Adobe Lightroom Tutorial (a.k.a. my dirty little secret)



I’ve published a new Lightroom 4 Tutorial that covers all the new features in their latest release.

Before and After

I have a confession to make… I’m actually a terrible photographer. I honestly can’t be bothered fiddling with stuff like manual focus, white balance and even a proper exposure, especially when photographing my dinner which is getting cold right before my hungry eyes.

My solution is to take a bunch of photos while following a few guidelines, saving the nitty-gritty details to handle on my computer when I’m less hungry. The software I use to process my photos on the computer is called Adobe Lightroom and while a bit pricey, it makes it easy to make great photos.

This isn’t intended as a full tutorial on taking good food photos (there are lots of other ones already out there). But if you’re getting serious about your food photography and want to process photos on your computer, this guide should help you get started.




Taking photos
These are some guidelines I follow with the intent to process the photos on my computer (as opposed to on-camera processing), but some of them should help you even if you’re not planning to do this.

  1. Shoot RAW. Think of a RAW file as a digital “film” as opposed to a JPG file (which is similar to a photograph that’s already been processed). As with film, having the unprocessed negative gives you a lot more leeway in the white balance and exposure of your final print, making it easier to make bad photos usable and good photos great.

    All digital cameras work more or less the same way. Think of the sensor in your camera as a piece of graph paper with an image being projected on it. Each box in the grid captures the brightness of light being projected on it in 3 different colors (red, green and blue). Then most cameras will automatically process this data making guesses on what it thinks will look best. As part of this process, the 3 channels of color are combined and any extra information that the sensor originally captured is tossed out. To make more photos fit on your memory card, cameras also use a form of compression that will make the files smaller by throwing out even more information. What you’re left with is a photo that has very little room for adjustment since most of the original sensor data has been merged, or tossed out.

    By setting the camera to save RAW images, all the information that the sensors originally captured is being saved, so once you have it on the computer you can process the photos yourself (after all, you know better than your camera what the photo is supposed to look like).

    There are a few drawbacks to consider though. For instance the files are much larger in size, some cameras won’t save unprocessed images, and there’s the extra step of processing your photos after you copy them to your computer.

  2. Even if your lighting isn’t great, try to at least get your subject evenly lit. By shooting in RAW format you will be able to compensate for underexposure/overexposure of photos, but if your photo is unevenly lit (i.e. with dark areas or hot spots), this will be much harder and your finished image will not look as natural.
  3. Take lots of photos. I don’t spend a lot of time adjusting camera settings, but I do try to get the exposure in the ball park and then I take at least 15 photos (with at least 5 shots from each angle). This helps ensure I get at least one shot with the focus in the right place and gives me a few angles/lighting setups to play with.
  4. Try to get something that is neutral white or gray in your photo. If this isn’t practical, take a photo of something white using the same lighting and setup that you’ll use for your actual subject. The reason for this is that you can auto correct the white balance in Lightroom, but you need something neutral to calibrate the correction off of.

Equipment
The obvious one here is using a digital SLR instead of a compact point and shoot, but here are a couple other less obvious tools you can use to improve your photos, even if you don’t have the budget for a digital SLR.

  1. I have a $10 table lamp I got at Ikea with one of those rice paper shades. The shade makes for a perfect diffuser for evenly lighting your subject. You don’t want to shine a lightbulb directly on your food or you’ll get glare and hotspots that are brighter than other areas. The “daylight” bulbs get you closer to the right white balance but if you’re shooting RAW this doesn’t really matter too much since you can always fix it in Lightroom. I like to handhold the lamp so I can control how the light hits the food and where the shadows are, and if you have an assistant this is even easier.
  2. White posterboard. If you only have one light source (or even if you have more) using white posterboard to reflect light softens shadows and helps evenly light your subject. If you don’t have an assistant to hold it, just cut out a triangle of posterboard and glue it to the bottom of the back side to keep it propped up.
  3. If you have a digital SLR, try to get a lens with a very wide aperture throughout the zoom range. I use a 50mm prime lens with a maximum aperture of 1.4 (smaller number = better). This allows me to shoot at a reasonable shutter speed and hand hold my camera even in my dungeon of an apartment.

Adobe Lightroom Basics
To do the following you’ll need to have Adobe Lightroom installed on your computer. If you don’t have it you can buy it here.

