How to Camera Raw

Camera Raw is basically a simplified version of Adobe Lightroom and comes free as part of Adobe Photoshop.

In this Lesson we show you how to Open Images in Adobe Camera Raw, directly inside Photoshop, rather than using Adobe Bridge or Mini Bridge.

“Camera Raw” is similar to “Adobe Lightroom” and can be used to adjust highlights, shadows, vibrance, saturation, clarity, and white balance.

“Camera Raw” is great for adjusting images that have too much brightness, or shadows or shade in them. It is also great for adding special effects type filters to images.

This “How To” lesson specifically covers Camera Raw 7.0 from CS6.

The newer CC version has even more features, such as the Radial Filter, and the Dehaze effect for fixing washed out bright skies.



Fixing Dull Images

The following image was taken on a cloudy morning and is quite dull as there was no sun shining.

How To Adobe Camera Raw 01

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Using Camera Raw adjustments we were able to transform the image into the following:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 02

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

The details of how we made the required adjustments are contained in the PDF Lesson document that can be found at the following link:

How to Use Camera Raw – Detailed Instructions


Fixing Over Exposed Images

The following photo of a Giraffe in Africa was taken on a very hot dusty day, and is all washed out with very little colour or clarity.

How To Adobe Camera Raw 03

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Using Adobe Camera Raw we were able to dramatically transform the image into something a lot brighter and colourful.

How To Adobe Camera Raw 04

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)


The next image was taken early in the morning and due to the dramatic difference between the sun and the shade the camera has had difficulty calculating the correct automatic exposure.

How To Adobe Camera Raw 05

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Here is the same image after processing in Camera Raw:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 06

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

The details of how we made the required adjustments are contained in the PDF Lesson document that can be found at the following link:

How to Use Camera Raw – Detailed Instructions


Adding Shadows to Images

In the following before and after examples, there are patches of bright grass alongside the cars.

Using the Graduated Filter in Camera Raw we can cover the grass in shade, which will de-emphasize the grass and make the car stand out better.

Here is a before image with bright sunlit grass alongside the car:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 07

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Here is the same car after we have placed a graduated filter over the grass:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 08

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

In this next example we have added in the shadow, but then used the adjustment brush to bring the wheels out of the shade, as well as changing the clarity and saturation and then doing some blurring tool work in Photoshop.

Here is the Before image of the car:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 09

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

And here is the After Image of the same car following processing in Camera Raw and Photoshop:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 10

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)


Saving and Using Presets

Here is the original image of a Blue Dodge Challenger at a Car Show:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 11

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Using Camera Raw we created a set of adjustments to change the above image into an old retro style photo like this:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 12

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

These are the settings that we used:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 13

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Because we have several other car pictures that we would like to apply the same effects to, it would be ideal to save these settings into the Camera Raw Presets Library.

This is easily done, as shown in the following seven minute YouTube video:


Once we have saved a Preset for our Retro Car Photo look, it is then easy to bring it up and apply it as a starting point on other photos.

Here is the starting photo:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 14

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

and here is the same image after applying our retro look Preset and some simple cropping:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 15

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)


Special Effects

Camera Raw Presets and tweaking them allows us to create our own set of filters that can create Glow and HDR type special effects.

Here is a starting Photo of a fabulous Ford Mustang:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 16

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

And here is the same photo as a HDR type image after processing in Camera Raw (mainly pumping the “Clarity” all the way up).

How To Adobe Camera Raw 17

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

Or we can add a different set of adjustments to create that “Dream Car” look:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 18

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)


Adjusting People Pictures

Camera Raw can also be used for making subtle adjustments to People Pictures.

For example here is a Before Image:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 19

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

and here is the After Image:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 20

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

The difference between the Before and After images is very slight: the idea is to lighten up the eyes a little, and make the hair a little bit lighter.


Photos Through Glass

When we take a photo through glass, there is often reflection and over exposure as in this example:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 21

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)

There is also a problem in the above image that the Lizard’s head is in shadow and not showing up clearly.

Here is the same image after some adjustments in Camera Raw:

How To Adobe Camera Raw 22

(Click to view the Image Full Size in a new Tab)


Full Camera Raw Tutorial

We have created a full Tutorial on Camera Raw which can be accessed in the PDF document below:

How to Use Camera Raw – Detailed Instructions

It is a 7.7MB document and so may take a little while to download on some connections.


