How to Quickly and Effectively Edit RAW Files in Lightroom

How to Quickly and Effectively Edit RAW Files in Lightroom

I’ve traveled to Havana a few times recently to find interesting ways to connect with this amazing country. The first time, I shot the Fuji GFX 50S medium format camera (check out the results ) and processed the images in Lightroom. The second time, I took out a Nikon D750 and a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens that I rented from Borrowlenses (post here) to see just how much more in the moment I can be shooting with one lens.

Here are the steps I took for processing several of the images from these trips.  Everything that was done to the shots was done to RAW images from both the GFX and the D750. Download the images here and follow along!

Processing Images in Lightroom

Most of my Lightroom developing is done in the Basics Tab, using Exposure, Contrast, Highlights/Shadows, Whites/Blacks to get the most out of the RAW file. Once that’s complete, I focus on Temperature, Tint, and Vibrance to get the overall feel of the shot. While I could certainly do the color changes first, I find that it’s best to get the overall feel for the exposure of the image down first, then focus on the color of the shot.

Once the global changes are done to the file, I then focus on getting more of the shot by darkening and lightening portions of the image using the Adjustment Brush.

The other thing I do is make sure I crop out any unnecessary items from the shot, as well as apply crops that give the picture a different feel. I think a 16×9 crop makes the picture look a little more cinematic so I tend to use that for a lot of my images. Warning: cropping to a non-standard size will limit your ability to find an off-the-rack frame for the image!

Register For My Free Class!

I develop online classes at my new training site,  First Shot School.  I share how I go about processing pictures and help you learn Photoshop, photography, Lightroom, video, and so much more. I’ve created a free class about things I think are essential in Photoshop and Lightroom. Register for the free class by clicking on this link..

The goal for processing is to get a good feel for the pictures without having to jump into Photoshop for any heavy lifting. I hope that my process gives you good tips that you can immediately use.

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RC is the founder of First Shot School, an award winning photographer and author of the best selling books Get Your Photography On the Web , The HDR Book, and The Enthusiast's Guide to Lightroom. He worked as Director of Content and Education for Kelby Media Group and host of the popular podcasts Photography Tips and Tricks and The Grid. A sought after public speaker, he has held training seminars around the world and has served as guest instructor for the Digital Landscape Workshop Series with Moose Peterson, Advanced Flash Photography at Jade Mountain with Joe McNally, and His Light workshops with famed landscape photographer Bill Fortney.


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