Today’s incredible camera technology and software lends us the ability to fix poorly captured images after the fact. You can now take what once would’ve been lost and fix it in post into a beautiful and memorable image. Use this technique only when you don’t have the time or equipment to capture the proper settings on location. This bright and pastel look is the perfect vibe for photos captured on the go.
Before we begin, be sure to download the exercise file and follow along as I edit on Lightroom!
We’ve teamed up with Adorama to bring you a series of photography tutorials called “Master Your Craft” to be featured on their Youtube Channel. Subscribe to see more of our videos on their channel that covers all things photography-related from lighting and posing to editing to help you hone your skills and master your craft and don’t forget to check out our playlist to watch the entire series! In this video, I’ll be demonstrating how you can fix it in post in Lightroom.
Video: How to Fix It in Post in Lightroom
The image is quite simple. My family and I came across a small patch of ferns on a family hike. I placed my newborn daughter, Josie, just behind the ferns. Then, I got down low and framed Josie against the bright patch of sky with the trees providing a natural vignette.
Adjusting the Tones
Simply brightening the image causes a washed out image. They key is to bring the details back into the highlights. Rather than starting with the sliders, I’ll be starting with the tone curve.
Begin by pulling down the white point which turns the bright whites into a softer light gray. We’ll be doing the same with the black point by lifting it up to soften the shadows.
Then, pull the mid-tone highlights down, raise the mid-tone shadows, and pull the shadows down. This creates a strange tone curve that softens the highlights and reduces overall contrast.
Here, I restore the whites and blacks to the clipping point and lower highlights and raise shadows to bring back the details in the image.
Tonally, the image looks significantly better. We’ll be tackling color next.
I noticed that the greens and yellows are blown out with hints of blue that don’t need to be there. Rather than starting with the vibrance/saturation sliders, I’ll start with HSL. The goal is to group the colors together. I’ll start with the hues by pulling the red and orange toward the pink to negate the excessive green. Then, I’ll push the yellows, greens, cyans, and blues toward to teal.
Using the saturation sliders, I’ll reduce the yellows and greens as well as the blues. Lastly, I’ll brighten the greens and yellows.
To wrap it all up, I warmed up the entire image using the white balance slider and with some final tweaks, we end up with our final image.
Fix it in Post Using Presets
This look is based on our Pastel Presets from Visual Flow. Be sure to save the settings out as your own preset if you like how it looks. Whenever you create your own presets, I recommend basing them on lighting conditions. I’ve created Visual Flow using a patented system of identifying lighting conditions. The result is a simplified and consistent workflow. After selecting the preset, I just raise the exposure, white balance, and tweak the contrast.
These presets are tuned to many specific lighting conditions. By using these presets, I can have an entire wedding edited within a day.
Conclusion: You Should Fix it in Post
I hope this article/video provided more insight on how much flexibility you have in post production. Just be sure to shoot in RAW to retain as much information as possible. RAW images provide plenty of latitude to fix it in post and give your image the same bright pastel look.
For more comprehensive tutorials, check out our Mastering Lightroom course from our Premium Content library and be sure to visit Visual Flow for the entire collection of lighting based presets.