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Empty Industrial Warehouse Lightroom Processing Workflow

Empty Industrial Warehouse Lightroom Processing Workflow

Watch This Video Tutorial

In a perfect world, you would have unlimited time, budget, and patience to master your photos in-camera. In the real world, there are often limitations that require a little pre-planning, creative problem solving, and post processing expertise.

This tutorial will walk you through the steps I took to quickly process an empty industrial warehouse photo in Lightroom, using only the settings in the Basic panel.

Original Image

This photo was taken for an architectural firm that wanted photos of a building they designed and had built. They didn’t want anything fancy and needed a pretty short turnaround.

Normally, I would take bracketed exposures so I could balance the ambient light with the windows and fluorescent lights during post processing, but I needed to get it done fast, and I knew I could underexpose the photos slightly and bring back the detail I needed in Lightroom.

All the edits in this tutorial are done in the Basics panel, and should take less than 5 minutes.

Step 1

Since I underexposed this image, the first thing to do is bring it back up to the proper brightness. To do this, I increased the Exposure to +1.00.

Step 2

An empty, industrial warehouse is cold and uninviting by nature, so I wanted to give it just a little bit of life. I warmed up the image slightly by increasing the Temperature from 4000 to 4125.

Step 3

To make the image more dynamic and engaging, I used one of my favorite sliders in Lightroom, and set the Clarity to +65. The clarity slider selectively increases the contrast throughout an image, giving it a more 3-dimensional look.

Step 4

To bring back some details, I decreased the Highlights to -15. This darkens just the very brightest parts of the image a bit. It's almost unnoticeable by itself, but a lot of subtle changes add up to a big difference in the end.

I also increased the Shadows to +60 to bring back detail in the ceiling beams, and other dark parts of the image.

Step 5

I want to restore some of the interesting contrast that was taken away in the previous step.

To do so, I set the Whites to +20, and brought the Blacks down to -20.

Before and After

You can see in just a few minutes, and using only the settings in the Basic panel, how you can take a pretty dark and boring photo and turn it into something that would be right at home in an industrial catalog or on a website.

Final Image

You can take this tutorial one step further by using local adjustments to balance the color of the window light, add some split toning effects for a more emotive look, and more.

Click the image below to view it at full size.

What do you think? Were you able to apply some of these tips to your own images? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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