As many of you may have gathered, lately I have been doing a lot of photographs of flowers we have taken and added a black background to them. Yes you could use Photoshop, create a black background and then mask out the flower… But what if you don’t have Photoshop of Photoshop Elements and only have Lightroom, how do you do it?
Well here is a quick tutorial of how I have created my photographs.
I don’t do any adjustments to the flower/subject until I have got the black background surrounding the flowers/subject This is simply because when you change the background and you have already done your adjustments your flower/subject just may not look how you envisaged. So I do my black background first.
I have a Local Adjustment preset that I use constantly, using the settings in this photograph on the right. You can create your own preset or you can download the Preset by clicking here. (Instructions below on how to install in LIghtroom)
Making sure I have the auto-mask box ticked I then go around the edge of the flower/subject. If I accidentally go over the flower/subject, then I just use the erase brush to remove that part of the mask.
Sometimes I find that the black edge can be speckled so what I do then is duplicate the brush by right clicking on the pin and selecting duplicate.
In fact I like my backgrounds to be jet black so I do have the tendency to duplicate this brush a good three or maybe 4 times. But of course that is your own personal preference.
Once I have got the black edging that I need, then it is down to local adjustments…. and time for me to do my normal processing in Lightroom.
If when I am using the brush I have difficulty in seeing where I have painted and where I haven’t I click on the check box ‘Show Selected Mask Overlay’ and that will show me exactly where I have painted and where I haven’t.
Lightroom is brilliant at times at being accurate for the edge, but sometimes, it just can’t seem to make a clear edge and there is a little bit of bleeding on the flower. But don’t fear that is not a problem.. what I do in those instances is simply add a radial filter, using the Black Edge preset and then lower the amount of the preset.
If you look closely at the above adjustment brush image by the Preset Name is a little black arrow that is pointing downwards, if you click on that arrow, this box will appear and then you can fade the effect of that preset.
That tip is a handy little tip I picked up from Lightroom Killer Tips Blog. And believe me I use it hell of a lot now that I know it is there. 😀 😀 Especially when I am doing radial filters for my flowers… What I have been doing lately, which I like the effect of, is still using the Black Edge Preset, draw the radial filter and then lower the amount to give the effect I want.
You can do so much with this Local Adjustment Preset and I hope you find this tip very helpful. Now for the instructions on how to install the Local Adjustment Preset.
- Download the file and unzip it.
- Open Lightroom
- Go to Edit and then Preferences
- Click on the Presets tab and click ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’
- Click on the folder named Lightroom and open it.
- Then click on the folder named ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ and open it
- Place the file named (Blackedge.lrtemplate) into this folder.
- And finally restart Lightroom and your preset will appear under the local adjustment presets.
A selection of photographs where I have used the above technique.