I’ve been asked many times how I edit my night photos in Lightroom and photoshop. And when you ask me something, I try my best to give you the best answer possible. Are you going to get a complete walkthrough on how I’m editing in Lightroom and Photoshop?
Well, to be honest, probably not. What you will get is some tips and tricks to make life easier for you while editing your photos. I decided that from now on, I will shoot some BTS (Behind The Scenes) movies for my Youtube Channel together with a few tips and tricks.
During the night photography workshops, I teach my students how to get the best exposure by reading the histogram and the light meter. In the video below you can see how I edit one of those shots taken at a workshop in Rotterdam. The video is in dutch, but even if you don’t speak dutch, I think you will get it just by watching what I do in Lightroom.
How to edit your night photos in Lightroom
One of the most important things in night photography is getting the correct exposure. The lightmeter in todays camera’s are great, but when shooting at night they have the tendency to give you a wrong reading. There are two main metering options, spot and matrix metering. During the workshop, I tell my students to set their camera on matrix metering.
Shooting in aperture priority with matrix metering, means that the camera will calculate the exposure time. In many cases this results in a slightly underexposed photo in which there will be no data in the shadows. Now when you switch to manual, you have to dial in your exposure time. By using the in camera light meter, you can now set the exposure time so that the meter read 1/3rd or 2/3rd overexposure. This will give you data in the shadow parts of your photo and slightly overexposed highlights.
The highlights and shadow details can be recovered in Lightroom as shown in the video above.