I just returned from a week in Orlando for work but made plenty of time to photograph the parks for future Disney Photography Blog articles. One of the places I photographed for the first time was the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I had seen the show before on previous trips, but had never bothered to take the time to properly photograph it. This trip I was on a much slower schedule, so I made sure to get to the theater early and got a spot up front.
I came away with a good amount of keepers but there was one in particular that I was looking forward to processing. It did not look that great on the screen of the camera, but I could tell that it would make an interesting photo when I was done processing. It was one of those times that just by looking at the preview image on the camera I had already figured out how I wanted to process the photo in Lightroom. This was the first photo I processed when I returned and posted it yesterday on my flickr account. I figured it would make a good article subject to review the steps I took to process this photo from the original image to what was posted on flickr.
The original photo direct from the camera
Step One: Initial Adobe Lightroom Adjustments
I started by cropping the photo to remove all the extra space on the left and bottom. I then adjusted the white balance (6299, -53) to match the look I was going for. In this case I did not want the white balance to be exactly as I saw it in person, I instead was looking for a specific look and effect.
I increase the Fill Light slider to 14 and also increased the Blacks slider to 13. I followed this by wanting to remove some of the color, since I was going for a dark overall look in the end. To do this I lowered the Vibrance to -46 and the Saturation to -19. None of these are concrete settings, meaning you will have to adjust and test different numbers until you get the look you want with your photo – every photo will be different.
I then applied a preset that I had created in the past to make some final adjustments easier. This included lowering the Highlights to -15 and also decreasing the Shadows to -23. Both of these sliders can be found in Lightroom under the Tone Curve tab.
The last tab I adjusted during this step was the Effects which is used for the Vignetting. I have mentioned before that I am a fan of vingetting in certain situations. Some people like using it on almost every photo and others are against it completely. Like HDR, I feel it has a purpose depending on the photo and processing style you are aiming for.
The settings I used for this particular photo in the vingetting tab are:
- Amount: -64
- Midpoint: 10
- Roundness: -16
- Feather: 89
- Highlights: 0
Like the other settings, these will always be different based on your photo and the effect you are looking to achieve. You will need to play around with different settings to find out what works best for you.
Step Two: Finishing processing in Adobe Lightroom
Now that I had the basic settings done in Lightroom and used my own presets, I go back and fine tune each setting and add any other effects that are needed.
I ended up using two different tools to make final adjustments. The first was to modify the color in the photo, to do this I used the Camera Calibration tab and adjusted the Green and Blue sliders for saturation. The green slider was increased to +31 and the blue was increased to +26. This allows me to adjust the saturation of the photo but also gives me the ability to pick exactly what is adjusted, as opposed to the saturation slider in the Basic tab.
The final step I took was to decrease the saturation of the background. I really wanted the two characters to stand out and “pop” off the photo. I accomplished this by making the color on the characters stand out (from the previous adjustment) but by also decreasing the color saturation of the background. To do this in Lightroom, I use the Adjustment Brush and set the Saturation to -40. I then “paint” over the entire background but make sure to not paint on Indiana Jones or Marion (because I want their colors to stay vibrant). Anywhere I paint with the adjustment brush will have the saturation decreased. This is a great tool that gives the option of picking specifically what gets edited.
Step Three: Adobe Photoshop Adjustments
Once I completed the adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, I brought the photo over to Adobe Photoshop for one final effect. I decided I wanted to make the photo seem as if it came straight from the movie and an easy way of doing that is to add the black bars on the top and bottom.
Once I opened the photo in Photoshop, I double clicked the background layer so that it would act as a regular layer. I then went to Image > Canvas Size and adjusted the height by 400 pixels. By doing that the canvas now had an extra 200 pixels on the top and bottom of the photo. I then created a new layer and filled the entire layer in black, when doing this it will cover your photo and all you will see is black. The final step is to move the new black layer so it is behind the photo layer (which is why we double clicked the photo layer/background layer at the start or else we could not move it). By putting the black filled layer behind the photo layer, we now have the black bars on the top and bottom.
I then save the photo and it will automatically get imported back into my Lightroom catalog.
The finished photo after processing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
In total, it took approximately ten minutes for me to do all the processing of this photo. I am very happy with the finished result and it is obvious looking at the before & after that there is a difference.
Hopefully you learned a few tips today that you can use on your own photos. If you have any questions about steps I took in processing, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.