Over the years there has been a lot of interest in the concept of ‘Expose to the right.’ This is something that is commonly done in digital photography where you intentionally overexpose an image. The idea is that in digital images there is more information to work with in the brighter tonalities than there is in the darker. And this will give you more to work with in the darkroom (Lightroom and Photoshop) which will result in a better image.
I’ve written several posts on this topic and if the concept is new to you please read these. I’m not going to go into the theory here; that is spelled out in these posts.
Lightroom Tutorial – Expose to the Right
Expose to the right – Revisited
Now, I understand the theory. I’m a computer guy; I had better understand it. But I’ve always wondered if the promise of a better image actually worked out in real life. So I did a test during our recent photography workshop to Big Sur.
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Lightroom is a great tool. It’s quick and easy to use – once you get the hang of it. But sometimes mastering the workflow, the steps you go through to take a raw file to a ‘final’ image, can be a bit daunting.
Let me say up front that Lightroom is an important part of my workflow but it’s not the only part. Every photograph I work on starts in Lightroom but is completed in Photoshop. Nevertheless, Lightroom gets a photograph to about 80% of the final product. I know many people who use Lightroom exclusively and Photoshop only in rare circumstances if at all.
So back to the workflow. Can it really be made easy? Yes it can. There are four major steps (not counting import – see Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs):
- Mechanical adjustments like dust spot removal and cropping
- Tonality adjustments
- Hue adjustments
- Saturation adjustments
Let’s skip the first step and start with the second. The example will be in Lightroom 4.
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