3 Steps for a Clean Edit in LightroomMatt Le
There is nothing more classic and simple than a clean edit. Starting with a RAW image straight out of the camera gives you the perfect clean base to begin. Achieving a clean edit in Lightroom is easy if you follow these 3 simple steps.

1. Set Your White Balance

Accurate white balance is the key to a really clean edit. Ensuring that your colors are accurately represented will help the photo look bright and true to life.

In Lightroom, the easiest way to set your white balance is with the dropper tool. You’ll find it at the top section of the Basic Panel.

Click on the dropper to activate it and then find a gray neutral area to click on with the dropper. White clothing, black clothing, asphalt or cement, snow, or even the whites of the eyes can be a neutral area to get a good starting white balance.

White Balance Eye Dropper Tool in Lightroom

As you hover the dropper over areas of your image, you will see a preview of what the white balance will look like if you click there.

However, do be aware that not every neutral area you choose will show a perfect white balance. Use this preview to adjust where to click so that you can get the best starting white balance for your image.

Once you have a good start, you can use the Temp and Tint sliders to make smaller adjustments to the white balance.

The more experience you gain in adjusting your white balance, the easier it will be for you to adjust your white balance without using the dropper. You will begin to see when your image is too yellow, blue, green, or red.

Red-headed girl playing the violin in the street

2. Adjust the Exposure

Ensuring that your exposure is correct will give the perfect brightness to your image. This especially applies to skin tones.

If the skin is in shadow at all, you will need to make targeted adjustments to the skin using the Adjustment Brush or Radial Filters.

Adjusting Exposure in Lightroom

Adjusting the exposure is as simple as moving the Exposure slider in the Basic Panel to the right or left as needed.

3. Add Contrast

Most every RAW image will need a little bump to the contrast. JPEGs will need a little less. You can increase the contrast by moving the Contrast slider located just below the Exposure slider in the Basic Panel just a little to the right. You can also increase the contrast by decreasing the blacks slider a bit.

Using the Tone Curve to add contrast in Lightroom

Another option for increasing the contrast is to use one of the preset settings in the Tone Curve Panel.

Next to the words Point Curve you will see the word “Linear”. Click on it and try choosing “Medium Contrast” to see an immediate contrast bump.

Before and after image

These 3 steps will have your images looking their very best with a clean and classic edit in just a few minutes!

For more Lightroom tips or to find Lightroom Presets that make editing even easier, check out www.lightroompresets.com. If you’re a Photoshop user, be sure to check out the photoshop actions and tutorials at Pretty Actions.