Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Film Borders and Classic Vignettes in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2008 at 8:19 pm

The Post Crop section in the Vignettes panel of the Develop Module allows you to add creative vignettes. It is called Post Crop, because the vignette will always adjust to any cropping you do, even if you crop after you create the vignette.

Unless you have played with all the sliders, you may not realize what kind of creative effects you can get. For example, you can simulate a film border, as in this image:

Post Crop Vignette

Post Crop Vignette

To get this, I slid all the post-crop sliders to the left:

Black Film Border Settings

Black Film Border Settings

Amount controls the tone of the vignette, from pure black at -100 to pure white at +100. So if you want a white border, slide it all the way to the right.

Roundness controls how thick the border is. Less negative roundness gives you thicker edges. When you go towards zero and into positive territory the shape moves from rectangular to oval and then round. I increased Roundness here from -100 to -80, and changed the Amount to +100 to make the vignette white.

Controlling Border Thickness and Tone

Thicker White Border, Roundness at -80


For comparison, here is Roundness at +20 — now the shape is an oval:

Roundness at +20

Roundness at +20

Feathering softens the border edge. Here I have gone back to my rectangular example, with Roundness at -80, and increase the feather setting from 0 to 50 :

Feather = 50 to Soften Edges (All other settings as above)

Feather = 50 to Soften Edges (All other settings as above)


Here’s how I would create a classic soft black oval vignette:

  • Slide Amount to the left to darken to your taste.
  • Is the border too visible? If so, increase feathering to fade it more. If instead you want more of an obvious edge, slide feathering to the left.
  • Adjust the roundness, to the left to make the vignette more rectangular, to the right to make it rounder.
  • To cover more of the image with the vignette (leaving a smaller center), reduce the midpoint. To cover less, increase the midpoint.

Classic Dark Oval Vignette

Classic Dark Oval Vignette


The same vignette, with Amount = +85 to make it almost white:

White Classic Oval

Almost White Oval Vignette

No doubt you will find settings that you prefer to mine — I hope this post encourages you to experiment. Once you find a vignette that you like, save it as a preset so that you can use it on other images :

In the Preset panel on the left side of the Develop Module, click on the + sign to the right of the word Preset:


Type a descriptive name in the Preset Name box, click “Check None” to clear all the checkmarks, then click in the box next to Post-Crop under Vignette, so that this is the only setting from the image you have been working on that the preset remembers:


Select a new image (or many images!), then in the Preset Panel under User Presets, click on your vignette preset


and watch Lightroom do its magic.


Happy Holidays

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2008 at 10:42 pm


Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.  May your dreams come true in the new year.


PS:  Check back after December 27 for my next post!

How to Use the Graduated Filter Tool

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Here’s a video I made showing how to use the graduated filter tool in Lightroom 2 and Camera Raw in CS4. In listening to it I realized that I am currently stuck on the word “so”. So you’ll have to grin and bear it!

go to video

Maximize Compatibility, Minimize Headaches

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm

In addition to writing this blog, I will be contributing occasionally to O’Reilly Media’s Inside Lightroom blog. Visit the blog today to read my first post, on maximizing compatibility of Photoshop files so that you can import them into Lightroom.

Go to O’Reilly

There are twelve writers and alot of great information, so visit often (and come back here too!).

Dragging Images from Bridge into Lightroom

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Sometimes I use Bridge to look at images, and from there I decide which ones to import into Lightroom. It is then easy to simply drag the images over into Lightroom.

  • Size your Bridge and Lightroom windows so that you can see both.
  • In Lightroom, go to Library Grid view (shortcut G). It does not matter what folder or collection of images are showing.
  • In Bridge, select the images you want to import.
  • Click and drag from Bridge over onto the Lightroom grid (thumbnail area). Let go.
  • The Lightroom import dialog will open. Specify import options as usual.

Point and Shoot Cameras Under $300

In Uncategorized on December 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm

I have been thinking lately that it would be nice to have a point and shoot camera that I could always have in my pocket. Here’s an article from yesterday’s New York Times, with recommendations for point and shoots under $300.


I didn’t check them all, but I doubt they shoot in raw. I know the Canon G10 does, but it is closer to $500.

How to Move Your Lightroom Catalog

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I have written about moving your Lightroom work from your laptop to your desktop (or any two computers) here. This involves exporting your work on the laptop as a catalog, then importing it into your desktop catalog.

Sometimes though you may want to simply move your catalog. Mine was initially on an external hard drive; I then decided to move it to my internal C: drive because it would read and write faster.

The first step in doing this is finding out where it is stored currently.

  • In Lightroom go to Edit>Catalog Settings on the PC, or Lightroom>Catalog Settings on the Mac.
  • In the General Tab, the location of your catalog is shown.
  • Click on the Show button to open up a Mac Finder or Windows Explorer window with this catalog folder highlighted.

