What You can do in Lightroom and Photoshop.
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Planning, Shooting and Editing: the three steps to get your best results. Some people will disagree but I think, editing is the most important part of the whole process when it comes to publishing images. Let me give you an example with a photo that I took recently.
This image was shot in RAW and then edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.
The original RAW just converted into a JPEG looks like this. That is a huge difference!
Let’s split the whole process into 3 steps:
#1 The Idea and the planning: What is in the picture, what do I want to express, what do I need to get this right. What camera? Which lens? A tripod? Other gear like reflectors or a flash?
#2 Taking the picture. Try to make the idea come true and get the shot you want. Experimenting is also useful cause there are always circumstances that you can not imagine just in your head. Things that are important: aperture, shutter speed, iso, focal length, light, framing…
#3 Editing: adjusting colors and brightness, maybe crop the picture. Maybe retouch.
Lets go back to my example.
#1 I see the field and sky and a few straws that are ways taller than the rest. The horizon is the line between orange and bluish grey and the straws start at the bottom, cross the horizon and reach into the sky. I choose the widest angel I have which is 16mm to get as much sky and field as possible. Since I’m just walking I don’t use anything else.
#2 I shoot handheld so I set the shutter speed to 1/200 to avoid any blur in the picture. It is bright enough to set the iso to 100 and the aperture to f3.5 to have a little bit of a bokeh.I frame the picture. More sky than field because I want to show how the straws reach up into the sky and I move the camera down to make them look even taller.
#3 I import the RAW file in Lightroom to adjust the brightness, colors and contrast. I decide to make the field more orange to enhance to contrast to the sky. Then I do some fine-tuning in Photoshop where I crop the image to get rid of non interesting parts and paint in some soft shapes around the corners that look like a bokeh in the front to add a little more depth. Done!
Comparison. Lightroom and Photoshop can be really helpful!