Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CoffeeShop Lightroom Tutorial: Fixing Exposure Using the Gradient Fill

I am going to start posting more Lightroom tutorials on my blog. As much as I love and use Photoshop/PSE, I also couldn't live without Lightroom. I use it for most of my basic color/contrast/light edits and Photoshop/PSE more for my "arty" work.

I can edit hundreds of photos at a time in LR, something I would never attempt with Photoshop. And LR saves the edits as layers so I can instantly go back and make changes whenever I want.  I also organize all of my thousands of photos using LR.  If you haven't used this program yet, you can't imagine its power.

And Lightroom is not only for professional photographers.  I use it to edit all of my family snapshots.

Today I am going to show you one way I fix photos that exposed for the sun and left the shadows too dark.

I took this photo with my camera phone yesterday.  We were taking a hike in a local park and it was FREEZING.  I opened this photo and saw that the camera exposed for the sky, leaving my kids in dark shadow.

This is an easy fix in Lightroom.

Your first instinct might be to raise the overall exposure, but this really blows out the sky. So instead I added a gradient filter in Lightroom.

Click "M" for Gradient Filter (circled in the screenshot above, it looks like a little rectangle with lines behind it).  Then bring up the Exposure slider. You can fine-tune this after you edit the image, so don't worry about the setting at this time.

Click on the bottom of the image and drag the bars up toward the top. In this case I dragged it slightly over the photo.  Then I adjusted the Exposure slider until the foreground looked exposed properly.  In this case I raised it to 1.16.

When you are pleased with your adjustment, simply click on Close.  To start over, click Reset.

Here is the finished edit.  As you can see, my foreground is lightened without blowing out the sky.  Best of all, this took all of 5 seconds to edit.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this tutorial, this will be a great fix for many pictures. I look forward to reading more of your tutorials on LR.