Leave them below!

Thanks for reading.

Original source



Filed under RAW Edits

8 responses to “Adobe Lightroom: RAW Edit 71 (FroKnowsPhoto)

  1. awesome! I am so glad I followed your blog. Thanks for posting. What software are you using to make your edits?

  2. Hi Tiffany. I’m using Adobe Lightroom 4. It can be a bit overwhelming at first if you’re new to photography. Part of the reason I do these edits is to learn through practice!

  3. I wanna learn it all! 🙂 and DUH to me for not paying attention to the title!!

  4. nice post. good work here. i use Lightroom too (3, not yet upgraded)

  5. Thanks! Technically I’m using the Lightroom 4 trial at the moment – I ordered my copy weeks ago but it hasn’t arrived yet. I must chase it up.

    There are some good improvements but I wouldn’t say it was a “must” if you could use the money elsewhere.

  6. Wow. I’m pretty clueless about all of the capabilities you explained and showed. But, not as clueless as before I read this post. Thanks for posting so that others can learn.

  7. Thanks! It’s quite a rich piece of software, but you get out a lot more than you put in. 🙂

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