Image Credit: Coverstone Creative
This post-processing workflow was designed to work with any Lightroom preset collection sold on The Luxe Lens site. While different brands will provide different workflow tools - typically based on the brand vision or the theme of the collection - core post-processing remains fairly universal between brands.
Before getting started, make sure that you know which version of Lightroom you are working in. If editing in the cloud-based Lightroom for desktop, phone, or tablet, everything will function similarly. Thus, any reference to Lightroom mobile would also apply to the cloud-based desktop iteration known simply as "Lightroom". If editing within the more comprehensive Lightroom Classic, you'll notice some extra features/functionality and deeper levels of control overall.
To begin, we'll work through a quick 3-step edit, and then we'll go through optional additional steps to enhance your images.
Basic 3-Step Edit:
1. Adjust Exposure
Most images respond well to exposure bumps between .20 and .60. If you can help it, we don't recommend going over +1.00, because this may blow out some image data and cause a noisy/grainy look to the newly lightened portions of your image.
Exposure is found under the Basic panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Light menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Preset Exposure Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Exposure Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Exposure Adjustment (Lightroom Mobile):
2. Adjust White Balance
White Balance is how you will best achieve those true whites that take toning so well! While you can always just rely on the "Auto" option for White Balance in Lightroom for desktop or mobile, you can also take the time to manually adjust this, or you may decide that a preset setting like "Indoor General" is a better fit for your image and your desired edit than "Auto". For both desktop and mobile, one of the bestmanual options for quick white balance selection is to use the eyedropper tool next to the White Balance mode selector. With the eyedropper, you simply select the place on the image with the most neutral toning available.
For a detailed breakdown, check out the article on How to Set White Balance in our How to Use Lightroom series on the Luxe blog.
White Balance is found under the Basic panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Color menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Preset White Balance Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual White Balance Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual White Balance Adjustment (Lightroom mobile):
3. Apply a Global/General Preset
A Luxe Lightroom preset will change an average of 30-80 settings within your image, for a resulting professional and refined final image. Once loaded, presets can be applied on an image with a single click - saving you hours of post-processing editing time.
Presets are found in the left-hand panel in Lightroom Classic's Develop mode, and the Preset menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile toolbar.
Preset Application (Lightroom for Desktop):
Preset Application (Lightroom mobile):
(Optional) Next Steps:
4. Apply Additional Toning or Make Slight Toning Adjustments (Optional)
If you are happy with your exposure, white balance, and overall preset edit, but desire a stylistic touch or color wash, you may wish to apply additional toning either manually or via quick overlay/layer/single-color adjustment tools. These adjustments typically focus on warming, cooling, or split-toning. This can be accomplished with the tone curve, HSL/Color Mix settings, or Split-Toning. For mobile, we recommend soft adjustments to Color Mix settings for boosting certain tones (As this is made easier by a handy-dandy slider tool which you can use to hover over and directly control specific color ranges in your image).
The Tone Curve is found under the Tone Curve panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Light menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
HSL/Color Mix Settings can be found under the HSL/Color panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Color > Mix menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Split Toning is found under the Split Toning panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Effects menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Toning Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Toning Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Toning Adjustment (Lightroom Mobile):
5. Add/Remove Film Grain (Optional)
Many modern film-emulating presets will include a film grain for that authentic true-to-film feel. These collections typically also include quick grain boosting or "Grain Remove" tools. The grain effect is also commonly added to black & white or vintage-style edits. It can also be used creatively to add texture or a lived-in feel to your image. We recommend playing with this setting across different edits to discover when/if it best works for you!
Film Grain is found under the Effects panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Effects menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Preset Grain Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Grain Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Grain Adjustment (Lightroom mobile):
6. Enable Lens Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration (Optional)
Have you ever noticed an unintentional vignette or rounding to your images, or perhaps distortion that you wish you could fix? That's where lens profile corrections come in handy. Notice any color fringing, weird lines, or an effect almost like you are wearing 3D glasses? This is evidence of chromatic aberration and you'll want to remove these from your image. Thankfully, Lightroom has great automated options here and these corrections can be made with just the click of a couple boxes (or a one-touch on/off button for mobile).
Lens Profile Corrects & Chromatic Aberration Removal are found under the Lens Corrections panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Optics menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Lens/Profile Corrections & Chromatic Aberration Removal (Lightroom for desktop):
Lens/Profile Corrections & Chromatic Aberration Removal (Lightroom mobile):
7. Apply Vignette (Optional)
Now, while a distorted lens vignette may not be what you wanted, a vignette suited to your image can be extremely beneficial in pulling the viewer's eye to your subject, either subtly or dramatically. This, again, can be automated with a quick tool, or easily adjusted via an effects slider (- for dark vignette, + for white vignette). We typically recommend a subtle dark vignette to best flatter your subject and image overall.
Vignette is found under the Effects panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Effects menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Preset Vignette Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Vignette Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Vignette Adjustment (Lightroom mobile):
8. Adjust Clarity & Texture (Optional)
Once happy with your image in terms of general toning and minor corrections/balance, then sharpening, clarity, and texture can be great for polishing things off and giving your photos that last little boost or edge to truly stand out!
Clarity & Texture are found under the Basic panel in Lightroom Classic, and the Effects menu in Lightroom CC/Mobile.
Quick Tool Preset Clarity/Texture Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Clarity/Texture Adjustment (Lightroom for Desktop):
Manual Clarity/Texture Adjustment (Lightroom mobile):
Additional steps: You may be happy here with everything toned, sharpened, and ready for export. However, you may also consider local brush adjustments to correct certain parts of your image, cosmetic corrections like wrinkle or blemish removal, or image cropping to manipulate the frame (or ready your image for the dimensions specific to social-sharing or print). While cropping and cosmetic corrections can be applied at any time in the process, you'll want to make sure local adjustments are focused after you've completed general toning.
Example of Additional local adjustments for Lightroom mobile using the Selective Edit tool:
If confused on how to manually change certain settings using your right-hand sliders in Lightroom for desktop, be sure to check out the entry on Sliders for our How to Use Lightroom blog series!
Mobile Workflow Edit Photo Attribution: Nikola Joubert
Lowfield Portraits Preset Collection (and the included Lowfield Essential Tools)
Brixton Film Yesteryears Preset Collection