The LR adjustment tool is an often underestimated tool and is quite a powerful if you let it be your friend so I will try to give a few pointers to how I use it in editing. I have not had any training other than what I picked up from a quick read in Scott Kelby’s book; forums and from myself so what I say may not be the Lightroom law.
The important thing to remember is that any adjustments can be re-adjusted or removed. You cannot stuff it up in Lightroom although you can over-do the edit. A little can be a lot in photo editing so in most cases the viewer should not be able see where a photo has been edited.
Hit the K key to turn the adjustment brush off and on (I just re-learnt that!)
For dodge and burn: [dodge and burn comes from the darkroom and means to lighten or darken part/s of the photo] Many do not realize that “editing” was done in the darkroom and the main “editing” done was dodge and burn. To dodge; less light was allowed to hit the photographic paper and to burn more light was allowed to hit the paper. The trick was control how much and where those adjustments were made. And if it was done wrong that paper and time was wasted. Not a lot has changed; dodge and burn are very important tool with digital so let’s get back to digital dodge and burn.
Bush size set to suit the job. Hit “[or]” to make the bush larger/smaller
Leave the flow rate 100 most of the time
Leave the feathering at 100 most of the time
Over do the adjustment exposure settings so you can see where you have been with that bush, and reduce the effect to suit when you have covered the area.
TIP: it’s better the use small adjustments and add extra brushes [click new] for less obvious adjustment.
Every time you add a new brush a button/pin will appear on the image where the adjust was started. To turn this button off and on hit the H key. Hold the cursor over bush button and the area covered will turn red. There an auto mask box to tick that apparently shows as you are brushing, but mine does not work so that is why I just in/decrease exposure; or add colour.
Hit the delete key to remove a brush when the button is active [black dot in the middle]
The three main adjustments I use are exposure; contrast; clarity.
To put some bang into clouds I add 70+ contrast and 70+ clarity and maybe some more exposure. To add even more bang I will add another brush over top of the first one with or without the exposure adjustment. I may also add some colour to the highlights and shadows. .
looking a bit too dark but you will get the idea
You can go over all the sky area to/add darken/adjust contrast/clarity or some colour
To soften skin use less clarity and maybe sharpen. In LR 3 there is a preset bush for softening skin although I feel it over does it. Just reduce the effect to suit your image
To reduce small ripples in water: reduce clarity but 100 and maybe add some contrast. For stronger effect add another brush over the top off the first but don’t follow the first brush.
To brighten eyes, reduce feathering to 20 or less, add about 20 clarity; add a little saturation, add a little exposure, maybe add a little contrast. Is all about fiddling around to suit the photo you are working on
Time to bring in the eraser tool which will remove part/s of the brush effect.
I usually have feather at under 20 and flow at around 50 and sized to suit. Hit the “” keys.
Let’s say we mistakenly added some skin area when adding a brush to the eyes. I would increase the exposure for the bush so I could see more easily where I had gone over the skin. Then click on eraser and carefully remove the effect from the skin. A couple of passes will be needed if the bush flow is set under 100. When happy, return the exposure to a suitable level. You may find the white of the eye is too bright; use the eraser tool with flow set to 20 to balance that white area. Again, it may take a couple/few passes to get right. Remember; little at a time.
Very fine detail can be adjusted with the adjustment brush if you make it your friend and with just a little practise.
Good time to hit the Y key to see a before and after on the screen, or click the little window at the bottom LS corner of the adjustment panel to flick between before and after. BTW Always pays to make snap shot every now then; sort of a save button although LR does not a save button. Saving is done when you export the file; but the original file is still the original file
Couple key board short cuts I use. “D” turn on develop (edit)>>”G” turns on library grid to view thumbnails>> “E” puts one image on the screen>> “TAB” turns side panels on/off>> “L” turns the lights out/on>> “I” turns on/off the file #/info>> Keys 6,7,8,9 add/remove colour tags>>Keys 1to5 add/remove stars>> “J” will add the blacks and whites clipping>>I use “virtual copies” a lot when editing [right click on image and about 2/3 down]
The best tip is to get a LR book, I have scott kelby.
I’m happy to answer [try to anyway] any questions and accept any corrections to what I do.
This is to give you idea to what can be done with the adjustment bush; and yep; I have over do it.
To soften skin I used the preset which is -100 clarity and +25 sharpen. I went over the whole face and used the eraser on the lips, teeth and eyes mainly.
Teeth were whitened with a reduced preset [de-saturation]
Eyes were brightened>>reduced on whites
Background grass was darken and softened with -100 clarity; actually received two bushes [layers]
The blue top was darked with -60 brightness and -25 saturation
Under the eyes was softened again about -60
Hair was brightened with saturation +27 saturation.
The best tip is to get a LR book, I have scott kelby.
I’m happy to answer [try to anyway] any questions and accept any corrections to what I do