Skills with Stills and Video – Part 2

Skills with Stills and Video – Second of a Series on Image Enhancement

— Order in which to make image adjustments

So you look at an image and wonder – uh, where do I begin? In general, you will want to adjust in this order:

  • 1 – white balance or color temperature
  • 2 – everything related to lights and darks: exposure, brightness, levels, tone curve, black point, recovery, and fill light.
  • 3 – contrast (though you kind of need to do that in conjunction with step 2, as many of those tweaks do affect contrast)
  • 4 – everything related to color, including saturation, vibrance, and HSL (as in Hue / Saturation / Lightness) Note that saturation and vibrance affect all colors in an image, whereas in HSL menu you can control the HSL of each individual color. It gives you incredible color control!
  • 5 – noise and sharpening, if needed

All this is pretty easy, actually, because this is  (generally) the tool order used by both Lightroom and Photoshop.

— Many small taps work better than one sledge hammer swing when image adjusting so don’t use too much of any one tool.

Making small changes using multiple adjustment tools works wonders over trying to fix problems with one adjustment tool only. Lightroom and Photoshop have so many options that you can – and should – use multiple tools, especially when making fairly extreme changes. For example, for exposure problems, use all tools in number 2 above and for color use all in number 4.  ~ Ellen Senisi