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How to Edit Photos in Lightroom 2023

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Women dancing on water © Matias De Rada

Workflow Tutorial

Hello everyone, I’m Matias, and in this blog post, I’m going to walk you through my step-by-step photo editing process in Lightroom. We’ll take a photo from its raw state to a stunning final result. If you prefer video tutorials, you can also watch this process on my YouTube channel here.

Choosing the Right Preset

To kick things off, I’ve opened Lightroom and imported a beautiful shot from Cartagena. It’s a photo I took of my friend Danica using a Canon R5 with a 15-35 F2.8 lens. The first step in my editing process is selecting the right preset. For this particular image, I’ve chosen the “Warm Sunset” preset, which you can see makes a significant difference when compared to the original photo.

Adjusting the Photo

With the preset applied, I move to the right-hand side panel to fine-tune the photo. I like to lower the highlights, keep the shadows in check, and play around with the whites and blacks. It’s worth noting that you can also adjust the preset’s intensity on the left-hand side under “Amount,” but for this example, I’m keeping it at 100.

Fine-Tuning the Details

To make the photo pop in all the right places, I delve into the Tone Curve, which the preset has already adjusted. I make subtle tweaks here to ensure the image looks just right. This step involves adjusting contrast and enhancing specific areas of focus.

Perfecting the Horizon

In cases where the horizon isn’t perfectly straight, like in this photo, I use Lightroom’s tools to straighten it out. Creating a straight horizon line can significantly improve the composition of your image.

Enhancing Colors

Now comes the fun part – enhancing the colors. I begin by selecting areas I want to modify and then make changes to the hue, saturation, and luminance. Lightroom’s brush tool is invaluable for this, and you can preview the areas you’re painting for precision.

Balancing Temperature

Temperature control is vital, especially in shots with bodies of water. In this photo, I’ve slightly adjusted the temperature to bring out the beautiful blue tones in the ocean. It’s essential to strike a balance between realism and your creative vision.

Applying the Finishing Touches

For the finishing touches, I delve into the Detail tab, where I reduce noise and sharpen the image. Finding the right balance here ensures that the image looks crisp and appealing.

Healing Brush for Cleanup

In some cases, you might want to clean up your image further. Lightroom’s healing brush and clone stamp tool are handy for removing imperfections, distractions, or unwanted objects from your photos. They help you achieve a clean and polished final result.

Adding a Touch of Grain (Optional)

If you prefer a more filmic or dreamy look, you can add a touch of grain to your image. It’s a creative choice that can enhance the overall aesthetic.

And there you have it! This concludes my photo editing tutorial in Lightroom. I hope you’ve found this walkthrough helpful. Also, feel free to comment below and let me know what challenges you’re facing in your photography journey.

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