How to take full advantage of my Lightroom Presets – My Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions
Over the last couple of months I’ve received a few emails from people who loved my Lightroom presets but also had a few questions about its usage and functionality. I’ve collected the most common questions and put together a little tutorial with screenshots. I’ll cover topics like “Why do my photos look orange or yellow?”, “How can I reduce the brightness and intensity of red, orange and yellow elements in my photos?” and “Why do my photos turn out so bright/dark?”. If you have any other questions or are facing any problems with my presets, please do not hesitate to contact me under the ‘About Kati’, on Instagram or via email@example.com.
Why do my photos look orange or yellow?
Depending on the time of day, your geographical location (Dubai vs. Stockholm), the season, the set-up/scene and the room you’re shooting in, the light is always different. Below you can see two different photos, both were shot in my flat in Istanbul. However the light one was set up in my kitchen in summer and the dark one was set up in my office in winter. It’s not just the light that was very different on both days but also the color of props and the food.
When I applied one of my presets to the light photo, it turned out completely orange. However when I applied a preset to my dark photo, the colors were great. So what’s the difference between these two? The White Balance!
You might have faced the same issue. You applied one of the presets and the white balance was totally off, meaning the photo was most likely to look orange. Again, for some photos the presets work without any further adjustments from your side. But there are some scenarios where you just need to tweak one tiny thing. The White Balance in your Lightroom Develop Settings.
Simply find the White Balance dropdown menu, identified by the WB in the Basic section of your Lightroom Develop bar. Click on “Custom” and a dropdown menu will appear. Now choose “Auto” and see magic happening. The photo will now look less orange. If you still feel like you want it to look a little colder or warmer, all you need to do is shift the Temp (Temperature) bar to the right (warmer) or left (colder).
The first before and after set turned out way to orange as the White Balance was set on “Custom”. After I changed it to “Auto” the second before and after set looks great now.
Again, sometimes you don’t need to do any adjustments on the White Balance (like shown on the before and after set below) depending on the preset, styling, setting and light.
How can I reduce the brightness and intensity of red, orange and yellow elements in my photos?
For me moody and magical food photography is all about bringing out the reds, yellow and oranges. However that does not always work, especially when you shoot on white background with orange props and food. Depending on you personal taste, you might actually like the brightness and intensity of the orange soup in the photo below. Yet, if you want the photo to look a little more balanced you can decrease the saturation and slightly change the hues of the reds, oranges and yellows.
In Lightroom on develop mode you find a menu bar on the right. Scroll down to section “HSL” and klick on “All” to unfold the color bars for Hue, Saturation and Luminance. These color bars help you do adjust specific colors only without effecting the whole image. You can either shift the colors manually, for example, turn the red hues a little bit more towards orange (right side) or go to Saturation and decrease the orange a little (shift to left side). or you can click on the small circle on the upper left corner of each section and bring it to a spot on the photo with the color you want to change. In my case I activated the circle (see close up photo, the circle has now an arrow on top and button) and placed it on one of the orange bowls. Don’t click or press enter, just use the arrows on your keyboard and go up and down. This is all about testing. Once you finished one section (e.g. Hues), go to the next (e.g. Saturation) and click on the circle again, place it over your preferred spot on the photo and use arrow keys to adjust the color.
As for my photo with the orange bowls, I changed the Hues of orange and red and made them a little more yellowish. And I also decreased the saturation of my oranges and reds.
Why do my photos turn out so bright/dark?
I always underexpose my photos a little and sometimes a lot. That’s just my personal style and there is no right or wrong of how to do it. However I noticed that most people do slightly overexpose their photos which can lead to a very bright photo with blown out highlight when you apply one of my presets. Luckily, the solution is super simple and does not do any damage to the quality of your images.
All you need to do is to increase or decrease the Exposure on the Basic section of your Lightroom Develop menu. Again, there is no right or wrong and it all depends on personal style and case. You can increase or decrease the exposure of your photo until you are satisfied.
As mentioned before I generally underexpose my photos and thus need to almost always increase the exposure on my images a lot. As you can see from the images below, the quality of the photos usually does not suffer.
If you have any other questions, comments, feedback, need help with your Lightroom presets, just send me a DM on Instagram or sent me a message via firstname.lastname@example.org.