Saturday, May 16, 2015

Staging a Mid Century Credenza [Video]

Earlier this week I posted the before and after of the Fresh & Modern High Gloss Credenza with Geometric Drawers. I'm so thankful for all of the positive responses and comments I have been getting from people on that piece. Be sure to go check out the reveal if you haven't already!

Staging a Mid Century Modern Credenza (Video)  from The Weathered Door

Pieces like this are always great because they can be used as dressers, media consoles and changing tables (or more!), and the white and walnut look is just so classy. Since it's neutral in color it can be staged and decorated with different types of decor. I started off with a blank white canvas and a tall blue map of New York to add some height. While staging I wanted a natural modern look so I used lots of greens and plants to bring in some color. The plants also help to add texture and the varying heights are great to balance out the other items. The long concrete planter fills in the center of the console without blocking the map art.  I had to use in the blue glass head I recently purchased at Ross for $8.99 to add something funky, and then I added an adjustable chrome arm lamp on the left to balance out the vase of greens on the right, but also because I love the shape it brings in.

While staging the the piece I filmed a little video to you show you how it all came together. Just for fun :) It's sped up and condensed into a 30 second video. Sources for all staging items below.

Source List (left to right):

chrome adjustable arm lamp - garage sale $7, originally from IKEA - similar here
small variegated plant - IKEA $1 ("planter" is a DIY)
blue glass head - Ross $8.99
new york map art - Ross $26.99
concrete planter - Ross $12.99
white blank canvas - Goodwill $5.99
bubble glass vase - TJMaxx - $4.99
*greens in concrete planter and vase are from our yard/indoor house plants

Have a great day, friends!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

How I Started Spraying Furniture: Which tools worked, and which didn't

At the beginning of this year I finally made the switch to spraying furniture. I have been considering it for a long time and last summer (2014) I purchased an inexpensive HVLP spray gun with hopes that it would motivate me to try spraying furniture and I also needed it to more easily (and professionally) paint a bamboo dresser I had.

How I started Spraying Furntiture- Which tools worked, and which didn't | from The Weathered Door-1

In this post I'm sharing all of the tools and products I have tried and letting you know what I have found works best and that I have continued to use. Some of the HVLP guns I mention didn't work for me, but I want to include them so that it might help you find the best tools to start spraying furniture too! A more complete post detailing the specs on my compressor, what settings I use on my spray gun/compressor and my spray booth set up will be shared at a later time.

Building a Spray Booth - Setup

How I started Spraying Furniture - DIY pcp pipe spray booth WD-1

The ball finally started rolling when I convinced my parents to let me build a PVC pipe and plastic paint sheet spray booth in the garage. That was really the only option because we have a 3 car garage and didn't want paint getting everywhere. Plus, the Seattle weather is never great for spraying outside (and you are subjecting the piece to getting bugs and debris in the finish). The spray booth is huge. Well it looks huge from the outside, but once you get a dresser in there and all the drawer it's a lot more cramped than you might imagine. I built the frame out of 1" pvc pipes and then used plastic paint sheeting and just taped it on using blue tape and duct tape. This is nothing fancy or professional here, friends :) I may eventually build a more sturdy and secure booth, but I wanted to try out spraying furniture first to see if it was something I would continue with (and it is!).  I just leave one end un-taped and open and close the plastic sheeting to get in and out of the booth and there's excess of the plastic sheeting to the corners overlap a lot. I use sometimes use binder clips to keep it closed when painting. To protect the floor I used large pieces of cardboard. I honestly use cardboard almost anywhere I paint and do projects (in the garage, house, or on the back patio) and we just pick up the cardboard at Costco... because everything at Costco is bigger. After and sometimes during each project I vacuum out the booth to get the overspray dust off of everything.

I chose not to glue the PVC frame together so if I want to take it down when I won't be doing a project for a while or move it outside during the summer.