There is also a Resources Folder of Start Images that can be accessed at this link:

Click Here to Download Practice Images


Camera Raw Videos

As well as the free Photos By Passy Tutorial, here is a selection of the best YouTube videos we found on using Adobe Camera Raw.

First up is an official Adobe 7 minute video about using Camera Raw on a dark and gloomy image, and really bringing the light and colours up to create something quite spectacular:


The following 12 minute video from is good, except near the end where the quality of the image they are working on becomes quite grainy. Goes through fixing Exposure, Highlights, and Shadows, on the Basic Panel really well in the first part of the video:


The lady who made this next video has a very American voice, but her 30 minute video does give a very comprehensive overview of all the adjustments that can be made in Camera Raw, particularly for Landscape Photos:


This 15 minute video is okay and shows how to touch up a dark sand dunes image using Camera Raw:


Five minute video specifically on the Basic Panel Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation:


Great 10 minute video all about the Targeted Adjustment Tool:


Video showing the basics of using a Graduated Filter:


Video showing how to apply Multiple Angled Graduated Filters:


Video showing the Clone / Heal Brush in Camera Raw:


The Clone Tool (paint brush with spots around it) is also called “The Spot Removal Tool” and here is a video about using the Tool to remove Spots.

In this 5 minute tutorial, Camera Raw is actually accessed using the Filter Menu in Photoshop, but this only works in the latest Photoshop CC. In earlier versions of Photoshop we have to use File > Open As on the original image.


Camera Raw Presets and Snapshots seven minute video:


Camera Raw is an extremely useful tool for pre-processing photos before taking them into Photoshop.

It is very similar to Adobe Lightroom, and handy to use if you do not have access to the Lightroom App.

For more Great Tutorials about Photography, Videography, Cameras, and Adobe Products, check out our “How To” page at the following Link:

Photos By Passy How To Tutorials


How to do Panoramas

A Panorama image is basically several photos stitched together to create one big wide angle scene.

It is best to pan the camera from left to right while holding it level, or using a tripod, and take between 3 and 5 separate photos,
eg. a Left, a Center, and a Right Photo for the most basic Panorama. Also make sure you do about 30% overlap on the photos.

In fact all Photo stitching software works left to right, and so always pan from left to right.

Panoramas are great for Landscape shots, Beach shots, City Shots, Sunsets, or anywhere that you need to take a big wide view into a single image.

We could buy an expensive wide angle lens to get Panorama shots, or a 360 camera, but all of this is totally unnecessary, as we shall see in this lesson on how to make Panoramic Images.


Example Panorama Photos

Taking a Panorama shot captures the whole view so that the image is a lot more like actually being there.

How to Shoot Panoramas 01

Often a sweeping Panorama image can capture the look and feel of a location far better than just a single image.

How to Shoot Panoramas 02

Taking a Panorama often produces a semi circular type view, and this is great for images of Beaches.

How to Shoot Panoramas 03

Panoramic Views are great for capturing Sunsets.

How to Shoot Panoramas 04

If you are on a PC and want to take a look at the previously shown examples full size, then click on the link below:

Gallery of Panorama Images


Sony Camera Auto Panorama

Many compact cameras and even DSLRs have Panorama Modes on them that will automatically stitch a series of photos together.

Here at Photos By Passy we use Sony cameras and have found their Panoramic Mode to be brilliant.

In particular the very compact Sony RX100 pocket camera has a great Panorama function which is excellent for travel photos.

The following video shows just how fast and easy it is to use the Sony RX100 for making Panorama Images.

The camera instructs you to move the camera left to right, but it takes a little bit of practice to get used to the speed at which you need to rotate. If you rotate too slow or too fast, the camera does not build the Panorama and tells you to try again.

We have also found that a tripod is not necessary, and as long as you follow reasonably well along the line of the horizon, it stitches together the image really well.

Eg. Just find a horizontal line, like the horizon of the land or sea meeting sky, and try your best to stay horizontally steady and locked on while rotating your body.

A problem can arise if we are facing into the sun anywhere in the Panorama. In this case we simply point at the sunny area and lock the exposure using the AEL button on Sony DSLR Cameras.

Eg. What we need to do is get a consistent exposure throughout the Panorama. Often, one part of the landscape is brighter than others. Make sure we set up for this brightest scene. We want the final image to look like what we see through the camera, as if we had made the Panorama from one single photograph.

