How to: Cheat at Travel Photography // Adobe Lightroom Demo

How to: Cheat at Travel Photography // Adobe Lightroom Demo

travel photography cheat-2

I think I finally figured it out about 16 months ago and haven’t looked back since.

So here’s my confession: I edit the images I share on my blog extensively. Oh yes, I take tons of pictures when I travel and use manual mode when possible but the reality is – when I’m exploring a city, on a walking tour, or any situation that doesn’t allow me to stop/adjust/shoot/evaluate/reshoot then I’m more than likely in Aperture-only mode. I don’t stress about exposure, white balance or saturation, instead, I just cheat my way into great shots once I get home!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on how I can serve new bloggers and travelers on this space and realized that outside of travel related questions (which I now have a resolution for!) I receive a lot of feedback about my photography. Welp, my secret sauce is not my camera (although I do love it) and all the credit doesn’t go to my lens either (though a great lens is crucial!). It’s Lightroom, a photo editing software created by Adobe.

So here’s the deal, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 8PM EST I’ll be hosting a free Google Hangout demo showing:

– My Lightroom workflow
– Basic Editing Tips (+ the one tool everyone overlooks!)
– Lightroom shortcuts
– Using Brushes to improve an Image

The best part? I want to use YOUR images as my examples for the demo. If you’re game, submit one 1600px image to: subject: “Demo Pic”

In the spirit of disclosure, here’s a bunch of before and after’s showing the magic (because that’s what it is!) of Lightroom:

Can’t wait to see you then!

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  • Count me in! Of course, you deserve all the credit for your gorgeous images (whether it’s through photography technique or editing technique, it’s still YOUR effort and skill making them look so good!) – but I will admit it is nice to know you’re human like the rest of us 😉 You definitely have the magic touch, and it’s lovely of you to want to share it!

    • Margo

      Ha! Well I won’t stop you from calling me a magician (that’s a first!) but YES, I definitely am not producing these shots straight out of the camera. Hallelujah for Lightroom. See you Wednesday! xo

  • I just installed Lightroom, and, although I’m still learning how to use it, I’m loving it. So sorry I’ll have to miss your demo — I’ll be fast asleep by then (I’m six hours ahead on Central European time). Have fun!

    • Margo

      Wonderful, I’m sure you’re going to love it! As I shared with some of the other Europe folks, I definitely understand passing on a Lightroom Demo in the wee hours! I plan to do a weekend demo down the road that’s at a decent hour for those outside the US so stay tuned. 🙂

  • Looking forward to learning more about Lightroom!

    • Margo

      Wonderful! Definitely excited to share what I know! Feel free to submit a picture you’d like me to edit in the group setting! 😀

  • Thanks for sharing your knowledge Margo! I also don’t bother changing my settings while on action and use Lightroom/VSCO for post-processing instead. 🙂

    Is it Mar 2 or Mar 4? The date in the first photo is Mar 4. Looking forward to learn more photo editing tricks from you! ^^

    • Margo

      Yay! Glad I’m not the only one that’s enjoying the perks of Lightroom and the freedom of shooting outside of Manual!

      Totally apologize about the March 2/4 mixup. The class will take place on Wednesday, March 2. ;D

  • I would absolutely love to join this class – thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks Margo! I’m in Australia though and sadly that time is right in the middle of the work day – any chance at all you will record it??

    • Margo

      Hi dear! Timezones are so annoying, aren’t they!? Yes, I definitely plan to either record it OR do a weekend demo that will allow folks to tune in at a decent hour!

  • i FINALLY downloaded Lightroom and decided to get the A Beautiful Mess presets to make editing easier until I figure out how to use it better. I’m in love! I definitely will be joining in!! I love love love how you edit your pics and like you I totally cheat while traveling and take my pics in aperture only mode! Ain’t nobody got time for changing the settings over and over while exploring awesome places!

    • I second everything you said! including the ABM presets 🙂

      • Margo

        Yay! That’s really exciting, definitely glad to share what I know! I watched SO many videos when I was just starting out but never really got to just sit with someone and ask questions/watch live… that’s my goal on Wednesday!

  • this is so awesome! I’ve been using lightroom for about a year and a half – it definitely makes thing so much easier. you take photos with “good bones” [composition, focus] to start with and the editing can take it from good to great. if this is wednesday the 2nd I will definitely be there 🙂

    • Yay! More like Thursday the 3rd right? 🙂

      • for me anyway 😉

        • Haha! yeah! ;D

          • Margo

            HA! Oh girls, I feel so awful for keeping you guys up (or making you get out early?)… darn timezones. I told some European folks but the same goes for y’all as well – based on how things go on Wednesday I’ll likely do a weekend demo, or at least one that takes place way earlier in the day, so you guys can (comfortably) join in!

  • Veena

    Can’t wait! xx

    • Margo

      Yay! So excited to virtually hang out with you! (Finally!!) 😀

  • Awesome idea! I’ll be there. : )

    • Margo

      Yay! Looking forward to it! Definitely shoot me an email with any image(s) you’d like me to demo editing. 😀

  • The colors and vibrancy is magic! Teach me all you know! Are you shooting in RAW? I’ll be joining you! Do I need to sign up for anything?

    • Margo

      Oh girlfriend, definitely! Shooting in RAW is crucial for bringing out details in shadows, saturation, etc. etc. So long as you submitting your email address in the box below the post then you’re in the club and I’ll pass along the details there!

