Settings: Kids Race

Kids Race - (c) Ken Conley

A fellow photographer friend asked what the settings where on the Kids Race photo that I did, so I thought I'd share here. In general, if there's any photo you want to know the details of (e.g. camera settings, Lightroom settings), let me know and I'll post about it.

For the Kids Race photo, it's mostly Lightroom processing that achieves the look. The odd angling is partly due to cropping and rotating, and partly due to the fact that I couldn't kneeling down with my injured leg and instead just held my camera at kid level and pressed the shutter. If I had more time, I probably would have used the adjustment brush to lighten the kid's face on the left, but this was just an experiment while watching TV.

The processing it not all that unique. I've been a fan of Matt's Presets. In particular, I've liked the "Surreal Edgy" preset, which has a nice HDR tone with really rich blacks. I don't stick with that preset, though, as I find the look to be too flat for road photography -- it's much better for cyclocross and mountain bike.

The settings that I list here are based on starting with the Surreal Edgy preset, then dialing in more color to my liking. They should work in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw (presumably Aperture, but I don't know). Some of these settings are very photo specific, such as the dialing down of the purple. I also add a lot of vignetting. Whatever you do, don't use post-crop vignetting! For whatever reason, post-crop vignetting is not the same effect as normal vignetting. Normal vignetting gives your photos a nice burn, post-crop vignetting just turns your photos gray.

Another thing to be careful with is fringing/halos. When you push the recovery and fill lighting this much, the tones will often cross over, creating light halos on edges. You should probably dial it back a bit if you reach this point. I often screw this up when I'm quickly processing photos and am embarrassed as soon as someone points it out.


Exposure: +0.5
Recovery 60
Fill Light 100
Blacks 73

Clarity 100
Vibrance 79
Saturation -38

Yellow sat - 54
Red sat 35
Purple sat -56

related articles: Misc
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