Choosing Your “Editing Palate”: A Lightroom Trick to Help

February 9, 2016

A whiff of fresh coffee beans can help clear your palate when wine tasting.  It’s too bad that a similar concept can’t be applied to editing photos.  After an hour of more of adjusting photos, my eyes often deceive me.  My white balance gets wonky, my contrast is off, and even my exposure can be dead wrong.  I wish I could blame it on wine, but the reality is that sometimes you just need to stop and step away from the computer.

I have learned that I must incorporate breaks into my editing. I need time for my eyes to be away from the computer screen.  Inevitably when I come back to my images I fine tune my edits once again.

When deciding which direction I want to take an image, I often play with various edits. One trick in Lightroom is to make use of the Snapshots panel, an overlooked Lightroom feature that can save you time and make reviewing adjustments a breeze.  A snapshot is simply a recording of the adjustments you have made to your image.  It’s found on the lefthand column of adjustments or you can choose Command + N (mac) or Control + N (pc). Lightroom will automatically name the snapshot by time, but I suggest quickly naming your edit with a somewhat descriptive title – especially if you plan to make a few snapshots.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 4.23.56 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 4.24.19 PM

When editing a gallery of images, I use Spapshots when determining the general editing direction I want to go in.  Do I want stronger contrast? Warmer or cooler skin tones? A saturated look?  It’s easy to get lost in playing with the creative opportunities that Lightroom presents.  When playing with various adjustments, I use Snapshots to quickly catalog each of my options that I have created.  Then I take a break.  I unload the dishwasher, run errands, or drink wine make dinner for my family.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 4.23.16 PMWhen I came back to my computer screen with fresh eyes, it’s often easy for me to sort through each of my snapshots.  I can usually pick out the adjustments that I feel look best, without second guessing myself or wasting time editing, re-editing, and then re-editing some more.



For me, Snapshots are a quick way to compare various edits.  They help me achieve the creative look I want in an easy and organized method. What methods do you use?



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