  • I’m very very interested in learning all about it, so I can’t wait!! 🙂

    • Margo

      Wonderful! I’m definitely looking forward to it as well! Please, by all means, feel free to submit any image you’d like me to edit during the demo! 😀

  • The Postcard Travelers

    I’ll be joining in Wednesday night from London! Although in the interest in keeping up my beauty sleep can the next demo you schedule be earlier in the day Margo? ;-D

    • Margo

      Ah! No worries, guys! Get your beauty rest! I plan to do a recording but more than likely another demo during that’s at a decent hour for all my Europe-buddies! 😀

  • I have always loved your photographs! Your editing, composition… you have a really great eye! It’s about to be rodeo season here in Houston and I’ll be at the Jason Derulo concert that night (ha I know he’s not country but he will be performing at rodeo)… will you have this recorded for those of us who can’t make it?

    • Margo

      ha! There’s SO much I’d love to say about your comment (like, who knew Jason Derulo was touring?! and what do you wear during rodeo season?!) but YES don’t worry, I’ll do a recording and more than likely another training session! xo

      • You need to experience a Houston rodeo season once in your life!

        • I second Courtney on this! You would love the Houston rodeo! And as for what to wear… it’s all about the cowboy boots in the month of March 😉 Actually it’s the only time I wear my cowboy boots lol

          • Margo

            lol! okay, well it sounds like me and my nude flats will need to come down there then! i’m definitely missing out!

  • This sounds like a helpful class for so many travelers. I’m a Lightroom addict and can definitely attest to the power of editing. You just can’t get the same effect of images without editing to some degree, and lightroom speeds up the process so much!

    • Margo

      totally agree, girlfriend! I’m glad there’s a fellow Lightroom addict out there who’s not judging me for loving it so much! ;D

  • Yes !!!! I have had my calendar marked for this since I got the newsletter. I have pen and notebook on the ready. Thanks for doing this.

    • Margo

      Anytime, dear! I’m really happy to share what I know! ;D

  • JZ

    Kudos for calling out your Lightroom editing! It is definitely more affordable than a bunch of accessories to get the tricky shots in camera. We just discovered the Dehaze Tool, and are loving it. Looking forward to learning about your workflow because we definitely spend too much time editing for some of our posts.

    • Margo

      yeah! I seriously can’t deny how much time Lightroom saves me and what a valuable element it is in my photography workflow! Dehaze is seriously wonderful isn’t it!?

  • Eek I’m so excited for this! I need to calculate what time it will be here?. I have been procrastinating buying Lightroom but just found out I can get it through work super discounted. Your pictures always look so good!!

    • Margo

      yay! I’m definitely going to try and do another demo over a weekend too just because I know that the time I choose isn’t exactly convenient for a lot of people! eee, sorry!

  • Oh I’ve been wanting to try out Lightroom! These photos look amazing!

    • Margo

      thanks, girlfriend! it’s seriously an amazing piece of software, I DEFINITELY recommend trying it out at least! ;D

  • Ilene Blessing Modica

    I am so excited. Started a blog but just now getting into photography. I am so interested – thank you so much for doing this!! I have to rush home from work but I think I’ll make it in time!!

    • Margo

      wonderful! thanks so much for submitting your pic too! Can’t wait!

  • Margo – you should also teach some of us how to create these image sliders… 😉 I’ve been trying for ages

    • emilygrapes

      I second this! 🙂

      • Margo

        girls! it’s easy as pie! it’s a plugin called ‘TwentyTwenty’ – free and super easy! 😀

  • emilygrapes

    Margo! I’d love to hear your thoughts on your lens as a travel lens! I’ve always felt I “needed” the ability to zoom..”because..because..what if I have to zoom!!” when traveling and carry the (ever-so-heavy) 24-105L on my 5DM3. Do you feel like you’re “missing” anything by only having it go to 40mm??

    • Margo

      such a great question! I previously had an 18-200mm (stock lens which was actually stolen otherwise I might not have had justification to invest in the 17-40 L lens) and while I loved the ability of zooming, the added weight of the glass made it so much heavier by comparison. plus how often was I actually zooming, you know? usually my issue is that I wanted to get further back in order to capture as much of the scene as possible. of course, that might be just my personal photography style but long story short – nope, I’m totally happy with my lens just going to 40mm! 😀

      • emilygrapes

        Thank you! So interesting to hear how you’d rather move back to get more in, than zoom! I used a prime for the longest time and adjusted to it, so I wonder if I got a smaller length like the 17-40, if I’d adjust and love it just the same. Something to think about!!

  • This is amazing! I think I’m going to have to miss it (womp), but you’ve definitely piqued my interest into Lightroom. Now that I’m learning manual mode I’m realizing I’m slowing down everybody I travel with. So they’d probably appreciate me learning some post-trip skills. Ha!

  • hi margo! wow love these before / after images and i will be tuning in for your demo shortly! i wanted to ask what plugin you use for your facebook popup? i love the way it looks.


  • Becky Howe

    I’m so sad I had to miss this! I use Lightroom for all of my photo editing and would definitely benefit from a demo. I hope it went well and was beneficial for everyone involved. Will you be posting or emailing the demo to those who couldn’t attend on Wednesday? Either way, thanks for your willingness to share your knowledge with your followers!