Lightroom 5 Tips & Tricks (Setting Your Whites & Black Levels)

If you are like me, you love editing your images in Lightroom (LR) due to the brilliant organization tools in the Library Module, the intuitive editing functions in the Develop Module, and the other modules like Print, Slideshow, and Map.  From time to time, I will share a tip/trick to help you make the most of your LR5 experience.  If you haven’t already updated your LR to LR 5, I can tell you that you are missing out on some amazing features and tools.  Today, my goal was to share the four (4) basic approaches on how to set the white and black levels in the Basic Panel of LR5’s Develop Module.

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Watch this video to learn how:

Photoshop for Photographers Video Training @ Craft & Vision

I realize that there are a gazillion training tools out there for Adobe Photoshop (PS), but I wanted to share my experience with you in the event you found yourself in the same predicament as me.

At this point, I feel I have pretty  much mastered Adobe Lightroom 5 (LR5) as I have found some outstanding resources and I use it on an almost daily basis.  My experience with attempting to learn Photoshop has not been as pleasant, but I have come to the point where even with the amazing updates to LR 5 there are a few things like layer masking and some blending that I can’t perform in LR5.  I find I need Photoshop more for my landscape photography than anything else.  So, I finally sucked it up and though I have never been a fan of subscription software, I upgraded from PS5 to PS CC.  For $10 a month I can bear it, plus I just completely removed all satellite TV from our house and saved a lot of money on that.

I had purchased some resources for Adobe PS5 that had left me lacking.  I tried going through the Adobe PS5 Classroom in a Book which was actually prepared by the Adobe Creative Team but good night nurse, that left me longing to do my taxes it was so boring.  And it isn’t really focused on photographers.  I had purchased two of Scott Kelby’s books on Lightroom (LR3 & LR5) and one of Martin Evening’s books on LR5.  While I found both books well written and helpful, they are still more of a “do this” and “click here” than a, “if you want to understanding what clarity is . . . and then here is where you click and why you click.  See, I figure you can pretty much train a monkey or chicken to “click” on something, but getting someone to understand why and when you click (or drag) something, well, you need a full blown photographer for that!  So, I wasn’t really keen on purchasing their books for PS CC.  I was looking for something different.

I often purchase e-books through a website called Craft & Vision because the books are very helpful, fun to read and frankly, very cheap compared to many other books.  One of the best LR5 books I have found yet is by Peter Van den Eynde and it is called Lightroom 5 Unmasked.  His liberal use of screen snapshots and constant sidebars and the like were extremely useful in advancing my knowledge of LR5.  This book and the Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe (and if you want to know why his book is so good, Google the work he has performed on developing Adobe Products) are my two favorite on understanding the why and how of LR editing.

Robbery Fly with Prey

Edited with LR5

Alas, I digress.  I get emails from Craft & Vision occasionally about bundle deals and specials they have and the latest email I received was for a 42-video training on Photoshop for Photographers.  To be honest, I usually don’t like watching training videos because I find the don’t really help me.  I prefer a good old-fashioned book (or e-book).  However, for $30 for 42 videos (normal price is $40 for bundle or $25 for each volume), exercise files and a PS action freebie, I succumbed and purchased the Bundle.  Volume 1 (21 videos) deals mostly with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and I can say I now have a great understanding of the link between ACR and Photoshop.  To be honest, given that LR5 does virtually everything ACR does and in a much better environment (let’s be honest how outdated does ACR and PS look visually) and in a very organized manner, I don’t really see myself using ACR to edit photos very often.  Nevertheless, I am no longer flummoxed by the link between Adobe Bridge, ACR, and PS CC.  He did address using PS for the creation of HDR images, Panoramic images, and he also briefly introduced layers in the last few videos.

I have watched all 21 videos of Volume 1 and I can say that for the money, I feel it was a bargain.  The videos were excellent quality but I did notice a few audio issues on a couple of videos.  You have the option of downloading videos to your computer or streaming.  I opted for the former to avoid having streaming issues (despite my 100GB service at home).  The exercise files were easy to use and for the most part his speed in the videos allows you to follow along up until the last layers video where I found myself having to pause on several occasions to keep up.  Pete is Belgium and has a strong accent but I found him very easy to understand and you feel almost as if a foreign spy is teaching you.

I have waiting a book on Adobe Photoshop Layers by Matt Koslowski for when I complete this training.  I hope that I will have enough experience with Photoshop after Volume 2 to jump right into layers, masking and blending in PS CC.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the materials I have referenced thus far.