Sometimes I miss the days when nobody cared about your photography as a blogger. Anything would do; a dodgy self-timer photo in front of a fence to show off your latest outfit, a photograph of your latest lipstick artfully displayed on your carpet or if you were posting to Instagram, you’d simply stick the Valencia filter on your mobile snap and hit upload. Now, Instagram and images are so important and Lightroom has become the “must have” app for Instagrammers and bloggers. Three recently invited me to their flagship store on Oxford Street to attend one of their Discovery workshops and learn more about how to get the most from Lightroom and improve my editing skills.
AD-Gifted: Although the regular Discovery workshops are free for everyone, Three invited me to attend this special class for bloggers in exchange for this blog post.
Lightroom is part of the Adobe suite. You can either download it for free on mobile or upgrade to a Lightroom plan, available on both desktop and mobile with extra features for a monthly or annual fee. Unlike most free apps with an upgrade feature, the free version is fantastic and you can access most of the features without spending a penny. I already use Lightroom to edit my blog and Instagram photos, but I still learnt lots at the Three Discovery session so I wanted to share three tips (in honour of Three!) on how to improve your Lightroom editing skills.
Shoot with the Lightroom camera
One of the basic mobile tips I’ve always heard is, never take photos with an app but use your camera then upload the image. However, the first thing we were told at the Discovery workshop was the opposite. Despite the fact that we were all using high-tech phones (I had nabbed the Pixel 3 for the day to compare to my Pixel 2), our teacher Gareth told us to open up the camera on the Lightroom app. He then explained how this meant that we could use our phone cameras more like a DSLR by changing the exposure and shutter speed. It felt a little strange to be using an app as your camera, but playing around with the settings did create some DSLR-style results. I loved the Pixel 3 (for me, the Pixel cameras are just on another level) and the above photograph was taken on the Pixel 3 and edited in Lightroom - I'm pretty proud of it!
Actually use the curves tool
I’ve always been a little bit scared of the curves tool so I was determined to try and understand this feature of the Lightroom app. Gareth explained how the bottom point on the diagonal line represents the shadows and the top point represents the highlights, then any added points in between are the midtones. Once you understand this, it’s easier to manipulate the curves to increase or decrease your shadows and adapt the photograph as you need. Then, once you are ready to move to the colours, you can use the same logic to change the reds in the shadows and highlights. It's definitely a case of "less is more" as the tiniest movement on the curves line can make a big change, so try to make the smallest changes you can and build up as you get more confident.
Use “colour mix” to boost specific colours
This was my favourite tip of the day. I had already learnt to use the “mix” section under the colour tab to increase the hue, saturation or luminance of certain colours and it’s a great way to make a certain colour “pop” (it’s how I show off those glorious blue skies on my Instagram). But if you click on the small compass logo, you can colour pick a specific spot on your image and edit the hue, saturation or luminance of this shade. It’s perfect for those awkward in-between colours or a certain element in your image you want to bring out and I've used it in every photo I've edited since the workshop.
The Discovery sessions take place all across the UK in Three stores, covering a huge range of topics from how to send a text message to more advanced classes like the Lightroom session we experienced. They’re free for everyone (you don't have to even be a member of Three!) and a brilliant example of how Three is putting the community at the centre of what they do. I learnt so much during our workshop, I'd highly recommend checking out the latest Discovery workshops near yous to really make the most from your mobile.