Video: 8 great Lightroom photo editing tips for beginners


posted Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 9:29 AM EDT


Photographer James Popsys has some great photo editing tips for beginners in his latest video. The first topic is cropping. It's certainly a basic photo editing skill, but don't let that fool you. It requires a careful, thoughtful approach. Cropping an image can completely transform an image. While we hope to nail our composition in camera and not need to crop an image at all, that's easier said than done. That's where cropping comes in.

Before beginning with other image edits, it's a good idea to crop so that you know what the final image frame contains. Why crop first? When making changes to your image's exposure or overall brightness, you should be using the histogram. Whenever you change your crop, the histogram changes, too, based on the information inside the frame. You don't want to change your exposure or curves with unnecessary information that won't be in your final image. For example, if you're going to crop out a dark or bright area, you don't want that brightness information showing up in your histogram.

After cropping, Popsys likes to turn his attention to exposure and white balance. These are both straightforward adjustments in Adobe Lightroom or any other photo editing software. Exposure and white balance have a significant impact on how your image looks. In simple terms, exposure is how bright or dark an image looks, and white balance is how cool or warm it is. Popsys thinks you should start your editing process with the adjustments that will make the biggest difference. Even if you don't change anything about cropping, exposure, or white balance, assessing these big three first is important because each of them can completely transform a photo all by itself.

So far, we've looked at adjustments that affect the entire image. These are often referred to as 'global adjustments.' There are also 'local' adjustments. These are adjustments to specific parts of a photo, rather than the entire image. Lightroom offers many ways to make precise adjustments, including intelligent masking tools, color range selection, luminance masks and even hand-drawn brush tools. While it will take some time to learn how to effectively use each local editing tool in Lightroom, improving these skills will pay off massively.

As important as local adjustments are – and they are essential – it's important always to keep your entire image in mind, even when you're spending a lot of time on a small part of the frame. If you've already cropped out unnecessary parts of your image, that means that all that remains is important and working together, so you must keep the whole image in mind. 'It's easy to miss things getting a bit odd,' as Popsys says. For example, if you adjust the sky in a photo, it's all too easy to realize that while you like the edited sky, it simply doesn't fit with the rest of the image. Employing a light touch when making any adjustment, especially local ones, is often the right approach.

For the rest of Popsys's eight photo editing tips for beginners, watch the full video above. If you want to see more of his videos, head over to James Popsys's YouTube channel. You can see more of his photography on his website and Instagram.

(Via James Popsys