Lightroom Tutorial Series, The Develop Module.
- Aug 12th. 2012
- Posted in lightroom . Tips & Tricks . videos . Workshops
- @ThomasShue . lightroom 4 . Lightroom Tutorial Series . lightroom4 . Lilsamedia . lilsamedia.com . The best angle . The develop module . Thomas Shue . Thomas Shue Photography . tom shue
- By Thomas Shue
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Lightroom Tutorial Series, The Develop Module
Welcome to my blog. I want to thank you for taking time to visit today. In today’s post, I will be doing another Lightroom tutorial, covering the “Develop Module”. The develop module, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of the program. It is the basic set of controls that can make or break your image. The develop module is the digital darkroom, at the core. If Ansel Adams were alive today, he would be having a ball in the develop module, much in the same way he did in his wet darkroom.
In any fine art print, you will see a couple of things that are almost always present. First is a truly defined white section also known as the “white point”. Next you will find a truly defined black section, and I bet you are already guessing, it’s called the “black point”. You see, these points (white & black) show the viewer a very rich image, if you are able to hold detail in the shadow area and highlight area of the print. Put it all together you have an image that is said to be rich in tonal range and density.
Again I want to reference Ansel Adams. He was a master at making images with a rich tonal range. He would see the black point in his head, through his “Minds Eye” (his vision), and he would expose his negatives for a specific point that would hold this shadow detail, and just below that detail would be his black point. He would control the exposure so it would not blow out the highlights, thus retaining all of the highlight detail. Then, in the darkroom he would develop the negatives, controlling the time, so the chemistry would dissolve away the perfect amount silver to ensure the highlight detail would match his vision.
I do want you to know that there is not a camera made, ever, that can expose a negative with as much detail as Ansel was able to achieve in a final print. Through his use of proper exposure, chemistry and work in the darkroom he offered images straight from his “mind’s eye”. Ansel always had a vision of what he wanted, he knew his gear, he knew his materials (film and paper), and he knew how to predict a final result based on known variables (the zone system). Most of all, he knew how to process all of the information in the darkroom. This is exactly what is happening in the digital world. The develop module is a digital representation of what Ansel did with a properly exposed negative, chemistry and his enlarger in the darkroom.
You can gain exacting control over your final images through the use of the develop module. Remember that the develop module is only one part of the process. It all starts with the initial capture (the file). If you want to create fine art types of images, the initial capture should only take place from a vision, same as with Ansel’s vision. It’s very important that you have planned ahead to ensure all of the necessary information is in the file, in doing so you can create a rich tonal range in your final image. To capture as much information possible in a digital file there are several techniques. One in particular is to expose to the right - also known as “ETTR”. Be sure to Google, “Expose To The Right”. It is an extremely valuable topic that I will cover in a later post.
Yes, Ansel would love the develop module in Lightroom. See the exact control you can achieve when you know what the heck is going on in the develop module. At first glance, it is not obvious what is happening with all of the sliders in the develop module, so I made a video to show you. I did it in such a way that there is no way you can’t tell what each slider is actually doing.
In my video, I show you not only what is happening, but how I use the develop module to process my images. Remember, I show you MY way, I dont say, “the best way”, “the only way”, or anything like this. I still learn every day, much like the rest of you. However I try very hard to know what is happening so I can share the information with you.
Thanks for taking time to read this post, and I look forward to doing it again tomorrow.