The first thing I do when I import an image is to set the white balance. There are two ways to do this: the easy way and the hard way. We’ll just cover the easy way for this tutorial. Start by selecting the white balance selector tool (see image below), then click on either a white or neutral gray surface in your photo.

Lightroom white balance selector

This automatically calibrates the white balance of your images giving you a nice neutral white point to start from.



One problem with this method is that you need something truly white or neutral gray to click on in your photo. I shoot most of my photos on a stainless steel table with white plates, so that makes this part pretty simple for me, but if this doesn’t work for your setup, you can always take a calibration shot with something white or neutral gray in it then swap it out for your actual subject.

The other problem is that if you’re shooting stuff like cooked beef, you don’t want the white balance too neutral since it might make your meat look gray and unappetizing. In this case, once you auto set the white balance, move the Temp slider to the right a smidge at a time. By increasing the temperature, you make the image “warmer” giving it a more natural appearance. Conversely if you want to give your subject matter a stark “cooler” look, move the slider to the left.

The next step is to correct for any exposure problems. If your photo is too dark or too bright, you can increase or decrease the exposure by moving the Exposure slider to the right or left. Try to first get the midtones in your photo properly exposed using this slider (even if this means overexposing the brighter areas).

Provided your subject matter was evenly lit, this should be enough to get the exposure just right. Unfortunately getting foods that are different colors and textures evenly lit can be a challenge sometimes, so Adobe has included 3 other sliders that you can adjust.

If you have areas of the photo that are too bright, move the Recovery slider to the right which will reduce the exposure of the brightest areas of your photo (hightlights). You can also move the Fill Light to the right which will make the midtones in your photo brighter without making making the highlights any brighter.

Changing these two sliders can have an unwanted side effect though. They can make your photo look washed out. To fix this, you can use the Blacks slider to deepen the shadows and if need be the Contrast slider to increase the contrast (though this can undo some of the work you did to with the Recovery and Fill Light sliders).

The last steps I take are some minor adjustments to the Clarity and Vibrance sliders to make the photos really pop off the screen. Getting into the details of how these two tools work can get complicated because they are similar in function to the Contrast and Saturation sliders, so I’ll simply explain them as being more natural looking alternatives.

I usually bump Clarity up into the +60 range which selectively sharpens the image and increases the contrast in the midtones without blowing out the highlights or increasing noise in the shadows.

Lastly, I’ll finish off the photo by moving the Vibrance slider to the right. This slider is also selective in that it effects colors that are less saturated more than colors that are already saturated thereby avoiding that fake look you get when certain colors get too intense. For example, let’s say you took a photo of strawberries and cherries. Because cherries are typically a more intense red than strawberries if you increased the overall saturation the cherries would look over-the-top. By using the Vibrance slider you can increase the intensity of the red in the strawberries without overdoing the red in the cherries.

If after using one of these sliders the color balance or exposure looks off, you can always go back and tweak those settings some more.

To make things faster, once you’ve gotten one photo to your liking you can then go and Sync the corrections you’ve made on one photo to all the other photos taken in similar lighting conditions.

To do this, just select the thumbnail of the image you made the corrections to at the bottom of the screen. Then hold the COMMAND key (CTRL key on a PC) and click on the thumbnails of the photos you want to sync. You should see the corrected image highlighted in a very light gray with the other photos you want to sync highlighted in a slightly darker gray.

Then just press the Sync button at the lower right corner of the screen.

That’s all for this tutorial, but if you liked this tutorial and want to see more, let me know and I’ll do a more advanced one that goes into individual color channel control for hue, saturation, and exposure.

Here are some other great food photography tips and tutorials:

Food blog photography lessons part 1 (The Constables’ Larder)
Tartelette’s food and photography guest blog post (Tartelette)
Smitten Kitchen’s approach to food photos (Smitten Kitchen)

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    An excellent tutorial Marc and well explained. Adobe Lightroom is not cheap but very well worth it!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    An excellent tutorial Marc and well explained. Adobe Lightroom is not cheap but very well worth it!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/ Kalyn

    Wow!! This is wonderful. This is definitely not too basic for me, love your step by step of how you edit a photo. Am saving this and will definitely refer to it often.

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Wow!! This is wonderful. This is definitely not too basic for me, love your step by step of how you edit a photo. Am saving this and will definitely refer to it often.

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com/ Daily Spud

    Really helpful stuff Marc, thanks

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com Daily Spud

    Really helpful stuff Marc, thanks

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/ Kalyn

    By the way, definitely want to see more!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    By the way, definitely want to see more!

