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5 Things You Don’t Know About Lightroom RAW Processing | Mastering Your Craft

February 8, 2020

Split toning – and I know you thought about split toning, you dabbled with it, you’ve kind of like you’ve got on a couple dates here and there, but you ain’t you ain’t really gotten to know split toning, you know what I mean. In this video I’m gonna show you five advanced Lightroom RAW processing techniques that you might not yet know and along the way we’re actually gonna process this raw, file taking it to this final image. My name is Pye and I’m one of the founders of Lynn and Jirsa Photography and SLR We’re teaming up with Adorama, to bring you a new series of photography tutorials called, Master Your Craft, right here on AdoramaTV. So let’s dive in, what’s up my friends, welcome to another tutorial here on AdoramaTV, now we have just released an entire workshop covering lightroom from A to Z on But instead of talking about that, I just wanted to show you guys 5 advanced techniques, well there’s gonna be a lot of things you’re gonna learn along the way in this tutorial, but we’re gonna focus on five specific topics, this is a great time to pause the video go to the description and download the raw file, so you can actually work right along with us so here’s our raw file, I’m gonna go ahead and press ctrl shift R, command shift R, to reset everything out. At any point in time when we use different shortcuts, we’re gonna list those out, so you guys can follow along those as well. So the first tip and technique is to understand that the ‘tone curve’ as well as the ‘parametric sliders’, they actually operate independently. I’m gonna show you exactly why this is so powerful, in fact we’re gonna close down the basic panel, and not even touch it for just a moment, we’re gonna come down to our tone curve. Now when you open up the tone curve, you’re gonna see something like this, or something like this, so when this button is clicked, we’re editing the point curve right, so we can actually click and just drop in points along the shadows to the highlights and pull up and down as our heart sees fit, right. Let me reset this out, what this means is if I click and add a point here in the shadow, if I pull it down it’s going to lower the exposure or if I pull it up it’s gonna raise the exposure of those tones, and what you see represented behind this, is just the histogram right, it’s the same histogram up here placed into the tone curve, so for example if I want to take this image and we have a high dynamic range shot here, so I’m gonna raise my shadows quite a bit, but let’s say I want to drop the highlights, I can do that from here, the problem is, as soon as I start dropping or making big sweeping changes of this tone curve, you get to a place where you start to create posterization, which is these unnatural graduations and tones within your image right. So we can only make so much of an adjustment in that tone curve, before we kind of have to go back to the basic panel and make adjustments up here, so that’s already powerful enough to be able to do that, to be able to make an adjustment to the tone curve, and go back up here and be able to make more adjustments to the highlights and whatnot, but we actually have another layer of control that most of us never think about. if I open up the parametric sliders, I can see these sliders by a region, and these sliders actually operate independently from that curve itself, so whatever I’m doing right now, is gonna fine-tune this curve, but it’s not gonna change the points, so if I want to continue to pull down highlights, I can do that. If I want to continue to pull down my lights, I can do that, if I want to raise the darks, I can do that, if I want to drop the shadows a little bit, I can do that. I can press J to turn on my highlight, and clipping alert, and I can continue to make little fine-tuning adjustments, as it tells me which areas of my image might be blown out, and which areas are intact. I’m gonna bring my darks up a little bit, bring the shadows up a little bit, now that’s kind of crazy, right, because I can go back to my point curve now, and I can actually adjust these independently as well, so I can get to a very natural curve response by using these two functions simultaneously. So sliders, curve, okay, that’s kind of crazy, let me turn this off, my highlight and clipping layer by pressing J, because what I want to show you is we haven’t even touched the basic panel now, so now if I flip this on and off, look at this, this is the image before, that one single adjustment, that tone curve, now I can go up and I can make more adjustments, I can pull the highlights down a little bit, I can bring a little bit of whites back into the image, I can maybe pull the shadows down, I can make other fine-tuning adjustments right here, adding a little bit of contrast, do whatever I want with my base tones, the reason this is so powerful is, because now with this understanding as you create your own presets, you can build all these functions into the tone curve and the parametric sliders, and you can leave basic panel adjustments for fine tuning on an image, so it makes your presets that much more powerful. Okay so that’s technique #1, and hopefully your eyes are already popping right now. Let’s go on to technique #2, and that is that we have seven, I don’t know why you always use my fingers… seven, seven, we have seven ways of adjusting color, some of these we know a lot about, some of them a little bit, some of them we don’t even know we can use to adjust color. So one of the things that we all kind of know is, we can adjust the temperature slider right, temperature and tint is number one, so I’m gonna bring my temperature up to 7800 Kelvin, I’m also gonna push my magenta’s up a little bit, will go up to about right here. Okay so, that’s one way we can use to adjust color. #2 is fairly obvious is vibrance and saturation. Okay so vibrance is going to make smaller adjustments to color without really affecting skin tone as much, saturation makes adjustments to color uniformly across everything, okay, so it’s gonna affect every color equally. So what I sometimes like to do is, I’ll drop the saturation by a little bit, and I’ll actually raise vibrance by quite a bit right, so vibrance has a tendency