Panoramics are great for Sunset Photos, see our lesson on Sunset Photography for more information:

Sunset Photography Lesson

Even if you do not have an auto Panorama function on your camera, sets of individual photos can still be taken and stitched together in Adobe Photoshop. In fact, sometimes we get better results from individual images stitched together than we do from using in-camera auto panorama.

In fact we suggest for important shots that you do a an auto camera panorama, as well as taking a set of overlapping still shots for back up.


Adobe Photoshop and Bridge

If you do not have a Sony Camera with auto panorama function, then you can get Adobe Creative Cloud to stitch together three to five individual
photos into a Panorama very easily, as shown in the following video.

You have to start off by bringing your three photos into Adobe Bridge. (Bridge is a simple windows explorer type application that is customised for images. Once the three to five images are all selected in Bridge, it is simply a matter of going to the top menu bar in Bridge and doing Tools > Photoshop > Photo Merge as shown in the video.


Adobe Photoshop

The following fifteen minute video shows how to create a Panorama in Photoshop, as well as providing some expert tips on shooting Panoramic images.

In this method we do not have to use Adobe Bridge, and start straight away in Photoshop and do File > Automate > Photo Merge as shown in the video.

Note that you “Browse” to select your images after opening the Photo Merge function. Also it might take 2 or 3 minutes for the merge process to run.

After doing the merge there will be 3 to 5 separate layers, right click in the bottom right hand side layers panel and do “Merge” to create one layer to work with for doing touch ups and adjustments.

The Photoshop Auto Merge function works really well, even for hand held non-tripod sets of 3 to 5 photos.

We have found that some Panoramas turn out better by doing individual overlapping shots in Photoshop Merge, rather than using the camera’s auto panorama function. Therefore we recommend for inmportant shots to do both: use the camera auto panorama as well as taking some overlapping still shots as back up.

After Photoshop merging we often get some checkered flag blank areas around the outside edges of the merged image.

This can be fixed by cropping, but it is better to try “Content Aware Filling” so that we do not lose any vertical size.


Content Aware Fill Empty Edges

Rather than crop down to remove checkered flag edges on a merged image, we can select these edges all together (hold down shift) with the magic wand and contiguous off. It is important to select all the blank transparent checkered flag areas together at once.

Next we do Select > Modify > Expand and expand the selection by 20 pixels, (which is needed for the next “content aware” step).

Finally we do Edit > Fill > Content Aware and click OK. We wait a few minutes and Photoshop miraculously fills in all the blank areas by smart copying in some of the surrounding scenery.

Eg. If we merge four images, it is likely that our image will be about 15,000 pixels, or 110cm (about 3 feet) wide, and so processing takes a while. (Eg. up to several minutes).

This whole process is shown around the 10:34 mark of the video below, it shows the selection, expansion, and content aware filling.


Adobe Lightroom

The following video shows how Adobe Lightroom CC can be used to stitch together a Panoramic Image.

The final panorama image created from the dull original raw images is superbly amazing!


Simple Panorama Tutorial

The link below has a nice simple written Tutorial about Panoramas.

Click to View Simple Tutorial on Panoramas

Important tips from the Simple Tutorial are these:

Overlap the images – according to Adobe, the images should overlap by at least 40%, but no more than 70%. Outside of this range, Photomerge may not be able to align the files correctly. Shoot around 7 to 10 overlapping images to get around a 150 to 180 degree Panorama.

Keep the camera settings constant – we need to keep focal length, focus point, and exposure constant throughout the series of images so that Photoshop can combine them later on. The easiest way to do this is to take one shot on P, look at the camera settings, and then dial those settings in on manual mode. Also focus on a suitable object about 1/3 of the way into the scene, and then change the camera to manual focus so that the focus will be constant. (Or just use manual focus with peaking to focus on an object about one third of the way into the center of the scene).

Shoot vertical – this is a little counter-intuitive since we are making wide panoramas. It’s usually best to shoot vertical (portrait orientation). Since we will “Photoshop Merge” multiple frames together later on to get as wide as we need, shooting vertical will give a taller overall panorama. Also, we will probably need this vertical space for cropping, and for using a 6000×3000 type Template to make a 360 Sphere image to load to Facebook. (Facebook 360 Spheres are explained later on near the end of this lesson).


Panorama Shooting Tips

These tips are for if you are taking a set of individual shots that you plan to stitch together in Photoshop.

