May 2022


2022 MAY

MAY 2022 | ISSUE 116

1 2 The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose with Alain Martinez


Two Lighting Styles, One Journey of Editing with David Byrd


Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic with Dustin Lucas


Lighting in Challenging Situations with Justin Haugen


Reevaluate Your Senior Experience with Jessica Robertson


Small-Space, Single-Light Studio Setup with Lisa Jones


5 Mistakes To Avoid When Building Your Wedding Photography Business with Michael Anthony

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A Boudoir Photographer’s Guide to NOT Posing with Pam Fields


The Creative Process Breakdown For Photographers with Ray Alvarez

134 166

Inspirations from Our Readers

The Great "I.S.O." vs. "Eye-so" Debate for Photographers with Vanessa Joy


Final Inspiration with Alissa Cincotta




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MISSION STATEMENT Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current, insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community, and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.

Shutter Magazine : By photographers, for photographers.

PUBLISHER Sal Cincotta

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Alissa Cincotta

COPY EDITOR Allison Brubaker


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alain Martinez, David Byrd, Dustin Lucas, Justin Haugen, Jessica Robertson Lisa Jones, Michael Anthony, Pam Fields, Ray Alvarez, Vanessa Joy


PHOTOGRAPHER: Barbara MacFerrin | CAMERA: Nikon D750 LENS: Nikon 24-70, f/10 EXPOSURE: ISO 100, f/10, 1/200 LIGHTING: Paul C. BuŠ White Lightning X 800 ABOUT THE IMAGE: I wanted to experiment with a local model using simple props such as cheesecloth and fabric to create semi-nude, surreal and painterly style portraits that evoke story and emotion. This particular image was inspired by the work of Joyce Tenneson, an accomplished American photographer whose photographic style is seen as ethereal and even haunting. Using Photoshop and texture overlays, I wanted the subject to appear like a statue made of the Earth, yet soft at the same time. MODEL: Tatiana (IG: @tatiana886)


Watch the behind-the-scenes video of this shot

It’s time to raise your prices. The market is exploding and there is more demand for your services than ever before. ~Sal

message from sal cincotta publisher

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez

with Alain Martinez

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez

Posing couples is a subject widely coached and sold. There are countless training videos for sale out there on this subject, but how effective is it remembering these poses? And once you remember a handful, how hard is it to not fall into the same poses time after time? I remember I bought a DVD around 10 years ago at a tradeshow with over 500 poses—500 POSES! Today I don’t think I remember or use a single pose from that DVD. Today I focus on creating moments, finding good light and letting the uniqueness of each couple be the key ingredient to yield fun, creative and different portraits everytime—and THAT I call the art of UNposing. What if I told you that remembering a few different techniques will give you countless unique portraits and you’ll never have to remember another pose again? If you like more candid, fun and not-so-perfect, natural-looking portraits then read on, this article is just for you. If you like the classical, perfectly-posed photo that perhaps your parents had, or that you get in a studio, then this article is not for that, but I suggest you read anyway as it may give you some techniques for a completely different style and a new perspective that you might like. The following portraits were taken through the art of UNposing by creating moments that are fun and interactive. I can tell you that all my clients love these more than any posed photo because they feel they are “candid.” If you consider that we chose the background, the lighting, and told them what to do, it makes these shots less candid and more produced. However, because of the techniques I’m about to share next, they look totally candid as if I was a fly on the wall while these clients enjoyed their big day.

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez


Before you start clicking pictures and telling your clients to move, you have to find good lighting, and even though lighting is beyond the scope of this article, I’ll tell you a few things to keep in mind and some things to avoid.

• Put bad lighting behind the subjects and fill in with reflector or flash. • Side light is always sexier than front light. • Find darker backgrounds than the foreground and expose for the faces. • Avoid harsh overhead lighting that causes unattractive shadows. Nothing makes a photo more unattractive than deep, sharp and dark shadows under the eyes, nose and chin. • Avoid blown out backgrounds. Lighting could be its own separate article, but these five tips above are very helpful to remember. Now that you have good lighting, or at least are avoiding bad lighting, here’s what I do every single time to UNpose our clients.


Walking is one of the most natural things people can do to achieve candid photos. Do all the above mentioned to put them in good lighting first and just have them walk at a normal pace towards you. Give them instructions to look at each other, look towards the light or anywhere they want to. These are meant to look like candid photos and thus the less they look at you, the better. Instruct them not to talk, just smile—the perfect frame may catch them with their mouths open talking and may ruin a great shot.

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez

After I’ve gotten a few walking shots, if I feel it’s right and the client could pull it off, I’d even ask her to run away from me and towards me. That’s not something you see every day, so the shots will be full of motion, fun and definitely unique.


Sometimes they walk out of your frame or they look down the whole time, or for whatever reason you need to do it again. Use this opportunity to shoot from the back as they walk away from you to do it again. Ask the bride to look back at you every few steps for some very cute photos.

