This photo of my son is from June in Madeira Beach, FL. Sweet friends at church offered us a condo for a week and we jumped on it. Although there’s nothing wrong with the before shot, I wanted something more from it.
I’m a sucker for vintage processing and a fan of this look.
- Slight crop.
- Increase vibrance (intensify the colors).
- Increase contrast (make the lights lighter and the darks darker).
- Apply the Vintage-Grandma’s Lemonade preset from the OnOne Signature Collection Presets for Lightroom 4, a free download. (If you have Lightroom 2 or 3, check out these free presets from OnOne.) You can still use LR3 presets in LR4 if you use the instructions in this post, but you can’t use LR4 presets in LR2 or 3 (I guess you could, but I wouldn’t expect good results).
- Apply a vignette (darken the edges).
It may seem odd that I increased vibrance before taking it away. I tried to use the Vintage-Grandma’s Lemonade preset without increasing vibrance first, but my son was too washed out. I ended up pushing the vibrance slider as far to the right as it would go, until my son was orange. Over-boosting the vibrance made the level just right after using the preset.
Can I tell you something crazy? This photo made me cry when I finished. I love a good editing session, when the finished image exceeds the original vision.
Here’s a bonus image with the Grandma’s Lemonade Lightroom preset. I didn’t increase the vibrance first on this one because I liked the washed out look and the sun flare. That’s our 31 Days host, Nester, and her sister, Emily.
Get it right in-camera is the motto of a good photographer, and I try to get my exposure, depth of field, etc. the way I want it when I take the shot. I shoot in RAW, so the images are a little blah on import and most need at least a little tweaking (sometimes I apply a general preset to a batch as I import them into Lightroom). Tweaking vibrance, contrast, etc. is the day-to-day necessary stuff. Sometimes I’ll edit one photo and then sync those settings to apply them all at once to a batch of photos that were taken at the same place and time.
Sitting down with a batch of images that I intend to edit creatively, however, is therapeutic. A few months ago after a rough day I headed toward the computer with the thought: I want to create something dreamy and ethereal. We all have our ways to wind down; I edit.
Typically I’ll sit down in the evening with a glass of wine, turn on something nice in iTunes, relax and enjoy. This week I’ve edited to Joshua Bell, Frank Sinatra, Beethoven, and Lady Antebellum. Michael Kiwanuka is another recent favorite.
Find Day 1 and links to the whole series here. Be sure to subscribe for email updates either at the end of this post or over on the right above my picture to receive new posts in your inbox each day.
[Click here to read my other 31 Days series, 31 Days of Encouragement and 31 Days of Real Life.]