If you are using a Sony (or other brand) Camera set in Panorama Mode, then the camera should do all of its own settings automatically.

With a bit of practice you should be able to shoot basic Panoramas in Panorama mode without even using a Tripod.

However, if you want to get a high definition photo to make a wall hanging print from, then the individual shots method is probably better.

1. Use a sturdy tripod and try to stay level when panning the camera and taking your 3 to 5 shots.

2. Make sure you have plenty of overlap of the sceneray inbetween Photos, eg. about one third or 30%, and an absolute minimum of 25%.

3. Do not shoot in auto mode (or some images might be dark and some bright and they will not stitch so well. Use Manual Mode so that the exposure stays the same in each image you take, (or hold down the AEL button on Sony cameras).

4. Overshoot the length and height of the Panorama so you will have room to crop later on.

5. Try not to have your camera lens set at wide angle for each shot, use a middle zoom setting to avoid image distortion.

6. Shoot with an aperture between f8 and f11 to f16, (which might mean using a 1 to 3 second shutter speed) with ISO as low as possible around ISO 100. This should give the sharpest most detailed images.

7. Focus could shift from image to image, and so set up the first image with the area most important to be in focus, using Manual mode focusing on the camera.

8. Use slow shutter speeds which will blur moving objects like cars, people, and animals. Try to avoid moving objects if possible.

9. At slow shutter speeds the images might be too bright, (like at the beach) and so you may need to use light reducing ND Filters.

10. Do not use Polariser Filters at all because as you pan the camera the light angle changes which shifts the Polarising.

11. Make sure your lens and sensor are perfectly clean. One dot will make a machine gun line of annoying dots across the photo in auto Panorama Mode! (These dots can be removed with the clone stamp tool in Photoshop but it is best to avoid them if possible).

If any of your Panorama faces into the sun (like a beach or sunset photo), it will be hard to get the exposure to be uniform.

The basic rule is to set the exposure for the brightest part of the sky, and shoot in Raw + JPG. If we do not do this and let the brightest part burn out and have whites, we cannot fix these in Lightroom or Photoshop; but we can fix dark areas where the sun was not shining.

Getting great images is a combination of manually setting your camera exposure for the sky (and then holding down the AEL Auto Exposure Lock button on the camera while framing and taking the shot, especially on Panoramic shots).

This definitely applies when using a Sony DSLR like the A77, which has a brilliant in camera Panoramic function, as well as an AEL button.

Manually pre-focussing with focus peaking turned on is also vitally important.


Making a Facebook 360 Sphere

It is possible to make your own Panorama Photos do the “360 viewing thing” in Facebook, but you need to use special Photoshop Templates to do this. Read on for details.

First up go to the following link:
which is a shortcut to the FB info page about Panoramas and 360 images:

In that document there is information and a link to this dropbox account folder of Photoshop Templates:

Inside this folder, there are a whole bunch of Photoshop FB Templates that you can download, such as 360 degrees, 180 degrees, 120 degrees, etc.

These all have EXIF data pre-built into them to make sure you get an FB rotatable Panorama.

We can use these Templates for putting old Panorama photos we have lying around from a normal camera into FB.

All of the templates seem to be very square shaped and are 6000 pixels wide.

It is hard to see what template file is what in the dropbox folder, so click on each one read what it says, download it, then back button to the main folder, then just keep downloading these templates until you have a few of them: 360, 240, 180, 120, etc.

There seems to be a mixture of PSD and JPG type files in the Templates. Copy all of these downloaded templates into a folder that you can keep forever on your PC.

Once we had the Templates downloaded, we then opened the 180 degree PSD Template file that is a 6000×3562 Template.

Then we did File > Place to bring in one of our Beach Panoramas.

The problem is our camera panorama photos are too skinny and only fill the middle horizontal one third of our Panorama, we would have needed to shoot some of the sky, and the scenery right down to our feet as well to fully fill this FB Template.

Next we saved the image as JPG with the extra white space at the top and bottom.

When we added it to a Post as a Photo the 360 Sphere Panorama load to FB worked okay; however the image displayed all curvy on the top and bottom. However we could hand rotate it through 180 degrees okay. So it was a usable result.

We also tried the 120 degree template, but this left weird blank ends at the end of it when rotating on the phone.
It seems that for our Sony Panorama Mode images, the 180 degree template works best.