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez


If the bride’s dress is looser and allows for movement, then tell the bride to move that dress from side to side as she walks towards you; that movement will create very fun portraits and create an opportunity for her to show off her shoes. She’s going to need both hands, so if she’s holding a bouquet, the groom can hold it for her as they walk and have fun for your camera. She can look wherever she wants, but not down the whole time.


These brides have been dreaming of this day for years, and in some cases, most of their lives. Nothing says fairytale more than a bride twirling a dress around like a princess. Have the groom step back a bit to enjoy the moment, and guide him to get in a relaxed stance. Tell the bride to grab her dress and twirl while smiling and enjoying the moment. If she gets caught in her veil you might have to do it a few times. These will be beautiful and fun shots she will love.

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez


It’s time for the groom to do some work! Have the groom (if able) hug the bride right above her butt, pick her up and spin her all the way around. This is the time for the bride to express how much fun she’s having. Tell her to put her flowers up, look up and smile. She’ll feel like a broadway star or a princess, and the pictures will reflect her feelings. In this scenario she’ll be prone to look down at him, and the chances for her to create a double chin are very likely. Looking up or not so far down will take care of that.

Notice that all these techniques are counting on natural light. I don’t use any flash for these pictures so it’s vital to find good lighting first. You’ll need to use burst mode on your camera to shoot multiple pictures and then select the best ones during post-production. Focus is very important as well. Auto-focus is definitely a must for these. When they are walking towards you or away from you, face tracking and fast auto-focus is important. If your camera has AI Servo, I recommend that you use it. AI Servo is found in different places for each camera and if selected it will keep the area under the focus spot in focus the entire time you have the shutter suppressed. I use this all the time, especially when shooting with prime lenses at 1.2.

The Art Of UNposing Your Clients – You’ll Never Have To Remember Another Pose | Alain Martinez

The key in all these scenarios is to have fun. The time will fly if they are having fun and it will show in the pictures. Most grooms don’t like long photo sessions, but I’ve never had a complaint using these techniques. Practice these techniques next time and once you get used to creating natural moments you’ll realize you’ll never have to remember a pose again. If you have any questions, you can shoot me a DM through my instagram @AlainMartinezStudio. I would love to see results from some of these techniques.

Have fun clicking out there, Alain

Alain Martinez is an international wedding and lifestyle photographer and educator. Since starting his career in 2005 he has traveled to more than 120 destinations thanks to photography. His creativity and keen eye continue to attract the most discerning clients around the globe where he continues to spread knowledge so other photographers can build an amazing life like the one he has created for his family. website:

Two Lighting Styles, One Journey of Editing | David Byrd

with David Byrd

Two Lighting Styles, One Journey of Editing | David Byrd

Photography has so many disciplines to master if you want to move freely between lighting styles, composition, story, genres... It feels almost endless. That’s why it’s often recommended to focus on one genre of photography so you can master all of the elements that are typical to that genre. Creating artwork in Photoshop, however, is much, much easier because it’s simply a journey of asking yourself some questions about the art you want to see, and you can often use the image itself as your guide to answering those questions. Let’s start the journey today by looking at a recent boudoir image shot in natural light.


When it comes to editing natural light images in any digital photo editor, it is vital that you remember one major principle: It is always easier to add light than it is to take it away. Look, let’s just establish the obvious that you need to get a proper exposure to an image if you want to create some great artwork with it. Yes, raw files give us the option of bringing an image back from the depths of under/overexposure hell, but just because that is an option doesn’t mean you can’t drop your guard as a photographer. It’s all about the data that is captured and what consequences you have to pay, depending on the exposure error. Either way, over/underexposing the data is going to be “damaged.” Meaning that it’s going to go through a significant transformation when you try to reduce or add more light to the image. The biggest area where this is noticeable is in the color data and subsequently is why overexposure is worse than underexposure. Reducing the light requires colors to be rebalanced and since they are overexposed, accurate color is virtually lost. Skin tones will be off, clothing, background elements, everything. However, when light is added to an underexposed image, the general consequence is seeing a lot of noise in the darkest parts of the image as you increase the exposure. That noise is filled with color data damage, but it’s generally minimal and can be cleverly hidden with attention to contrast. With that in mind, my recommendation is to always capture natural light just a touch underexposed, so you have good data to work with in Photoshop. Now let’s dive into the natural light image of Sarah and get to work. The image we’ll work on was captured with a Canon R5, the RF 50mm F1.2 prime lens, shot at ISO 200, f1.2 and a shutter speed of 1/160th of a second. The first step I want to take with the image of Sarah is to get a proper white balance by sampling the gray card image I took before we began our series. In Adobe Camera Raw I will use the eyedropper tool to sample the gray card and establish a new white balance, which will also affect the color of the scene. It’s important to note that the original temperature of the color and the tint (before a proper white balance) are 4950 and +28 respectively. After the white balance, the new values are 5300 and +25, which is adding a bit more of an orange/yellow tone to the colors and a little more magenta rather than green in tint. To add these new values to the actual image of Sarah we want to edit, I simply select both images and hit Alt/ Option and the letter S for synchronize.

