Before and After: A Lightroom Only Edit

April 19, 2016

I love seeing other photographer’s approaches to editing images.  It’s always enlightening to see how artists use available tools in unique ways.  Today I am sharing with you a quick Lightroom edit.

This image was taken with my Sigma 15mm fisheye (you can read all about my love for it HERE) and my settings were ISO400, f5.6, and 1/640sec.  To get the shot I simply plopped right down in the grass and made sure that a few of the red flowers were in front of my lens.  Once I was ready with my settings and composition I yelled, “Who wants to play tag?  Mom is base!!!” Instantly my kiddos ran right to me and I was able to get the shot.

(Raw image on the left and Lightroom edit on the right)

lightroom before and after

Here is my SOOC image.  It was a mostly overcast day, but there was a bit of blue sky behind my kids (they were facing the sun). Of course, my camera did not capture the skies well so that is definitely one area I would like to fix.  Another goal is to increase the overall saturation without having neon grass.


I start in the basic panel and begin by fixing my white balance.  I like warm images and skintones, but it’s too warm for me now. By bringing down the highlights and upping the shadows, I have already brought back a lot of my blue sky.  I increase the vibrance a lot and the saturation some – right now it’s looking pretty neon but I will fix that later.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 1.55.54 PM

Next I move over to the tone curve panel.  I do a slight S curve, which is a pretty standard adjustment for me. It gives the image a nice pop.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.14.23 PMIn the HSL panel I can finally address the neon greens and blasé blues.  Bringing down the saturation of the greens and increasing the saturation of the blues makes a big impact. I do the opposite in the luminance panel, which helps balance the tones of the top of the image with the bottom.  I tried to push the blues a bit farther, but it started to look a bit wonky around the edges of the frame.  I will adjust more later with a brush. Things are looking much better!

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.38.08 PM

Next up I move down to the Effects panel, where I add a slight vignette. Generally I use the radial filter to add vignettes, but because of the center composition I actually preferred the darkness of the traditional vignette. It’s a small difference, but I do think it helps draw your eye to the subjects.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.29.01 PM

I use the brush tool to very lightly bring out more of the blue sky. Not only do I push the saturation way up, but I also bump the whites, which really help to bring out the clouds.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.33.18 PM

Finally I use the clone tool to help me clean up a few grass blades and the airplane in the sky.  I also play a bit with adding a couple of additional red flowers in the corner of the image.  Before exporting I do a quick sharpen and then I am done!  Easy!  This edit took me less than a minute to do and I am very happy with the results and power of Lightroom.

children running in a field of wildflowers

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  • Reply Black Lamb Photography April 20, 2016 at 8:03 am

    This is awesome! I don’t actually do much in LR and spend most of my time editing in PS. However, this has me wanting to learn more about LR and all it can do for me. Thanks for this awesome tip.

    • Reply Missy Mayo April 21, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Oh good! I am so glad! really, you should look more into Lightroom. It’s just SO much faster and can save you a TON of time with keeping organized. It’s a very powerful program.

  • Reply Megan April 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I do 90% of my editing in Lightroom and absolutely love it. It’s all so easy and quick. Thanks for sharing your process for this image – it’s always so much fun to get into another photographer’s head for a bit!

  • Reply Maureen Petru April 25, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Very nice tutorial! A little game I like to play with myself is guess the lens used in the shot. There is such a fun curve to the image, and you don’t mention in the tutorial that you used lightroom to achieve that … so then it must be your lens? Wider than a 24mm? But not fisheye, is it?! Would love to know if you have a moment to share it with me. Thanks!

    • Reply missymayophotography April 25, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Maureen! This was taken with my 15mm Sigma 2.8 fisheye lens. I LOVE it!

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