Ever wonder how other photographers edit their photos? I always have. That’s why I created these tutorials to guide you through my process of editing a photo!

Note: transferring images between Lightroom and Photoshop will only work successfully if you shot your images in RAW.

CULLING IN LIGHTROOM

  1. Transfer your images from your camera into Lightroom
  2. In the Develop mode, go through all of your images, ‘culling’ them down to your selections.
  3. Do this by assigning star ratings to each photo. Simply highlight an image and press ‘1’ to give it a 1 star rating.
  4. Go through the entire batch of photos, marking off ones you like with a 1 star rating.
  5. On the bottom right, change your filter to be images that are only 1 star and above. C the culling process, now assigning 2 star ratings to images that stand out.
  6. Continue this process until you have selected your final set of photos.
  7. Once selected, transfer the selected photos into Photoshop by highlighting a photo and then going to Photo > Edit In > Edit In Adobe Photoshop

MAIN EDITS IN PHOTOSHOP

  1. Begin by clicking Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Set your numbers to 170%, 2.0 Pixels, and 0 levels.
  2. In the Adjustments panel, click Threshold. A properties box will open up with a threshold chart. Drag the small grey pointer under the threshold chart to the left until your image is completely white except for one black area. Right click on your eye dropper tool in the tools bar and select the Color Sampler Tool. Click on the black patch with the sampler tool, creating a virtual pinpoint. You’ve just created a pinpoint of the darkest part of your image, called your black point. On your layers panel, delete the threshold layer you’ve just created. The layer will be deleted, but the pin won’t.
  3. Repeat this process, creating a new threshold layer, but this time, drag your grey pointer completely to the right, until the image is completely black except for one white area. Select the Color Sampler Tool. Click on the white patch with the sampler tool, creating a virtual pinpoint. You’ve just created a pinpoint of the lightest part of your image, called your white point. On your layers panel, delete the second threshold layer you’ve just created. The layer will be deleted, but the pin won’t.
  4. In the Adjustments panel, click Levels. A properties box will open up with a levels chart. Click on the top eye dropper tool to the left of the chart, then click on the first threshold pin you made. The image will alter to reflect the set black point.
  5. Repeat this process, clicking on the bottom eye dropper tool to the left of the chart, then clicking on the second threshold pin you made. The image will alter to reflect the set white point. Tip: If your image looks off after selecting your white and black points, you can manually adjust the levels chart by pulling in the sliders on the left and right corners of the chart.
  6. Go back to your adjustments panel and click Curves. A properties box will open up with a curve chart. In the dropdown presets menu, select Linear Contrast.
  7. Repeat this process, clicking on Curves in the adjustment panel, then opening the dropdown presets menu. This time, select Lighter.
  8. Go back to your adjustments panel and click Selective Color. A properties box will open up with different color sliders. At the top under the color dropdown menu, select Neutrals. Bring the grey triangle in your Black slider to the right between 0-10%, then adjust the other sliders accordingly to balance the neutral hues.
  9. Repeat this process within the same layer, this time selecting Blacks in the color dropdown menu. Bring the grey triangle in your Black slider to the right between 0-10%, then adjust the other sliders accordingly to balance the black hues.
  10. Repeat this process once more within the same layer, selecting Whites in the color dropdown menu. This time, bring the grey triangle in your Black slider to the left between -0- -10%, then adjust the other sliders accordingly to balance the white hues.
  11. Go back to your adjustments panel and click on Hue/Saturation. Increase your saturation between 0-20.
  12. Go to File > Save. Your image will now be transferred back into Lighroom in a .tiff file format. It will also be saved automatically into the folder that the original file is in.

FINAL EDITS IN LIGHTROOM

  1. Once back in Lightroom, select your photo and make sure you’re in the Develop mode. Scroll down to Lens Corrections in your editing panel and select Enable Profile Corrections. Under Setup, choose Custom, then insert your lens information into Lens Profile.
  2. Scroll up to Detail and, under Sharpening, increase your sharpening amount to anywhere from 70-110. Under Noise Reduction, increase your luminance to anywhere from 50-80.
  3. Do any final adjustments needed, including using the Spot Remover tool to remove imperfections or using the Adjustment Brush to do a final sharpening mask of the center of your subject.
  4. Last- and always last- crop your image.
  5. Save the image by going to File > Export, and save your file as a .jpeg under a custom name.

10 comments

Reply

Thanks for the great post! I love the tutorial videos. Can you provide an idea of how much space RAW images take up on a memory card versus compressed images?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Meaghan! Great question. RAW images take up about 25MB of space, while compressed images can be anywhere from 1-5MB. Do let me know if you have other questions and don’t hesitate to email me if you’d like to talk more!

Reply

Thank you for these tutorials – I am such a beginner that I got a little overwhelmed with it all. Do you have a suggestion for someone who is really starting out? I do have a good camera although I normally just use my phone. So basically, I am a complete novice:)
Thanks in advance for your time!
Best,
Sharon

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Sharon!
Happy to help. I would scour the internet for food photography basics, and try to photograph things every chance you get. I’m a huge proponent of learning by doing, so that is my biggest piece of advice. You will want to force yourself to use the manual settings on your camera to get used to photographing completely manually. Also, the book Plate To Pixel is a great start for someone learning the basics.
Good luck!

Reply

Hi Sarah,
Can you please explain a little the reasoning behind the unsharp mask settings you have? 170% seems like an awful lot and wanted to understand why this high?

Thanks!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi James! Yes, 170% is high for something like portraits being printed, but for web graphics that become a smaller dpi, they often look blurry without this boost. Hope this helps, and thanks for asking!

Reply

Thanks for the quick response Sarah, makes sense!

Reply

Thanks Sarah! Great tutorials. I just got Photoshop after using only Lightroom and I see the usefulness of having both!

Reply

Hi Sarah,

When I was hit “save” and it transported the image back into Lightroom, it seems that it didn’t transport every layer…almost like it transported everything except the highlight and contrast layers. Any idea why? They’re all selected, but the difference was obvious.

Reply

Finally just watching this! GREAT resource, Sarah. I typically just go right into Lightroom and work in there, but I might try going into Photoshop first now 🙂

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