Two Lighting Styles, One Journey of Editing | David Byrd

Most of the foundation of artwork to this image will happen right here in Adobe Camera Raw. This dialogue is identical to the Develop module in Lightroom, so you can work in either program to achieve these next steps. Since I chose to underexpose this image slightly, I want to address that first. But rather than turn to the Exposure slider, Highlights or Whites—I’m going to bring back the details found in the shadows and give the “illusion” that the image is brighter. Let’s take the Shadow slider to the right and land at +80 to get back all the details. Let’s continue by reducing the black point in the image, by taking the Blacks slider to the right and landing on +50, then balance that with a +30 increase to the contrast. This step will return the rich tones to the black and white points in the image and enhance the overall color. Now let’s actually add some light to the image. I’ll increase the Whites slider to +20 to give some of that vibrant luminescence to the scene and balance that by reducing the Highlights slider to -15 value. Finally, make a gentle lift to the global exposure by taking the Exposure slider up to a +15 value. We’ve addressed light, now let’s address details and color to complete the trifecta of fundamentals in Photoshop. Increase the Texture slider to +10 and the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to a +5 value. With those changes, let’s take the base image into Photoshop and get to the real work.

After a proper retouch using Frequency Separation, Dodge and Burning techniques and some enhancements to the eyes, it’s time to evaluate the image in preparation for the color grade. If you are not familiar with Frequency Separation or retouching in general, hit up my YouTube channel to watch the sixteen-video-long retouching series at


My first issue with this scene is how strong the teal color is in her lingerie and how it stands out a little too much. This will pull the audience’s focus to her body and yes, that’s part of the allure of boudoir photography, but I want the audience to see her face and eyes first before they travel. To that end, we need to do something with that color. Should we tone down its luminosity values so it isn’t so bright? Yeah, we could, but I like the light values and how they easily connect to the light source in this image, which are the windows off camera right. After a moment it hits me—it isn’t the brightness, it’s the color of the lingerie. It doesn’t match any other colors we see in the scene. We have muted blues in the bedroom décor (shout out to Robert Orcutt and his beautiful home studio of Studio at Boulder Mountain) and the teal is too close to green to work. Time for a color change. There are many ways to achieve this and the easiest is to use Adobe Camera Raw as a filter. I’m going to duplicate the image and open that duplicate into ACR by going to Filter/Camera Raw Filter. Once in ACR I’ll go to the Color Mixer and select the Teal color dial. I’ll slide the Hue to a value of +65 and reduce the Luminance slider to a -10 value. Back in Photoshop I can do a quick before and after to make sure nothing else in the scene changed and it didn’t; the teal color was truly just in the lingerie.

Color grading is only as hard as you make it and truly is the most rewarding part of any artwork created in Photoshop. There is so much you can explore with presets, Color Look-Up Tables, actions or even third-party plugins like the Reimagined Art Plugin I created to make color grading an easy process. However, let’s do it all by hand and use some of the most basic tools in Photoshop to achieve it: Adjustment Layers.

Two Lighting Styles, One Journey of Editing | David Byrd

To get started with making decisions about what colors to infuse into the color grade, we have to identify what dominant colors we see in this scene. Blue/teal is an obvious color and the orange/yellow/red we see in Sarah’s skin tone are the other colors of significance. That’s why I love this master bedroom set because the color choices in the space are neutral with blue muted tones throughout. Blue is the opposite color of orange on the color wheel and thus any human being in this room will have color harmony immediately with the scene. That’s also why I selected the teal lingerie when Sarah offered me a choice from her wardrobe. So let’s add some more blue and orange tones to this image and make some color graded art. Solid ColorAdjustment layers are your best friend when it comes to this process and the easiest to work with. I’m going to make two of them and use her skin tone and lingerie as the base in the Color Picker. To do that, simply make a Solid Color Adjustment layer (which will be whatever color you currently have selected as your foreground color) and click OK in the Color Picker window. Now your image will be filled with one single color. Turn off this layer by clicking the “eye” icon next to it. Then double-click the icon of the Adjustment Layer and that will reopen the Color Picker. Now we can use the eyedropper tool to select a color from the image. I chose a deep blue/teal from her lingerie and will change the layer’s blending mode to Lighten and reduce the opacity of the layer to 35%. Now let’s add that harmony of the orange family by repeating the same process of Adjustment Layer creation. I’ll sample the lighter colors of her skin from her forehead and use a Blending Mode of Soft Light rather than Lighten. I want a touch more contrast in the shadows of the scene, so I’m going to use a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer set to a Blending Mode of Luminosity and a value of +15 to the Contrast only. The final touch will be adding a simple vignette to the scene to augment the impact of the natural light in this scene and direct the audience’s focus to Sarah.