  • http://paninihappy.com/ PaniniKathy

    Great article! I’ve been messing around with these tools without much guidance to this point – now I know what these settings actually do.

  • http://paninihappy.com PaniniKathy

    Great article! I’ve been messing around with these tools without much guidance to this point – now I know what these settings actually do.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    Thanks for the tips! I’m still very much a photography rookie and even more clueless about touching up photos.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    Thanks for the tips! I’m still very much a photography rookie and even more clueless about touching up photos.

  • http://www.mamanandgourmand.blogspot.com/ Christine

    I am just getting into photography period. Just got my first camera at 28! Its only a Kodak Easy Share but I think it is okay to learn on. I sigh when I look at your pictures. Someday I will be able to get these things and photograph like you.

    • marc

      It’s never too late to start something you enjoy:-)

  • http://www.mamanandgourmand.blogspot.com Christine

    I am just getting into photography period. Just got my first camera at 28! Its only a Kodak Easy Share but I think it is okay to learn on. I sigh when I look at your pictures. Someday I will be able to get these things and photograph like you.

    • marc

      It’s never too late to start something you enjoy:-)

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Marc, you crack me up!!! I can’t wait to hang out when I get to NYC this year.

    ps. I use the same technique ;)

    • marc

      When are you coming? We should definitely meet up.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Marc, you crack me up!!! I can’t wait to hang out when I get to NYC this year.

    ps. I use the same technique ;)

    • marc

      When are you coming? We should definitely meet up.

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/2009/01/chili-on-snow-day-revisiting-recipes.html Giff

    very nice tutorial Marc!

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/2009/01/chili-on-snow-day-revisiting-recipes.html Giff

    very nice tutorial Marc!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    that IS a dirty secret! you are a REAL man for letting us in on it. i’m saving some money now for this program.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    that IS a dirty secret! you are a REAL man for letting us in on it. i’m saving some money now for this program.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Wow…and now I am going also to take out that manual that came with my digital camera and re-read it too, I am not even sure what each setting is for, this is great!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com Chef E

    Wow…and now I am going also to take out that manual that came with my digital camera and re-read it too, I am not even sure what each setting is for, this is great!

  • http://londoneater.com/2009/01/09/tartine-french-for-bruschetta-review/ kang at LE

    Great Article Marc! hehehe, I too am a bad photographer and use lightroom to make up for my lack of photographic skill :P

    Spot on tips which can be applied to enhance any photos!!

  • http://londoneater.com/2009/01/09/tartine-french-for-bruschetta-review/ kang at LE

    Great Article Marc! hehehe, I too am a bad photographer and use lightroom to make up for my lack of photographic skill :P

    Spot on tips which can be applied to enhance any photos!!

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  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. Williams

    OMG – look at these tips. I need to step my photo game up a bit – clearly – lol. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. Williams

    OMG – look at these tips. I need to step my photo game up a bit – clearly – lol. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://herbivoracious.com/ Michael Natkin

    Great tips! I might be a little biased since I work for Adobe, but I use Lightroom for all of the photos on Herbivoracious, with a very similar workflow and (I think) good results.

  • http://herbivoracious.com Michael Natkin

    Great tips! I might be a little biased since I work for Adobe, but I use Lightroom for all of the photos on Herbivoracious, with a very similar workflow and (I think) good results.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at Realepicurean

    I’m a terrible photographer too, but you seem to have a better handle on it than me. I’ve not used Adobe Lightroom before but I’m sure these tips will come in handy elsewhere!

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    I’m a terrible photographer too, but you seem to have a better handle on it than me. I’ve not used Adobe Lightroom before but I’m sure these tips will come in handy elsewhere!

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    Thanks for sharing! I won’t tell anyone!! ;)

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    Thanks for sharing! I won’t tell anyone!! ;)

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine E

    Thanks for sharing, it makes such an amazing difference! Might have to look at this when Winter comes and the light fades.

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine E

    Thanks for sharing, it makes such an amazing difference! Might have to look at this when Winter comes and the light fades.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    You’re making a pretty convincing case, Marc. Picnik (free, internet) usually does me just fine but I have been a little disappointed with my quality lately. Hoping the new lamps work, since Lightroom is definitely $$.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    You’re making a pretty convincing case, Marc. Picnik (free, internet) usually does me just fine but I have been a little disappointed with my quality lately. Hoping the new lamps work, since Lightroom is definitely $$.

