Maintaining Maximum Quality

As has been discussed in previous chapters, one of the primary goals of digital image processing is to retain as much data as possible from the original capture throughout the imaging pipeline. Regardless of the types of adjustments you make or special effects you apply in Lightroom (or any other software) it's usually best to process your images as minimally as you can.

This requires you to plan several steps ahead as you adjust images and, in general, to perform your processing tasks in a consistent sequence. Go through your processing methodically, taking the time to finish each photo before moving onto the next. In some cases, batches of images can be Developed the same way; Lightroom accommodates this with ease.

The order of tasks

Lightroom's Develop controls can be adjusted in any sequence you like. You can go back and forth between panels and settings to progressively refine

Keep in mind that every step of the workflow affects and is affected by every other step. For example, sharpening the image may increase noise. Adjusting color may affect contrast, etc. So it might be necessary to go back and forth between steps to perfect the image.

Remember that repeatedly following the same general sequence of steps will

Undo the last operation. Continue pressing to go further back in History

S+Shift+Z or Ctrl+Shift+Z

Redo the last undone operation your images and Lightroom will apply the adjustments to the final image in the ideal way to maintain the most possible data. However, the order in which you perform your image editing tasks is important for several reasons:

• Different adjustment controls affect image data in similar ways. For example, increasing the Brightness value and adjusting the midpoint of the Tone Curve produce similar changes in the appearance of the photo.

• Some adjustments affect others. Continuing the example above, increasing the Brightness value and decreasing the midtone areas of the Tone Curve would produce counteracting adjustments and decreased quality.

• Tone and color should be evaluated and adjusted independently. Yo u'll often find that once you get the tones right, the colors will also fall into place. For this reason, it's best to do as much tone correction as possible before moving on to adjust color. (The exception is white balance.)

• Work gets done faster if it's done the same way every time. Thou gh some images will require more work and additional processing steps than others, following a consistent sequence of steps allows you to be more efficient through repetition. This allows you to spend more time on the photographs that really benefit from additional attention.

If it doesn't improve the image, turn it off

When experimenting with adjustment controls or applying settings with the intention of achieving a specific effect, if you find that the adjustment is not an improvement, undo the adjustment or reset the slider to its default.

Don't make an adjustment that counteracts another

This wastes time and data and diminishes quality. As you're processing a photo, take care that the adjustments you make don't actually put you further from your goals. Always use the best tool for the job and use as few adjustments as necessary to achieve the desired appearance.


Unlimited undo and redo removes the fear of experimentation. In Develop you can't irreparably harm an image—but you can surely make it look bad! Lightroom maintains an unlimited history of all the processing work you do on an image from the import forward. So feel free to play!

Don't use undo/redo like before/after

Lightroom offers controls for seeing the image with and without the current adjustments. Before/After is covered toward the end of this chapter.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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