This process of color grading is practically the same for an image illuminated by strobes, as is the case of this image of my wonderful friend Kiarra. The environment for this session is vastly different from Robert’s stunning studio. The scene is very rich in warm tones of red and orange, so I asked Kiarra to balance that with the navy blue lingerie. Those are the same colors that I turn to when I make my Solid Color Adjustment Layer choices. However, for this image, I want a further lift of the shadows and contrast, so I’ll use a Curves Adjustment Layer on a Blending Mode of Soft Light. Lifting the shadows on the Curve by 50% will give me the results I’m looking for.


It’s so easy to feel lost or overwhelmed in digital photo editing. Whether it be a mental block of “I can’t learn this program; it’s too hard!” or a creative block of “What do I do now?”—both are completely within your control. I teach my students to approach Photoshop systemically, by asking yourself some basic questions about what you see in the image for light, color and details. Then problem-solve each of those steps, utilizing the basic tools found in Photoshop. More complex and creative editing will be further along on your journey, but it all begins here with the basics and your imagination.

David is an award-winning photographer, Photoshop artist and educator who specializes in unique portrait and photo manipulation art. Through his brand Reality Reimagined, his artwork spans the genres of fantasy, glamour, fashion and all the stories found therein. In 2018, he received the Grand Award from the ShutterFest image competition and is currently nominated for a Grand Imaging Award through Professional Photographers of America. The center of his universe is his wonderful wife Bethany, who reminds him to never be afraid to fly. Together they have traveled the world and continue to explore all the possibilities of Reality Reimagined and the imagination it is based on. website: instagram:

Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

with Dustin Lucas

Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

Whether you are new to photography or have been in business for a while, you’ve likely heard ofAdobe Lightroom. It’s one of the industry’s leading photo editing software for photographers and certainly a tool you want to add to your bag. To be clear, we are talking about Lightroom Classic, which is a subscription-based program used on your computer, not the mobile-oriented one called Lightroom CC. If you are already a subscriber to the Adobe ecosystem, you likely have access to Lightroom Classic already, but if not, it’s $10/month and a no brainer. In this article I am taking you through the top five steps to learn Lightroom Classic so you can be equipped to save time editing without losing quality this year! First, we need to start with creating a catalog and importing your images. Second, we will be able to organize thousands of files and even cull out the bad ones you don’t want to show your clients. Third, we will dive into Develop Mode to learn the basics of editing. Fourth, we will dive deeper to learn advanced techniques of editing in Develop Mode. Last but not least, we gotta export our edits to send them to the lab or direct to customers.


Lightroom Classic is a Digital Asset Manager, or DAM for short, and uses Catalogs to store your metadata for ratings, labels, keywords, develop adjustments, presets, etc. When you install the software and open it for the first time you are required to create a catalog, typically called Lightroom catalog. (Fig. 1) Simple so far, right? Every time you open the program this catalog will open so you don’t lose track of your work. This is where you have your first decision to make: Create a single catalog or master catalog for all your work or create a new catalog per shoot. Let’s stick with a single catalog workflow moving forward as this will apply to most of us. Now this catalog is saved on your computer’s local hard drive and you will want to back up to an external location. (Fig. 2) If you have onsite storage in mind, make sure to point the backup location there. I like to use cloud storage to store them so I have access from anywhere if needed. Regardless, backup is key and it should be done for all images and catalogs at this point. (Fig. 3)

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Lightroom Classic requires images to be imported into a catalog and stores all metadata. (Fig. 4)

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Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

You can import direct from memory cards or external storage—keep in mind your options for importing will shift depending on this. If you import from a memory card, the files have to be copied to a hard drive and you can custom name the folder. (Fig. 5) If imported from another storage device, you can simply add the images and it’s faster. (Fig. 6) It’s important to utilize the File Handling panel to chose the right Previews. If you plan to work mobile, check the Smart Previews box so you can disconnect from storage after import. (Fig. 7) If you plan to work with your raw files connected, build 1:1 so it’s fast after import. (Fig. 8) Make a plan and choose how you want to work in Lightroom. I prefer editing from Smart Previews and disconnecting from the storage device so I can work faster.

