Lightroom Beginners Guide 4

In our Lightroom Absolute Beginners Guide 4 we are going to flirt a little with retouching. Retouching an image is way beyond what most people consider as “airbrushing”. (Yes, oh experienced togs, the term is still referred to). Dust spots and the like are easily got rid of by way of a variety of clone tools, one of which I will demonstrate in this tutorial. Proper retouching is an art, it’s a creative process. It’s not just getting rid of spots. So instead of the word ‘retouching’ I would like to use the term printing. Not in the traditional sense, as a physical print but in terms of revealing the hidden secrets of your file and interpreting them. I am eternally grateful to Gene Nocon, then the Ilford Printer of the Year way back then who first taught me the principles of printing and interpreting a B/W negative. You know I discussed stops in a previous blog. Check this out.

The first thing you have to do when ‘printing’ your file is decide how you want it to look. It’s a starting point and may well end up different but instead of randomly pushing sliders around have an idea what you want to do i.e. Get more detail from the shadows, cure the blown highlights, make the grass greener. Whatever… have a vision.
Lets start with the original image. It’s not the greatest boat picture but it does include a lot of techniques to get you started. You can download it here if you want to practice. Let me explain that you will use different techniques for different images so this is in no way a template for other images. It’s just a bit of practice.

The Develop Module

Go to the Develop Module. Press (D). I want this to be a vibrant picture with loads of punch. I want the boats to stand out but I also want the person in the yellow shirt taking a selfie on the platform to be seen. So I pumped the sharpening and the clarity

stage 1 detail basic

Changed the temperatures and changed the crop angle

stage 2

Increased the exposure by +0.50


Add a graduated filter to the sky To selected a graduated filter go to the Tools and select the oblong! shortcut (M.) In the color picker select a blue and apply to the sky by holding down Shift and starting at the top of the picture drag down towards the people on the platform. Go back to the color picker and slide the pointer around until you get something nice.

stage 4

Select the Brush Tool (K) and using the [ ] brackets make it big enough to cover the ground at the bottom of the picture. I want this darker so set the exposure to  +0.50 and paint over the area. Move the exposure slider until you have the desired result.


I did not like the colour of the sky so use the Graduated Filter (M) again and set a colour of yellow and apply.

stage 6

The image is still a little dull. so I increased exposure to +0.62 and the Whites to +65

stage 7

Lastly. Do we want the canoe in the shot? Lets take him out. Select the spot removal tool (Q), resize using the [ ] brackets and paint over him. If it don’t look good then press (H) and you can see where the clone tool has chosen the pixels it needs to replace. Move the selection to some water to get it to match the surrounding water.

stage 8

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