to kind of leave skin tones alone, which lets me kind of bump it up just a little bit more, okay, so that’s my #2. #3 as far as may be known, but not use that much is the HSL, so from HSL we can adjust hue saturation and luminance of each of these colors independently, it’s actually incredibly powerful, and we spend a lot of time in the course working through here and really understanding it, but the basic gist here is I can grab my adjustment slider instead of trying to actually adjust these individually from the slider, just grab the adjustment brush right here this little eyedropper, and target adjustment, that’s what… the target adjustment, and grab it and drop it over any color in the image, and from here we can shift that color, so right now I’m shifting this color more towards oranges right, so I can go more towards the greens, or more towards the oranges, and here I want to shift this more towards oranges. So I’m actually gonna pull the oranges a little more towards the reds, and on the blue side, so I want to bring my blues, let’s see what we’re getting here, there we go, there’s our blues, I actually want to bring my blues just a little more into the teal range. Okay so I’m shifting the hue right now, next I’m gonna go to saturation, I actually don’t want my blues to be that saturated, so I’m gonna kind of tone down the blues a little bit, to kind of let the other colors shine a little more, have a more rich sort of warmth to the image, in fact what we’ll do is actually bring up the saturation of our warm tones, so I’m gonna pull up the yellows, pull up the oranges just a bit more, and maybe I’ll bring down the the Reds a little bit, because I don’t necessarily want the reds of his outfit kind of showing through, so I’m just gonna pull down the reds a bit right about to here. So now we have those independent controls, we can also can control the brightness of those, but I’m pretty happy with where the brightness is right now on those, so that’s the luminance, okay, so those are the ones that are more known. Now less known, well first you thought I was gonna go to split panel didn’t you, I’m not going to split toning, not split panel, what is the split panel, I don’t know my words right now. I’m gonna go back under the tone curve, I’m gonna click the point curve option, and what you’ll notice is, currently it defaults to setting the channel to RGB, if I actually drop into any one of these color channels, red, greens or blues each of these channels again operate independently from the RGB channel, which means I can now effectively change color throughout the image from just adjusting the curves within these independent channels, so if I want just a little more reds throughout the image, I can click and grab a point anywhere in the center, and just drag it up a little bit and what you’ll notice is the more I go, the more it’s gonna go crazy right. I don’t want to go crazy on each side, what I want to do is just add subtle amounts of red throughout the image, and that’s it I have now effectively added red and another way to add reds and greens simultaneously, is just to pull down the blues if you pull down the blues, that’s gonna add reds and greens. The cool thing is is I can actually pull up the Blues in certain areas like let’s say in the shadows, and I can bring this point all the way to the highlights and I can sa,y I’m gonna bring down the blues and the highlights, kind of revealing a little bit more of the reds and greens in the highlights, right. Again, very subtle adjustments if at any point you don’t like the adjustment you can right click, and say flatten curve, you can click on an individual point and say delete control point, or flatten the entire curve right. I’m going to click right here one more tip you’re learning a lot more than five things, you can, you can tell me, you can be honest, it’s cool, so I’m gonna click and drag ‘hold down shift’, to constrain the movement to just the vertical movement right, so that way I’m not kind of going up and down and I’m just gonna get a hint, I drank too much coffee this morning, so like my, my brush movements are very erratic right. Yeah… my mouse movements, and I’m gonna go ahead and drop into the highlights, I’m just gonna pull this down a little bit, in fact what I might do is bring it down lower there, and I’m gonna let those kind of rich hues of the, of the kind of oranges and everything shine through in the highlight areas of my image, right about here, I still want a little bit of blues, but I want a lot of those hues to come through. So okay, that makes another way that we can adjust color, that’s # 4 right, well what about #5.. split toning, and I know you thought about split toning, you dabbled with it you’ve kind of like you’ve gotten a couple dates here and there but you ain’t you ain’t really gotten to know split toning, you know what I mean. Okay so what we’re gonna do is click on the highlights, because here’s the beauty of it, yes you can go ahead and just click a color and the higher you go on this, the more saturated, the lower you go the less saturated, and then you have left to right is the actual color that you’re affecting itself. You can do it that way, or you can click inside of the highlight area, inside this panel and just drag it right into the image, and once you’re over the image you are now selecting tones that already exist in your image, and this is my favorite way to control split toning, because now I can actually control it with the tones that are already existing. gonna do the same thing in the shadows. I’m gonna drop it down right into this Center of the rocks where I have the, you know, you know, the shadows, and if it gets me to a color that’s a little bit too much, I can pull it down, if it gets me to a color that’s not quite right, I can bring it and cool it down a little bit, so I’m gonna bring it like kind of slightly into the blues, so we kind of have this orange hue being added up here, and we have this kind of purplish, I might even drop this down just a little more. I want kind of more of a teal right about here right, there right, there kind of a teal look in the shadows. I’m gonna now push the balance to the right side, which is gonna emphasize more of the highlights than the shadows, and if you want to tweak saturation of these you can drop these, or pull these up and