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First try on Lightroom

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by David Novo, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. David Novo

    David Novo DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Porto, Portugal, Europe
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    This past weekend, I finally started editing the raw files from my trip to the GBR last year. It was my first experience with Lightroom so need some feedback/help from experts (to be fair basically anyone with experience in photo editing probably has valuable advice):

    _6280179.jpg _6280178.jpg _6300134.jpg _6290078.jpg

    I have been doing the following:
    1) White balance, using selector tool;
    2) Removing backscatter with spot removal;
    3) Cropping when needed (i'm fitting everything to (2x3 aspect).
    4) Darkening background colors on the first two photos: they were taken in mid water so the strobe just caught the subjects, not the background.

    Any ideas on what I should do further / reverse?

    Thanks.
     
    OTF likes this.
  2. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
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    I HIGHLY recommend that you ask Erin Quigley at GoAskErin.com. TONS of Lightroom and Photoshop information and tutorials for underwater photographers.
     
    David Novo and BrackaFish like this.
  3. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
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    A couple of suggestions. Setting your black and white points is important early in the edit there's a few ways to to it - holding down alt while you slide the black and white sliders is a good option just slide it until the screen is completely blank. this video explains .
    White balance using the selector tool is problematic as it will change the balance if the part of the image you use is not actually pure grey/white/black. For example for me the first image is a little yellow. the dropper tool will generally get you close then you have to tweak it. For example if you used the jellyfish bell with the selector tool that would shift the image yellow as the bell actually has a blue tint to it.

    Lightroom doesn't have levels available which is IMO the very best tool for colour balancing an image especially if you don't have a good grey reference to use.
     
    David Novo likes this.
  4. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    Additionally, a strobe-lit picture of a critter with "white" sand behind it is tempting to put the eye-dropper on the sand....but the sand is actually a bit blue, since it is not as close to the camera as is the critter. I find I rarely white-balance if I've used a strobe.
     
    David Novo likes this.
  5. stepfen

    stepfen ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Greece
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    Not an expert here, but I think the following advice is good and eventually saves you a lot of time: Spend your time only with your best images. Hence go through your photos and discard right from the beginning most of them - if you are not sure how good an image is - chances are it is not good enough, hence discard.
    You should discard based on such things: no good focusing (i.e. eyes not in focus), not good composition (unless it can be corrected with cropping/rotation), too much back scatter, no good lighting etc. These things can't be corrected (or at least they are very difficult/ time consuming) and even if you spend the time/effort the result will be so so.
    The amount of pictures I tend to bring back from dive trips is quite big. Even if I had to spend just 30seconds on each of them (usually it takes much longer than that) it would take me hours and hours to finish them all and I would end up with a ton of crap/boring images. Discard most early on so that you end up only with "few" pictures with good potential to begin with and then spend the time/effort to improve only those. You will end up with fewer but nicer images much faster.

    So to your examples I would discard for sure the last one (eyes are not in good focus) and probably the first two with the turtle (no good eye contact). You might find this a bit harsh but you will see pretty soon that spending time editing so so images doesn't worth it - nobody (even yourself) won't be interested to see them.

    Your images also seem to lack sharpness. Are you using a Sony camera? My alpha5100 creates raw files that need quite a lot of sharpness and noise reduction (as well as some texture, clarity and quite a bit of dehaze). I have made a preset based on these and apply it to all my images while importing them to lightroom. Using presets also saves a lot of time because from that point onwards I have to do only image specific relatively minor tweaks here and there.

    All the best!
     
    rsingler, Bubblesong and David Novo like this.
  6. David Novo

    David Novo DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Porto, Portugal, Europe
    401
    131
    43
    Thanks, I followed your advice and I have been having a look for the past days.

    I agree, the first image is a lot yellow. Thanks for the advice.

    My process so far to shots not ETTR (such as the ones below) has been:

    _6300247.jpg _6300248.jpg _6300251.jpg

    1) Crop;
    2) White balance (if needed, not on the ones above - @tursiops it is indeed tempting to over use it :D );
    2) Adjust exposure;
    3) Adjust whites;
    4) Adjust blacks;
    5) Adjust highlights / shadows as high / low as I can, without cliping;
    6) Remove backscatter (not yet done on the ones above).

    Regarding pictures ETTR (as the one below):

    _6300252.jpg

    1) Crop;
    2) White balance (if needed, the one above just did a tint adjustment);
    3) Reduce highlights to minimum;
    2) Reduce exposure;
    3) Adjust whites;
    4) Adjust blacks;
    5) Adjust shadows as low as I can, without cliping;
    6) Remove backscatter (not yet done on the one above).

    What else should I add / do differently?

    I was using an Olympus TG-5 (flooded past month and will be replaced with a TG-6 so that I can still use my wide angle wet lense and housing) with a YS-03 strobe.
    How do you usually fix sharpness in Lightroom?
     
  7. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    I rarely use Sharpness, but often use Clarity. The former adjusts edges, the latter texture.
     
    David Novo likes this.
  8. David Novo

    David Novo DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Porto, Portugal, Europe
    401
    131
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    What is the maximum adjustment that you would consider?

    For example, I have been trying to limit my exposure adjustments to +/- 1, if possible to half of that.
     
  9. stepfen

    stepfen ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Greece
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    To the OP: keep in mind that whatever everybody does to his/her pictures heavily depends on the camera used and the type of image (eg macro vs wide angle). It is also a matter of taste. Only with experience through experimentation with your images you will reach your preferred outcome.
    For example have a look here how my presets transform my images:
    upload_2020-10-28_16-40-27.jpeg
    (original)



    upload_2020-10-28_16-40-43.jpeg
    (with preset)

    I use this preset to most of my underwater images to begin with. It does: Texture +20, Clarity +20, Dehaze +50, Vibrance +15, Saturation +5, Sharpening: Amount 50, Radius 1, Detail 50, Mask 50, Noise Reduction: Luminance 50, Detail 50, Contrast 0, Color 40, Detail 50, Smoothness 50.

    Apply those settings to an image from your camera and you will probably get disastrous results.

    Edit: Here is a link to the jpeg files because ScubaBoard heavily compresses them:
    SB - Google Drive
     

    Attached Files:

    David Novo likes this.
  10. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    Good question.
    Exposure can be varied more than some other sliders. Underexposed is easier to adjust than overexposed. In general, on the 0-100 sliders I try to stay under 50.
     
    David Novo likes this.

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