Retoucher s Guide

THE PITSTONE windmill, near the village of Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire, is one of the oldest surviving windmills in Britain and was fully functioning up until around 100 years ago. I photographed it earlier this year on a rare, rain-free day when the sun was shining on its front. However, it can also be successfully photographed at other times of the day, such as in the early morning when the sun hits the other side. The steps on the opposite page show how I was able to process the raw file in Lightroom, making use of some of the Develop module features that are new to Lightroom 4, such as the latest Basic panel sliders to manage the basic tone adjustments, and the Tint slider in the Adjustment Brush settings. 1 The starting point was a rather bland image, but the main thing to point out here is that the photograph has been well exposed for the highlights and shadows, and the raw master file therefore offers good potential to be processed into something more dramatic. 2 The first thing I wanted to do was to crop out my wife s head that was just peaking in from the left. In Lightroom. I switched to the Crop Overlay mode (R) in the Develop module and adjusted the crop handles to trim the left edge. I also needed to straighten the photo, which I did by selecting the Straighten tool (which is shown in use here) and dragged to define the correct angle for the horizon. I was then ready to make the main Basic panel adjustments. 3 In Lightroom 4, all newly imported photos will automatically use the latest Process 2012 set-up. The Basic panel view here shows the new set of sliders, where I primarily used the Exposure slider to determine the overall brightness, and used the Highlights and Shadows sliders to bring out more detail in the highlights and shadows respectively. Lastly. I made fine-tuned adjustments to the Whites and Blacks clipping points. 4 At this stage I noticed that in the right-hand side of the photo the sky was lighter and this was drawing attention away from the windmill. So, what I did next was to select the Graduated Filter tool, applied the settings shown here (-0.61 exposure) and dragged from the right edge of the windmill to halfway between this and the right edge of the frame. This added a darkening gradient adjustment. 5 The photo now looks more balanced, but I often find that it also helps to add a vignette in order to centre the attention of the viewer. In this step I went to the Effects panel to apply a post-crop vignette adjustment, where I applied an Amount of-20 using the Highlight Priority style. 6 It can also be good to add more contrast to the sky. to create a polarising filter effect at the post-production stage. Here. I went to the HSL panel, checked the Luminance tab and selected the Target Adjustment tool (the round dimple in the top left corner]. I then clicked on the sky area and dragged downwards. This step had the effect of automatically applying a darkening adjustment to the precise colours that had been selected by the Target Adjustment tool. 7 Meanwhile, back in the Basic panel I went to the Presence section at the bottom and boosted the Clarity slider. Most landscape photographs can benefit from adding a little Clarity. I like to think of this as a midtone contrast slider. In this instance, it added more punch to the midtones and helped the clouds stand out. I also boosted the Vibrance slightly to make the colours appear richer. 8 In step 4, I used the Graduated Filter tool to darken the right edge of the photo. In this step. I selected the Adjustment Brush to apply a few more localised adjustments. Here I added a couple of localised lightening adjustments to lighten the grass at the base of the windmill, particularly around the bottom-left area, which would help draw the eye in from the bottom-left corner. Basically. I was able to create the impression of dappled sunlight hitting the foreground. 9 In this final step, I added a new Adjustment Brush pin. where I used the Temp slider to apply a warming adjustment. This Temp slider, along with the Moire and Defringe sliders at the bottom, are all new to Lightroom 4. What I was aiming to do here was to add just a touch of warmth to the windmill, to make it look like it was being bathed in warm sunlight and to contrast it better with the blue sky behind.

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