  • http://www.anotherpintplease.com Mike

    Marc – A great explanation of using LR. I only wish I stumbled upon this post months ago before trying to figure it out myself! Well done.

  • http://www.anotherpintplease.blogspot.com Mike

    Marc – A great explanation of using LR. I only wish I stumbled upon this post months ago before trying to figure it out myself! Well done.

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com/ Hayley

    I’m having a Meyer lemon week over at my blog, and was hoping to finish it off with a round-up of Meyer (or regular) lemon recipes around the web. I would love to post a link to your Meyer Lemon Spound Cake recipe if that would be alright with you. The round-up won’t be posted for another week or so, so let me know what you think. Thanks Again!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com Hayley

    I’m having a Meyer lemon week over at my blog, and was hoping to finish it off with a round-up of Meyer (or regular) lemon recipes around the web. I would love to post a link to your Meyer Lemon Spound Cake recipe if that would be alright with you. The round-up won’t be posted for another week or so, so let me know what you think. Thanks Again!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    This is a great tutorial, however, it took me 2 yrs to learn how to use my camera, and now it will take me another 2 to learn how to use this Adobe program! By that time, technology will have changed again!
    Anyway, YOUR photos are terrific, and now I know why!
    Stace

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    This is a great tutorial, however, it took me 2 yrs to learn how to use my camera, and now it will take me another 2 to learn how to use this Adobe program! By that time, technology will have changed again!
    Anyway, YOUR photos are terrific, and now I know why!
    Stace

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Helen

    Great tutorial Mark! I love the noise reduction feature! It is pricey but if you are an academic (professor or student), it is available half off on academic ressources sites (the only way I could afford it:))

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Helen

    Great tutorial Mark! I love the noise reduction feature! It is pricey but if you are an academic (professor or student), it is available half off on academic ressources sites (the only way I could afford it:))

  • http://www.brooklynfarmhouse.com/ brooklyn farmhouse

    Thank you so much for this!

  • http://www.brooklynfarmhouse.com brooklyn farmhouse

    Thank you so much for this!

  • http://indonesia-eats.blogspot.com/ Pepy

    Aha! We do the same… I love using Adobe Lightroom as well.

  • http://indonesia-eats.blogspot.com Pepy

    Aha! We do the same… I love using Adobe Lightroom as well.

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com/ Vin de la Table

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write up this tutorial. The program looks great, and you’re a pal for sharing your tricks.

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com Vin de la Table

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write up this tutorial. The program looks great, and you’re a pal for sharing your tricks.

  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/ CourtJ

    Oh I wish wish wish I had a DSLR instead of my stinky cheap point and click. Some day I will have the equip. to put this tutorial to use (I hope!)

  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com CourtJ

    Oh I wish wish wish I had a DSLR instead of my stinky cheap point and click. Some day I will have the equip. to put this tutorial to use (I hope!)

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Nice post! I recently started to take photos in RAW and use lightroom. Lightroom is really nice to work with though I now need to upgrade my computer as it takes a minute for lightroom to open the RAW files…

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Nice post! I recently started to take photos in RAW and use lightroom. Lightroom is really nice to work with though I now need to upgrade my computer as it takes a minute for lightroom to open the RAW files…

  • http://www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com/ FJK

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I hope to make my next camera a dslr, and maybe get lightroom then.

    One tip re white posterboard — buy a kid’s science project trifold board — it will stand up by itself and give you a back and sides. I use a plain white poster board under whatever I’m shooting to give me white all around. I have a set in black, too and there are lots of other colors.

    Look for the trifold poster board at art and school supply stores.

    • marc

      Great tip, thanks!

  • http://www.clickblogappetit.blogspot.com FJK

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I hope to make my next camera a dslr, and maybe get lightroom then.

    One tip re white posterboard — buy a kid’s science project trifold board — it will stand up by itself and give you a back and sides. I use a plain white poster board under whatever I’m shooting to give me white all around. I have a set in black, too and there are lots of other colors.

    Look for the trifold poster board at art and school supply stores.

    • marc

      Great tip, thanks!

  • http://sweet-sins.blogspot.com/ Eva

    Thanks for sharing that! I’ve got a beta version of lightroom which I never used but I’ll give it a try now! Do you think it’s better or easier to use than photoshop?

    • marc

      It’s a lot more specialized than Photoshop. There really aren’t many photo editing features like in PS, but it does have a lot more processing features than in Camera RAW (which is the processing tool in Photoshop). I use both.