Finding Your Catalog Using the Catalog Settings Dialog

  • Next, open up a second Windows Explorer or Finder window; navigate to where you want to put your catalog folder, and then drag the Lightroom Catalog folder from its current location in the first window to its new location in the second window.
  • Holding down the Alt or Option key, open Lightroom. Now, in the dialog box click on the Change button next to the catalog location, and navigate to the .lrcat file within the Lightroom Catalog folder in its new location.  Click on it once to select it, and hit OK.
  • Lightroom will open, recognizing the new location of your catalog.


PS:  Note that if you want to delete a catalog, just delete the Lightroom Catalog folder.

When HSL Rules Over the Adjustment Brush

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 at 12:59 pm

The adjustment brush and the graduated filter tool are wonderful additions to Lightroom 2 for making local changes. But there are often quicker ways to make local changes. I will talk about HSL in this post.

In the image below I want to darken the sky. Yes, I can get the adjustment brush, set the exposure to a negative amount, and paint the sky.



But since the only blue in the image is the sky, it is alot faster accomplish my goal by darkening the blues in the HSL/Color/Grayscale panel: click on HSL, click on luminance (luminance refers to brightness), and slide the blue slider to the left.

Darkening the Blues in The Image

Darkening the Blues in The Image

Darkened Blues

Darkened Blues

Let’s say I now want to saturate the grass and tree more. I can use the adjustment brush with a positive saturation setting, but instead, in the HSL panel I will click on Saturation.    I’m not sure if the grass is green or yellow or some combination, so instead of guessing and fooling around with the sliders, I’ll use the handy Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT). I will click on it, and then click on the grass and drag upwards since I want to increase saturation. I will do this in a few places in the foreground.  The TAT detects the colors you are dragging on, and adjusts those throughout the image — in this case increasing saturation of yellows and greens.    It works for us here because there are no yellows and greens in the building or sky — otherwise those would become more saturated as well.

Saturated Foreground

Saturated Foreground


The yellow is a little too saturated for me, but now it is easy to go to the Yellow slider and reduce it a little. Note also that I could have darkened the sky with the TAT as well, clicking on luminance and dragging downward on the sky, rather than using the blue slider.

Finally, I am going to use the Hue component in the HSL panel to change the color of the background in this image:



I click on HSL, Hue and the Targeted Adjustment tool, then click and drag up and/or down on the blue background to change the color to something I like. Because there was no blue in the subjects, they are unaffected.

After Hue Change

After Hue Change

By the way, if skin is too red, try clicking on saturation, and dragging downwards on the face to take some of the color out. In this case, since purple also contains red, it will change the background a little as well, but that may be acceptable, and a big time saver over working with the adjustment brush.

The key to being able to use HSL to do local adjustments is that the area you want to darken, lighten, increase or decrease saturation of, or change the color of, is made up of colors that don’t exist elsewhere in the image. In my first image, for example, if the building had also been blue, I could not have isolated the sky using HSL. I would have had to use the adjustment brush to specifically darken the sky.

More on Spot Removal in Camera Raw

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I showed you how to use the spot removal tool in Lightroom and Camera Raw, and how to copy your spot removals from one image to others in Lightroom in my spot removal video.

However, I didn’t mention how to copy your spot removals from one image to others in Camera Raw. (Thanks, Teri for this question.) So here it is:

  • Open your first image and fix your spots. Click Done to close the image.
  • In Bridge, select all the other images that have spots in the same places (i.e. dust on the sensor).
  • Right-click, choose Develop Settings>Paste Settings …
  • From the drop down box in the dialog that appears, choose spot removal. Hit OK.
  • As I recommended in my video, review each image to make sure that its solution for each spot works well.

You can also open up all the images at once in Camera Raw, click Select All, and work on all the image simultaneously. Or, with all of them open in Camera Raw, select the first, then click Synchronize and choose Spot Removal. But I find both of these to be slower than pasting in Bridge.

Before and After in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2008 at 2:14 pm

In the Lightroom Develop module, there are different ways to look at Before and After for changes that you have made. One of my favorites is to use the backslash key \ to toggle between Before and After. The default Before state is the first step in the History panel, usually your file import. So by default, you are toggling between “before all changes” and “after all changes”.

Sometimes though, you may want to look at Before and After just the last change you made, or the last few changes. Fortunately, you have the flexibility to set which step in your processing will be the Before state: in the History panel in the Develop module, simply right-click (ctl-click for one button mac mouse users) on the step you want to assign to Before, and choose Copy History Step Settings to Before.

In the example below, my Before state will be before sharpening (which involved setting four settings). Toggling the \ key will therefore show me before and after sharpening.

Right Click to Set Your Before State

Right Click to Set Your Before State

Sometimes when I am using the \ key to toggle between Before and After, I will try to continue making adjustments to my image and find that Lightroom is locked up, and I can’t do anything. It is always because I have forgotten that I am still in Before mode, and changes can’t be made in this mode. If this happens to you, hit the \ key again to get back to After.