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Now that we’ve imported our images, we can add ratings, color labels, keywords and flags as well as move images around. This is all done in Library Mode and we can even cull out the bad images. (Fig. 9)

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When culling, I like to wait for Previews to be built and use Lights Out Mode so I can work faster. (Fig. 10) Typically, I would start by removing images I don’t want as a first pass. To do this I turn on a Library filter called Filter By Any Flag Status so when I apply a flag it’s removed from my view. (Fig. 11) Then when I am done with my first pass, I refine my final selection with five-star ratings. (Fig. 12) Once I reconnect my storage I can rename these files and move them to their own folder called 02_Renamed Raws. (Fig. 13) If I move them to a Collection I can custom sort them easily as well. Collections are like digital folders that don’t move your files, but allow you to organize specifically inside the Lightroom catalog. (Fig. 14)

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Once we are ready to edit, I like to add color labels for samples or anchor images. Red would be my choice for samples and this can be applied with the 6 key and after selecting the first of every image per lighting change. (Fig. 15) Now we are ready to jump into Develop mode and color correct.

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Now that we have images selected for anchor images, let’s pick one in the most even lighting. I like to use outdoor open shade or something similar. Before we dive into the editing process, you have to think about this program in the most efficient way. There are a ton of sliders you can tamper with and continue to for hundreds of images, never really liking what you apply. (Fig. 16) This is why Develop presets are so powerful to apply to all your images before you start individually editing each image. Whether you purchase some from a colleague’s recommendation or you want to make your own, let’s dive in.

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When making a preset, you want this to be an overlay to enhance your raw image to apply a profile, increase contrast, recover highlights, shadows, add some punch, sharpening, fix lens distortion, vignetting, etc. Nothing too creative here, just a starting point I use often for all images to get color corrected. (Fig. 17) Now we need to follow a proper order of operations when color correcting. First thing is we need to examine exposure to make sure the subject’s face is properly exposed. (Fig. 18)

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Then we can move to white balance starting with temp and tint. (Fig. 19) Last but not least is tonal adjustments to fine-tune clothing and other secondary elements. (Fig. 20) I start with highlights followed by shadow recovery. Now, when it comes to the white and black sliders this is very tricky because it can affect skin very negatively. A quick tip is to hold Shift while double-clicking them to achieve a true white or black. On screen it almost looks blown out so use to your discretion. (Fig. 21) Another quick way to edit is using the Histogram at the top of the panel. If you click and drag the cursor over each highlights section it moves the corresponding sliders. From left to right you can adjust the black point, shadows, exposure, highlights and white point. You can also use the White Balance Selector tool by striking the W key to click on a neutral or true white object. It’s not perfect by any means but helps lead you to neutral if used correctly. (Fig. 22)

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Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

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After you apply a preset to all images, color correct the first evenly lit image you can utilize in Reference mode by holding Shift and striking the R key. Then drag your edited image into the left preview pane. (Fig. 23) Assuming you are still filtered to only the red label images, you can arrow right to edit each image pre-selected for anchor images. This is a simple way to edit consistently and save time syncing later. (Fig. 24) Once you’re finished with anchor images, filter to all five-starred images and begin syncing settings. To do this go back to Library mode and into grid view. Then select a red label image, hold Shift and click on the last image after it in the sequence leading up to another red label image. (Fig. 25) To sync them hold Shift, Option and strike the S key. Then you can select the develop settings you altered to sync those specifically. (Fig. 26) Now repeat this through the whole folder of images. Last but not least, go back into Develop mode and mildly adjust each image to match. Boom—you are now color correcting faster than ever! (Fig. 27)

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Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas


Now that we’ve gotten the basics down, let’s dive into the most advanced features of Develop mode like profiles, color grading, target adjustment tools and masking. Starting from the top, profiles serve as a gateway to color correction, but before you change from Adobe Standard you might want to do some research on third-party profiles you can purchase to emulate different styles. These can vary from traditional films, trendy toning and color matching. Here is the difference in changing the profile to Kodak, Fuji, DVLOP and Color Fidelity. These have distinct color characteristics and can help enhance the color of your raw images. (Fig. 28)

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Color grading is a more selective tool for manipulating Hue, Saturation and Luminance per tonal region like shadows, mid tones and highlights. Like in cinema, color grading is a creative tool to tell a story and really make your media stand out. I like to use the global section, click on the color presets and use the color picker tool. This lets me shift the image based on a sample color to quickly shift this image into the creative color sphere. Going to any region you can simply move the sliders by clicking the inner circle to simultaneously adjust saturation and hue. A classic style is cooling down the shadows and warming the highlights. (Fig. 29) You can play with the blend and balance sliders to shift the image from one tonal region to the other. I prefer using the target adjustments slider to manipulate color more effectively. The target adjustment tool lets me click and drag to affect one to two specific colors. This is utilized best in the HSL panel and we can remove color casts, desaturate orange tones, etc. What’s great is you can independently adjust Hue, Saturation or Luminance per sampled color or colors to quickly adjust images. Clicking and dragging downward decreases the slider’s value and dragging upwards increases it. Keep in mind that it pulls from the entire image, not just the sections you click in when targeting colors. (Fig. 30) The more advanced tool in Lightroom Classic is the masking tool.

