How-To

Lightroom Mobile: 4 Tips for Editing Photos on Your Phone

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Photos
| Arin Chassine
January 24, 2018
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Being a New York City photographer, I’m constantly on the go, and I need my gear to reflect that, in quality and portability. My ridiculously compact but powerful gear setup is my iPhone, Moment lenses, and the Lightroom Mobile app, which allows me to manually control the camera — adjusting Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance, etc.

Once I get some photos I like, I open up Lightroom Mobile, and I can immediately begin my edits, just as if I were sitting in front of my computer at home. Here’s my workflow:

Editingtips 1

Straighten/Crop

The first step when editing any photograph, whether it’s a quick iPhone snapshot or an elaborate photoshoot, is to correctly straighten the image. Some programs may have an auto-straighten feature, but I always recommend using reference points within the image. Here, I aligned the subway station pillar with the gridlines to adjust the photo – it’s a simple and quick task that can make your image look much more professional.

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Tone Curve

After the image is framed exactly how I want, my first step of the actual edit is adjusting the Tone Curve. Here, you can change the levels of your shadows, highlights, and mid-tones of the image. I always tend to use this type of curve to provide a little more punch, but every image is different, so I am constantly tweaking it. Keep in mind, this tool is extremely sensitive and a little adjustment goes a long way.

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Exposure

Once the set-up is complete, I can move on to some other small adjustments within the general exposure panel. Here, I’m making sure that the image looks as it appears in real life – the subway was dark, but the fluorescent lights are always extremely bright and intensified as the subway comes into the station. Secondly, I like to make sure I keep an eye on the shadows. This way, I don’t lose too many details throughout the edit. I also want to reinforce the speed of the train in this specific type of image, so I bump up the overall exposure and add a little to the highlights. Now it’s in a good place to start a little color grading to finish it off.

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Editingtips 4

Color Grading/Split toning

This is usually my final step in an edit, and sometimes can even be skipped entirely, depending on the image. Within this panel, you can alter the color of both the highlights and the shadows. Choose a hue, along with the intensity (saturation) of that hue. There are many popular ‘pre-sets’ that will paste certain colors on your image, but I prefer to use the tool very mildly, by keeping the saturation under 10. This light blue hue in the highlights and pale orange hue in the shadows help balance the image a little, but they remain unnoticeable when looking at the final product.

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After going through all of the panels, sometimes it’s necessary to go back and make some additional tweaks. But, in my opinion, the main goal of editing is to make the image look as close as possible to how it appeared when you were there.




Check out Arin's before & after photos:

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Arin Chassine (@arin.nyc) is a freelance street and lifestyle photographer born and raised in New York City. He never gets tired of walking the streets of the city, waiting to find the next story waiting to be told. He aims to capture those moments that most seem to miss. He currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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