Choosing a Spray Gun

How I started Spraying Furniture - HVLP spray guns WD-3

I've heard a lot of people who start using the Critter Sprayer. You may have heard of that tool as well. It's inexpensive and you can purchase it off of Amazon for about $40. Some of things that sounded good about it are it doesn't require a large air compressor (you save on size and on space) and you just use mason jars to attach to the gun to hold the paint or sealer you are spraying.

Well after doing a bit of research I realized that there are numerous options for HVLP spray guns in a similar price range. Some are a higher priced than the Critter (think $60), but in my mind it made more sense to invest in an HVLP gun rather than buying the Critter. I was very weary about how I would like spraying and if it would be hard to learn and figure out. So after reading a few posts and seeing a few pins on Pinterest I went to Harbor Freight and purchased an inexpensive ($15 on sale) HVLP gravity fed spray gun. I do want to point out that I would normally never buy tools from Harbor Freight, but I took a chance on this one. It's not something I would buy again, but worth it since it helped ease me into spraying furniture. Really, prices and cheap and so is the quality (though this gun was pretty well made, it didn't work super well for me). But for $15 I just wanted to try it and the reviews I had seen were positive. Fast forward to 2015 when I finally decided to start working on the AOM bamboo dresser that had been sitting for close to a year. The people who really gave me more confidence about trying spraying were those people who I followed on Facebook and Instagram. Many of the people I follow all finish pieces with an air compressor and HVLP gun and not only do they get a smoother finish than brushing, it looked like it saved time (I'll go into the time aspect and pros and cons of spraying later in another post).

tThe Harbor Freight HVLP gun had a 1.4 tip when I needed a 2.0 or 2.2 tip and needle are needed for thicker paints like acrylic or latex. I did successfully paint this piece with the HF gun. I sprayed on 3 coats of General Finishes 'Snow White' and 2 coats of GF's high performance topcoat. It just took many passes with the gun since barely any paint would come out of the gun. I finally gave up on the gun since it didn't produce the best finish and would often spatter and not spray enough paint.

Next I moved onto trying 2 Kobalt HVLP guns (one siphon fed, the other gravity fed) which came in a kit I purchased. I could never get the siphon fed gun to even work. I think the 8 gallon compressor I was using was not powerful enough to siphon the paint and spray it out, or it could have been user error. The other gravity fed gun that came in the kit was just too small and also only had a 1.2mm tip and needle. Ultimately, I ended up returning the Kobalt spray gun kit to Lowes since the siphon fed gun would not work and the other one wasn't suited for working with the acrylic paint I use.

Finally, I made the switch to a Husky HVLP gravity fed spray gun that came with a smaller (1.4mm) and larger (2.2mm) tip and needle. I have not used the 1.4mm tip, only the 2.2mm tip (since I had already tried the 1.4mm tip on the HF and Kobalt guns with little success). It made a huge difference in how the paint sprayed and the volume of paint it sprayed. I still add a small amount of water to thin any paint I run through the gun, but in my experience the Husky gun is far superior when it comes to the sprayed finish. (I did switch to a larger compressor when I switched guns which also helped with the success I've had recently with spraying). If you are going to by a gun, get a Husky. I bought the Husky HVLP Composite HVLP spray gun from Home Depot for $70. It's lightweight and has been working well for me. I just sprayed the most gorgeous high gloss finish on this credenza using it. Christina of Phoenix Restoration and Julia of Restored + Restyled also use a Husky HVLP gun, which is why I chose to buy one.

How I started Spraying Furniture HVLP spray guns WD-2

Also, be sure to purchase a filter for your gun to stop any water or debris from ruining your gun or getting into your paint finish. I purchased a Tekton oil/water separator off of Amazon and attached it to the end of my gun. It's definitely worth the $10. You can also find other filters at your local hardware store.

