Genre:Birds : Photography Processing Tutorial Lightroom

Birding Tutorials and Information Index
This page is a chapter in the book Birding Tutorials and Information Index.
Contributed By Allann

I too use many of the techniques outlined in Rich's tutorial, however I have moved 95% of my processing into Lightroom as I find it simpler and faster. There may still be a need for cloning and healing as outlined previously, but for this image we will skip that step, as it cannot be done in Lightroom.

This tutorial will outline the techniques I use in LR 2.7 which uses Camera Raw 5.7 under the covers. I will use demonstrate the use of a couple of Nik Software tools as plug-ins to LR.

Original image

Upon importing the image into LR (which I won't include in this tutorial), the first steps for me are in the Library section:
1. Keyword (tag) the image. Some keywords are added by default during the import, but more specific ones may be required.

2. Add additional metadata like Title, Caption and Location.

Now the edits start, switch to the Develop section.

I usually start with a crop if needed, in this case it could.

Drag the crop borders in to the desired size, LR will maintain the original ratio if the little padlock is closed as shown above.

Next and similarly to the ACR tab, LR also has similarly named sliders that can be used to correct the entire image. Using the histogram, I adjust the Exposure, Recovery, Fill Light and Black sliders as needed to give me the best possible detail without clipping. Once I have stopped as much clipping as possible, the image might look a little flat, and slight adjustments in the Brightness and Contrast could be used. Below are the settings I chose for this image.

Now the fun starts, as I now use the Nik plug-ins to do the rest of the edits. Select the desired Plug-in from the "Edit In" menu, in this case I start with the RAW presharpener, this will give the image a general sharper look without knowledge of the final output type. This is optional but I find I get a better image in the end. A dialog will appear asking "What to edit", you only have the option "Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments", click edit.

Pre-sharpen steps:
1. Turn on selective sharpening
2. Set Apply to entire image to 0%
3. Add a control point to the bird
4. Change Modes to Effect Mask (at the top of the plugin)
5. Move and add more points until all the required bits of the bird are covered by the mask.

In this image I needed 5 control points to cover the bird. This makes sure we don't sharpen noise and other distracting elements. Click Save

Next choose, Dfine 2.0, this is the noise reduction step, but this time when the dialog opens, select Edit Original.

NR steps:
1. Allow it to measure automatically
2. Remove any points that appear on the bird
3. Click Reduce
4. Add a + control point on the background to make this selective
5. change Modes to Colour Noise Mask
6. you may need to add a few - control points to the bird in spots that appear white (white = apply, black = don't touch)

In this image I added 1 background due to the uniform colour and 3 to the bird.

The image is now ready for the final step, output sharpening. Select that from the Edit In menu, but choose "Edit Copy", this version will be for screen, and we may also want one for print. The two types for sharpening are VERY different due to the way the devices display images. This version will be for sharing on AP so a display sharpen will be chosen.

Sharpen steps:
1. Select Display
2. Change Output Sharpening Strength to 0%
3. Add a control point to the bird
4. Change Modes to Effect Mask
5. Continue adding points till the bird details are all sharpened
6. Optionally you can change the Structure, Local Contrast and Focus sliders, but I'll let you research why this can help.

In this image I needed 7 points.

And finally we need to upload the image copy to our image host to share the picture.
Birding Tutorials and Information Index

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