  • http://sweet-sins.blogspot.com Eva

    Thanks for sharing that! I’ve got a beta version of lightroom which I never used but I’ll give it a try now! Do you think it’s better or easier to use than photoshop?

    • marc

      It’s a lot more specialized than Photoshop. There really aren’t many photo editing features like in PS, but it does have a lot more processing features than in Camera RAW (which is the processing tool in Photoshop). I use both.

  • http://www.regandmitzi.wordpress.com/ mrs lavendula

    i thoroughly enjoyed the tutorial! my husband got me an LX3 because i love taking food photos but too overwhelmed with all the settings of a DSLR. i was encouraged to improve my photos with the lightroom (as he develops his photos taken by his D300) but i still need to gather confidence on what im doing and your write up was just what i needed!
    thank you!

  • http://www.regandmitzi.wordpress.com mrs lavendula

    i thoroughly enjoyed the tutorial! my husband got me an LX3 because i love taking food photos but too overwhelmed with all the settings of a DSLR. i was encouraged to improve my photos with the lightroom (as he develops his photos taken by his D300) but i still need to gather confidence on what im doing and your write up was just what i needed!
    thank you!

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Thank you for this Marc. So helpful! I need to buy Adobe Lightroom.

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    Thank you for this Marc. So helpful! I need to buy Adobe Lightroom.

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    great tutorial! I am using lightroom currently to correct white balance ;p

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    great tutorial! I am using lightroom currently to correct white balance ;p

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com/ Jude

    Nice tips… Lightroom is amazing stuff and I can’t imagine using any other video editing software.

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com Jude

    Nice tips… Lightroom is amazing stuff and I can’t imagine using any other video editing software.

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  • http://speghettiblue.blogspot.com/ speghetti

    Thanks, I’ve just started to use lightroom to edit my photos. Great tutorial !

  • http://speghettiblue.blogspot.com/ speghetti

    Thanks, I’ve just started to use lightroom to edit my photos. Great tutorial !

  • gina’s weight watcher recipes

    That’s amazing! I’m doing it all in my camera, do I really want to shell out the extra money? hmmm. Maybe!

  • http://http://weight-watchers-points-recipes.blogspot.com/ gina’s weight watcher recipes

    That’s amazing! I’m doing it all in my camera, do I really want to shell out the extra money? hmmm. Maybe!

  • http://daddycooking.com/ Daddy Cooking

    Great suggestions. I use Aperture for my photo shots, and your explanations finally made me understood what vibrancy was. Thanks and great photos.

  • http://daddycooking.com Daddy Cooking

    Great suggestions. I use Aperture for my photo shots, and your explanations finally made me understood what vibrancy was. Thanks and great photos.

  • http://www.reallyjapan.com/ ReallyJapan

    Amazing information.. really helped me for my first food photography session! Thanks a lot ;)

  • http://www.reallyjapan.com ReallyJapan

    Amazing information.. really helped me for my first food photography session! Thanks a lot ;)

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  • http://www.freestylecookery.com/ Swedish Mike

    Many thanks for this, it is a great introduction.

    // Mike

  • http://www.freestylecookery.com Swedish Mike

    Many thanks for this, it is a great introduction.

    // Mike

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  • Ken

    Great article. Would definitely want to see follow up tutorials. Could you please keep me posted.

    By the way, what can I do with my existing JPEG pictures using Lightroom.

    I have just switched to RAW after reading your explanation. Other advice I have read says don’t bother.

  • Ken

    Great article. Would definitely want to see follow up tutorials. Could you please keep me posted.

    By the way, what can I do with my existing JPEG pictures using Lightroom.

    I have just switched to RAW after reading your explanation. Other advice I have read says don’t bother.

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  • http://julynation.com/ July

    Wow! great tutorials! I also post process photos using adobe photoshop and this will be a great addition to my knowledge. Thanks

  • http://www.bestessays.com/ paper writer

    For me too. Now I`m thinking about all that cool drooling photos on cooking sites)))

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  • RaulJones

    You're right: you are a terrible photographer. And shooting raw is a waste of time & HD space. If you can't get a decent exposure shooting the lowly jpg, shooting raw won't help matters. Can't waste your time fiddling with blah blah blah…and folks wonder why I use a twelve-year-old copy of Paint Shop Pro…

  • BubblePopper

    Please, let me guess… you have a cord on your phone, an 8 track in the dash, a blinking VCR, and a Diners Club Card. The photographers before you would crucify YOU for using Paint Shop Pro instead of a darkroom and decent film. You can't honestly look at these pictures and say that he is a “terrible photographer” can you, Ansel? RAW was designed for post-processing and unlocks a lot of creative potential. It is not ideal for some scenarios but in the right situation, it allows you (well…not you) to produce a very pleasing image. Isn't that what art is about? Ease up on the attitude and tell your pet rock I said “Hi”. Happy snaps.

