Before and After: Photo Editing in Lightroom

Creating beautiful pictures isn’t easy – many photos you see on websites and Instagram took many hours of work and planning. I wanted to share some secrets I use for editing my pictures.

The snap below is from my recent trip to Charleston, SC. Rainbow Row is gorgeous, however the street is lined by trees and thus the light was not great. There was also a constant parade of people coming by or standing about, which made it hard to snap a photo without random people in it… but hey, it is a tourist attraction!

Editing is a very personal choice, some photographers like dark and gloomy colors and others (like me) enjoy more bright, high saturation images. I adore the golden hour for photo-taking, however I am not always able to hit that sweet spot for lighting. Below are the steps I took to create a bright, well-lit image.


Original photo of Rainbow Row with no edits

For this specific photo I decided to crop out the bush as it was crooked and took away from the photo (my personal choice). I also used Lightroom to straighten the photo as it wasn’t perfectly straight… I was shooting quickly on an angle, so hey it is understandable!

I used a sun-flare preset to add a little bit of brightness in the top left, as there was already a natural glow there. Presets are predetermined settings which you can purchase, this takes out a lot of the manual work for finding the right settings for your photos.

I boosted the warmth of the photo which makes it more yellow in color – cool would make it more blue in tone. Adding this light made the purple, pink, and green colors pop with just the right amount of haze. I adjusted exposure and saturation only slightly to my desired levels.


Photo after editing in Lightroom

I am still learning Lightroom and the nuances to photo editing. Watching tutorials online, as well as playing with different settings in the program has been helpful. The way to learn is by doing – you can always hit undo! As I said, not everyone likes the same edit to a photo… playing with various filters, presets, and light settings will allow you to determine what looks best to you.

Happy editing!

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