So the trick to converting your Panoramas is to get one of the download Photoshop Templates and paste into that, then save the result as a JPG (not a PSD and not a JPG for WEB, but a full high quality JPG). When we load this image to FB, Facebook will load it as a rotatable sphere photo and all will be good.


Further Reading

Here are a couple of web lessons with tips and tricks in them to help with Panorama Photography.

Panorama Guidelines

How To Shoot Panoramas


Videos About Panorama Photography

The following is a great Video about manually shooting a night Panorama and then adjusting it all in Adobe Lightroom.

This next 25 minute video shows how to fix a dull sunset photo Panorama into something really spectacular using Adobe Lightroom.


Gallery of Panorama Images

The following link is to a Flickr Photo Gallery of Panoramic shots that we will be adding to as we do more Panoramas.

Gallery of Panorama Images

So if you are out and about, take a few Panoramic Images.

One of our future goals is to go into the city one evening with a tripod and do some night panoramas. We will let you know how it goes.


Getting on the Same Page

An essential part of producing photos and videos for clients is to understand their needs and expectations, so they end up with a Media Product they really love.

Communication and artistic vision is often a tough path to navigate, so making sure everyone is on the same page at the start of a Photo or Video Project is vitally important.


Clients and Photo Projects

Photo Projects do not seem to be nearly as troublesome as Live Video Projects. Often we can Photoshop individual images to improve them, or instantly remove them if the client is not happy with some of the images.

The only problems we have encountered thus far with Photos was one issue with a singer where he did not like his mouth open near the microphone in pictures because he thought it looked like he was about to perform a sex act on the microphone!

The only other issue we have had were on some Band Promo Shots, where we produced photos of Band Members smiling and having a good time, but they really wanted a far more serious look with nobody smiling.

To solve these “not on the same page” problems with Photos, we ask prospective clients to view similar themed Photo Galleries we have made for other clients.

We also often put together a Pinterest Board of Images so that they can look at it and tell us what they like.

For example this Pinterest Board:

Band Promo Shots on Pinterest


Clients and Live Video Projects

Making a Production Video is far more complicated and time consuming than taking some still photos of a show, or holding up an iphone and pressing record. There is no quick-fixing of Videos with Photoshop, and it is difficult to remove or crop many video sections.

It is vitally important to fully understand the Clients Needs and their Desired End Products before the Project commences.

For Example, here is a video we made for a Client which we thought was a really good product, and captured a typical live performance.

However, there were a number of aspects of this Production that the Band were not happy with.

These were as follows:

1) Video Soundtrack – They believe we “promised to get them a multi-track desk feed from the venue and remix it into the video soundtrack”. They felt cheated when this did not happen, and the sound track contained only live sound with crowd noise evident.

2) Fonts Used – They loved the font we used for the band member identification, but they hated the font we used for the “catch phrases” that displayed as the songs played. They said the font did not fit in with their branding, and was inconsistent with the rest of the video.

3) Breaks in the Set List between Video Recorded Songs – They were not happy that we could not record songs back to back, due to SD Card writing limitations.

4) Footage Quality Changes between Wide Angle, Drum Cam, and Close Ups – They did not like how the wide angle footage looks grainy and less sharp than the close up shots. They believed it interfered with flow and continuity. They also did not like that the Drum Cam footage was not as clear as full lighting shots of the singer.

5) Not Being Up Front about OUR NEEDS – They were annoyed that we were not up front from the beginning about our needs during the project: eg. one song break between targeted songs, one point of contact with the band, fast decision making and turn-around times.

6) Too Much Footage of Audience Singing – They were not happy with the “Rain” song that featured a lot of audience singing. In their opinion this made out like the band was too lazy or incompetent to sing the song themselves.

7) Release of Videos to the Internet – They were really annoyed that we uploaded what they believe were not finally approved videos to YouTube. A music venue also linked to one of these videos on the venue’s Facebook page. The band believed that the whole marketing image of the band was compromised by such activities.


All of the above issues resulted because there was not enough clear communication between the Team at PBP and the Band throughout all stages of the Project.


Video Production Check List

To overcome these types of issues in the future, Photos By Passy has developed a comprehensive Video Project “Check List” to make sure “everyone starts on the same page” and the project runs smoothly to a happy completion.

