Lightroom CC: The Photo Editing Tool You Need for Spectacular Photos

PhotographyTips & Tricks

 In our previous post we announced that Adobe has partnered up with self-taught photographer Jeryl Tan – or  @smilewithjeryl on Instagram – and discovered his secrets to nailing captivating, pro-level shots.

On this week’s update, Jeryl shares his editing process and how Adobe Lightroom CC helps him transform some recent snaps he took in Indonesia. Jeryl says the simple adjustment tool and massive cloud storage makes on-the-go editing easy for any photographer to achieve the look they desire.

Discover below how Jeryl uses Adobe Lightroom CC to give images his signature look.

1. Plan your shoot and be punctual.

Before going on any photography trip, be sure to plan an itinerary. This saves you time from any last minute scrambles mid-trip. When I was in Bali, it was important for me to know exactly where I should be in order to capture the magnificent Mount Agung spewing volcanic ashes. So do your research before waking up at 3am for a sunrise in vain!

2. Leave breathing space in the photo.

Have sufficient ‘breathing’ space in the photo so it does not look too cluttered. This comes in handy especially in famous tourist spots thronging with people. Having too many people in front of the camera hinders you from showcasing the beauty of the landscape; so find a spot that allows you to do the scenery justice.

3. Play with perspective.

Good perspective adds dimension to your photo, helping it stand out from the norm. By experimenting with angles, you can alter the way your subject is perceived. For example, I left the platform overlooking Broken Beach in Bali out of the frame, making the photo look like a spectacular drone shot.

With these tips in mind, I’ve pulled out three of my favourite shots from a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia. Here’s how I achieved the final looks on Adobe Lightroom CC.

Lempuyang Temple


Left: Before edits | Right: After edits

When the opportunity for a good shot suddenly presents itself, you may forget about composition amidst the excitement. Luckily, with Adobe Lightroom CC, you can correct this later when editing.

Compose Your Photo

How it’s done:

  1. Click the Crop tab and select your aspect ratio. I chose 4 x 5 / 8 x 10.
  2. Find the centre of your photo.
  3. Move the Crop tool with the built-in grid over the photo until you get your desired composition.

Achieve a Dramatic Effect

Pro tip: Before making your own adjustments, click on the AUTO button under the Light panel for Lightroom CC to auto-tune your image accordingly. Often, it’ll accurately balance the image for exposure and white balance, leaving you to make specific minor adjustments after.

How it’s done:

  1. Click the Edit tab and go to the Light panel
  2. Bring the Highlights down to -100.




By toning down the highlights, the volcanic smoke immediately looks more hazardous and menacing.

Set the Mood

How it’s done:

  1. Go to the Color panel under the Edit tab
  2. Increase Temperature to a warmer tone, increase Vibrance, and decrease Saturation.
  3. To adjust the saturation of individual colours, turn on the Color Mixer panel and select Saturation from the dropdown selection. Toggle with the individual colour saturation sliders until you achieve the desired outcome.




Kelingking Beach

Left: Before edits | Right: After edits

Eliminate Distractions

How it’s done:

  1. Look for natural leading lines that bring the focus to the main subject. In this case, the waves and the stairs lead to the main subject – the T-Rex shaped island.
  2. Select the Crop tool under the Crop tab to eliminate unnecessary details that may draw attention; in this case, it is the horizon.

Now you get the focus on the island, with the impression that the sea goes on endlessly in the background.

Impress with Vibrant Colours

How it’s done:

  1. From the Edit tab, scroll to the Color panel
  2. Turn on Color Mixer and select Color from the dropdown selection to adjust specific colours. Hit the Hue slider of each colour and slide it to the particular hue or colour that suits your artistic direction. With my photo, I tweaked the greens and blues, before fine-tuning the greens again to properly bring out the richness of the sea and greenery.

  1. Next, go to the Luminance slider to individually adjust the brightness of each colour instead of the overall photo exposure from the exposure slider above. Sometimes a particular colour stands out when it is darker, while others pop more when they’re brighter. So keep experimenting on different photos!
  2. Lastly, toggle with the Saturation slider for the individual colours. An oversaturated photo may look too glaring or unnatural, so find a good balance.


Bring Back Details

How it’s done:

  1. Select the Edit tab and go to the Light tab
  2. Decrease the Highlights so the details pop. In the case of this photo, I wanted the details of the waves to be more apparent.



Broken Beach

Left: Before edits | Right: After edits

Unveil Details in the Shadows

If you shoot your photos in RAW, it is possible to retain information hidden in the shadows of your photo. In this case, we’ll try to bring out details from the dark areas of the rocks.

How it’s done:

  1. Select the Edit tab and go to the Light tab
  2. Drag the Shadows slider to +100 to bring out details.



When dark areas are captured at the right exposure, the photo can reveal many interesting details in post-production.

Pro Tip: If you’re shooting on mobile, download the Lightroom CC Mobile app to shoot in DNG for future editing.

Change the Ambience

Transform the green aquatic hues of the water to a calming blue that suits the mood of the photo.

How it’s done:

  1. Similar to the Kelingking Beach shot, play with individual colour sliders to really bring out specific colours.



Now it’s your turn!

The best way to continually improve your photography skills is with practice. So go out there and keep shooting and editing till you master your own signature style. If you’re new to Lightroom CC, use my tips above to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, do explore its many other functions to achieve amazing results!

Get started with these 3 steps:

  1. Download a free trial of Lightroom CC on your desktop
    Lightroom CC mobile from iTunes Store or Google Play.
  2. For a quick start, use the Auto Edit powered by Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence. Sensei compares your photos to tens of thousands of professionally edited photos and takes care of the big adjustments automatically so you can focus on fine tuning.
  3. Explore filters with Lightroom CC Presets to find your preferred aesthetic with light and colour. Every photographer has their own style, find yours!


Can’t find your photo?

Searching through thousands of photos in your Lightroom Library just got easier. With Adobe Sensei, your photos are auto-tagged so you can simply search with keywords in the ‘Search All Photos’ box.

Sharing made easy

Download the Lightroom CC app on your mobile so you can post and share your edits straight to Instagram and Facebook! Just click the Share icon and select ‘Save to Camera Roll’. What’s more, you can also access all your photos from your desktop for heavy duty editing.

Share your snaps with me! Just post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #shootyourstory. Also, keep an eye out for me on @smilewithjeryl for more exciting stuff coming your way.

Photography, Tips & Tricks

Posted on 02-20-2018

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