Exposure Balancing via Lightroom | Transcription

In this video, I want to quickly run through how we would do our exposure balancing inside of Lightroom. It’s very quick, very simple and the whole process should take well under a minute when you do it on your own, at least once you get used to it. Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that this type of kind of lighting large groups via multiple flashes and kind of feathering those flashes and the light source and so forth, isn’t necessarily an ideal group lighting technique. If I were hired to do, say an editorial shot of a group and that was the only shot I was needed to create, I would do it via different techniques.

I would use larger light sources, larger modifiers and even compositing if necessary. When you’re shooting weddings or events or when you’re shooting on the go and you don’t have that kind of, well you don’t have the time afforded to you to do those types of more advanced lighting setups, then these techniques are absolutely fantastic because they get you to a very professional result with very minimal gear and time. That’s what we’re going to show you here. Okay, so basically what we’re going to do is, all we’re going to do is open up the image inside of Lightroom and you can see that the top image here, this is the fully raw image.

We haven’t done a single thing to this image. You can see how nice it looks coming out of camera. The whole goal of this was again, remember to get the left and the right side of the groups, basically everyone in the group within a half stop in exposure range. We can see that maybe a little bit on the outside over here, they’re a little bit on the dark side, maybe a tiny bit over here. We could also do a few things like maybe darken up the ground a little bit and then top part of the image a little bit too. All in all, it’s very close to being finished. What do we do?

Well for this image, we complete the post-production in two simple clicks using the Lightroom preset system. Now of course, if you don’t have the preset system, then just adjust in your basic raw processing settings at that point. From there, we’re just using basic graduated filters and brushes to dodge and burn various areas of the image and again, if you don’t have the presets, you can always pause and just dial in manually. All we’re doing is doing negative point five up to a point five burn or dodge on every side of the image and then you’ll just kind of tweak and adjust manually from there to get them all balanced.

From left to right, we’re pulling in graduated filters across the frame. Again, with a point stop difference on each one to basically burn or dodge as necessary going across the group. We’re going from left to right. Remember to hold down shift when you’re doing that just to constrain that horizontal angle. It will basically constrain it so it only follows that little line. Okay, now what we want to make sure that again, we’re not doing more than half stop adjustments because anything more than that is going to become noticeable, particularly in the background, where the background will just noticeably all the sudden get brighter in a certain area.

Just kind of watch that. I pulled down graduated filters from the top to burn down the light that spills a little bit onto the ceiling just to get a more kind of nice ambient light and kind of that more moody look to the image and I also burned down just a little bit on the floor at the bottom. Again, to kind of bring in the attention from outside of the image down to the center of the image where we have our bright subjects right in the middle and we kind of reduce that spill on the ground a little bit. Okay, if necessary you can use an adjustment brush to target any other areas, do any dodging and burning if needed, but that’s really it.

The entire process literally should take 30 seconds to a minute tops to balance out a shot that has been shot correctly. If you haven’t shot it correctly, if there’s a major difference in the exposure, it’s not going to be that simple and you might even need Photoshop because you end up having to do basically layering and masking and fixing numerous things of the image to get it to look right. With the properly shot image and about 30 seconds inside of Lightroom, we get to a fantastic image using the most simple of lights and light modifiers on a very large group.

Hopefully you can see how robust this technique can be in getting you to an amazing image with just very minimalistic gear and approach that is extremely quick, that will actually fit the pace of a wedding day or an event.