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How to Edit Raw Photos in Lightroom Mobile

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If you haven’t heard, raw photos are where it’s at. Unlike JPEGs, raw photos are uncompressed, high-resolution DNG files, so you have much more latitude when it comes to editing them. Adobe Lightroom Mobile lets you both photograph and edit raw photos in DNG format within the convenience of your mobile device. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the simple steps it takes to edit raw images in Lightroom Mobile.

Check out the how-to to see Lightroom Mobile’s editing capabilities in action, and read the steps that follow. You’ll learn how to open your raw images, edit them, and save them as new files.

How to Edit a Raw Photo Using Lightroom Mobile

The Basics

Lightroom Mobile is a free app that lets you create, edit, and share high-quality images. Embedded Adobe Photoshop technology provides you with over 30 presets, allowing you to experiment with color, clarity, vignetting, and more—all for free. Upgrading to a Creative Cloud Photography plan gives you access to a few more editing options, as well as syncing across devices, a customized website, Photoshop, and cloud storage.

Creative Cloud plans and pricing for individuals vary from $9.99/month to $79.49/month (or you can pay annually in one lump sum) and usually come packaged with other perks, apps, and GBs of cloud storage. (Businesses, students & teachers, and schools & universities are offered other plans and pricing.) You can also try it out by activating a free seven-day trial.

1. Tap the Adobe Lightroom Mobile Icon on Your Phone

Tap the Adobe Lightroom Mobile Icon on Your PhoneTap the Adobe Lightroom Mobile Icon on Your PhoneTap the Adobe Lightroom Mobile Icon on Your Phone

2. Select the Photo You Want to Edit

Tap Lr Camera Photos.

Tap Lr Camera Photos.Tap Lr Camera Photos.Tap Lr Camera Photos.

Then tap the individual image you want to edit.

 tap the individual image you want to edit. tap the individual image you want to edit. tap the individual image you want to edit.

3. Set the Menu to Edit

Make sure the upper-left hand menu is set to Edit, if it isn't already.

Set the Menu to EditSet the Menu to EditSet the Menu to Edit

4. Navigate Through the Bar Below the Image to See Editing Options

There are quite a few! You can do everything from adjusting the exposure, white balance, and clarity to adding vignetting, applying split-toning, and much, much more. Explore them all to familiarize yourself with the entire gamut of editing capabilities.

See Editing OptionsSee Editing OptionsSee Editing Options
lightlightlight
color settingscolor settingscolor settings
effectseffectseffects

5. Crop Your Image If Necessary

To eliminate the busy background and focus more on the subject—this adorable cat lounging in the summer heat—let's crop the image. Begin by tapping the Crop adjustment icon.

tapping the Crop adjustment icon.tapping the Crop adjustment icon.tapping the Crop adjustment icon.

Then tap the Crop ratio icon.

tap the Crop ratio icon.tap the Crop ratio icon.tap the Crop ratio icon.

And select the ratio you prefer.

select the ratio you prefer.select the ratio you prefer.select the ratio you prefer.

Then crop to your liking and tap the Checkmark icon.

crop to your liking and tap the Checkmark icon.crop to your liking and tap the Checkmark icon.crop to your liking and tap the Checkmark icon.

6. Select Specific Parts of a Photo to Edit

You can also edit specific parts of an image. First, tap Selective.

Select Specific Parts of a Photo to EditSelect Specific Parts of a Photo to EditSelect Specific Parts of a Photo to Edit

Then tap the Plus sign to choose the type of selection you want to make.

tap the Plus sign to choose the type of selection you want to make.tap the Plus sign to choose the type of selection you want to make.tap the Plus sign to choose the type of selection you want to make.

You can use the brush, radius, or linear gradient to select the part of the photo you want to modify.

brush, radius, or linear gradient brush, radius, or linear gradient brush, radius, or linear gradient

To darken the upper left corner of the image, create a radius.

create a radius.create a radius.create a radius.

Then tap Light.

tap Light.tap Light.tap Light.

And slide the exposure adjustment to the left.

slide the exposure adjustment to the left.slide the exposure adjustment to the left.slide the exposure adjustment to the left.

7. To Undo Changes, Tap the Arrow Icon

 Undo Changes Undo Changes Undo Changes

8. Rename Your Edited Image

To save an image once editing is complete, tap Versions near the end of the adjustment bar.

tap Versionstap Versionstap Versions

Then tap Create Version.

tap Create Version.tap Create Version.tap Create Version.

Type in a name for your edited image.

Type in a name for your edited image.Type in a name for your edited image.Type in a name for your edited image.

And then tap Create.

tap Create.tap Create.tap Create.

Last, tap Apply.

tap Apply.tap Apply.tap Apply.

You will receive a notification that this newly named version, “dark background,” has been applied to the current version of the image.

renaming notificationrenaming notificationrenaming notification

9. Enjoy Your Edited, High-Quality Raw Image!

There is a lot more that could be done to perfect this image, but editing a DNG file—as opposed to a compressed JPG image—gives you so much more flexibility in the processing tools at your disposal. Shoot and edit in raw, and you won't be sorry!

edited imageedited imageedited image

Edit in Raw

If you shoot DNG files, you should by all means edit them in DNG as well. Doing so allows you to take advantage of the myriad ways these files can be treated in post-production.

Here are a few more free tutorials and resources to help you study smartphone photography:

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