Friday, May 22, 2015

Lightroom Rescue: Saving a Low-Light Snapshot

I hope everyone has fun plans with their friends and family this long weekend!  We are taking a school break for a few weeks and are going to spend time with the family.  It has been a sad couple of weeks and we need a break.

I was going through some of my old photos and I came upon this one of Imp back in 2010.  It was in our old house and the lighting was really bad.  This was before I had my bigger on-camera flash, so I would take photos using the available natural light. Imp is cute but the image is really dark, grainy and red.

I could edit this in Photoshop but it would take several layers and it would be pretty time-consuming. And I am also not terribly impressed with Photoshop's noise reduction options.

Therefore, today I am going to show you how I would fix this in Lightroom.  I use Lightroom for most of my clean, basic edits as it is incredibly fast and easy. This edit took me less than 30 seconds from start to finish.

Here is my starting image.  The cracked tile is authentic and makes me smile so it is staying.  My world is not always pretty.  ;-)

I started the edit with the top panel sliders.

- The image was too dark so I upped the exposure to +1.35.

- I used the eyedropper and clicked on the white of his eye to try to fix the white balance.  It still wasn't great and I had to add a bit more yellow (temp) and a tiny bit of red (tint). I usually play around with the Temp and Tint until the skin looks natural.

-I fine-tuned the exposure by playing with the Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks until the contrast looked really nice.  Then I upped the Vibrance to add some additional color to his eyes and hair.

After I made these changes I could really see all of the noise in the image due to the low light conditions. Lightroom has an excellent noise reduction panel and this is a simple fix.

I went down to Noise Reduction and moved the Color slider up until the noise didn't have weird colors in it.  Then I moved up the Luminance, Detail, and Contrast until the skin looked pretty and soft yet still retained detail.

I also went back up to the top edit panel and moved the tint down a bit to remove a bit more red.  Now I am finished.  :-)

I could have added a bit of clarity with a brush to make his eyes really pop, but I was too lazy and now I don't want to go back and take more screenshots.  So imagine his piercing eyes staring at you.

This image is not perfect, but it is so much better and will look great in my photo album.  I would prefer to get a perfect image "out-of-camera", but sometimes you have to work with a less than perfect image, and Lightroom always comes to the rescue!

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a difference! Thanks for sharing how you "saved" this photo. I will have to try this.