David Johnston

Simplify Your Compositions in Lightroom

David Johnston
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Duration:   11  mins

When you are in the field shooting landscapes, you’ve developed a step by step method to make your compositions correct. But sometimes, you overdo it and lose the main idea. Lightroom can help you simplify your images to make them hum. In this premium video lesson, Outdoor Photography Guide’s David Johnston takes you into his studio where he works on a panorama of misty mountains in the Zion Valley

Snowstorms were moving through the valley, and David captured the scene in a wide panorama. Back in the studio, he discovers a lot of dark negative space in the rock faces. In editing an image, your goal should be to zone in on the main idea. In this case, the central point of interest lies in the snow-covered peaks in the background. To eliminate the shadowy mountains on either side of the peaks, David uses the crop tool and dials in an aspect ratio, then scrolls through the various exposures to choose the best composition. As you edit, do not be afraid to change the cropping ratio. The idea is to experiment.

Once you’ve achieved a final crop, you can use the Lightroom tools to make further adjustments – contrast, shadows, highlights, clarity. To enhance the colors, you might make adjustments in saturation and vibrance. Be sure to pay attention to the histogram in order to avoid over or under exposure. To further define the main idea of your image, you can add a vignette through Post-Crop Vignetting. A radial gradient can add more definition.

To simplify your compositions in Lightroom, you need to manipulate the details with myriad editing tools. The ultimate goal is to focus the viewer on the main idea. In this premium video lesson, Outdoor Photography Guide’s David Johnston guides you through the complete process of creating a memorable image that brings out the main subject.

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