Night Photo Editing with Lightroom

  • 2023年8月13日
  • Edit

Hello, my name is Nocchi.

Do you retouch your photos?

I am the type of person who does a lot of retouching, but I think there are some people who only change the brightness and not the colors.

And there are probably some people who would like to try photo editing and retouching, but don’t know how to do it or how to use Photoshop or Lightroom.

We will introduce the basic flow of retouching without explaining anything special, so please take a look at this article and let’s retouch together.



Easy photo editing

Nowadays, smartphone app versions of Lightroom and other applications are available, and some functions can be used for free, so anyone can easily edit photos, and I hope this article will be of some help to you.

In this article, we will explain a simple retouching technique using nightscape photos.



Retouch subject


For this subject, I will use this night view of Tokyo Station taken from KITTE.

If you do not have a similar photo, you can save this photo and edit it!

I have also included the settings at the time the photo was taken so you can refer to them as well.

F value: 13
Shutter speed: 30 seconds
ISO: 50
White balance: Auto

When shooting, be sure to shoot in RAW format.

Shooting in RAW format allows you to make more beautiful changes in brightness and color than in jpg format.

Now let’s begin the retouching explanation.



Lower highlights, Raise shadows.


The first step is to lower the highlights in the red frame area and raise the shadows.

The highlight function controls the brightness of light in shiny areas, and can also be used to suppress white areas.

In particular, a night scene will be ruined if there is a noticeable white pop, so we will lower it to a robust -100.

You can see that this calms the orange light of Tokyo Station and the buildings.

Shadows are a function that can brighten the dark and blackened shadow areas, and by increasing the shadows, the sky and clouds that were too dark to see will come into relief.

To make it easier to understand, we will increase the shadow to +100.



Correct exposure and contrast


Next, we will balance the brightness of the entire photo by using the exposure amount and contrast in the red frame. First, we will brighten the entire photo by increasing the exposure amount.

Personally, I like night scenes to be a little brighter than they appear to the naked eye, so I increase the exposure to +143. By increasing the exposure amount, the overall brightness of the photo becomes brighter, and the photo becomes more gorgeous.

Then, I adjust the tightness of the photo with Contrast. Contrast is the difference between the bright and dark areas of an image. The stronger the contrast, the brighter the bright areas and the darker the dark areas.

By increasing the contrast, the overall picture becomes tighter.

The key is to create a gentle atmosphere by reducing the contrast for flowers and natural landscapes, and to create a cool look by increasing the contrast for night scenes.




A twist on white balance


By changing the white balance of the red frame, you can adjust the temperature of the colors in the photo. For a night scene, you can make it look cool by tilting the white balance a little more toward blue.

On the other hand, tilting the white balance toward yellow can give a nostalgic, warm, and gentle atmosphere.

The key is to change the white balance to a degree that does not look unnatural.



Increase saturation for a crisp, clear finish.


Finally, increase the saturation of the entire photo to strengthen the colors.

In fact, this is where beginner photographers tend to fall into the trap of increasing saturation unnecessarily, resulting in a messy photo.

As with white balance, the key is to increase saturation only slightly without increasing it too much so that it does not look unnatural.

This completes the basic retouching process. This is all there is to it.




Before and after retouching comparison
With just this few steps, it is completed.
I think it was easier and cleaner than before retouching.




People tend to think that retouching is difficult, but once you try it and get a feel for it, it is not that difficult.

The procedures introduced here can be done with free photo editing tools, so we encourage everyone to give it a try!