Choosing an Air Compressor

How I started Spraying Furniture - Craftsman 25 gallon air Compressor WD-1

After doing some reading about air compressors and HVLP paint guns I went to Lowes and purchased a Kobalt 8-gallon air compressor which ran me about $160. While I was there I needed to pick up a hose as well and saw a Kobalt spray gun kit with a siphon fed HVLP gun, a smaller gravity fed HVLP gun, hose and a few other little tools for $60. I purchased the kit to try out the 2 guns (I was still convinced the HF gun I bought was going to be crap) and a hose alone was $15-$20 so I wasn't risking much (these are the same Kobalt guns I mentioned in the section above).

How I started Spraying Furniture - Craftsman 25 gallon air Compressor WD-2

Well, the 8-gallon Kobalt compressor worked (after a few days of troubleshooting some problems). I used it for a while, but it was constantly having to turn on in order to maintain a full tank and the right psi, and it had low cfm's. *If you want to read more and understand cfm's check out this link which Sucheta shared with me. It helped me understand more about compressors and cfm's!* The main thing to take from the article is cfm = power, and psi = storage.

I hadn't planned on changing compressors, but I saw a 25 gallon Craftsman compressor pop up on my local buy-sell-trade Facebook group for $175 and I had to check it out. After consulting with some fellow furniture-painting friends (Sucheta of The Resplendent Crow was SO helpful, check out her blog for gorgeous gloss pieces!) I learned that a larger compressor and high cfm's meant more pressure that would help with spraying the paints I use. I got the compressor for $140 after negotiating a better deal (plus the guy gave me a better price when he learned I was a college student running a business to support my education). It even came with a 50ft heavy duty hose and some attachments! So I returned my Kobalt compressor I had to Lowes since it wasn't proving powerful enough along with the spray gun kit, and now I use my 25 gallon Craftsman Oil-less compressor with my Husky HVLP spray gun. If you are buying a compressor, buy a used one. You will save so much money. A new 25 gallon compressor with similar horsepower and cfm's would have run me about $500 or more.


Well, that's how this whole spraying adventure started. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I will have a more complete post on the tools I do use, settings, spray booth set up, etc. You can definitely expect more tips and tutorials as I continually learn more about spraying. You can always email or leave a comment with any questions you have. I will answer the question and/or include them in the future post on spraying furniture with an HVLP spray gun.

Have a great weekend, friends!


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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fresh and Modern High Gloss Credenza with Geometric Drawers

Hi friends!

I'm really excited about this piece I get to share with you today. I feel like I have come full circle with this Broyhill Premier credenza from the Modern Classic line. I did the same piece (except the 72" version, not this 66" version) in high school. It was one of five pieces I did for my senior project which is what started this blog... 3 years ago! You can check out the first one I did here, but don't laugh ;) Here is how this current piece was looking, very brown.

broyhill premier credenza progress WD-2

I'm happy to say this piece was is far better condition that the first credenza I did. No broken off front leg and terrible stains on the top, just a few light stains, one deep scratch (through the veneer) and a scratched up left side. This piece came off of craigslist and had been in the previous owners storage unit for a while. When I went to pick it up I saw that it was stored standing on it's left side in order to fit in the storage locker. The lady then proceeded to pull it out, sliding the whole side against he concrete floors and totally scratching it up. We stood it up on it's legs, I assessed the damage and then offered a lower price than the price we had already agreed on. You better believe I wasn't paying full price after that.

broyhill premier credenza progress WD-3

I considered all options for this piece. A full refinishing, a bold color all over, and a two tone look. The piece is modern, but it doesn't have that mid century look, so it needed some paint to modernize it a bit. The frame/case was all continuous (no top that had an overhang to act as a place to stop the paint like with this credenza) so the top, sides, and dividing pieces between the drawers were all getting painted.

