Review - "Lightroom Live!" with Joe Houghton, 01 Feb 2021

A review by Janine Scola - "Lightroom Live!" with Joe Houghton, 01 Feb 2021
A fast paced, but fascinating evening, looking at how Lightroom can benefit us all!

The evening started before Joe joined us with a preview of the various images offered by members for Joe to process in Lightroom. Our members talked through their editing process, what they had achieved, but also where they had experienced difficulty in getting the most from their image. All were very interested to see how Joe Houghton would approach his processing and what the end result would look like.

Joe opened his talk by saying he had not looked at the images submitted ahead of the meeting, as he wished to make his comments as if he was viewing them ‘straight from the camera’. In this way, he would discuss his vision for each image, alongside the views of the photographer of the finished photograph.

Each image was opened in Lightroom and into the Develop mode. First up was a wonderful image put forward by Carol Zimmerman taken of the lake on a walk around Buttermere. The initial impression was a little ‘flat’, but with a small crop and then ‘tweaks’ using Texture and Dehaze – suddenly the picture took on a new ‘feeling’ bringing the hidden colours and shadows alive.

In contrast, the next image of Saltaire by Stephen Jones could have come straight off a Coronation Street ‘set’, showing the typical terrace backyards with rows of refuse bins leading the eye to distant hills. Here Joe demonstrated the transform tool needed for the alignment of the verticals and horizontals, then lens corrections – all minor adjustments but which made the image ‘right’! From the bland sky in the far distance, this came alive with more tweaks; a small crop and the decision to go Mono, with a few more minor adjustments in the colour spectrum to the blacks and the image took on a whole new meaning. When placed alongside Stephen’s final version, he too had converted to mono but with a sepia tone, which Joe agreed had made it just a bit more ‘punchy’!

The second half of the evening was a quick run-through of the remaining images, covering various genres from street, skies, landscape and studio shots. Joe explained for each image how he would make improvements using the various tools available in the Develop mode of Lightroom – sometimes a different approach than from the photographer, but how his ‘eye’ and vision of the photograph could make it more impactful and bring out the emotion being expressed.

He advised that if making adjustments to skies for example, not to go straight to the Clarity tab, but to Texture which is a little more forgiving, but does bring out the finer details. He showed how to make adjustments with the radial tab, the use of the Dehaze tool and so much more. There is even a tab to check for sensor spots!

So many tips and hints along the way, and if members were making notes, then undoubtedly their pencils would be stubs! If anyone missed anything, then Joe will be providing a edited recording of the evening which will be sent to the club to share with members.

A really good evening with lots of helpful comments on the images put before us; everyone learned some short cuts and many of us will be inspired to pull out some of those images we felt needed ‘a bit more work’ but not sure how, and now armed with helpful advice – and probably a bit more practice needed!

Please visit Joe's website -

~ Janine Scola