  • Msgrafx

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Migal45

    Awesome page, I need all the help I can get ! Thanks :o)

  • http://thepurplejournal.wordpress.com nadia

    Great tips! Thank you.

  • MKS

    This was so helpful! I’ve been told that if I buy Photoshop, I should also buy Lightroom, but based on this tutorial, do I really need Photoshop before I’ve mastered Lightroom on its own? I’m hoping to make one purchase or the other soon, so your insight would be helpful (I have a huge student discount on both Photoshop and Lightroom, so cost isn’t the issue)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It really depends on what you need the software to do. If you are just
      processing photos Lightroom is probably plenty. However if you plan to
      edit the photos or otherwise manipulate them beyond some simple spot
      removal and cropping, you might also want to get Photoshop. I use both
      since the photo processing workflow in Lightroom is much easier/faster
      to use than the RAW file importer in Photoshop, but Lightroom lacks
      the editing features that photoshop has. Hope that helps.

  • Htpham

    Very helpful, thanks!

  • Kelly

    Wonderful guidance on using Lightroom!  I recently loaded Lightroom to my computer and have been “muddling through” with my adjustments, you have broken it down and made things much more understandable.  Thank you!

  • Anca

    Hi, thank you for the post, it is very helpful. I have a question about Lightroom, maybe you can help me: I want to keep my subject colored, while having a black and white background. Do you know how I can do it with Lightroom 3? Thank you

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      As far as I know, Lightroom does not allow you to create masks. You’ll need to get photoshop or something else that will let you mask off the foreground so you can edit only the background. One way you can get around this is by taking the photo on a color that’s not found in your subject. For instance if you are taking a photo of a red apple, put it in front of a blue background. Then you can completely desaturate the blue channel which should give you the black and white background with color foreground effect.

  • Scarlet

    I am trying out Lightroom, and this tutorial covers exactly what I needed to know to get started. Thank you so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Zyjie Sreejith N Aravind

    wisdom knowledge…. thanks.

  • http://www.donario.ro Dana78

    :)) This is so very interesting! Never thought that this can be so easy. :D Thanks for taking the time to share this tutorial with us! :)

  • Katie C

    This is a great and easy to follow tutorial!  Did you ever do a post with the more advanced techniques?  I would be interested!

  • Pingback: How to Blog About Food: Useful Tips for New, Emerging and Aspiring Food Bloggers | The Hungry Australian

  • http://avocadopesto.wordpress.com/ Vicky

    This is a great tutorial. I have been trying to improve my food photography and will definitely be implementing your lightroom tips ! 

  • http://twitter.com/clarasssaurus benoit balls.

    I’ve been doing all of these things already just from playing around… sweet.

  • Joan Hayes

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve finally decided I need an editing program for my photos but after downloading the free version of Lightroom, I was completely lost. Can’t wait to open it back up and try your tips!

  • http://bakeeatrepeat.blogspot.com/ Courtney

    I’m pretty sure you just saved me at least 30 minutes for every photo editing session. The sync tool is genius! Thank you!

  • whytevee

    thanks for the tips.. you’re a great help! :D

  • Alexandre Lago

    Bad Photographers can always rely on good softwares… =)

    • Ewan B

      Nope. Wrong. A good photo is much more than can be done in software. You can’t “fake” a good photo, only improve and tweak it. This myth is perpetuated by ignorant morons and those who don’t actually know how to use software.

  • http://www.friv4gaming.com/ Friv 4

    I like it very tasty dishes and nutritious

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

Guest post and Kitsune Udon
Taro Gnocchi with Gruyere Cream
Shiso Wrapped Bass Dumplings in Dashi
New England Clam Chowder
Polenta Croquette Filled with Leeks and Ham Hock
Hirame no Mushiyaki (steamed flounder)
Minute Molten Peanut Butter Cake
Buta Kimchi (Pork and Kimchi Stir Fry)