In this session, we sat down with Tamer Ghoneim, an avid calligrapher and photographer, to chat all things Lightroom and photo editing. As someone who is passionate about experiencing the "light, colors, shapes, contours, and sensations" of photography, he aimed to share that passion with us today in the form of tips and tricks. Tamer is full of golden nuggets of knowledge, so make sure you watch this session!

Understand Lightroom

Lightroom has a Basic Library Module and other modules. It has a Navigator to help you find folders, images and collections. On the right side of the screen are the Quick Develop Options to help in changing the details of the images.  

Develop Module

Presets are placed at the bottom. Lightroom isn't just for landscape, nature, architecture, people or photography. You can also use it for art.

Click on the develop module and presets. Hover over one and immediately notice the change on the image. Click and edit your photo from the presets in the pack. This is the power of the presets. Add a flat image and change its dynamics with one click.

Pro tip: Create different tints for images. They can be faded with a blue tint or have a vignette around the edges. With one click, modify or edit the photo to adopt a new look. This is helpful in maintaining consistency across a brand. If you start with the same preset or a few presets that are similar, it can always maintain a similar look with edits when you're publishing photos or putting them on social media.

Use Tools

Start with the interface. Panel with the presets on the left, and manage edits on the right. Follow a top-down approach. Use the Histograms at the top to edit photos. 

Histogram Tool

Each image has its own histogram, showing colors and luminosity of that image. The histogram shows the light in the photo, the left being the darkest and the right being the lightest.

Pro tip: Highlights focus on the brighter areas of the picture. 

The Crop Tool

The crop tool helps in cropping the image by rotating it left or right. You can even use the handle and move the handle to crop the image.

Pro tip: Use the Modifier Keys such as Command or Control to hold down and crop the image.

Spot Correction Tool

To use the spot correction tool, zoom into the picture, hold the spacebar down and select the magnifying glass. Hover over the spot and let it automatically replace or fix the spot.

Use the red-eye tool to remove the red eyes from photos of people. 

The Gradient Tool

The gradient tool helps in simulating an indie gradient filter from a camera. Adjust at a high level and notice how the bottom is darker than the top. Create a way of balancing that out. Use a filter and add a gradient effect to the photo. Hold Shift and transition the zone. Exaggerate it and pull the exposure down.

Double click to return to the original photo at zero position or reset the composition.

Use the Indie Filter to change the color of one part of the picture by adding a tint. Change the exposure or contrast.

Radial Edit Tool

Instead of a gradient color adjustment (to apply an adjustment to a circular area), create an oval and make that area brighter using the radial edit tool.

The Basic Editing Tab

Make adjustments to the photo by making it warmer or cooler in this tab. Increase or decrease the temperature of the photo.

The exposure makes the photo bright or dark. This affects the whole image.

Use contrast, paying attention to the histogram. The dark parts will get darker and the light parts will get lighter. Highlights will impact the lighter parts of the picture, not focusing on the whitest of the white. The shadows will impact the darker parts of the photos. This can add a pop to your picture. The texture adds crunchiness to the photo.

The clarity adds contrast to the picture as well as softens the picture. Dehaze helps in vanishing the fog from the photo as well as adding a foggy effect to the photo.

Vibrance will tend to increase the saturation of the least saturated parts of your picture. It focuses on the blues. The saturation will increase the saturation of the most saturated elements you see, focusing on the oranges.

The Tone Curve

The tone curve gives an opportunity to adjust the photo using curves. You can put points on the curve and change the adjustment levels. You can even add specific color ranges and change the colors.


HSL color will let you change the hue, saturation or luminance for any individual color in the photo. It’s a great tool for editing photos and applying presets.

For example, to change the greens in the photo, use the hue until the greens start becoming yellow. So, hue helps in changing the color. The saturation will individually change the saturation of a specific part, de-saturating or over saturating the greens, and the luminance changes brightness or darkness levels.

The color grading adds mid-tones, adjusting specific areas. It turns the shadow area to the blue side, and makes the brighter parts of the image more orange in color.

Sharpening Tab

Add a crispness to the picture by sharpening the image. Use 80 for sharpening and 75 for detail, applying more detail or sharpening to parts of the picture. The white areas are the ones being sharpened.

Chromatic Aberration

Remove distortion and chromatic aberration from your pictures, using chromatic aberration. It is a purple-y or teal tinge that will show up in some of the most contrasted spots of a photo. Make manual adjustments as needed. 

Transform Window

The transform window will let you adjust the image and add transform effects. Add a vignette to make the image lighter or darker.

Pro tip: Camera Neutral adds a neutral balance to the photo. 

Lens Correction

Use the lens correction to flatten the image. This automatically applies default corrections based on the lenses.

Take a bunch of pictures on a grid. In the library module, click sync settings. Apply transform into various pictures at a go.

Crop the image by clicking R and rotate the edges of the paper. Unlock the padlock to adjust the corners and start applying presets.

Let’s edit a sample photograph for Instagram, to understand better:

Use the default crop option for Instagram. Click R to automatically put the padlock on. To edit, pull the exposure up and check the histogram. Add contrast and pull the lights down. Add a filter, making it slightly darker and pull the shadows out. Add a light blue tint from the temperature adjustment and add more contrast.

Darken the edges and pull down the blue color from the saturation. Target the color and hue and change the saturation of the specific color. Adjust the curve and create a preset. Rename this preset.

Congratulations! You have successfully learnt and edited a photo in Lightroom.