The Lightroom Tool You Need To Know About: Calibration |

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The Lightroom Tool You Need To Know About: Calibration

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I have an amazing blog to bring you today that will help with your color correction in Lightroom by learning about calibration!

The calibration panel in Lightroom is a very powerful tool that will affect the coloring of your images.

It’s also one that is so often ignored! Knowing how to use calibration properly can help tremendously with learning the style of photography editing you want or helping you achieve the one you have in mind. However, most people have no idea what it is, so if that is you, keep reading. 

To best understand the power that calibration can offer, we need to first break down what an image is comprised of. As you probably know, an image is made up of millions of pixels. Each pixel is made up of a percentage of the colors red, green, and blue (RGB). When we are talking about calibration, it’s important to know this because calibration changes the RGB in every single pixel. 

Have you ever noticed how people talk about “Canon colors”? Or maybe you’ve had a second shooter who has Nikon and you’re a Sony shooter. The colors are never quite the same, are they? That’s because each camera manufacturer interprets RGB differently! Using calibration can help to make your images look cohesive no matter which camera brand you are using!

Now you may be asking why not use the HSL panel?

It is a much more commonly used panel but it limit is that it only changes the parts of the image that are  obviously the color you’re adjusting. For example, let’s use the color red. If you had a wedding reception image of a woman in a red dress and toned red down with HSL, you would just be color correcting that obvious pop of red. With calibration, you’d be color correcting the red in every pixel of the image! 

Here’s another super common example that I know every single wedding photographer will empathize with; orange. Think about barns or locations with those orange-y colored floors. You probably dread editing those images and tend to desature the orange in the HSL panel when you do, right? We’ve all been there! However, calibration is such a better option. With desaturation in the HSL panel, it’s hard to keep those nice creamy skin tones. Oftentimes skin looks dull or washed out because you’re taking away all of that orange. With calibration it gives a nice slight adjustment to the oranges in the photo while still keeping normal looking skin tones! 

Let’s talk about where you can find this wonder tool and how to go about using it.

At the very bottom of the Lightroom adjustment panels is the calibration panel. You’ll notice that you have red, green, and blue sliders. You have hue and saturation for each of these colors, just like the HSL panel. There isn’t a perfect formula  for adjusting these sliders. . I suggest playing around with the sliders to get your image to look how you want it to. The more you practice using the calibration panel, the easier it will be to quickly make the adjustments needed to match your style.

You’ll notice at the top of the calibration panel, there is a tint slider that looks similar to the one found in the basic panel. . However, the function of this tint slider is very different. Whereas the basic panel tint affects the entire image, the calibration tint slider affects only the shadows and has a much more subtle rate of application.I recommend using this slider as the very last step in adjusting your calibration! 

I know it can be intimidating to try out a new tool in Lightroom but I definitely recommend playing around with calibration.

It can completely change your editing workflow. If you want to see me using the calibration panel in action, check out our newest YouTube video! I will walk you through examples that help explain it in even more detail. And if you want even more hacks for editing to help you work smarter (and NOT harder), then download our Lightroom Keyboard Shortcuts for free!  

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