Refreshing the Wood with Gel Stain
Before getting around to the priming and painting I started with the staining. I did consider stripping all of the drawers and the base, but the old finish was in great shape and it just needed some darkening to make the wood look richer. My experience with Broyhill pieces from the 70's is the old finish (poly, or whatever sealer was used) is usually worn off. In order to be able to stain I still wanted to sand any of the remaining topcoat off so the stain could soak into the wood. I did my wet sand, dry sand, gel stain technique. Read about how to use gel stain over an existing finish without stripping here. I first started with a coat of Rustoleum's Ultimate Stain in 'Dark Walnut' and let it dry for 24 hours. It wasn't as dark as I had hoped so I then applied one coat of General Finishes gel stain in 'Java'. After 24 hours of letting the gel stain dry I sealed the drawers by brushing on General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in satin. I did this on all 9 drawers, the 2 cabinet doors (front and backs) and the base/legs.

Prepping the Frame for Paint
Once the stained areas were sealed and dry I taped off the base, removed the drawers and began prepping the frame. I filled all of the holes, dings, and gouges on the frame with some Bondo and sanded it smooth (some areas needed to be filled twice and sanded smooth). The whole frame was sanded with 150 grit sandpaper.

At this point I decided I wanted to add something fun to the piece. The white and walnut look is great, but I've done it before and so have many other people. You probably know I love geometric designs, so I decided to add a geo pattern to the 3 drawers in the center. It would be a fun way to make the piece unique but wasn't something that would have to be seen all the time since the drawers are hidden by the cabinet doors.

broyhill premier credenza progress WD-4

I measured and taped off the pattern on the 3 drawers, then used my handy dandy trick to get perfectly painted lines. Just like the frame of the credenza I lightly sanded the areas of the design that were to be painted with 150 grit sandpaper to rough them up a bit and the give the primer something to hold onto.

broyhill premier credenza progress WD-5
primed drawers

Priming and Painting
Next I rolled on 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain primer to the frame and the 3 interior drawers where the geometric design would go. I had my can of primer tinted grey a while back so that's is what I used. A simple foam roller did the trick. It does leave a funny texture so once it had dried I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish.

broyhill premier credenza progress WD-1

After primer I moved the dresser and 3 drawers into my spray booth. When painting pieces I lay then down on saw horses to easily paint the tops and sides. I used a poster board to prevent overspray when painting the cross bars between the drawers and when painting the drawers to keep the insides clean. The legs and base were also taped off with paper.

ben moore advance paint WD-1

I tried a new type of paint for this piece. I sprayed on Benjamin Moore's Advance Alkyd paint in High Gloss. If you want to hear my thoughts and experience with it I will have a post on it soon and will compare it to what I normally use (General Finishes paints and topcoats). It covered well, I ended up spraying on 3 coats (which is better than the 5 or more I usually have to brush on when painting a piece white). It looked great after 2 coats but there were a few spots that were a little thinner and since I had used grey primer I went for the third coat. This paint cleans up with soap and water but acts like an oil based paint (the paint lady told me it's made out of vegetable oil). It does require 16 hours in between coats (dry in 4 hours, but the re-coat time is longer). I also sanded after each coat with 320 grit since the paint was high gloss and I wanted each coat to stay on and be durable. If you want to read about how I started spraying furniture, and which tools I use, click here. I talk about my spray booth, HVLP gun, compressor and air filter.

Once the third coat of paint had partially dried I removed the tape on the drawers and from the base of the piece (as well as the hinges and around the center cabinet area where the geometric drawers go). BM's Advance does need time to cure before use. I happened to be too busy with classes and work to have time to stage and photograph the piece, so it has been finished and curing for 2 weeks and the finish hard with a nice sheen.

You can find a video on staging this credenza here along with a list of the items used.

And now, here is the credenza all Fresh and Modern!

Before & After Fresh and Modern High Gloss Credenza with Geometric Drawers  from The Weathered Door

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-13

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-20

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-8

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-9

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-11

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-16

broyhill premier credenza with geometric drawers WD-24

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Electric Blue AOM Mid Century Bamboo Dresser

Before & After- American of Martinsville Bamboo Dresser WD-11

This piece has been a long time coming. If you follow me on social media (if you don't already, you should! Instagram and Facebook) you have been seeing before photos, updates along the way and sneak peaks of the finished piece.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Furniture Reveal: White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstand

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind WD-4

It's been a while since I have been somewhat consistently posting, but I'm excited to share with you a really awesome modular nightstand today!

