Lightroom will surprise you.
Many photographers see it as a tool for basic adjustments, like exposure, white balance, and contrast, but think that creative processing needs to be done in Photoshop. Once you really dig into Lightroom, however, you’ll see that you can do so much neat stuff, it may just blow your mind.
We’ve been using it as our primary editing program for a couple years and it still regularly amazes us! So we’ve thrown together 15 snazzy examples to show you just how much creative editing you can do using only Lightroom!
Note: All of these have had the colour balance adjusted, some had tone curve adjustments, and some had profile corrections. The creative editing has been described after each example to give you an idea of how to achieve the look yourself! These are all processed fairly heavily, so you can see how much can be achieved. Make sure to edit to your own unique tastes!

1. Frost Branch


  • Basic adjustments – increased exposure, contrast, saturation
  • Split toning – aqua shadows, low saturation purple highlights
  • Vignette applied to darken the edges

2. Twilight Seagull


  • Cropped to square
  • Basic adjustments – increased exposure, fill light, brightness, contrast, clarity, and saturation
  • Split toning – warm highlights, cool shadows
  • Slight sharpening and noise reduction

3. Cattails


  • Cropped to square
  • Basic adjustments – Increased brightness and contrast
  • Hue and saturation have been adjusted to bring out the warm tones in the stalks of the cattails and the shift the color of the water.
  • Split toning – warm highlights
  • Sharpening

4. Graphic Flower


  • Cropped to square
  • Increased clarity
  • Saturation of purples increased and hues of purples shifted to red to bring out the color in the flower
  • Split toning – teal shadows and warm highlights

5. Sunset on the Amazon


  • Cropped to square
  • Large increase in contrast
  • Split toning – This image is a great example of how adjustments under the split toning panel can produce dramatic results. Because this image had a lot of darker tones, and sunsets often vary in color intensity, by changing the colors of the shadows you can change the color of the sky quite a bit. This image could just as easily be intensely golden, or nearly blood red just by changing the shadows slider. I used a warmer tone for the highlights to retain the typical colors of sunset around the sun.
  • Sharpening and noise reduction

6. Yellow Wildflowers


  • Cropped to square
  • Recovered highlights
  • Slight increase to brightness and contrast
  • Split toning – cool shadows and warm highlihgts

7. Peruvian Catch of the Day



  • Cropped to square
  • Basic adjustments – recovered highlights, increased fill light, brightness, clarity, and global saturation
  • Saturation – Increase saturation and luminance of oranges and yellows to bring out the color of the fish
  • Split toning – blue shadows
  • Vignetting

8. Spikes


  • Cropped to square
  • Recovered clipped highlights on flower leaves
  • Increase contrast and clarity
  • Split toning – warm highlights and cool shadows
  • Sharpening – Because this image was cropped so much and the detail of the flower was important, careful sharpening has been applied

9. Wildflowers


  • Increase contrast and clarity
  • Variety of hue adjustments mainly shifting the blue color of the flower to purple
  • Split toning – warm highlights, cool shadows
  • Sharpening

10. Cliffs of Miraflores


  • Custom cropped to better balance the composition and remove the foamy water at the bottom
  • Increased contrast, clarity, and global saturation
  • Split toning – blue shadows, warmer highlights
  • Slight sharpening
  • This image also has a combination of graduated filters and adjustment brushes. The graduated filters were used to darken the sky and the adjustment brush was used to brighten the cliffs and add a bit of contrast.

11. Sunset Surf


  • Cropped to square
  • Increased fill light, contrast, clarity and saturation
  • S
    plit toning – pink shadows
  • Sharpening

12. Santorini


  • Increased brightness, contrast, and saturation
  • Saturation – Adjusted the blue to darken the sky. Adjusted hue to slightly change the color of blue
  • Split toning – warm shadows
  • Sharpening

13. Greek Port


  • Reduced exposure
  • Increased contrast and global saturation
  • Saturation – increased the reds to bring out the reds in the cliff and the blue to enhance the water.
  • Sharpening

14. Clouds Over The Volcano



  • Increased exposure, blacks, contrast, clarity and global saturation
  • Adjustments to hue, saturation, and luminance in order to bring out blue and oranges
  • Split toning – cool shadows and warm highlights
  • Vignette
  • Also used the adjustment brush to brighten some of the volcano island

15. Green + Blue



  • Increased fill light, brightness, contrast, clarity, and global saturation
  • Hue and saturation were also adjusted for individual colors in order to bring out the green and the blue
  • Sharpening helped enhance the texture in the wood and stucco
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