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My Workflow: here's my typical start-to-finish project

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In this sample chapter from The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers, learn how Scott Kelby uses the same workflow in Lightroom for every type of project.

This chapter is from the book

For the past few editions of this book, I’ve been wrapping up the book with a special bonus chapter where I share my own Light- room workflow. It’s a typical start-to-finish project, where I show everything I would do to a particular image so you can see how I deal with different parts of the process. Now, I have to be honest with you, I had fully written this chapter, but then I did the image again, and had to rewrite the whole thing, and each time I reprocessed that image, I wound up having to rewrite the entire chapter. Here’s why: I’m old and forget everything. Physically, I’m just in my 50s (and you know what they say, 50s are the new teens), but mentally I’m in my late 90s to early 100s, and I not only can’t remember which order to do things in Lightroom, I can’t remember where I put my laptop. I was using it yesterday, so I know it’s here somewhere. Anyway, instead of fruitlessly rewriting this chapter on a laptop whose location I can’t quite pinpoint in my own home, I thought I would instead make some simple drawings on bar napkins, and that would give you a general idea of what I do in Lightroom. However, I did encounter two minor issues when I started this “napkin notation” process. The first was: without having Lightroom open in front of me, I can’t always remember the official names of stuff, so in many cases, I had to describe steps very casually, like “Click that thing up in the right corner by the other thing,” or “Go under the menu up top and chose the one that changes the look,” or even just “Move the slider that makes the photo look better.” I’m pretty sure with the hand-drawn illustrations alongside, it will all make sense. The second problem is that the pen I need to make the drawings and hand-written notes is in my laptop bag. This getting older thing is a blast.

It Starts with the Shoot

What you’re about to learn is my typical day-in, day-out, workflow, and it doesn’t matter if I’m doing a landscape shoot, portrait shoot, or a sports shoot, I pretty much use Lightroom the same way, in the same order, every time. For this particular example, I’m doing a landscape shoot, so it actually starts with me on location, in this case, in northern Italy’s Dolomites mountains. According to my GPS, it says this was taken in “Livinallongo del Col di Lana.”

The Location:

My brother Jeff and I drove past this spot on our way to a dawn shoot, and on our way back, we pulled off the road (that’s the road at the top of the embankment on the left) and wandered down to this still-water, small lake. The sun wasn’t very high in the sky yet, still mostly behind some of the mountains, and the light was still pretty nice. Because of the relatively low-light (it was darker than the behind-the-scenes shot here shows), I used a tripod, and to get a lower perspective, I splayed the legs of the tripod out wide (as seen here). The tripod itself is the Albert model from UK-based tripod designers 3 Legged Thing.

The Camera Info/Settings:

I took the shot that we’ll be using in this workflow tutorial (don’t forget, you can download it and follow along—see page xii) with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, using a Canon 24–70mm f/2.8 lens. I took it in aperture priority mode at f/11, 1/15 of a second shutter speed, and at 100 ISO. Once I’m done with the shoot and back in my hotel, the very first thing I do is back up my photos to a portable 2-terabyte external hard drive (so I have one copy on my memory card and a second copy on that external drive). If I have a decent Internet connection, I also save my Lightroom Picks to Dropbox, so I have a cloud backup, too. At the right here, I swung the camera over from my shooting position to catch a photo of my brother Jeff. He has nothing to do with the tutorial; I just wanted to show you my awesome bro. :)

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