down accordingly okay? So this is looking pretty good right here, I might go down just actually, like it at 20. Okay so that’s another way of controlling our tone okay, great so now let’s go on to number six, number six is calibration, now this guy this is one of those things that you’re just terrified of, you’re like I’m not gonna touch that. I don’t know what that is, Oh don’t worry, all this does is, it’s gonna affect overall tones, as the image comes in right. So it’s one of those things that usually you want to kind of dial in, before you make all these other adjustments, but you can also use it creatively after the fact to control color, so for example what I might do is actually shift the overall shadow tone towards the magenta side a little more. I’m gonna actually raise my reds to kind of get me again to this more rich kind of orange look, so you see how it kind of drops in those reds, it just drops it in nicely, and we get to this more rich tone. I’m gonna even bring up, actually let’s make it a little bit more subtle, so I’m gonna bring the saturation down a little bit now, as I drop into the green hues as I go to the left side. I get more of the oranges that go to the right side, I get more of these uh these teals right, so I’m gonna go to the right side, because I kind of want to use this to sort of blend between the two, okay, I like the look of the sky down here, but the rocks are a little bit, the they’re not doing me right okay, I’m also going to tone this back a little bit, and I’m gonna drop into the blue primaries. To the right I start getting a little bit too much yellow in the sky, to the left is where everything starts to fall into that tone that I’m looking for, so I’m gonna go to the left, and I’m gonna also drop the blue primary saturation a little bit. Now look at this again, this kind of overall subtle adjustment to colors being made through that, that panel right, and what we’re ending up getting is is fantastic, but we have seven freaking ways, wait I only did six, he only did six… what’s the seventh? Well we can actually control color locally, are your minds blown yet right, now I hope so, because watch this, I’m gonna flip over to one of the visual flow brush presets for exposure. We use these frequently just to kind of burn certain areas right, all it is is just a negative 0.5 exposure, save that out, put that in your pipe and smoke it. What I’m gonna do is, hold from the top, hold shift constrain… this graduated filter, as it drops down, and what you’ll see is, it’s darkening the tone like a graduated filter as it comes across the top of the image right? This image is looking mighty nice, and I’m gonna go ahead, and just make some adjustments to it. I’m gonna pull it down just a little bit more, and it’s overall intensity, okay, so it’s -1 now, I can actually add colors directly to these adjustments, as well I can do the exact same thing, and pick an existing color tone anywhere on
here by just clicking, dragging right over all, right, so there we go. I click and drag, and I’m now again manipulating color in the image. I can do the same thing from the bottom of the image, okay, but from the bottom you know what all I want to do is just kind of deepen and darken it. I really don’t want to do too much of the, the burn, and you will notice any of these brush or graduate filter settings has the option to drop in a color effect, giving you now seven ways of controlling color on your images… boom! Now let’s go on a technique #3… one of my favorite things to do, I use radial filters often times to create subtle vignettes on my images, and what I do is I create a radial filter, and I drop it over the image at that -0.5 right. Well instead of doing this every single time and going up here to the menu, I’m just going to do it once, and I’m gonna drop this radio filter right in the center of my image. I’m gonna pull it out, usually I end up making two of these, one more narrow, and one larger right, let’s make the larger one now, and once it’s placed, I’m gonna go ahead and just get it right directly smack-dab in the center, or at least the best of my ability, and from here I’m actually gonna go to the left panel, and I’m gonna now save this as a radial filter preset, so create preset, go right down here, click ‘check none’ select, ‘process version’ so it saves the version of Lightroom that you’re using, and then click ‘radial filter’, or ‘graduate filters’ or both. Usually just do the one that you’re, you’re, you’re choosing. So ‘radial filter’, give it a name, and save it out, now if you are a visual flow preset system user, this already comes inside of the retouching kit, and you’ll notice that once this is done, all you have to do to add a radial filter is click, so dodge and burn filters, radial burn, this is the narrow one, this is the wider one, and if you press shift M, that’s gonna toggle your filters on and off, right. So all I got to do is choose one, press Shift M, and drag it to where I want, and this makes it a little bit simpler than having to go over here and make adjustments, and kind of choose the preset, and drop it in every single time. It just makes our workflow that much better. So this image is looking mighty nice, let’s go on to technique #4, which is dodging and burning inside of Lightroom, because most of us don’t even realize just how powerful this can be, local dodging and burning. Let me show you, one of my favorite things to do is to go over the image, and to actually lower the exposure further, drop the contrast a little bit, so we get kind of like this nice sort of fade, and sort of kind of subtle contrast in the shadows, and I’m actually gonna warm up the image a little more, just while I’m here. While I’m here, you know, give a little more toning and maybe take it a little more towards the green side, okay, so with that slight darker bit, I’m like, I, I would really love for him to be a bit brighter right, what I’m gonna do is go up to my adjustment brush, you can press K, to get there, and what I’m gonna show you right now, is something, it’s gold, alright. Doesn’t… just give me a thumbs up, just for this one thing, these are statistically sampled brushes. So all of these are part of the visual flow retouching kit, and they’re all statistically sampled brushes, which means one of the things that’s an issue inside of creating