Add Incredible Dramatic Color and Light to Photos in Lightroom CC

In this Adobe Lightroom tutorial, we’ll take a RAW photo shot on an old DSLR in 2007 (OLD!) and transform it using the powerful light and color retouching tools of Lightroom to get a rich, dramatic sunset photo along Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg National Park. We will cover everything from basic white balance and contrast to Curves, Lens Correction, and Camera Calibration features. If you take pictures, you’re going to love this tutorial!

Warming it up With White Balance

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DISCLAIMER: To see all the steps and exactly how I transformed this RAW image (download it for free right above here) from the flat image to the explosive colored image that you see as the final shot. Open the Basic panel and pump the Temperature up to about 12,000 and the Tint up to about +100, reduce the exposure a tiny bit, reduce the Highlights to -100, boost the shadows to about +40 and play with the whites and blacks if you feel like your image needs a little refinement.

Color and Tonal Adjustments with the Power of Curves

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Check out the screenshots above to see exactly how I adjusted the RGB composite channel as the Red, Green, and Blue channels to adjust the contrast and brightness as well as Red/Cyan, Green/Magenta, and Blue/Yellow. TIP: Check out the full video at the top of the post to see exactly how I push and pull the color and what I’m looking for when editing the Curves.

Camera Calibration for Enhanced Color

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Bounce down to the Camera Calibration panel and I’m looking to pump some magenta into the shadows to further enhance the sunset colors. Beyond that, I shifted the hue of Red, Green, and Blue and adjusted the saturation of these colors as I liked. Check out the screenshot to see exactly what settings I used. TIP: You have to check out the full video to see a full before/after and how I used all the Lightroom features to create an epic photo!

Tags: Photoshop, Photograph, Photography, Lightroom Tutorial, Lightroom Training, Cinematic Color, Brighten a Photo, Camera RAW Edit, Professional Retouching, How to retouch Lightroom, Lightroom RAW, Lightroom White Balance, Lightroom Curves, Lightroom Color Tutorial, Better photos, Retouch better, How to use Lightroom, Lightroom Tips, Lightroom Tricks