Actually it's not magic at all, it's just knowing how to use Adobe Lightroom to enhance your digital images!
We caught up with professional photographer Shane Williams after a recent holiday in Sri Lanka and The Maldives to admire his travel shots and to get some hints on how to get the best out of our digital photographs while we're on holidays.
Above: Using Lightroom to adjust noise in a dark image taken in The Maldives.
We know that Shane's a big exponent of Adobe Lightroom software in his professional capacity producing work for his Fivespice Creative clients. But does he use it when he's on holidays? Turns out the answer to that question is an emphatic "yes".
"I always travel with my laptop and a hard drive" Shane explained, "in Sri Lanka we were out exploring every day and as I went along I dumped each day's images from my camera onto the drive, via Lightroom. I very quickly and simply created a library for each day and then later on sat on a balcony, or beside the pool, with a glass of wine (of course!) and scrolled through the images, tagging the best ones as I went."
Above and below: On safari in Sri Lanka photographic opportunities were not always ideal, so Shane had to shoot quickly and then make use of Lightroom's abilities to enhance detail and pull out shadows.
Shane loves the versatility of Lightroom, as it allows him to make image adjustments on the fly, quickly export correctly sized files for social media, and even automatically store them in multi-locations at the time of importing from his camera – a way to ensure he always has back-up copies.
Because Lightroom syncs to his iPhone he'll even fine tune images during flights and then sync back to his hard drive when he's back on the ground. And even better, the Lightroom app allows him to take images on his phone in RAW format and he can adjust those images without degrading the image file. That's a huge plus in circumstances when he needs to travel particularly light, or unobtrusively.
Above: Temples, like this beautiful location in Sri Lanka, do not permit flash photography, but Lightroom allowed Shane to reduce noise and bring out the decorative details.
Shane says the Lightroom tools are perfect for when he's taking lots of pictures. "In seconds I can create customised adjustment settings and apply them to multiple images. This makes batch processing very easy." He describes Lightroom as being like a "digital darkroom" where he can fine tune images.
One of the best features of Lightroom is it's non-destructive nature. Whatever your image adjustments, the original raw file always remains. Shane often makes virtual copies of the one image, making multiple adjustments, to compare the pictures or use them for different purposes.
"Lightroom is the perfect tool for my entire workflow" he says, "from importing raw images, creating library files, making adjustments, to exporting in whatever file format and size is required."
Above: Who doesn't love a holiday panorama? The tricky lighting conditions of this view of Colombo at dusk were corrected and stitched together in Lightroom.
If you'd like to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom, you can join Shane for a short course of 2 x Wednesday evenings 6pm-9pm at Pumphouse, commencing Wed 28 November. Details and bookings on our Courses page.