It's How You Use The Tool

After teaching photography for over 15 years, I have discovered the inspiring difference between how to use a software tool and how to apply it creatively.

There are many tools in Lightroom and even more in Photoshop. We have all seen the 1000 page volumes about all the new tools in any one given update of Photoshop. Lightroom began as a program for the advanced amateur, and is now following in the footsteps of its big brother Photoshop with seven different modules, all with many different tools to learn. The longer a program lives the more tools there are. This is overwhelming to a beginner and completely frustrating to a knowledgeable user who is unaware of where the new tools are located after an update.

While there are many resources out there that teach how to use Lightroom, they don't tell you how to look at your images critically. My job is to survive the updates, break the tools, then discover how to creatively apply them in my work and finally, teach to others a streamlined method that ultimately brings out the joy of photography.

One of my favorite tools in Lightroom is the “Tone Curve”. Within a minute I can completely alter the look and feel of an image. By plotting 2 points on the linear curve I can manipulate the contrast and luminosity according to the actual data of the particular image. Here is an image taken as a jpeg in broad daylight.

By creating a reverse “S” curve to reduce the contrast, I have made the harsh daylight soft. I chose a jpeg file for this example but this works even better with RAW files!

Life is short, take pictures!

- Marc