brushes and Lightroom, is that when you drag and drop something in, and you increase or reduce the strength of something, so if I hold down alt or option, you can drag to the left or to the right to increase or decrease the strength of it. When you do that, it makes incremental adjustments and if you’re incremental adjustments are not sampled and tested, the contrast and color are going to be off. So pause the video, and dial this in because this adjustment here is a statistically sampled adjustment that makes sure that when you pull up and down the strength of the effect, the color and saturation stays the same. The reason this is powerful because with the exposure up to 0.5, contrast dropped, highlights up, shadows up, white’s down a little bit, and with the clarity and saturation adjustments, plus noise, I can now drop right into my subjects face, and actually lighten or dodge exactly where I want on the image, and I’m using my mouse, I don’t have to get into Photoshop, I don’t have to do anything crazy, I can use my mouse and paint this messy little mask over him. That actually does a really nice job, because it’s targeting certain areas to actually lift, and leave alone. Now once you’ve done this you can actually press… the press the O key, to show your mask, okay, so from here you can kind of fine-tune the mask a little bit, but I wouldn’t worry so much about the edges yet, because I’m gonna show you another technique to kind of get your edges right, okay. So even if you’re painting off into the shadows a little bit, not, not to worry alright, so from here I can actually hold down alt or option, and drag to the right to increase the strength, or drag to the left to decrease the strength, so I’m actually gonna drag to the right, until his, the highlights of his skin, get to a place that I like, now you look at, and you’re like yeah, but it doesn’t quite look natural, right Bye, and this is where I’m gonna take you, to technique #5, what most of us don’t understand even, if we’ve learned the range mask function inside of Lightroom, and we don’t understand how powerful it is, The range mass function is this little option that’s below any of the graduated filter or brushes, that you paint in, now by choosing this you can add a mask which is gonna basically give you the blend of function inside of Photoshop, and what you’re telling Lightroom is, I only want you to apply this effect to the areas of the image that are either a certain color, or a certain brightness, so what I’m gonna tell Lightroom is, do not apply this effect anytime the range drops into the shadows, and watch this, as soon as I click up, you see it drop right off of everything, that’s a shadow, which includes the rocks, includes his pants, his clothes, and I’m gonna keep lifting right to about here, I don’t want to lift any of those other shadows in there, perfect, and I don’t want it to apply to anything that’s a highlight that might be brighter than his skin tone, so I’m gonna pull it down just a little bit from the top, and about 90 to 93, that’s gonna give you usually enough to pull it off of any water, any background areas that are brighter than the skin essentially. So now we’ve refined this brush without ever really worrying about kind of painting the masker, or adjusting the mask or anything like that. I’m also gonna increase the smoothness, so the smoothness is the transition of the effect to the areas that are affected to the areas that are not, and I’m gonna raise it to like 65ish, and from here this is where you can click alt, or option, and drag again to the right, if you want to see what it looks like more powerful, or if you want to see what it looks like a little bit more subtle, and I’m gonna leave it like maybe a little bit more on the subtle side, but we had that nice little lift effect right there, and that’s it, from all of this you know what, I’m gonna do one more thing, I’m gonna add another radial filter right over them again, or you could just click this one and actually just make it more powerful. So I’m just gonna pull the exposure down a little more into him, and I might even darken the sky coming down just a little bit more from the top okay. I’m gonna press J to make sure that my shadows are doing okay, right? So some of these deep dark areas of shadow, they look a little bit wonky, so little final tip here, check it out, I’m gonna go to my point curve, I can I can lift my shadows right here, right, but if I lift it too much, it kind of gives me a little bit like, like not too good of contrast in the image. What I’m gonna do instead is, go back to my point curve, go back to the RGB channel, and I’m gonna clip any shadow that drops below a certain amount, so it goes to a dark gray, and all we’re gonna do is hold down shift and click that option, and just go up a point and I’m gonna click right at the top, these are like all bonus tips for you, and we’re gonna pull this down at the top to make sure that any white’s that go past this point, go to a bright kind of light color. These go to a dark gray, and now we end up with this subtle kind of nice fade on the image, and I can add contrast without killing shadows, and getting these deep dark blacks that kind of look out of place. So what’s cool about this is we went from this raw file, to this final image, and we probably edited this image in ways that you really haven’t thought about inside of Lightroom. If you guys enjoyed this, if you learned something along the way, I’m telling you you have to check out the entire workshop Mastering Lightroom on, it’s a complete tutorial from A to Z, it walks you through the beginnings of the application, all the way through to complete RAW processing, mastery and includes all of the 30-plus exercise files, I think is close to seven hours of education, from A to Z. You’ll walk away from it being like… oh my gosh, I barely ever need Photoshop now, just for very specific things, and it’s gonna make your life better. With that, I hope y’all enjoyed this tutorial, and if you did, well, give Adorama TV a huge thanks for bringing us out here, give them a like, subscribe to the channel, comment below and what you guys would like to see next, and you guys can follow me @slrlounge or specifically at @Pyejirsa on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ll see you all in the next video. Peace.


