Explore the Lightroom Masterclass.

The Top 3 Skills I Learned from Luke Stackpoole’s Lightroom Masterclass
(Complete Course Review)

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the tools in Lightroom? Yeah, I did too.

My goal over the past few months has been to develop my photo editing skills. Specifically, I wanted to stop relying on presets to make my images look good.

I’ve always wanted to sit down in front of a raw image, and know exactly how I wanted it to look – and how to use the tools in Lightroom to make that happen.

 the lightroom masterclass

You’re likely familiar with Luke Stackpoole and his distinct, cinematic editing style. If there’s one person that I would want to see deconstruct their editing style, he is the one.

Luke has put together a 5-hour Lightroom course that takes you from a complete beginner to developing a clear understanding of how to achieve a style of your own.

After completing the course, I wanted to share my honest feedback and the most important things that I learned.

Let’s start with a quick overview of what’s covered.

Course Outline

 Course Files

  • Spark AR Files for Instagram Filter Creation
  • WithLuke Presets – The Tutorial Collection
  • RAW Files
  • WithLuke Orton File

 The Foundations

  • Optimising Lightroom
  • Understanding the Library Workspace
  • Develop Panel Deep-Dive
  • Understanding Each Tool
  • Efficiency Shortcuts

Comprehensive Editing Tutorials

  • Introduction to Colour Theory
  • Individual lessons for a wide variety of shooting scenarios
  • Earthy Tone Editing
  • Blue Tone Editing
  • Matte Green Tone Editing
  • Low-Light Editing
  • Portrait Editing
  • Commercial Editing
  • 18 Total Image Walkthroughs

Keeping Things Consistent

  • Export Settings to Maximise Quality
  • Final Touchups & the Orton Effect
  • How Luke Keep His Instagram and Portfolio Consistent
  • How to Create Your Own Instagram Filter

 overall score: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Most Valuable Skills I Gained from This Course

Let me start off by saying that this is truly a masterclass in every sense of the word. The videos are well-produced, and Luke has an approachable teaching style that makes complex topics very easy to understand.

The thing that surprised me the most about the Editing tutorials was what Luke’s raw photographs looked like straight from the camera. They look just like the photos we all take! Pretty flat, decently exposed, imperfect lighting, and usually a few distractions in the background.

I think many people expect their favorite photographer’s raw images to look as magical as the final edit. Seeing this starting point not only gave me a ton of confidence, but it is fascinating to watch how Luke builds a polished edit slider-by-slider.

Without further ado, here are the top skills that I gained after completing the course.

Luke Stackpoole / Lightroom Masterclass

.  3. Mastering Color Sliders & Tone Curves

As I mentioned, I have always relied on presets in Lightroom – hoping they would help my images look good without having to touch too much under the hood. I have typically skipped over the Color Sliders and Tone Curves because they felt too advanced, even though I knew I should be using them.

Luke walks through each slider and curve at a comfortable pace, while demonstrating how he thinks about them to shape his own edits. This has given me complete confidence in using two of the most critical panels in Lightroom – without even having to touch a preset.

Luke Stackpoole / Lightroom Masterclass

.  2. Using Graduated & Radial Filters to Transform Your Image

This is where Luke’s expertise really shines. Have you ever gone out to shoot, and the lighting conditions were less than stellar? Luke shows you how to use graduated and radial filters to shape your flat image with dramatic shadows and glowing highlights.

Controlling the light in your photo allows you to lead your viewer’s eye to the subject – which is one of those hidden techniques that truly separates a professional image from an amateur-looking one.  

Luke Stackpoole / Lightroom Masterclass

.  1. Color Theory

This is the foundation of developing your own style. I can now look at an image and immediately identify how I want to shape the relationship between the colors, and know exactly what settings I need to adjust in order to make it happen.

Color theory doesn’t just apply to single images – this concept is what enables you to build a seamless portfolio of images that all work together to showcase your aesthetic.

.  Bonus! Optimizing Your Workflow

One of my favorite parts of the course was learning all of the little workflow enhancements that Luke has developed over his career. These are invaluable tips that could only be discovered by spending hundreds of hours in Lightroom. (And no doubt he did – Luke has shot 150,000+ images over the last year.)

From building a well-organized folder structure, to showing you how to hide all the panels you don’t need – this course has really helped me feel at home in Lightroom.

 final thoughts

Luke does a good job of showing the mechanics behind the tools that seem complex at first. It has given me the confidence to use them, where I normally would have avoided them because they felt too difficult. That is a common theme throughout the entire course.

I have never been more excited to get out and start shooting images of my own. With these new tools, I can think about how I want to edit photos as I am shooting them – instead of hoping a preset will save me when I get home.

Overall, this course is absolutely worth the investment.

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