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Going Beyond the Basic Edits

Scott Kelby takes a deeper dive into the editing tools available in Lightroom Mobile

This chapter is from the book

This Is Where the Good Stuff Is

SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 sec | F-STOP: f/8 | ISO: 100 | FOCAL LENGTH: 130mm | MODEL: Manon

I’ve been saying for years that the Basic panel in Lightroom on your desktop (whose controls are the first set of adjustment tiles you see here in Lightroom Mobile’s Edit mode) is totally misnamed. Adobe should have called it the “Essentials” panel because these aren’t basic controls. I think controlling your overall exposure, and contrast, and color mode are perhaps the most important edits of all the editing you can do. Well, with one exception: I think the ability to crop out an old girlfriend (or boyfriend) you broke up with years ago from a photo of you two should rank pretty high up there. Why is that? It’s because of a phenomenon that occurs where, for some unknown reason, the best photo you’ve ever taken was the one where you two posed for that shot outside the Disney On Ice show. But, now you need a profile photo for your Tinder account, but she’s in it, so you think “Hey, maybe I can crop her out,” so you take the photo into Lightroom Mobile, you crop her out, you upload it to Tinder, and sure enough—the connections start pouring in. But, that photo was taken a long time ago, when you were younger, thinner, and better looking, whereas today you’re about two Snickers bars away from Jabba the Hutt. So, now you’re waiting in Starbucks for your “date” to arrive, and as soon as she sees how you actually look, she begins screaming uncontrollably, and then everybody in Starbucks starts screaming along with her (not even knowing why), and it’s at that moment you think, “I wonder what my old girlfriend’s up to....”

Using the Tone Curve: Point Curve

This is the same tone curve you know and love from Lightroom on your desktop. Tap on an image to open it in Loupe view, and then tap on the Edit icon in the Action options at the bottom of the screen. When the adjustment tiles appear, tap on the shutter icon on the far left of the tiles and, from the Adjust pop-up menu, tap on Tone Curve (as seen in the overlay here). In the Tone Curve adjustment tiles, tap on the first tile on the left, Mode, and then, in the pop-up menu, choose either the Point - RGB curve (shown here), individual red, blue, or green channel point curves, or the Parametric curve. The interface for the Tone Curve adjustment appears directly on your image over on the right side of the screen. We’ll start with the Point - RGB curve (I think it’s the more useful of them). You’ll notice that all the other tiles are grayed out, and that’s because you don’t use them with the Point - RGB curve. Instead, you add adjustment points to that diagonal line onscreen, and then you drag those points up/down to adjust. To add a point, just tap once along that line to make your curve. For example, to add a point to adjust the midtones in the image, tap once in the center of the diagonal line and drag downward diagonally to darken the midtones or drag up to brighten them. To adjust the highlights, tap once in the top 1/4 section of the line and drag up to brighten or down to darken, and so on. To remove a point from the curve, double-tap on the point and it’s gone. To add contrast to your image, create a curve that looks like an “S” (as seen here). The steeper you make that S-curve, the more contrast it adds. If you mess things up and you just want to start over, tap on the Reset tile at the right end of the adjustment tiles (we looked at how to reset an image in Chapter 3).

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