Lightroom Basics #1

Devin Nyschens // 16/01/2023

This panel in Lightroom is the beginning and end of my workflow. Here is where I start making my corrections and global adjustments and then go on to all the magic below it to then revert to do a final run of polishing adjustments to crush your edit. A Lightroom workflow is very dynamic and requires balance. Once you begin to fully grasp the ability of every slider you will be able to adjust a slider that could be crucial to increasing the values of your shadow but then blows out your highlights, you make the adjustment and then you adjust the highlights which could in turn effect the luminance of your reds which you adjust and now your exposure is off again so you adjust your highlights again… this is Lightroom, a waltz between sliders that when all balanced correctly, produces the magic that keeps us using Lightroom.




A global adjustment is an adjustment done to the entirety of the area of the photograph. A local adjustment is when you focus in on a particular section of the photograph using masks to make adjustments. This panel in Lightroom contains only global adjustments so when using it you will be looking at the entirety of your photo. Don’t worry too much about doing fine corrective details with this panel as using the brush mask tool is a easy way to make adjustments without effecting the details of the whole photograph.



Making alterations on your white balance is essential in creating and defining your look. White balance is something that should be considered during the shooting process as white balance is defines the way certain colours react to the editing process. You need to become aware of white balance and learn to shoot so that your white is truly white. Here you can make minor corrections or your begin to start defining your creative style here where you can define wether your shot will be warmer or cooler – all dependant on your taste.




This slider can be the deciding factor wether your subjects look sunburnt or slightly ill. After adjusting the TEMP slider the image can lean to more of a pink or a green hue and if this is out of context for your creative style then with this slider you can make adjustments to ensure that your white is the hue of white in which suits your look.




The eye dropper tool is conveniently programmed to allow for you click on a part of the photograph that is white and it will adjust the TEMP and TINT sliders accordingly to correct the white balance. This however can cause problems if you start your editing workflow with a preset that alters the Hues already, you may just have to revert back to the TEMP and TINT sliders to make corrections





This is a major adjustment slider to the brightness level of your photograph. Here you can increase and decrease the entireties of the photographs exposure values.




Contrast is the value in which the highlights and the shadows vary. When you drag this slider the darks get darker and the brights get brighter.




Highlights are the parts of your image that are in the brighter spectrum. With this slider you can bring back some clarity by increasing the highlights or you can crush highlights down to create a more vintage/film look. This slide can be handy when shooting with harsh light where if you adjust the EXPOSURE slider and it begins to effect your shadows or other elements of the photograph negatively, this slider just targets the brighter areas allowing you to keep your shadows in tact and make exposure adjustments.

TIP: This slider is a magic trick up your sleeve when it comes to overexposed skies. This is the easiest and fastest method of sky recovery in LR.




Simply the inverse of highlights, shadows are the darker parts of the photograph (Not to be mistaken with Blacks, which is the utmost darkest parts of the photograph) Like highlights, this is a powerful tool when shooting in harsh light or where your image has too much or too little contrast. When adjusting this slider your other values stay in tact, so should you increase your CONTRAST slider and your highlights look great but your shadows are too dark, then this slider then just targets the shadow areas.

TIP: In the histogram panel there are two triangles. When you hover over the one of the left, LR will display all the shadows that are underexposure with blue on the image itself. If you click on the triangle this setting will stay on permanently throughout your project, this is particularly handy if your eye isn’t quite adjusted to identifying an over/underexposed image or you have no knowledge on how to read a histogram. This works for the highlights too with the difference of the overexposed being displayed and the colour used to display the effect areas are red.




Similar to HIGHLIGHTS, however these are the utmost brightest parts of your photograph, here is where part of your image may have blown out. This slider is particular handy in crushing the appearance of blown out highlights or giving you the ability to bring some punch to your shot by increasing the Upper spectrum of the highlights.




Blacks are the utmost darkest values of the image. Here you can bring back beautiful contrast that is lost with the global adjustment sliders like the EXPOSURE slider. When lifting the blacks one can achieve a beautiful matte finish to their photograph, however this style or look should rather be achieved by using the more powerful and concentrated TONE CURVES built into LR.





The TEXTURE slider is paramount in your control over the clarity of medium sized objects. LR has the ability to increase of decrease the sharpness of the pixels with medium sized objects allowing you to perform tasks like softening skin without effecting the smaller intricate details like the eyes, nose and lips. This effect is very subtle and very effective. You can drastically increase the sharpness of your photograph with this slider.




This slider works like the TEXTURE slider however it targets your midtone areas and instead of sharpening, the CLARITY slide increases the contrast values of the entire image. This slider can give you deep rich looks like nothing else, however this slider must be used with caution because what can start as innocent clarifying can quickly become a shocking early 2000s emo kid profile picture.




DEHAZE works similarly to contrast however it has the magical difference that it only focuses in on the mid to high tones in the photograph. This gives you the power to bring back detail that is lost due to elements like lens flare, smoke, mist etc. This is also a powerful tool when making local adjustments for a unique version of contrast and clarity when used tastefully.




Saturation is the value of colour presence in your photograph. When dragging this slider the intensity of the colours are adjusted.




Now your OCD may have been triggered here, as VIBRANCE comes before SATURATION in the order of the panel, however this was done on purpose. VIBRANCE is exactly like SATURATION, however it is smarter. Vibrance leaves the parts of the photograph that are already saturated and targets the other areas. This is powerful due to you now having the ability to completely saturate your entire image, without having shockingly intense colours blow outs due to already saturated parts of the photograph.