Last week’s meeting: Lightroom Live! With Joe Houghton

Joe gave us a quick run-down of Lightroom 12.2 and some of the tools he would be using. His first image was John Bull’s photo of a roller-coaster. Joe said this was essentially all silhouette and he would mask the sky to brighten up the sky and fix the vertical and horizontal lines of the roller-coaster structure. He then used clarity, texture and shadows to bring out the detail of the buggies and people on the roller coaster and cropped the image. Then John’s edited version was shown which was so completely different as a roller-coaster distorted into an ‘s’ shaped line extending out of the frame.


Steve Field’s ‘contre jour’  image of hikers in the snow against the sun was next. Joe turned it into black and white and added clarity and haze punching up the filmic epic drama feel he wanted. Steve’s edited version was very similar to Joe’s but slightly subtler.


Joe then worked on Les Gordon’s shot of a man on the phone behind glass. He straightened the verticals, eliminated the distracting elements with a crop, then worked on bringing more emphasis to the subject with dehaze, texture and clarity and brought up the light on the man’s eyes. Les’s edited version was shown which was much less cropped.


A pair of country cottages by Adrian Cubit was then put under Joe’s expert editing who has a thing about verticals. He immediately worked on the verticals, getting them perfectly set at 90 degrees, then went into cloning about powerlines and explained the different ways to do this in Lightroom. Next up was masking the sky and getting detail out of the sky before selecting the cottages and bringing out the micro-detail of the texture. Adrian’s edited version was brighter and the foliage more saturated but essentially very similar.


William Hall’s shoes on the banks of the Danube in Budapest was next to get the Joe treatment. To select the shoes he showed us how to use both luminance range mask and colour range mask and started emphasising the area the shoes were. He also brought out the detail in the sky and slightly changed the colour of the river (Joe told us he was colour blind) and did a crop to lose some of the extraneous detail. Willie’s final edit was then showed which was less cropped but fairly similar.


Joe then got to edit Alan Lewis’s giraffe drinking from water hole. The sky was grey and Joe tried selecting the sky using colour and luminance tools which was difficult as there was an acacia tree is shot and the sky behind its branches proved difficult to mask. Joe managed to do this though. He lightened the sky but there was little colour in it. Alan’s edited version had the sky blue which he said he had done by using colour temperature slider.


Keith Worthington’s image of Glen Coe’s rushing water with Buachaille Etive Mòr in the background was next. Joe got to work on breaking down the image into its component parts and edited each one separately using brushes and radial gradient filters. He used various techniques to emphasise areas and downplay others. Keith’s edited version was very similar but subtler.


Night-time at Didcot railway repair shed was next by Dave Belcher. Joe immediately converted it to black and white and went into the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) panel to show that using the different colour sliders can change the tones of those areas in the black and white image. He used radial filters to emphasise the two figures in the frames and created a strong vignette with the figures at the centre. Dave’s final edit was also black and white but less pronounced in tones. Joe said that his tip for black and white processing was to be bold and push the images harder, less greys and more three dimensional.


Finally Pete Warrington’s monochrome colour infra-red shot of farm building surrounded by fence was edited. Joe did not do all that much to the image as he felt it was strong enough straight out of the camera. He slightly changed some of the image but nothing much. Pete’s edited version was black and white and certainly met Joe’s advice on boldness.


An excellent evening and many thanks to Les and Dave for all the technical wizardry to get the zoom working and have Joe beam into the hall from his home in Dublin.


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