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First things first, you have artificial intelligence or AI at your fingertips with the subject and sky select feature in the masking tool. This is very powerful and is simple to activate. By holding Shift and striking the W key you engage the masking tool.

Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas

The standard way is to click on Select Subject to quickly have a mask automatically overlaying your subject. (Fig. 31) Since there isn’t a shortcut for this we can make one rather easily. Open System Preferences on your Mac computer, go to Keyboard and Shortcuts. Next select App Shortcuts, click on the + button and choose Adobe Lightroom Classic. Last, we need to select Adobe Lightroom Classic in the list, click the + symbol again, enter the exact menu title name, “Select Subject” and a shortcut command you can recall. (Fig. 32) Then, relaunch Lightroom Classic and you now have a very powerful shortcut to quickly apply a mask for just the subject. Add a subject mask by holding Control, Option and striking the S key. (Fig. 33) You can duplicate the mask and invert, then drop exposure to burn down the background. Now you have an image that really stands out! (Fig. 34)

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Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas


When I am ready to export, I typically rename my files in Library Mode. This provides a professional look to your images and personalizes the final product. With all the images selected and sorted by Capture time we can simply hit the F2 button to open the rename photo option. I typically rename with the date, last name, event name and sequence start at 1. For example this would look like “072322_Kelli_Styled_Shoot_001.” Now keep in mind we just renamed the raw files in their original folder. Now let’s jump into the Export module. (Fig. 35)

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The reason we have to export is so we can output edited files to vendors and customers. This is where we choose location, file settings, image sizing, etc. Location is pretty straightforward and you likely already have a finals or edited folder-naming structure. File settings are important and depend on where these images are going. Most applications would require JPEG and sRGB while the quality can be turned down to 90 if you exceed size when uploading. Image sizing is helpful for setting resolution to 300 for printing or limiting the long edge to 2000 if you are posting proofs to a client gallery. For each output method you can save presets to quickly recall these settings. (Fig. 36) For more advancedworkflows, if youwant to apply a watermark or run Photoshop actions afterwards automatically, you can. This would require you to first save a Photoshop droplet. Then in the Lightroom Classic export module under Post-Processing you can choose to open in another application and select the droplet. This would be how I would export JPEGs and then have Portraiture and some other actions ran on all my images. (Fig. 37) Boom— you are done! (Fig. 38)

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Top 5 Steps To Learn Lightroom Classic | Dustin Lucas


If I haven’t been clear, Lightroom Classic is the go-to program for editing efficiently while retaining quality. It is just built better than most raw processing software out there. Understanding how to set it up and work efficiently is key. Now that you have the tools to import, organize, edit and export, what are you waiting for? This is the busiest wedding year in decades. Save yourself some stress this year and learn Lightroom.

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Dustin Lucas is a full-time photographer and educator focused on the wedding industry and the academic world. After achieving his Master of Fine Arts degree, a career opportunity opened once he began working with Evolve Edits. Through teaching photography classes and writing about photography, Dustin continues to expand his influence on art and business throughout the industry. website: instagram:

Lighting in Challenging Situations | Justin Haugen

with Justin Haugen

Off-camera lighting is easily the most challenging and rewarding experience any photographer can endeavor. One misstep and it punishes you with mediocre results that make you feel like a complete novice all over again. Conversely, it rewards you when all the pieces fall into place and you look at the back of your camera to discover you are in fact a talented, capable photographer. Just when you think you’ve got a game plan, you’re blindsided by a new situation that presents a variable you’re completely unprepared for. In this article, I’m going to help you navigate some of the trickier lighting scenes we encounter by identifying the challenges they present and giving you a roadmap to light your way out of any situation! As I think back on all of the lighting situations that have come up over the years, there are two scenarios in particular that tend to trip up emerging photographers everywhere.

Pre-visualize your lighting setups! A tip I learned from MagMod wizard, Trevor Dayley, is to imagine your subject at the center of a clock and your camera is at 6 o’clock. You can now refer to your lights as time on the clock. In setup 1 our light is placed between 4 and 5 o’clock. In setup 2, our lights are positioned roughly at 5 and 10 o’clock.


