seeking basic workflow advice...
I think the first thing you need to do is to go through your many, many shots and cull them down to the ones you really want to work on in order to tell the "story" of the event.
Start in the Library section of Lightroom and switch from the grid view to the loupe view. Begin with the first picture. You can use your right and left arrow keys to advance/rewind through the filmstrip of images.
See one you like? It's well focused, you can deal with the composition, it contains information that's "important" - that sort of thing. Tap the "P" key on your keyboard and move on. If the image isn't well done/if the image is much like another/if you just plain don't like it much - just move on. You can get through your entire folder of images quite quickly. If you find you still have too many images, learn the definition of "ruthless". But relax - you don't *have* to spend significant time on all of them.
Now that you've culled out the less-than-stellar images, you have a couple of choices. At the far right, just above the filmstrip, you should see an area where you can filter your images - you can set that to show just the "Pick" images that you have chosen. SO much easier to look at fewer images, isn't it?
If you are now designated as "ruthless", you could also go to the Library menu and choose "Refine Photos". This will take the flag OFF your chosen images AND mark the rest of them as rejected (black flag). You could then go to the Photo menu and choose "Delete Rejected Photos" (they will go to your recycle bin for final deletion). Clears hard drive space, if you want.
The next step is the Develop module. First thing to do, if you haven't already, is to turn on "Solo Mode". RIGHT click in an empty area of a panel's title bar and you should see this choice on the context menu. This will show you the panel you're working with and collapse all of the rest so it's easier to navigate from one to another.
If you use a camera that is supported, the first stop might be Lens Correction to apply the profile for your camera/lens combination.
Next stop is the Basic Panel. In general, work from the top down. If your image has a minor color cast, you can fix it in the temperature and tint sliders at the top. (Also check out the choices of Profile in the Camera Calibration section.) Exposure is a general brightness slider, contrast is self-explanatory. The next four sliders - Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks - work on specific areas of luminance in your image. The histogram at the top right of the screen will show you if you've got too much black (left side of the histogram) or blown out white (right side).
Wish a specific color range were different? More or less saturated? Lighter or darker? Go to the panel marked HSL. I usually keep this showing all sliders at once. To the left of the words Hue, Saturation and Luminance, you will see a little bullseye (target) icon. This is the targeted adjustment tool (TAT). Click on the Hue TAT and then click on the area of the image where you would like to change the color. Click on the Saturation one, then click on the area of the image where you would like to saturate/desaturate a color range. The same goes for the Luminance TAT to lighten or darken a color range.
Note that the above deals with the image globally. If there's only a specific area where you want to affect exposure, saturation, temperature/tint and the like, click on the adjustment brush tool above the Basic panel. Move a slider so that you'll be able to see where you "paint". The nice thing about this is that you can adjust the sliders to your heart's content and even go back later and change the settings.
A quick word about the Details panel. The noise reduction is much more effective in this version of Lightroom than previously. As far as sharpening goes, I think the best part is the Masking slider. Increase the sharpening until you like what it does to "edges" in your image (I generally use something around 50 for a lot of shots). Hold down the ALT/OPT key and start sliding the Masking slider to the right. ONLY the white areas will have the sharpening applied. Often, I use quite a high setting for this slider.
One last piece of advice - relax and have fun! Remember that no pixels are harmed in this entire process. If you mess up, you can go back infinitely in the history or reset the image completely.
|Louvre Museum pyramid by Didier Quan|
|Oka Frozen Leaf 2002 DP by MarioSS|
from The Dead Leaves of Winter