The Main parts of this checklist are as follows:

1) Establishing all Client Needs Before Starting the Project

2) Making Clients Aware of Product Limitations

3) Supplying a List of Our Needs to the Client

4) Agreement on Delivery and Distribution of Final Products


The full Check List ended up being 13 pages long, and it can be viewed at the link below:

Photos By Passy Video Project Checklist

By using this Video “Check List” for all of our upcoming Live Music Video Projects we are confident that Clients will only engage us if our type of Product is what they really want. Furthermore, when engaged for a Live Music Video Project, we will be able to meet all of their needs and expectations.

There will be no controversy, confusion, or misunderstandings, and the Project will be one where all stakeholders are happy with the final outcomes.


Lightroom Music Photos

In this lesson we look at how to use Lightroom to process low light music photos which have bad lighting.

The power of Lightroom processing can be seen in the following “Before” and “After” Images:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 01
(Click the image to see full size in a new tab)

Lightroom can be used on “JPG” images, but works a lot better when used on “Raw” format images straight from the camera.

Most modern DSLR cameras have a setting in their Menu System where you can set the camera to shoot both Raw and JPG.

Raw Images are often four or five times larger than JPGs so make sure you have a 16Gig or even a 32Gig fast SD memory card installed into your camera.


If you have not ever used Adobe Lightroom, then we recommend checking out our Introductory Lightroom lesson on Sunsets at the link below:

Introduction to Using Adobe Lightroom

This Sunsets lesson takes you through all of the main Lightroom Panels and shows you the typical general processing flow.


Often photos of musicians performing will be full of red, green, or blue light and as a result look either “Radiation Red”, “Shrek Green”, or “Avatar Blue” and will basically be unusable.

How to Lightroom Music Photos 02

But if we have shot our pictures in “Raw + JPG” mode, then we can take the “Raw” format file into Adobe Lightroom and colour correct the image into a quite reasonable photo:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 03           (Click the image to see full size)


Not all photos can be fixed as well as this one, Lightroom gives the best results when the entire photo is colour cast with a single primary colour, and the photo is sharply in focus.

Here is an original “Blue” photo BEFORE being recoloured using Adobe Lightroom:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 04

And here is the same photo after adjustments in Adobe Lightroom:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 05         (Click the image to see it full size)

The key to processing for the above two photos was to start the Lightroom workflow by going to the very bottom of Lightroom “Develop” Menu, to “Camera Calibration” and then use the RGB sliders to remove the dominant colour cast in such a way that the person’s skin becomes a natural looking colour.

From there we do all of the usual Lightroom adjustments such as Exposure, White Balance, and so on.

The following video explains in detail how this is done:

The main drawback to using Lightroom and Raw Files is the time it takes to get a photo looking good, compared to just taking a JPG file and doing some basic Photoshop adjustments.

At PBP we tend to only use Lightroom on photos that have good potential, but have been either heavily colour cast with one colour, or are extremely dull and need brightening up.

If we were preparing 30 or 40 photos for a Client, it would be madness to process all of them in Lightroom, because at up to 10 or 15 minutes per photo, it would be hours and hours of work.

Instead we would use the JPGs from the camera which are much quicker to process using Photoshop.

Where Lightroom is fantastic is when you have a great photo that is colour cast, or shots of band members in near darkness, and you really want to have that photo in the album. This is where you have a good chance of using Lightroom “to save the day” and recover that poor image into a great usable image.


Detailed Video About Lightroom

The following twenty minute video about using Lightroom for Music Photos shows some great techniques for image improvement.

It is a long but excellent video to watch to gain a lot of insight into using Lightroom for Music Photos.

The 20 minute video looks at fixing an unpleasantly coloured Guitarist Photo, and as we have stated, it is a long video but shows lots of useful things that music photographers can do to images taken in bad coloured lighting.

What is particularly interesting is the “Split Toning” which is done around the 7 minute point of the Video onwards.

With “Split Toning” we can set all of the bright highlights to one colour, such as yellow, and then set all of the shadows to a blue colour, and then colour mix them.
It worked nicely on the image he was adjusting.

We have used “Split Toning” in the following Before and After Images:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 06


Continuing with items of interest in the 20 minute video……..

Around the 9:20 mark, he shows how pressing the J key sets a mode where you can see where you are going to “Clip” on adjustments and lose detail.

We can then see where the photo is going to blow out and lose detail when we increase the Exposure slider.

Leaving the J key pressed and released, we can adjust “Highlights” and “Shadows” adjustments and see marked on the image where we are going to burn out and lose some detail from the image, but if it is background blacks or black hair where this is happening it is not a worry.