This is every photographer’s worst nightmare. Your client wants to shoot at 12 p.m. despite all of your objections and you’re losing your mind over it. Why are photographers so scared of high noon? Well for one, we probably think we’re just not equipped for it, and this is often true. Bright, uncovered daylight poses a very tricky technical hurdle we have to overcome. We know that right off the bat, our baseline exposure is going to be somewhere in the ballpark of ISO 100. If you can go lower in ISO on your camera, by all means go for it. My Sony A1 has a lowest ISO setting of 50, which I’ll happily use when the situation calls for it. Next, you’re going to be at shutter speed around 1/200th of a second due to the limitation of max sync speed. What’s max sync speed? It’s the speed at which a camera’s shutter mechanism can drop the curtain to expose the sensor, allowing the momentary blast of light from your flash to reach the sensor. The second curtain drops to cover the sensor, ending the exposure. You’ve seen that dreaded black bar at the bottom of your image. It’s the result of exceeding your camera’s max sync speed, not allowing the sensor to be exposed to the entire flash duration before the second curtain drops. Some are lucky to have 1/250, 1/320, or even 1/400 (Sony A1) at their disposal. Great. You’re going to need it. Now, you’re going to select an aperture. You know that fancy lens you spent $2,000 on because it shoots at f1.2? It’s useless here unless you have a neutral density filter or a powerful light with high speed sync (HSS). I won’t get into those methods, but you should know by now that if you have an ISO of 100 and a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second on a bright day, you’re going to be in some realm of f8 to f13 that you loathe. Tough kittens, we’re trying to use flash on a bright day. So what’s your objective here? For me, my goal is to get my ambient exposure a half to a full stop underexposed from a properly exposed image. Why? In the absence of light, you get to make creative decisions about the light in the scene. Imagine a completely dark space with zero light. This is a blank canvas for a photographer. Everything is a creative possibility in this situation. The problem with midday sun is that our canvas is FULL of paint and how are you going to notice the paint you’re about to put on that canvas if there’s all this bright colorful paint competing with it? This is why we’re trying to get the ambient exposure to look slightly darker (or really dark if you’re feeling moody) than a baseline exposure. There are levels to this and you can have a more ambient/flash balanced image where the flash is almost imperceivable to the untrained eye, or you can go off the deep end and underexpose your ambient scene so your flash use will be very apparent. Both methods are a look, and both work depending on your vision or client needs. How about the flash you’re using? It’s important to know right now that flash effectiveness is governed by a few things: the power of the flash, distance from your subject, and any modifiers you put in front of the flash. If you brought a speedlight to this party, you’re gonna have a bad time. The output of this flash at full power can be observed in midday sun, but your flash is going to need to be really close to your subject—and good luck putting any diffusers or softboxes on it. These will eat up precious output, rendering the effectiveness of the flash almost unusable in this scenario. This scene really calls for a higher output light, like a portable strobe with upwards of 400w/s to 600w/s of power, and even then you would want more power so you can have more flexibility in placing the light further from the subject or using large modifiers.

Lighting in Challenging Situations | Justin Haugen

How did I approach this situation in these photos? I didn’t bring the most powerful lights in my arsenal, but I definitely brought the most versatile. I’m a big fan of the Flashpoint eVOLV 200. It’s three times more powerful than a speedlight while taking up about the same amount of space in my bag. We’re talking 200w/s of power here. Not a lot, but enough. Normally in these lighting situations we make the decision to put the sun at our subject’s back, bringing the ambient exposure down with our settings, and using the flash to fill in the heavily underexposed subject’s face and body. For this photo, I decided against that and chose to have the sun be part of the exposure, acting as fill light with the eVOLV 200 acting as the main light. The benefit of working this way is that my shadows are not so underexposed, making my lights work extra hard to fill in all of the shadowed areas.

Create an environment of light for your subject to occupy within the frame

My task here was to photograph a local hiking influencer in her natural habitat. The goal was to photograph her in these conditions while showing her playful side and even capture a little motion. My light setup was very simple. I positioned my eVOLV 200 a few feet camera right of the portion of the trail that she would be walking through. Using only a MagSphere 2 as my main modifier, I pointed the light in the area I hoped to capture our influencer within the frame. I set the flash to ½ power knowing that I could only realistically pop off two exposures before she’d be out of the area of usable light from my flash. Not ideal, but not impossible. It wasn’t fun for our talent, but about 10 quick walkthroughs got us at least a few frames we’d be able to choose from. Once we got the walk down, we tried some jumps, kicks, and I asked her to vibe with the music we were playing on a speaker nearby. Good timing and anticipation is key!

Timing is everything. With a flash at 1/2 or full power, you only have one or two frames to pull off the the exact moment you want.

Lighting in Challenging Situations | Justin Haugen

Once you have your light and your shot lined up, let your subjects express themselves. You’ve made the perfect setup for what you envisioned, and now you can collaborate and let the subject bring what they have to the images you’re making! Sometimes you’ll get lucky and nature or architecture will provide you with an extra tool in shaping your light in this nightmare lighting scenario. In this photo, I noticed the saguaro was casting a human sized shadow and used it to take away the ambient light from our influencer. When there is darkness in a frame, we get to make creative decisions on how to light that part of the image.

Enlist the aid of a nearby structure or tree to place your subject in shade before lighting them with your flash

I placed my eVOLV 200 with a MagSphere 2 just out of frame, camera right about 7 feet high, and 6 feet from my subject. I then positioned a second eVOLV 200 with a MagGrid 2 directly across from the first light, aimed toward the back of her head. I love to use two lights this way to sculpt out the human shape and make it look more three dimensional. You get a key light on your subject, a strip of shadow, and a thin strip of light on the back edge of the subject away from the key light. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference when you get used to seeing it in your images!