I wasn't able to go to a furniture sale that I regularly check out because of school and work but my mom and sister stopped by later in the day and found this awesome piece. They sent me a picture and I signed off on the piece. It was a no brainer because of the price point and all those angles. I really love the shape of this mid century piece.

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind before WD-10

I contemplated a few options like a bold color or all white with some color that would accent all of the angles and lines of the nightstand, but I settled on white and walnut. It's classic and pretty hard to go wrong with this combination. Based on condition I knew I was painting the whole piece white. There were many places on the top and a few corners that needed to be filled and sanded smooth. To break up the white and to keep some wood around I chose to stain the legs. In order to balance out the dark wood on the bottom I also chose to stain the handle on the drawer.

First up was striping off the old finish. You can read about my process and see a video tutorial on stripping furniture here. I used Citristrip on all 4 of the legs and the wood drawer pull. I let the stripper sit for about 40 minutes and then went back and used a TSP (substitute) wash and synthetic steel wool to remove the old finish. I was wearing gloves of course! Once all of the Citristrip and old finish was off I wiped everything down with clean water and let them dry overnight. The next day I was able to sand off all of the old stain and get the legs and handle down to raw wood. I just hand sanded with 150 grit and finished off with 220 grit sandpaper.

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind before WD-9

For stain I chose to use General Finishes Gel Stain. I have 2 colors I like to use, Java and Antique Walnut, but neither was exactly what I wanted. Instead, I mixed the two stains together to get the right dark, rich tone I was after. This stain needs to dry for a long time before a sealer is put over top. I waited 2 days just to be sure I didn't ruin the stained finish in any way.

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind before WD-7

Back to the frame of the nightstand. I filled the scratches and chips, sanded, cleaned and then spray primed with Zinsser Cover Stain. I sprayed on 2 good coats and then sanded with a high grit sanding sponge once it was dry. There were a few spots on top where yellow bleed through kept coming through even after the 2 coats of primer so I sprayed those spots with Zinsser Shellac (clear) and then went back over those areas with the primer.

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind before WD-8

A few hours later I brought the piece into my spray booth and sprayed on a few coats of General Finishes Snow White milk paint (it's an acrylic based paint, not a true milk paint). I did have to brush on 2 coats to the little shelf area because the paint container on the top of my spray gun would not fit inside thate area or let me be able to spray well at the right angle. I did end up figuring out I could turn the gun on its side and be able to get some paint in the shelf area (not as as thick of a coat as I wanted), but I did have to brush on a few coats to get the coverage I needed and spray on the last coat. Once the piece was dry (the next day) I sealed it with General Finished high performance topcoat.

I really love the modern look of this piece and the accents of dark wood on the legs and handle. And how great is this vintage rug I found? I scored that for $20 and it was worth every penny!

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind WD-12

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind WD-4

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind WD-2

White and Walnut Modular Mid Century Nightstaind WD-3

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tall and Modern Mid Century Dresser in White, Wood & Grey

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser WD-6

Hello! I have a fun piece to share with you today. I really love the detail and modern lines on this piece. I purchased it off of craigslist and got it for a pretty great price. Once I arrived to buy the piece and checked it out I saw that the top was laminate, but the drawers had some gorgeous walnut veneer. Here's how it was looking when I first picked it up. The hardware on the bottom 3 drawers is original, but the lion head pulls on the top were added later. The is a Broyhill piece from the Tribute line.

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser before WD-1

I knew I wanted to paint the piece and had originally planned on going for a solid color all over thie piece like General Finishes Klein Blue. After looking the the wood on the top drawers and that awesome detail I thought it would be fun to strip and stain the top drawers, paint the bottom 3 a light grey and then paint the frame of the piece a true white. So I got to work!

