The main thing to remember when editing your L16 photos is that they may behave differently than what you’re accustomed to working with. Remember that L16 images are made up of 10+ photos fused together. Using the same settings you’ve used with DSLR images may create entirely different effects or results. We encourage you to play around with the L16’s RAW files to see what you can create and how you develop your own distinctive style that’s unique to your L16 files.
Our resident photographers have had a few months to play around with the L16 files in Lightroom, and after much experimentation, we’ve found that the best results are achieved with moderation. Because our files contain so much information, all it took were minor adjustments to make a real impact.
Before editing in Photoshop or Lightroom, you’ll need to export your photos from Lumen. In Lumen, use your cursor to select which images you want to export. Hold the shift key to select multiple images at once. Then, click the export icon in the bottom right corner.
Choose to export as JPEG or DNG. If you care more about keeping your file size to a minimum and less about editing, choose JPEG.
For maximum creative control and editing, you'll want to choose DNG and then import the file into Lightroom or open it in Photoshop. It’s a lossless file and will retain the maximum amount of information.
Open these files in Lightroom by using the Import function in the Library module, or by choosing File > Open in Photoshop.
Due to our image fusion, our photos don’t always play nicely with many existing presets and profiles. If your workflow includes your own presets, know that they will not have the same output on L16 photos. Pay careful attention to how they change your L16 photos, especially with those where differing Exposure Values and a range of ISOs are involved.
Sharpen in moderation. Over-sharpening L16 images can introduce noise and artifacts in ways you might not recognize. The fusion of the multiple images can sometimes be revealed in the sharpening profile and give your image a blocky, noisy appearance. Avoiding this isn't too hard—just keep the radius and detail low.
Shadows and Highlights
An advantage of the L16 is its wide latitude and ability to retain the detail in highlights and shadows. Nevertheless, you'll find times where they need an adjustment. We like the tools that independently adjust the shadows and highlights, but be mindful that past a certain point, the image will begin to break down. (This is true for any digital image.) Raising the shadows too much can reveal the blocky, noisy fusion textures mentioned earlier, and highlights may shift colors or run up against finite areas that cannot be restored.
The defringing tool can help minimize color fringing and may also help with color noise in shadows and midtones. In addition, it can improve the overall color accuracy and sharpness of your image. If you’re already familiar with using this tool on traditional files, it may take some getting used to with the L16 files. Look closely to avoid inadvertently introducing color gaps or shifts when making adjustments.
Layering many images can peak color and highlights in concentrated areas. To mitigate this without introducing color clipping or tonal shifts, we find that a very slight amount of desaturation can help control peaking colors. Raising the vibrancy expands the tones that can take more color saturation.
When making hue, saturation, and luminance changes, it is worth pointing out that the image fusion can make some transitions look unusual if heavy adjustments are made. This mostly affects the colors that are noticeable with color fringing, so we recommend taking care not to separate blues, purples, and magentas too far from one another.