When using two lights, imagine both lights are opposite ends of broomstick, facing towards your subject. You’ll achieve this nice cross light effect with a nice directional shadow from your main light, and a subtle accent light off the opposite side of your subject.

Lighting in Challenging Situations | Justin Haugen


Does your blood pressure elevate at the mere mention of a sunset wedding ceremony? Sure, if everything goes as planned, the ceremony will end just as blue hour is dwindling and you’re anxiously shooting exposures at ISO 6400, f1.4, and the most carefully held 1/20th second exposures you’ve ever pulled off. What do you have up your sleeve when the rabbi is a wordsmith and instead of 20 minutes, the ceremony is 50 minutes? In a pinch, don’t forget that trusty on-camera flash. Slap that puppy on your camera with your favorite diffuser and get to work. You can’t blow this because you didn’t prepare for dark conditions. It’s not going to be pretty and although it’s better than missing the memories altogether, you didn’t come here for on-camera flash tips. Let’s figure out a plan to help you get good looking photos in near or complete darkness.

Note the position of the rear lights. If only the light had remained this way for the entire ceremony!

The third light positioned at the front of the ceremony site, acting as a kicker light when shooting the procession

The wedding I’m sharing here had a late start. It was clear before the beginning that I wouldn’t have enough available light to get a decent or meaningful exposure. I quickly came up with a plan to light the most important parts of the ceremony with my flashes. Again I enlisted my favorite light, the eVOLV 200. I could have pulled this off with speedlights, but the extra power really helps in these situations for faster recycle times. The key thing for supplying all of the light in a scene is that we have even lighting on our subjects and all the key people around them. By now you’ve got a reasonable understanding of the inverse square law. It’s that stuffy technical term that explains the way light falls off over distance. Basically, every time you double the distance from your light source to your subject, the light reaching your subject is only 1/4 as intense.

Because of the distance of the two lights camera left, the fall off past the bride and groom is less dramatic, allowing us to see the guests.

Lighting in Challenging Situations | Justin Haugen

Here’s where the inverse square law plays heavily into my lighting decisions in this scene. If I were to place the lights very close to my subjects, the light hitting them would then rapidly fall off just past them. You’d end up with well-lit subjects, and anything around them would quickly fall into darkness. It’s not a great look if we’re trying to see more of the scene. Placing the lights further away, while making the lights work a little harder to overcome the distance, will allow the light falloff to be less drastic. The further lights are, the more even the light falloff is.

Lights positioned at 10, 2, and 5 o’clock, with our wedding site positioned at the center of the clock.

environment of light, you can focus on capturing moments without concerning yourself so much with what the lights are doing.

Nighttime ceremony? No problem.

Looking at the diagram, you can see I placed the lights in a triangle formation with a MagGrid2 on each light to control the spread of light to only the ceremony site. Two lights are behind the ceremony site aimed toward the procession walkway, and one more light at the front of the ceremony site aimed towards where the bride and groom are standing. This placement helps me cover ALL angles. At the start of the procession I was shooting at ISO 3200, f2.8, and 1/200th of a second. With the flashes all around 1/16th power, I was able to photograph the procession and the ceremony no matter where I was positioned.

Once your lights are in position and all your settings are dialed in, you can focus on your job and capture memories in this fully controlled lighting environment. Who needs the sun?

For this photo, I disabled the light at the front of the ceremony site to get a moodier image, allowing the candle light to be the dominate light source on the rabbi and getting some nice accent light on our bride and groom from the two rear lights.


Whether your problem is too much sunlight or not enough, you’re going to need a plan to produce results. It’s important you know the limitations and strengths of your gear. Practice with your lights so you can understand the relationship between distance, power, placement and modifier selection and the small changes that will affect the final result. You don’t have to wait for a nightmare scenario to present itself to challenge your ability and try to pull a rabbit out of a hat. It costs you nothing to bug a friend (okay, maybe a promise of lunch or happy hour) to let you practice lighting on them on a bright, cloudless day. Perhaps the next family bbq is a great opportunity to bring your lights and practice a nighttime lighting setup. With practice comes confidence, and the next time a couple tells you their wedding ceremony is at sunset or your client insists on a 12 p.m. photo session, you’ll be able to meet them at their request and produce images that they’ll never forget!

Justin is a wedding and portrait photographer currently living in Tucson, Arizona. Starting his career photographing motorsports and feature cars for automotive publications, it wasn’t long before he found his passion in connecting with people and capturing their stories on camera. His current obsession is teaching photographers how to use off-camera lighting and will be teaching at ShutterFest 2022. Justin is sponsored by Tamron USA, MagMod and HoldFast Gear. website:

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