I removed the hardware and began stripping the top drawers and then thought I might as well strip all the drawers and just see how they turn out (you can read my post and watch a video tutorial I made here). Once the drawers had been stripped and clean I let them dry overnight before sanding. I gave the drawers a light sanding with 150 grit sandpaper and then all the drawers were stained with 1 coat of Rustoleum's Ultimate stain in Dark Walnut. They stained up beautifully and I decided to not paint the lower 3 drawers because I knew the wood loves would freak. They always do.

On the frame I sanded everything with 150 grit, but I also cleaned, sanded (with multiple grits) and then cleaned the laminate top again with TSP substitute to prepare it for primer and paint. I used spray cans of Zinsser cover stain primer to prime the piece. Once it dried I lightly sanded with a high grit sanding block to smooth out the finish. 

I recently built a spray booth in the garage (out of PVC pipe and plastic paint sheeting) to start spraying piece with a compressor and HVLP spray gun to achieve better and smoother finishes. It's definitely a game changer and greatly improves the quality of the finishes on these pieces. It took some time to figure out the spray gun and get the controls right but once I got the gun to work right I sprayed on about 3 coats of paint. Some parts of this dresser are oak and had deep wood grain. I did use a brush on those areas to make sure the paint covered all of the wood grain. I also made sure to sand in between coats (or every other coat) with a sanding block just to smooth out the finish. The piece was then sealed with GF high performance topcoat in satin (also sprayed on with my spray gun). So, here's where I was at after I shined up (only the original pulls) and added back on this is where I was (ignore the goodwill frames and photos).

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser before WD-2

It's not terrible, but it definitely looks better in photos than it did in person. Even my mom (a wood lover) agreed that the hardware didn't look right with the wood. It was too contrasted. Even thought that wood is pretty, I went back to my original plan to paint the bottom 3 drawers in GF Seagull Grey. I tested it out by painting poster board and then cutting it to each size of the drawer and taping it on. That's the point where I was convinced. It just looked better so I primed the drawers, sprayed on 3 coats of GF Seagull grey and then sealed them with GF HPTC in satin just like the rest of the piece.

I really love the way this piece came out. It was quite the process, but worth it! The finish is amazing since it was sprayed on, and while you might not believe me it looks much better in person than it does in photos. 

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser WD-3

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser WD-2

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser WD-4

White Wood and Grey Modern Dresser WD-1

Friday, March 20, 2015

How to use Adobe Lightroom to Edit Photos and Grow Your Business and Blog

Persimmon how to edit photos with lightroom WD-1

Hello Friends!

I've been using Adobe Lightroom for over a year now and am so happy I didn't wait to make this purchase. This program will massively improve the lighting and quality of your photos and if you blog or have a furniture painting business like me well-lit, clear photos are essential for selling pieces and growing your blog and business. Purchasing and investing time in learning the best features to use in Lightroom can make a huge and positive influence on unlocking all the potential for your business.

I think it's important to recognize we all start somewhere. There's no doubt I have taken terrible photos and even have blog posts to prove it. But that doesn't mean you can't improve and get away from dark, shadow-y photos with lot so noise (noise= graininess). Since I began using a DSLR camera (you can read about the camera equipment I use here) and editing with Lightroom the pictures of my pieces have improved so much. I recognize it and others do as well. Who doesn't love a well-lit, well-staged, and well-photographed picture of some pretty furniture or room? I know I do!

I've written about all of the adjustments and tools I use within Lightroom and I also took screen shots and added text with arrows to help further explain and serve as a visual tool. If you want to view any image in a larger size just click on the image. Tt will pop up and be easier to view and read. Let me know if you have any problems or questions.


