Snipping Tool / Screen Capture

Because raw files are being used, some services will struggle with the file size or format. For a quick and easy way to get a useable file the screen capture tools on Windows or Mac can be used.

The snipping tool on Windows – Windows + shift+S
The capture tool in Mac – Cmd + Shift + 4

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is the industry standard image editing and management software. Most other software has copied from Lightroom, so if you can use this you can use anything.

Image of Adobe Lightroom Control Panel

Ethics of Manipulating Images

Steve Mcurry image

At every stage of creating a photographic image, we can ‘manipulate’ or ‘edit’ the image. It could be something as simple as changing the colour and contrast, making an image black and white, removing dust and marks, or it could be removing or adding to an image in a way that changes the context and story.

Photographic images are all about the frame, the meaning or context of an image can be changed by what we exclude or leave out as much as by what is in the image.

In most instances editing an image is about improving the quality, but where do we draw the line? Is it ethical to edit a documentary or journalistic image which is supposed to portray reality? What about a fashion image? Is it okay to edit out blemishes, to soften a persons skin, to remove spots and scars, to change the shape of their body?

What do you think about the story about Steve McCurry? Do you think he stepped over an ethical line?

Importing images into Lightroom / Photoshop

To IMPORT images into Adobe Lightroom, click IMPORT in the bottom left corner of the screen. This will bring up the dialogue box

On the left select your Memory card, your images will be displayed in a grid on the right select the destination folder) a new folder can be added). Click IMPORT in the bottom right corner

Selecting images to edit

Image of Lightroom import panel

The initial stage of editing is selecting the best images from the ones you have captured. That may be a single image or a range of images depending upon what the final output for your photographs is.

When selecting images to edit, try not to compromise. The more things that need correcting in an image, the more time will be spent editing instead of taking more photographs. When shooting your images, consider every detail, try and get everything right. Editing images will then only be about improving the colour, contrast and basic elements.

The best approach is to go through your images initially, very quickly removing any out of focus, unusable or incorrectly exposed images and choosing between duplicates. Then go through the images again, taking more time with each image to identify the best composed images, You may have to do this multiple times to reduce the selection to an appropriate number.

Lightroom has a range of tools for selecting images with stars, flags and colours. You can also make collections of images.
Flags are chosen on the keyboard with 
P – pick/ flag
U – Unpick
X – Reject
Numbers 1-5 – Stars
Numbers 6-0 – colours

Starting in Lightroom Classic

Link to a video on YouTube that gives a run through of Adobe Lightroom Classic, to get you started editing your images. From import to export, editing and adjusting images and using the basic tools.

Main Adjustment Panel

The main adjustments in Lightroom are done in the DEVELOP module accessed by clicking DEVELOP in the top right of the window. The image shows the main adjustment panel, it is on the right of the Lightroom window, this is where most of the image adjustments will be done. 

Take the time to go through each slider and see how it affects your image. You can undo anything you do to the image because it is a non-destructive editor, the changes are not saved until the image is exported after editing.

To reset all changes click reset at the bottom of the toolbar, to reset individual modules hold the ALT key and click on the reset option in each module.

Editing an Image in Adobe Lightroom Classic

A run through a basic Adobe Lightroom workflow from beginning to end.

Reducing Noise in Adobe Lightroom

One of the issues with shooting long exposures or high ISO is the possibility of introducing noise into your images. Although this is becoming less and less of a problem with advances in camera technology, there will still be times where you want to reduce noise in your images.

Another cause of noise is trying to correct an underexposed image, as you try to pull detail by adjusting an image, noise will develop particularly in shadow areas..

Digital image noise is caused by electronic interference and heat and shows as variations in colour, contrast and brightness. It is the equivalent of film grain, looks like speckles and is most obvious in shadow areas.

Noise can be reduced quite simply with the noise reduction tools in Adobe Lightroom. The tools can be found in the detail section of the Develop panel.

The image below shows the difference in an image before and after noise reduction has been added. In the before image substantially more noise is visible.

Monochrome / Black & White

Image of Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams represents a benchmark for most photographers. He was a master photographer based in the Yosemite Valley in the USA. He did shoot occasionally in colour, however he is most remembered for his spectacular black and white landscape images. The most famous of these is Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.

There are some quite old fashioned ideas about the use of black and white. Some people still believe that for documentary photography to have legitimacy, it must be in Black and White. However, this is very much based on traditions of press photography, where photographers had no choice but to use black and white, as that was what the newspapers printed, until the first colour newspaper, Today, started publishing in 1986.

Using black and white is now an aesthetic choice for the photographer. Some cameras allow black and white jpg images to be shot in camera, however if RAW images are being used, the black and white will be stripped when the images are imported where the choice between black and white or colour ultimately becomes a post-production choice.

Do you think the images below are better in Black and White or in Colour?

Comparison Black and White to Colour Photograph
Comparison Black and White to Colour Photograph

Editing Black & White in Adobe Lightroom

Image showing Adobe Lightroom black and white dialogue

Where photographers such as Ansel Adams would spend days in a darkroom trying to perfect a black and white print, in Adobe Lightroom, the first step is to press the button BLACK AND WHITE in the panel in the left hand menu.

Export an Image

Export an image from Adobe Lightroom

To export (save) edited images to use elsewhere, press the export button in the bottom left corner of the Lightroom window. This brings up a window that allows you to select the location to export to, the image size and resolution and sharpening.

Colour Calibration

Image of a colour calibration spyder

Because the brightness, colour and contrast of computer monitors can be changed, our images can look different on various screens and devices. Colour calibration involves measuring and correcting your monitor to a known state. This means that it will reproduce your images in the same way as your camera, which is also calibrated to this known state. 

Although there is no way to know what the screen your audience will be looking at it on will see, calibration allows us consistency across our images, whether on screen or printed. It is always a good option to examine your images on as many devices as possible, to get an idea of what the average is. 

Calibration can be done through a combination of hardware and software.

There are software only solutions built into computer operating systems but they are not as effective or accurate as a hardware system. 

Display Screen Health and Safety

Computer Health and Safety Diagram

Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
Keep track of how long you spend in front of the screen, take breaks. The recommended time is 5-10 minutes for every 60 minutes and 60-90 second breaks every 30 minutes.