He then presses the J key again to turn this mode off, and we see the image again as normal, without any clipping highlighting on it.

In addition when choosing between adjusting vibrance and saturation, using vibrance is better because it does not affect the skin tones very much.

Remember that Saturation increases the intensity of ALL colours (including skin), but Vibrance only works on increasing colours that are dull and not yet saturated.

At the 12:40 point in the video it goes through how to use the RGB “Tone Curve” where you can adjust the colours in shadows and highlights, it does nice things to the background if you set it on medium contrast and work from there.

Around the 15:00 point he shows “Sharpening” and shows how to hold down the Alt key and mover the Masking slider so that only the person appears in the white outlines, and so only the person will be sharpened.
It works really well to set the “Masking” slider first with Alt held down, to basically select what you are going to sharpen, before you sharpen it.
Otherwise you will sharpen the background and sharpen ALL the noise that is in the image.
This is a great technique, because it avoids sharpening the lights and any noise grain that is in the background of the image.

At the 17:25 point he shows how to do Selective Coloring, which looks great if you have for example a red guitar that had some red light on it.
Basically you go onto Brush, do new brush, and choose “Saturation” from the drop down list for the type of brush.
You then drop the saturation all the way down, wind the mouse (or use left and right square bracket keys) to make the brush really big, and paint over everything except the guitar, and everything will then desaturate and the guitar stay red.
But he did all of this selective colouring at the end, AFTER he had got the photo looking really good as a colour photo.

At the end, he clicked in the left hand column the plus sign on this menu called “Snapshot” and it saved all of his LR adjustments.
He had another snapshot of when he had edited it previously, and could then flick between the two saved snapshots to see how the two edits were different.

A Snapshot is a record of an image’s editing at a certain point in its processing.

Click on the “+” sign in the Snapshots Panel to create a Snapshot. After you click on the “+” sign, the New Snapshot Dialogue Box will appear. Here, name this version of the image.
We can take multiple Snapshots of the image at various points in our adjustments editing, and these edit setting versions of the image will appear in a dropdown list in the Snapshots Panel.

When we export this one image that has multiple snapshots, the only image that will be exported is whichever Snapshot was applied last. This is because the Snapshots Panel allows you to create different versions of the image, but only one of the Snapshots will be active and exported at a time.

There is a lesson about “Snapshots” and “Virtual Copies” at the link below:

Lightroom Snapshots and Virtual Copies Lesson

He also does some Spot Healing to remove small glowing amp ligt type spots, but it is not clear in the video which icon he clicked to do this, but it was actually right next to the Crop tool.
We do spot healing or clone duplication in Lightroom using the tool next to Crop in the basic menu.

The following YouTube video demonstrates Spot Healing very quickly and clearly:

YouTube Video on Lightroom Spot Healing

The long 20 minute video is by far the best Music Photos Lightroom Tutorial we have managed to find on the web thus far.

However we did find some other useful videos and these are compiled and described in the following section.


Lightroom Video Tutorials

This first video is very interesting because the starting photo is a typical small low light venue photo with an ugly white tiles ceiling.

However the ceiling background is replaced with darkness, and a light is made to shine in from the side instead.

This video shows how to use Lightroom in conjunction with Photoshop to do this.

The “burning” of the white celing into darkness is done in Photoshop, as well as the fake lighting, but the rest is done in Lightroom.

He starts doing the fake lighting using Photoshop around the 11 minute 35 seconds point of the video.


The following video is the “Removing Radiation Red” tutorial that we referred to at the start of this lesson.

In this video, horrible Red Light is removed using mainly the “Camera Calibration” function in Lightroom 3 (which still works the same way in Lightroom 5 and Lightroom CC).

It is a nice short four minute video, and the colour correction which occurs is amazing.

This technique also works well on “Shrek Green” and “Avatar Blue” images as well.

But we need to have a dominance of one colour, and a sharply focussed raw image without any bright exposure blowouts to get good results.


In this next video, it is Lightroom 5 but looks the same as Lightroom CC, and the guy processes an over exposed ISO 6400 photo of a guitarist on stage in bright white light.

Interestingly, one of the first things he does is correct for the high ISO noise, by going to the right hand side Detail panel and sharpening and Luminance noise reducing the photo.

I thought you usually do these things last in the work flow, but he does them first, which is interesting.

His finished picture is better than the starting one, but he has not done anywhere near the level of refinements we have seen in other videos.