  • Reply maf36 February 7, 2020 at 3:01 pm


  • Reply maf36 February 7, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Excellent tips!

  • Reply Trap Town NCS February 7, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Awesome! Keep it up! Would you like to be YouTube friends? :]

  • Reply NAVEEN KUMAR S February 7, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Amazing πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ best tutorial ever

  • Reply Roelson February 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you so much!

  • Reply Chris Bailey February 7, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Yikes! That edit is awful! πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ

  • Reply Hooked on Photography February 7, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    People like to cry about the $10 monthly fee for Lightroom Classic CC, but I love it and have been using it since version 1. It's super quick to do my adjustments, keyword the files, organize them AND upload them to my Smugmug web site to the gallery I want them in. Anyway, I did try Capture One and I like the results it gives, but I'm invested in LR with lots of time and all those individual edits can't be fully imported into C1. Also, by the time I pay the full price for C1 and then pay the upgrade cost, it's going to be more expensive than LR's monthly $10. I don't really need to justify it though. LR is a great product and works well for me, so I'm going to keep it πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Mark Tom Photography February 7, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Definitely learned some new tricks. πŸ‘πŸΌThank ya, sir. πŸ™πŸΌ

  • Reply siege February 7, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Beautiful explanations and walkthrough. Keep the good content rolling!

  • Reply fmrff70 February 7, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    I almost gave up on Lightroom thinking it was limited. Boy was I wrong! I'll be signing up for your class!

  • Reply Oscar Ybarra February 7, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Definitely more than 5 lol

  • Reply Julian Busbee February 7, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    I didn't know the curve worked independent of the sliders!?? Cool!

  • Reply jim feldman February 7, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Had never tweaked range mask before. Very interesting

  • Reply UFGator1972 February 7, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Great video. What keyboard do you recommend for editing?

  • Reply DC Allan February 7, 2020 at 9:36 pm


  • Reply Jarrad Pinestraw February 7, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Wow.. I actually learned a few new tips. Great job man. Keepem coming

  • Reply longliveclassicmusic February 7, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    It's so aggravating how Pye and so many educators never touch the Color Profile panel and leave their images set to Adobe Color. I mean seriously. Adobe Color is super generic and relatively awful. Pro cameras have camera native color profiles in the Profile panel that are not on by default but do a great job of profiling for that camera. And beyond that, this is where ColorChecker Passport profiling lives if you own a Passport and shoot custom profiles, something far more users should be doing. So no, Pye. There aren't 7 ways. There are EIGHT.

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