REFER TO YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOVE FOR MORE DETAILS
Since Adobe Lightroom version 1.0 hit the scene in 2007 it's changed the way professional photographers and hobbyist view, manage and process their exciting and memorial photos. From surf photos to Milky Way photography I rely on Adobe Lightroom CC as my go to platform for post processing my images. In this tutorial I'm going to layout just a few of my basic methods that I use to go about from the start to end of processing a image.
The YouTube video above will dive into it much deeper and I recommend you checking it out. A definite watch to go along with this read. For you already users of Lightroom I hope this read and video can add a few tips and tricks to your already know how of this exciting intuitive platform to edit your surf photography. To those that have not yet dived into the world of Lightroom CC, I encourage you to do so. Please, if you have any further questions or just need a helping hand with Lightroom I'm only one click away.
The very first thing I do after importing all of my files into Lightroom connected directly to my Sony a7rii is go then directly to the develop module. I go straight down to the lens correction box on the very bottom right of the platform. Clicking on either basic or profile it opens up the opportunity to click on a box labeled "enable profile correction." This is where Lightroom fixes any issues with a lens if any. Such as barrel distortion, etc. As mentioned in the YouTube video the Sony 28mm f2.0 lens that I use 85% of the time is a marvelous piece of technology!
At a price less than $500 you darn right can't beat it! It's color rendering is amazing, the sharpness that you achieve on this piece of glass is remarkable, and it's lack of chromatic aberrations is starling in this price range. You can check out more details at DXO for their findings and rating of this amazing lens that I would strongly recommend to anyone looking for that first lens for their Sony A7.
The only issue that this lens suffers from is a bit of distortion. Which of course is easily corrected in Lightroom as seen in picture below. If you look closely at both images the landscape on the picture with the profile off has a curve on either end. Especially noticeable on the beach.
The next step I like to tackle is adding some punch and detail to the image especially on a darker image such as this one. I have a rule about never going past 40 on this slider. If you push it any further halos and unnatural lines my form around your subject matter in this case being the surfer. Reference video to get more details on this subject.
Step three in the process is hitting the shadow slider. In this situation I am going to pull out the shadows close to 100%! I normally never take it to far but knowing how amazing the dynamic range is in the Sonya7rii I have no doubt that it will retain its solid structure while bringing out details in the wave, the surfer and his board.
What's next is pumping up the exposure. The day I took this photo it was raining two straight days in California and this well known Orange County surf spot known as Seal beach was so dark and murky there was no chance of sunlight penetrating the ceiling of the wave to light up both this Huntington beach local surfer and the inside of the wave itself.
I went for broke and pulled the slider all the way to the right to giving me a gauge of how far I could go before the entire image was blown out. I then bring it back to find that happy medium so the wave, surfer and landscape were in the ball park of a proper exposure.
Because now the sky, beach and the exploding white wash of the wave is a little blown out to my liking I'm going to take the graduated filter tool and apply it to the top right of the photo and pull downward to about a foot or more above the surfers head. I then drop the exposure down to bring back that natural look to the sky and beach.
I then head to the saturation slider and pull to the right making sure not to over due it. I don't want the surfer having a green yellow tint to his skin. I noticed newbies tend to go pedal to the metal with this slider making the photo look unnatural adding funky tones to a persons skin tone, etc. It's all about the art of adding and taking away. Pull it way forward and bring it back to find that happy medium.
The next step is going up to and clicking on the brush tool which is right below the histogram and camera info box area. I want the surfer to POP off the screen showcasing him as the focus and main subject matter of the surfing image. I increased the exposure and shadows in the brush tool effects box and apply the effect to the surfer, surfboard and a small area around him.
I then went down to the erase section as seen in the YouTube video and wiped away the over exposed unnatural area around him on the wave. leaving the effect applied only onto the surfer himself. To finish up the edit I played with the contrast and black sliders in the basic drop down menu to achieve more of what my eyes seen when I captured this surfing photo on a epic morning surf session at Seal beach. To top it off with any other fine details I take it into Adobe Photoshop CC to size it up to post to Instagram, Facebook, and Surf line.