More Playing with color in Lightroom

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In an earlier post I discussed some of the things you can do with color in Lightroom using the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance sliders. But Lightroom has several more tricks up its sleeve which deserve mention. Toward the bottom of the control panel in the Develop module, there is a “Camera Calibration” panel, designed to compensate for cameras that do not provide entirely accurate color. But it need not be used solely for camera calibration. You can use it merely to tweak photos. It can be a fun way to go off the deep end in color manipulation of digital images.

Here’s image of Dry Lagoon (during the wet season) taken straight out of the camera:

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Okay, nothing special; really sort of uninspired. With a little bit of work (mostly using colored graduated filters), we get the following:

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But if we turn to the Camera Calibration Panel, we can make a dramatic impact on the color of the image:

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Perhaps that may be over-the-top, but it certainly adds vibrance and pop to the image. Below are the setting I used in the Camera Calibration panel:

Screen shot 2012-03-24 at 10.07.10 AM

Another example:

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Critical in the post-processing of these images is the use of virtual graduated neutral density filters, which can be colored in various ways to improve the image. Consider the following image of the Smith River:

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Kind of flat. But with the graduated filter feature in Lightroom, we can change the color of the water and bring out the color in the foreground rocks:

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Now what I did in this image is pull down a graduated filter from the top image to about the area where the rocks are in the foreground. I colored that filter aqua to bring out the color of the river. Then I brought up a filter from the bottom and pushed the contrast and saturation. These sort of tricks can be the more effective because you are working with raw files that contain more information than jpegs or tiffs.