Fake that sunset in Lightroom 4

So many landscapes have these amazing sunsets, nuclear red skies with amazing orange hues….

Do you think they “really” looked like that when the photographer was there?

Here’s a demo of how easy they are to fake in Lightroom 4….

  1. Original Look
  2. Tone and Saturation changes
  3. Tidy up dust and lift the dark areas
  4. Lens correction
And that’s it really – just click on the photo to advance through the images

Strobist Portrait – LIGHTROOM 4 Edit

“Strobist” shot Rescue

This is a shot from a test session – the aim was to try shooting wide open with the 85mm F1.8 to get blurry backgrounds and a sharp subject.

Again, it’s not a prize winning photo we’re using, more one which you’d probably not bother with.

Lets see what you can do with it in Lightroom…

So the progression of these shots in Lightroom are… click on the photo to advance through the stages

  1. White balance and tone
  2. Clarity and vibrance
  3. Slight curves adjustment
  4. Colour changes
  5. Lens profile correction
  6. Crop (to get rid of the softbox, which was top right, and some selective brush changes
  7. Mono conversion

Lightroom 4 to the rescue!

You can’t always win ūüôĀ

Some days were just not made for¬†landscape¬†photography, unfortunately my recent Northumberland trip had 3 consecutive days….

Not one to be defeated, I did clamber onto some rocks and get a few wave shots, but as you can see here there was little help from the ambient light.

Also, I’d found an old 3-stop ND filter that fitted my 28mm F1.8 lens, so used that – it gave a pretty horribly magenta cast….

The untouched RAW File

So to rescue it in Lightroom… here’s a few steps to show you what it can do – I’ll add that the final result isn’t going to win any awards! This is for demonstration purposes only.

White balance and dust

So step 1, get a proper white balance (you can do this if you shoot RAW) and zap the dust bunnies – I’ve missed one next to the “a” on my logo, but removed that later.

Tone Adjustments

Step 2, have a play with the “Tone” controls, here you can pull detail out of the darker areas like the rocks, also create contrast in the water – the water being the main interest here of course.

Presence Adjustments

Next step, Presence…

Clarity is like “contrast on steroids” and seems to pull detail out of thin air, so on this step I’ve added a fair chunk of that, and added a bit of Vibrance too, just to see whether I can get that seaweed to stand out more. Note that the rocks seem a little reddish…

Colour Adjustments

In this step, I had a go with the colour sliders, upping the¬†luminance¬†of the seaweed and lowering the saturation of the rocks a bit – it’s had very little effect as the colours are pretty muted, though the seaweed does stand out a little more.

Lens corrections

Here we’ve sharpened, levelled the horizon (wasn’t far out) and added in Lens Correction. Not a huge change really.

Selective Brush Adjustments

And finally, some “selective” adjustments with the brush tool. This is where the real power comes in – being able to paint changes on specific parts of the shot. You’ll notice that the water has more punch, the sky is darker, the rocks brighter… you can’t do these enhancements “globally”, they need to be selective.

Were you to do this in Photoshop, you’d need to know about layers and masks (or use the Dodge/Burn tools and change pixels – a bad thing), but in Lightroom V4, it’s really simple to do with the brush tool.

You can¬†obviously¬†do more in Photoshop, dropping in a few clouds, add in some birds, a boat and fisher man…. whatever you like!

So there you go – a demonstration of how a RAW shot with very little potential can have detail pulled out of it, contrast and vibrance added and transform it a little…. but its also proved that,¬†to get a decent shot, you need decent light in the first place ūüėČ



Inside the Sage

Sanctuary on a wet day

When it rains in Newcastle, it’s time to head inside – and the Sage was perfect. A huge complex of¬†theatres, all under a curvy roof, designed by Norman Foster.

They are fine with people taking photos here, which is refreshing as most places in Leeds chase you out the second you get an SLR camera out. They said they were “proud of the sage” and liked it being photographed! Tell that to the owners of The Light in Leeds!

Anyway – here are a few shots, all hand held with fast prime lenses, which show the inside of the place – enjoy!


Brass Musician – Training Shoot

McFade¬†Training’s Brass Night at the Lyric

April’s taster session saw delegates return to the amazing venue that is the Lyric Cinema.¬†This¬†month we ventured away from the main¬†auditorium¬†into the more abandoned looking areas¬†around the¬†projector rooms – the prefect backdrop.

