There's a different aesthetic to every season. In the Winter, we feel a cool, frosty atmosphere that brings cool blues, creams, and touches of rich reds and greens. In the Fall, there's a brisk, warm atmosphere that brings touches of warm oranges and reds that come with the change in seasons. We're able to capture these through various photo shoots and then use Lightroom to enhance the beautiful aesthetic of the time of year to allow the viewers to feel like they're in the season being portrayed. Two of my favorite techniques to use for seasonal editing is the Light and Color adjustments. Combined, they allow for a beautiful composition of colors to achieve your vision in seasonal editing.
Light Adjustments to Enhance Seasonal FocusIn the Fall, there are so many beautiful opportunities to capture and enhance the Autumn colors. Shooting in RAW format in wooded areas where the trees are vibrant will allow you to manipulate colors more in Lightroom. To achieve a beautiful Fall asthetic, I first use the light adjustments to brighten and enhance my photo in a way that allows what I want to be the focal point of the photo to stand out. For a Fall photo, I heighten the exposure slightly and the contrast to enhance the colors. Then, I adjust the shadows, highlights, and blacks until I am satisfied with how my focal point stands out. Typically, I bring the shadows down in a Fall photo shoot to give a more bold appearance. To counter the shadows, I bring the blacks down to avoid harshness. Lightroom’s light adjustments are a good starting point in achieving the seasonal look you are going for. For this photoshoot, I wanted to highlight the Fall season.
Lightroom Color Adjustment Tool
With the Color Adjustment tool, Lightroom can detect the colors in your photo which allows you to adjust how you would like them to stand out depending on the look you are trying to achieve. You can go through each color and adjust the hue, saturation and luminance to retrieve your desired colors. This is very useful season to season as it allows you to highlight the colors you want and desaturate any colors that may distract from the seasonal aesthetic. For Autumn images, adjusting the yellows, oranges, greens and reds in a photo contributes to achieving your seasonal look.
I was looking to portray an Autumnal look with Fall foliage. In the below photo, I enhanced the yellow’s saturation to bring out the color of the leaves and then decreased the hue to take out any harsh “neon” hue. Color adjustment also assists in taking any harsh pigmentation in faces or the focal point of your photo. In the red color option, I decreased saturation to do this. To make the green more vibrant, I pulled the luminance up. Because orange is a main color in this photo, I did not do much adjustment to avoid over coloration and a hard temperature. A small adjustment goes a long way, so this tool will be your best friend for editing in different seasons.
Out of Season Editing
Light and color adjustments are a couple of techniques that can be used at any time of year to adjust the appearance to fit the season. They help to create a beautiful photo that allows you to enter into the beauty of the season it was shot in. These techniques are also able to be used if you are trying to achieve a certain seasonal look, out of season.
For example, as you can see below, in a Fall photo if you wanted it to have a more Winter feel you can use the light adjustments to brighten the photo and darken the shadows. The brightness and white gives off a more Wintery look. Then, you can desaturate the yellows and oranges and cool down the temperature. I also brought out the deepness of the red in the girl’s shirt by bringing down the red luminance (deep reds remind me of winter with the presence of holly on trees, so I thought it would be a nice touch). I also deepened the green color in the trees to add to this theme. This version of the photo gives a more frosty cool appearance that portrays the chill of the Winter. Although this photo was clearly taken in the Fall, you can adjust it with Lightroom techniques to look like it was taken in the winter.
As you can see below, by using the light and color adjustments in Lightroom you can easily enhance seasonal aesthetics throughout your photo editing experience. For the photo in this tutorial, I went with a Fall aesthetic to highlight the Autumn foliage. I mainly used the light and color adjustment tools in Lightroom to achieve this Fall look. These techniques can be used across seasons to your benefit. Lightroom is an essential program for photographers because it allows manipulation tools that can work together to create a seasonal look that also fits your photography style.
Congratulations to Autumn Guckert, a Psychology major at Piedmont Virginia Community College and the winner of our Winter 2017 Pretty Lightroom Presets Bi-Annual Scholarship. Essays for our next scholarship award will be accepted through June 15th, 2018