Lightroom’s masking capabilities have skyrocketed over the past year or so, making me love this editing software even more. But since Adobe introduced quite a lot of new masking features at once, it can also get a little confusing and easy to miss some of the fantastic tools that are now at your disposal. In his latest video, Michael Shainblum shares five masking techniques in Lightroom that will make your life easier and made editing more enjoyable.
I will preface this by saying that I am not an Adobe fanboy, and if this is not clear, I am not paid to praise the Lightroom Classic team in this post. In the last year or so, they have taken this software that seemed to be fading away in favor of the mobile-oriented Lightroom (that still lacks the calibration panel in the develop module) and transformed it into a powerhouse. And in the last version, they added an absolutely amazing new feature that makes film emulation a lot easier to the newest version of Lightroom. And nobody’s talking about it. So let me be the one.
When it comes to editing photos, most of us probably have a workflow that we developed years ago. We start with our global adjustments, then we focus on specific elements of the image to even things out. Perhaps we add a gradient mask in camera raw or Lightroom, or maybe we make some fancy selections and start tweaking in Photoshop. But is this still the best way to go?
This is an interesting video from photographer Anthony Morganti. In it, he talks about how his workflow in Adobe Lightroom has changed and evolved over time. These changes come as a direct result of new features and technology – specifically AI masking – that have been implemented into Lightroom. It’s a perhaps more logical way of editing photos, given the software’s capabilities now.
The ISO capabilities in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras today is pretty amazing. But it’s not perfect. You’re still going to see an increase in noise as you ramp up the ISO, even if it’s not quite as bad as it used to be. But we all love clean, noiseless images, don’t we? Along with the improvements in ISO performance, we’ve also seen big leaps in noise reduction technology. But many of them still aren’t perfect, often eliminating noise at the expense of detail.
For some images, you really do need to keep that detail and in this video from Scott Walker at Walks on the Wild Side, we learn three different methods of noise reduction. These methods include simple Lightroom Edits, Topaz Denoise AI and a pretty complex method that’s very involved but “fixes everything”. He also covers a “Pre-noise reduction” process you can do before you bring your photo into 3rd party software.
The real world, especially the natural real world, is filled with wonderful sights for us to capture with our cameras. The problem is, our cameras rarely capture the world exactly as we see it and particularly not how we feel it to be. That’s where editing comes in. It’s why we have tools like Lightroom and Photoshop to help us get our images where we want them to be. In the case of woodlands, that often means a dreamy painterly style.
Woodlands, particularly, are well suited to this style. It brings out those magical and mystical vibes many of us feel when we think of woodlands and the idyllic images we see in our heads. In this video, Nigel Danson walks us through his editing process in Lightroom Classic to give his woodland photos that soft and dreamy painterly feel. But this isn’t just a basic 5-minute tutorial. It’s almost half an hour long going into a lot of detail on the whole process.
If you ask me, masking is one of the most tedious things to do while editing photos. But Adobe has launched a few new tools that will make it simpler and easier than ever. They’re coming to Lightroom soon, so if this is your preferred editor like it is mine, you’ll love the new features that will make editing much faster.
All of the tools are AI-powered as it’s been all the rage lately. But my snarky comments aside, Adobe’s new masking tools seem quite useful. There are a few more interface improvements coming soon too, so let’s check what’s new and what you can expect.
There was a time when if you wanted to change the colour of an object in a photograph, you had to load up Photoshop in order to do it. But these days, there are a lot more options out there. And now, even Lightroom is getting in on the action, thanks to the recently added AI selection tools that let you target specific subjects within a photograph and do pretty much whatever you want to them.
In this video, Aaron from Phlearn shows us exactly how we can use those AI selection tools to pick out our subject and then isolate the dress they’re wearing to completely change the colour of it, non-destructively, before you’ve even thought about bringing it into Photoshop.
Even if you rarely change your lenses, you’ll end up with some dust on your sensor. Naturally, it will be visible in your photos, and let’s face it, we normally see the sensor dust only when we’re already done shooting.
Thankfully, this can be resolved in post. Although it sounds like a tedious job to remove all those little specks of dust, there’s a neat trick that will speed it up immensely. Micael Widell shares it in his latest video, so let’s check it out, along with some bonus tips from me.
Now, I know, you just read the title and thought “Woah!” but before you get too excited, we’re not talking editing features like Premiere Pro or Rush here. We’re talking about a similar type of editing capability to those which you get with still images in Lightroom. Except, you can also trim the in and out points of the video, too, to make those short social media clips.
But yes, Adobe has today announced that Lightroom for both desktop and mobile now has video editing capabilities. Given what I said above, this basically means you get access to presets and slider adjustments along with many of the AI-powered features as well as trimming. Lightroom also sees some other new features, including a Preset Amount slider to dial things back a bit, Adaptive Presets and more.
If you edit on a laptop, particularly if you’re regularly travelling and using an external hard drive to store your images, you’ll know what a pain it can sometimes be to carry those external drives around with you, let alone hook them up on a whim – like, when you’re travelling on a plane or a train, for example. But without connecting them, you can’t edit your images. Lightroom simply won’t let you. Or will it?
In this video, Anthony Morganti gives us the solution with his “Ultimate Guide” to using Smart Previews within Lightroom. Smart Previews essentially allow you to keep editing your images even when the device on which the original image files are contained is not connected to your computer. Very handy if you’re often travelling and don’t always have the ability to plug in your external storage.