3 Simple Tricks to Making Photos Pop

make photos pop in lightroom, lightroom tutorial, photography tips and tricks, photography tutorial, wandeleur

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With sites like Pinterest and Instagram as a part of our daily lives, stunning imagery is constantly on rotation and in your feeds. Which is why it’s no surprise that you’re inspired to hone your photography skills – great imagery is becoming more and more important as the digital landscape expands.

You bought the fancy camera and lens, but for whatever reason, they’re just not turning out how you expected. While there are plenty of different factors that go into creating a beautiful image, today we’re talking about how to get that unmistakable ‘pop’, even if the photo originally taken didn’t have one.

Our preferred tool? Lightroom. It’s easier to use (and less expensive!) than Photoshop, can quickly be learned, and has all the tools for adding vibrance to photos. Now, let’s take those images from good to great!

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First, you’ll need to download Adobe Lightroom, which you can purchase a subscription through Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Before we dive into a few three tricks, let’s make sure you’re starting with a good image. You want one that’s well-lit and crisp on its own. While Lightroom can definitely help you save an image that’s too dark, light or a little blurry, starting with a good image will make your final product even better.

We’ll use the image above as an example. It’s a nice image on its own — a bit dark, but not too dark, and it has a lot of crisp detail in it. Let’s see what a few small tweaks in Lightroom can do for it!

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1. Sharpen Your Images

We find that sharpening images up to 50% or even a little bit higher helps significantly. This will give edges that extra bit of crispness that helps them pop and look, well, sharp!

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2. Add Contrast

Adding contrast is a huge factor in making images jump off the page. Do this by playing with the ‘Contrast’ and ‘Blacks’ Settings. Just promise you won’t add so much contrast that the image looks fake or over-worked!

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3. Edit Color & Temperature

Adding contrast usually darkens the image, so it’s important to also adjust the color and temperature. Depending on whether the image was warm or cool, edit the temperature to make it look like it was shot in neutral lighting with a normal white balance. Lastly, play with the exposure setting to give images the right amount of brightness.

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There you have it! Our final product is a gorgeous, bright image that pops. We didn’t retouch or smooth her skin, nor did we add color to her lips, but the before and after are so different. It’s amazing that a little bit of basic editing can make such a big difference, isn’t it?

Now it’s your turn to try these basic techniques on your own images!

17 Comments

Kailey Marie Gordon

These are great, easy tips! I can’t wait to try them on some of my photos. Thank you!

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Heidi D.

I use Lightroom and really appreciate this! I have a question on the order you do these steps…do you sharpen first, then play with the contrast, then temperature, then exposure? When I mess with the temperature they always seem too warm or too cool…thanks!

Heidi
http://www.wishesandreality.com

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Nicole

Okay I have ALWAYS “wandered” this. Haha get it?! But seriously – so helpful. You’re photos are always amazing Blair. Now I need to purchase Lightroom (and the fancy camera). Bookmarked and saved!

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Sed Bona

Great tips Blair! I like to use the curves tool in GIMP or Photoshop to brighten and introduce contrast too. Not sure if Lightroom has an equivalent. Either way — fabulous advice, great post and an exciting launch of Wanderleur!

Sed Bona

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[…] Make Your Photos Pop!  I found this post today by Wanderleur. They teaches us there 3 top tricks with making photos pop! Definitely going to be using this to help me improve my photos.  […]

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