Are you going back and forth from Adobe Lightroom to Photoshop while editing window pulls and images with flashes? To save time, we're going to teach you various masking techniques in Lightroom so that you can fine-tune masked areas with greater control when applying certain effects.
Masking is a versatile feature in Lightroom that masks out areas you don't want to sharpen, similar to the mask tool in Adobe Photoshop. With Auto Mask, Adjustment Brush, Range Masks, Color Range Mask, and Luminance Range Mask, you can control the amount of masking effect in your photos.
Let's go deeper into how you can use these masking tools to improve your real estate photography post-processing time and methods.
The Auto Mask feature is one way you can control and make localized adjustments in a photo, saving you a lot of editing time. Go to the bottom of the Brush Tool panel, and then tick the checkbox to either enable or disable the Auto Mask command.
Once enabled, the brush would automatically choose pixels with the same color and brightness to mask certain portions. Its selection would also depend on the exact point where you click on the image.
For example, you can dodge the dark portions of a property while brightening certain parts of the sky.
Even if the Auto Mask option serves as a good starting point, there are cases where you won't see the results you want. Since Auto Mask won't give you total control over the selection, it would be better to pair it with the Adjustment Brush.
The Adjustment Brush tool allows you to selectively set exposure, brightness, and clarity adjustments over particular masked areas. For example, you don't want to alter the background, yet you would like to bring out more details in the foreground.
If you want to work on areas with the same tone or color in a photo, you would usually have to paint them individually when using Auto Mask and Adjustment Brush.
In contrast, using the new Range Mask tool enables you to create a more detailed masked effect in images, giving you more creative control even in the most complex situations.
Unlike Auto Mask, which just automatically selects the surrounding colors, the Color Range is a better option if you like to make a more detailed selection of the colors in a specific area.
As opposed to the Color Range that depends on color, Luminance targets specific areas based on the brightness range of your chosen pixels. This is ideal to use when you need to apply a local adjustment to shadows or highlights.
This is a sample process in Lightroom coming from John DiStefano of Bayville, NJ. For this example, the 3-shot bracket starts out looking very flat, yet there are tons of room for adjustments to create an HDR image within Lightroom.
You can also experiment a bit to see if this process would work well for your post-processing style and improve your real estate photography workflow.
The results look pretty good since you have full control of how much you like to edit. Unlike working in Photoshop, doing this in Lightroom means you don't have to apply highlight correction to the entire room and avoid the dark areas around the window frame and mullions.
Masking allows real estate photographers to make isolated adjustments with even greater precision. When correcting an overexposed sky, you can mask and edit the area without altering the rest of the landscape in the image. Hence, you gain better control over exposure, hue, saturation, clarity, and white balance.
You should see the masks at the local adjustment panel. If you're not seeing them, check if you have the most current Adobe Lightroom process version, which is Version 4.
After learning how to use masks in Lightroom, you don't have to edit every element in Photoshop before applying presets. Now, you have a new way of doing everything on one platform, saving you post-processing time and letting you focus more on your real estate photography shoots.