Weekly Ordinary To Extraordinary Lightroom Edit

In this tutorial we’ll be showing you how to edit a vintage black and white photo for a couples portrait. Some photos from an engagement shoot will have the potential to be edited with a timeless black and white look, and we’re going to show you how to edit with that style.

[Note: In the new Lightroom Presets v5, we have revamped all of the presets to improve image tonality and quality, allowing you to achieve even more amazing results. We’ve also added 95 new presets to reach a total of 311 presets in what is the gold standard of Lightroom image processing. In this series we’ll be going over how to use the new v5 presets to create great looking photos.  Click Here to learn more or purchase the system.]

With each of our Ordinary to Extraordinary Edits, we’re going to first be going through how we create our effects with the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, then we’ll be going through the details in the develop settings so everyone can understand exactly how we get to a specific look. This way, whether you have the presets or not, everyone can benefit from watching this video or reading the article below. For those that have the preset system, you can see the Preset Mixology below:

My Mixology

  • 01-20 BASE – SOFT STYLIZED: 23d. Dark Fade – Filmic B&W
  • 03-00 ADJUST – EXPOSURE: 09. Brighten +2.0
  • 03-40 ADJUST – SHADOWS BLACKS: 43. Darken – Medium (-15, -30)
  • 03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 38. Contrast Boost – Heavy
  • 04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 11e. Max Film Grain

Local Area Adjustments

  • Graduated Filter: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops
  • Adjustment Brush: 03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops
  • Adjustment Brush: 43 Heavy Desharpener

Watch The Vintage Black and White Edit for Engagement Shoot Video

The Composition

In this photo we’re shooting with a ton of negative space with our “upground” (technically our background, but because we’re shooting up to our couple we call it an upground). I also carefully composed this photo so that the leading lines are all pointed towards the couple.

Global Area Adjustments

This image is the perfect candidate for a vintage black and white image. We have no modern elements in the photo (like iPads or Ferraris), and there aren’t many great colors. I’m going to apply the “01-20 BASE – SOFT STYLIZED: 23d. Dark Fade – Filmic B&W” and “03-00 ADJUST – EXPOSURE: 09. Brighten +2.0” presets to get this edit started.

lightroom presets
Original | Dark Fade Preset | +2.0 Brighten Preset

This image is starting to look good, but I’m going to do a couple more adjustments to make it really pop. I’m going to adjust the Shadows, and I don’t want the Shadows to be too bright because the image will look flat, but I don’t want the Shadows to be too dark because I’ll loose too many details in the black suit.

The “03-40 ADJUST – SHADOWS BLACKS: 43. Darken – Medium (-15, -30)” preset gives me the perfect Shadow adjustment. I’m also going to add in some Contrast with the “03-30 ADJUST – CONTRAST: 38. Contrast Boost – Heavy” preset. To add to the vintage black and white look we’re going for I’m going to add a the “04-10 SFX – FILM & LENS: 11e. Max Film Grain” preset.

shadows contrast film grain
Shadows Darken | Contrast Boost | Max Film Grain

In just 5 clicks we took our image from an ordinary couples portrait, to a romantic vintage black and white photo. The presets did all the work for us and you can see that by how many adjustments they made in our Develop Settings. Here’s what our Develop Settings look like after our presets are applied.

lightroom develop settings

Now that we’re done with our global adjustments, we’re going to move on to the Local Area adjustments with a Graduated Filter. I’m using the “03 Burn (Darken) -0.5 Stops” preset and starting from the top of the image, I’m pulling the filter all the way down. Then I’m going to use an Adjustment Brush with the same preset applied and darken the upground around the couple.

lightroom graduated filter adjustment brush
Graduated Filter | Adjustment Brush

The last adjustment I’m making to this image is with the Adjustment Brush with the “43 Heavy Desharpener” preset. What I’m going for is a soft lens effect that’s going to compliment the vintage tones in this image. To see where this Adjustment Brush was applied please reference the video in the beginning of this article.

heavy desharpener

Now we’re done with our edit! Here’s what our image looks like before and after our presets and adjustments are applied.





Conclusion and Learn More

We hope you all enjoyed this tutorial. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets v5, please click any of the links in this article.

Stay tuned for more SLR Lounge Weekly Edits!