Round trippin you ask? Well this is becoming the phrase used when you start with a photo in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, makes some adjustments, then take the photo to Photoshop to make more detailed adjustments, then back to Lightroom to finish the photo off, hence forth the phrase round trippn. In this post I will go through my process from import to export and how I mainly edit my photos and in what order. First things first. I have created a folder on my desktop named "lightroom import". This is how I import all my photos into lightroom. I will get into how that works in a minute but if you would like to follow along now would be a good time to create this folder. I put it on my desktop just to make things easier. Just a quick note I am using a PC, I have never used a mac, nothing against mac, I'm just a pc guy.
Next step is to open up lightroom and set your auto import settings. To do this go under file, auto import, then auto import settings. This brings up a box and at the top of the box you will see a check box to "enable auto import". Check that box. Next you will see a "watched folder" section with a button that says "choose folder". Choose the folder you created on your desktop. You don't have to have the folder on your desktop, you can put it anywhere, but for me it just makes things easier having it on my desktop. Next you have a "destination" section. This is where you will actually save your pictures. I have a dedicated folder on my hard drive for my photography. For example C:Benphotography. This is my main photography folder. Then you will see a "subfolder name" section. This is where I put the name of the shoot and the date of the shoot. For example Yosemite sept 2010.
When you fill this in, lightroom imports the pictures to this subfolder, and lightroom will create the subfolder so you don't have to. Next section called "file naming". I have mine on filename. you can pick which ever works for you. Under the "information" section, I use the following. "Develop settings" : none. "Metadata": My Copyrights. This was set up but me basically putting copyright data into my digital file. "Keywords" this is where I add a few keywords to help me find photos later on. You can add any keywords you would like to help you remember this particular shoot or vacation. "initial previews" I keep it at minimum. Once you have this all set up hit ok.
Now we are ready to import our pictures. I use a card reader, but you can hook up your camera, use a card reader or what ever suits your fancy. I will physically find my card on my hard drive, open it up and select all the photos on my card that I want to import and drag them to my Lightroom import folder on my desktop. Once you do that you mind as well go get a bite to eat, go harass your sweetie, or whatever you want to do to kill some time. It will take a few minutes to import your photos depending on the file size and quantity. Congrats now you have your photos on your hard drive and imported to lightroom! That was the hard part, now I will go over the most basic editing techniques and the most basic editing processes that I use. Are you ready for your round trip?
I will now go through all my photos in the library tab and flag the good ones. I almost never delete a picture unless it was a mistake, like I tripped the shutter while walking and I get a picture of the sidewalk. Other than that I save everything. Once I have all the photos I like I will go into the develop tab and pick the filter that separates all the flagged photos from the unflagged. So now I am looking at all the photos that I flagged as good photos. From there I will go through and edit. After I select a photo I will do some minor adjustments in Lightroom. First I will adjust the color balance of the photo. Next I will adjust the exposure to my liking. I will use the recovery slider if my photo is a bit overexposed. I will on most occasions add some clarity and vibrance. That's all I really do in lightroom at this point.
From here I will right-click on my photo and select the edit in. It will come up with a list of programs and I then choose photoshop. The photo will then open automatically in photoshop. From here I will do some spot healing if needed. Content aware fill if needed. I will use curves to adjust the contrast. And any other specialized corrections I need to make. Most times I do a noise reduction. I find that Imagenomic Noiseware Professional works best for noise reduction. Last but not least I will sharpen my image. If I am going to convert to black and white I will then do that here. I use Nik Silver Effects Pro. This program rocks for Black and White. Now that I'm done in photoshop I will go up to file then save.
From here lightroom will import the photo with the corrections made and stack it with the original file. Now that I have it back in lightroom, I will look the photo over for anything I may have missed. I will most likely add a vignette. I use the highlight priority style and normally feather it heavily. That's about all I do in terms of editing. I don't like to spend too much time editing because I feel I will do as much as I can in camera first while out in the field. I shouldn't have to depend on photoshop to make my pictures look good. With that being said, to some extent I edit every photo I take that is to be publicly displayed or sold.
Just a quick note, I am using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Processes may vary slightly on older versions of these programs. I hope you enjoyed your round trip! I urge you to keep experiencing with settings and methods and do what works for you. Happy editing!