I purchased Lightroom 5 in January of 2014 after trying the 30 day free trial. It's at least worth the 30 day free trial to see how you like it, what features you can use, and how much it can change your photos. Purchasing Lightroom is definitely an investment. I paid $110 for the whole program which was the student price (I guess paying that college tuition came in handy!), but you can also get Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month. Since I don't currently use or need photoshop (I at least don't need photoshop often) I chose to pay the full price instead of the monthly fee. Obviously that was the best decision for me, as 15 months later I would have paid $150 so far. I will point out that if you pay the monthly fee, when a new version of Lightroom comes out you don't have to pay for the new program. If you already own an older version of the program (like I do) there is an upgrade fee that is cheaper than full price. But, it's not always necessary to upgrade right away and by the time a new version comes out I know that I will still have saved money by buying the program outright rather than paying the monthly fee.
**If you are also a Student (or a Teacher) you can buy Adobe Lightroom 5 now for about $80, make sure to look for the discounted pricing**

Here's a comparison of a photo of the Reverse Dipped Dresser before editing and after editing. I used some arrows and circled some of the spots that were edited. I cropped the photo to get rid of most of the ceiling and crown molding but some of it still was in the photo. Next I used the Spot Removal tool to get rid of the molding (or disguise it the best I could, the water mark covered that area anyway) and also removed marks on the wall and the top to the lamp. I also did basic editing like raising the exposure, etc. So let's get into details of the adjustments I made and how to make those adjustments in Adobe Lightroom 5.

How to use Adobe Lightroom to Edit Photos and Grow your Blog and Business 2

Here are the key features I use in Lightroom (while in 'Develop' Mode).

The "Basic" features I use

How to use Adobe Lightroom to Edit Photos and Grow Your Business WD 1

1. The auto white balance tool. Click on the tool, then click somewhere on your photo that is supposed to be white. I usually use it on the wall (which is grey, not white), but it does a good job at adjusting the white balance to make it appear as it is in real life. Sometimes it changes too much and I go and manually adjust the Temperature and Tint, but for the most part it works or is a good starting point. If your photos are too warm (yellow) or too cool (blue) this tool allows you to adjust and white balance the whole photo.

2. Exposure. I turn the exposure up for most photos. It brightens up the photo and makes it seem like there was more natural light than what came out in the photo. If you shoot in manual mode and control the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO you shouldn't have to change the exposure too much, but I often times find it better to shoot the photos a littler dark than I like and edit the exposure once I add the photos to Lightroom. *Also note I bought a new camera recently and learned more about shooting in manual mode so I now spend less time and use less adjustments when editing photos*

3. Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks. I don't change these much, but sometimes I turn the shadows down a bit if there are harsh shadows in the photo. I do adjust Whites and Blacks as well. Here's a trick, hold down the alt/option key + command key (this is for mac's) then move the sliders.  You will see the photo disappear (turn black or white) as you adjust the Whites or Blacks slider and when you start to see the little white or black dots appearing that's when you have adjusted it enough.

4. Changing a photo to Black and White. You just need to make one click to change a color photo to black and white. At the top of the right side bar menu under the "Basic" heading you will see "Black & White". The "Color" should be selected already so just click "Black & White" and your photo is changed. To change it back just select "Color".

The "HSL/Color/B&W" Features

How to use Adobe Lightroom to Edit Photos and Grow Your Business 2

The next features I use only when they are needed. You can find them under the HSL/Color/B&W heading

1. Hue - Saturation - Luminance: There are times when a certain color appears slightly different in photos than it does in person. I try to represent the paint colors on furniture as accurately as possible, so if the color is off I use the Hue, Saturation, and/or the Luminance tool to try and fix the color a bit. Sometimes there's too much green/yellow undertones showing up on a piece that is painted blue so I can use the Hue tool to adjust that. If I use any of these tools I start with the Saturation tool for the specific color. You use the slider for the color you need to adjust.

If you have a photo where you want to raise or lower the overall saturation you can do that to the whole photo all at once using the Saturation slider adjustment found in under the "Basic" category of the sidebar menu.

I don't scroll down past that section in the sidebar menu of tools. Those are the main features I use for editing and enhance the photos I take of pieces for my furniture business.

Creating Presets

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Once you have made all of the the adjustments I have mentioned this far you can create a Preset for the set of photos you are working on. If most or all of the photos were taken at the same time with the same settings on your camera you can create a preset and quickly make the same adjustment you did to the first photo you edited. It will save you time when editing multiple photos.