In this next video there is a concert photo that is quite good quality already, but just a few tweaks in lightroom really make the image “pop” with warm colour and vibrance.

The actual photo editing in Lightroom starts around the 1:27 mark.


This next video uses Lightroom and then “ON1 Photo 10” which is a Plug In for Lightroom and Photoshop that costs about $110 and can be purchased here:

ON1 Photo 10 Website

Here at PBP we have not ever used it, but it looks like an enhanced Lightroom, where various additional adjustable Filters like “Sunshine” are available.

From ON1 Photo 10, we can output our files as a PSD and take them into Photoshop.

The original starting Photo is quite good to begin with, so the point of the video is to make some refinements.


Lightroom Black and Whites

Sometimes we may have a red photo that we think we can adjust into natural skin tones colour, but things just do not work out.

This was the case with the following Red JPG image, and so we used Lightroom to create a great Sepia old style brown image.

How to Lightroom Music Photos 07 (Click Image to see it Full Size )


We might have another very red photo, that we decide to make high contrast black and white, rather than colour.

Here is a RAW image that we captured. immediately followed by the high contrast Black and White that we made in Lightroom:

How to Lightroom Music Photos 08

The following video shows how to make a high contrast black and white photo very quickly, from a very average colour photo with a lot of smoke machine haze in it at the beginning.

To find out more about making Black and White images using Lightroom, check out our previous lesson at the link below:

Lightroom Black and White Photos Lesson


Gallery of Before and Afters

The following Flickr Gallery contains a set of Before and After images where we have used Lightroom to repair a previously discarded image.

In most cases the inferior quality “Before” image is labelled, and then immediately followed by the repaired image which is not labeled, but is sitting in a White Drop Shadow Photo Frame.

Gallery of Lightroom Before and After Images


Video about Music Photos

This is a bit Off Topic, but while looking for Lightroom Videos, we found this interesting video about shooting a band, changing lenses and using fish eye lens to great effect:


We hope you have found this Adobe Lightroom lesson useful and it helps you save some great music shots from the discards folder.

Just remember to shoot in Raw + JPG mode, because Raw images always respond better to treatment in Adobe Lightroom.


How to Frame Images

In this lesson we demonstrate in detail three different ways of adding frames and borders to your photos by using Adobe Photoshop.

Although we created this lesson using the Creative Cloud Photoshop CC, the steps should be exactly the same in Photoshop CS5 and CS6.

This lesson also lets you choose your prefered mode of learning, as we have both tutorial videos, and a PDF document of full written instructions.


Black Border Frames

The first of our three lessons is about adding a black frame border, and this works great on Sunset and Forest Photos.

How to Photoshop Borders and Frames 01

The following Video Tutorial shows how to do this step by step in Photoshop.

Down at the bottom right hand corner of the player, we suggest you click on the “HD” icon and choose full 1080p HD resolution if you are going to watch the video in full screen mode.

There are also full written instructions available which can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Instructions for How To Make Frames and Borders


Border Frames with Drop Shadow

In this next tutorial we show how to make multiple frames and outlines around a photo, as well as how to add a Drop Shadow effect that makes the image appear elevated up onto the page.

This creates a great feature image for uploading to social media sites such as Facebook.

How to Photoshop Borders and Frames 02

The following Video Tutorial shows how to do this step by step in Photoshop.

Down at the bottom right hand corner of the player, we suggest you click on the “HD” icon and choose full 1080p HD resolution if you are going to watch the video in full screen mode.

There are also full written instructions available which can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Instructions for How To Make Frames and Borders


Double Frame Drop Shadow

Melbourne Photographer “Ian Peter Smith” uses this type of frame a lot on the Photos he posts to Facebook and it is extremely effective.

It was from his images that we got the idea of creating one of these types of frames in Photoshop.

How to Photoshop Borders and Frames 03

It is actually a double frame, as there is a White Frame around the outside to stop Facebook “edge cramming” it on Mobile screens.

How to Photoshop Borders and Frames 04

The following Video Tutorial shows how to do this step by step in Photoshop.

Down at the bottom right hand corner of the player, we suggest you click on the “HD” icon and choose full 1080p HD resolution if you are going to watch the video in full screen mode.

There are also full written instructions available which can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Instructions for How To Make Frames and Borders


We hope you find these Photo Framing techniques useful for making your feature images look their very best on Websites and Social Media.


Music and Special Events Photography and Video