Chris Colbran and Sam Houghton were the subjects this time, both professional musicians working in many bands in Yorkshire and beyond, so as well as looking very cool for the photos, they both entertained by playing their trombone and sax.

We shot with both bare flash and soft light, to show the difference in lighting you get from these sources. Also added in a second light to many setups to demonstrate how a back light can completely transform a shot.

Here’s a slideshow from the evening – photographs from Mark Searle, Phil Gledhill, Dave Goodman and Ade Wilson – click on the show to advance through the photos.

Photography in the Lyric, Leeds

Leeds Training at the Lyric!

Here’s a few shots from March’s McFade Training evening in the Lyric Theatre in Armley.

The subject was “an introduction to Off Camera Flash” and had people using our speedlite system to capture Rocco, Salman and Eleni in the dramatic setting of an old, disused cinema.

Have a go……

The idea of these evenings is less about “tuition” and more about “having a go” – and those wanting to know more can book onto a seminar or full workshop.

Anyway – here are a selection of Eleni, a fantastic dancer from Cyprus who added so much to the evening.

All the photos here were taken using one flash and one umbrella to diffuse the light – just a bit of techy stuff ūüôā

Where Should Photographers Invest Time Online?

What’s Most Effective….

So many different websites¬†for photographers these days…

There are many varieties :-

  • “Fun” social media – casual chat on facebook, twitter, foursquare etc.
  • “Serious” social media – Facebook Business Pages and Linked IN
  • Blogging – share your wisdom
  • Website galleries – show those shots off!
  • Photo community sites – 500px, ephotozine, flickr
  • Youtube and video sites – moving piccies!
Or maybe it’s better to go out there doing SEO for your website, forget all about your photos and get people to your site ?

Social Media

Well “Social Media” will probably get the biggest audience…
  • Twitter – you are “visible” to the whole world. Add on hash tags you may be seen by a specific audience too. You can even directly name people you want to see the photos! Now that’s powerful.
  • Facebook for fun – you can get very active and fill your wall with lots of photos. This can lose you followers if you go too far! Also, try to choose your photos wisely – ones which evoke a reaction. Either exceptional quality, funny or caption it with an amusing/emotional remark.
  • Facebook Pages – these need promoting more and more now – i.e. you need paid adverts. I have 2500 followers on my page, posts usually reach just 25-50 of those unless they are promoted
  • LINKED IN – I’d use this to promote “useful blogs” than to just post photos. Linked in can be a very dry experience, so the odd photo will brighten up the experience for people!
  • Google + – the best thing ever for SEO, though no one will ever read it… apparently.
  • The rest – Tumbr, Pinterest, Instagram… these all have their place, and tools like IFTTT can “share” your photos to these automatically, saving you time… worth a look.


We should all do this – you can get free blog accounts on Blogger or get yourself a WordPress site.
SEO is, apparently, all about “great content” these days – so creating genuinely useful lists and tips, or even reviews and discussion, is what we are all supposed to do now.
So next time you are about to broadcast lots of photos, how about writing a short blog with a gallery of images, instead of just posting the images. You then use social media to advertise it – with one of those “click bait” titles of course.
Here’s why:-
  • you control image quality – facebook compresses your photos and makes them look terrible!
  • you drive traffic to your site – more hits, more SEO
  • more links to your site – every link and share to your piece generates SEO
  • get a readership – if you’re pretty regular, people look out for your content!
  • become an “expert” – as you build your library of articles, your credibility grows….
  • appear “busy” to the world – a busy blog gives the impression you are busy and successful, a business to hire!

Making money!

So if¬†you want to¬†“make money” online, where should you¬†spend your their “online time”?

Not an easy one with stock photography being saturated Рbut there are opportunities:-

  • on-line galleries – Photobox, red bubble etc. do tee shirts, cups, prints etc.
  • affiliate marketing – get commission be recommending and linking to¬†other people’s products
  • stock libraries – its time consuming, so pick one which has a LIGHTROOM upload plugin to speed the process
  • sell guides or training – if you’ve got something to show, maybe get a course together and sell it on-line
  • books – Blurb hooks up with LIGHTROOM so you can quickly create books and upload them to their library, and there are many others out there.

It’s a challenge – the main one is being found in the first place and taken seriously

Over to you…

What do you think – have you had any especially outstanding results from a particular channel online?

Lets see if a WordPress BLOG post can actually stimulate a discussion…!