How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

July 22, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

In my last article I discussed the ways in which you can achieve speedy workflow through organisation, simple editing techniques and snappy image development - for a recap on my basic approach to image development take a look at Part 1.

In this second instalment I'd like to share with you some quick Lightroom creative techniques that you can immediately apply to your images with little effort.

Quick Creative Development Techniques

To a seasoned Photoshop user the capability of the Lightroom Development Module may seem inferior, however in my opinion it has everything I need. Although I have Photoshop in my arsenal of tools, the vast majority of my work is processed purely in Lightroom. If I do need the advanced editing facilities of Photoshop it's typically for fine colour correction or pixel repair which can not be achieved within Lightroom. I continually challenge myself to capture a wedding with a 'zero-photoshop' attitude. Getting it right in camera saves time in front of the screen and I've even been known to pull up weeds outside church in order to avoid editing images in Photoshop.

Diving in and playing with the Development Module controls is a great way to experiment and you'll often create a great style which should immediately be saved as a preset. That said, my workflow is less about experimentation and more about speed which is why it pays to have an idea of what you want to achieve. This will focus your efforts and reduce the amount of 'play'.

When it comes to creative image development the Lightroom Basic panel allows for some pretty interesting looks; more on that below. I also make regular use of the HSL & Split Toning panels to give my images that extra creative punch.

One of my favourite and most simple techniques is to create a HDR effect using just the tools available in the Basic panel. This works particularly well with portrait sessions or dramatic wedding images.

Below is an example of an image straight out of the camera that was captured for a portrait session.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

I thought this image would work pretty well in black and white with the ‘HDR' effect to add drama and depth. Before applying this effect however I first apply my usual colour temperature and exposure adjustments (more detail in Part 1) to achieve a well balanced image resulting in the following image.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

We still have a pretty dull image. Here comes the fun part.

First ramp up the fill light slider which will result in a pretty awful looking image. In this example I increased the Fill Light to 57. Here's the resulting image.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

Now increase the Black slider until the image looks pleasing, in this example I have set the Blacks slider to 31. This process may include a little extra black clipping, which can be checked with the 'Show Clipping' feature (J on the keyboard), and you should use your judgement to set an appropriate amount. This technique can quickly add drama and depth to an image with very little effort.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

My final adjustments to this image are to switch it to Black & White and to add a graduated filter with negative exposure to bring back a little detail in the clouds. Below is a before and after comparison.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 2

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