To create a preset click the plus button (+) next to the "Presets" heading in the sidebar menu on the left side of the screen (seen in the photos from the HSL/Color/B&W section above, it's in dark blue). When you click the + button a window pops up as seen in the photo above. Name your preset (I do it based on the project) and then look through and check or un-check any of the boxes of adjustments you want to be included in the preset. If you have already done any cropping, straightening or spot removal (I'll get to those in a minute) these will not be included in the preset as they are specific to each photo. Once you have checked what you wanted click "Create". The preset will show up in the "User Presets" folder in the left menu bar (circled in the photo above). You can change where the present goes by changing the folder in the "New Development Preset" window. Now, select a different photo and then click on the preset you just created. All of the adjustments are applied to that photo. You can still manually adjust anything like exposure, white balance, contrast, etc. and it is only applied to the photo you have selected to edit.

Cropping and Straightening

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I use the Crop Tool (or as Lightroom calls it the Crop Overlay tool) which you can find at the top, far left in the tool sidebar (shown in turquoise in the photo above). You can crop your image using this tool. Un-click the lock button if you want to customize the size and shape of how you crop your photo. You can also straighten your photo when using the crop tool.

Spot Removal

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One other tool I use quite often is the Spot Removal Tool. I didn't find out about this tool for a few months, but I randomly stubbled upon it while fiddling in Lightroom and now use it on most of my photos. There is usually a large, heavy mirror hanging on the wall where I stage photos and 3 large nails that are usually covered and holding up the mirror. Well, those are rarely ever covered by what I have hanging on the wall above pieces so I remove those dark spots with the Spot Removal Tool. This tool is found next to the crop tool. It looks like a circle with a little arrow coming out of the right side of it. Once you click on the tool you can adjust the size of your brush. I keep it the smallest it can be while still covering the little nail spots on the wall. I keep the opacity to 100 and the feathering to 0. Then, I just click on the little nail spots and they disappear. The tool finds another spot that it copies and puts over the spot you removed. Just so you know, you can click and drag the spot it is cloning to find a better match if the one it automatically chooses does not work perfectly. If you don't want harsh edges you can adjust that by increasing the feathering slider.

Adding a Watermark to photos and Exporting

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Adding watermarks is an easy, time-saving tool in Lightroom. I transitioned from using Aperture (editing program) to Adobe Lightroom and in Aperture I had to manually create a watermark for each photo. Write the text, change the font, color, size, position, etc. I tried to keep them all identical, but that was nearly impossible and insanely time consuming. With Lightroom you can make a preset for you watermark and then add it to the photo when you export it (save the photo). By combining it into one step it saves so much time! You can save even more time if you watermark and export photos is batches.

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To create a custom preset watermark you will want to start like you are exporting a photos. Go to File, then Export. A new Export window appears where you can change the name of the photo file, the Export location/where it is saved to, the image size, and watermark. I recommend giving your file a specific name that relates to the project it is for and then use a unique number for each photo within that project. I also add a "WD" to the end of any photo I export that has a watermark (the WD stands for The Weathered Door if you didn't get that). That way when I am looking through the pictures on my computer I know if the photo has been watermarked or not. Under "File Settings" you can change the quality or size of the photo. If you keep scrolling down the second to last option is "Watermarking". To create a new watermark click the drop down menu and select "edit watermarks".

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Logo or Graphic Watermark

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The Watermark Editor window opens and now you can customize your watermark. In the top right you can select if you want a text or graphic watermark. I use a text watermark, but I do sometimes upload my logo (seen in the header at the top of my blog). If you want to use a logo or graphic select "graphic" and then right below that under "Image Options" click "Choose..." and upload the file. The graphic will appear on the photo preview in the left side of the window. You can then adjust the size, opacity, and position using the adjustment sliders. Once you have the watermark how you want it click "Save" and you will be prompted to title your preset.

Text Watermark

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For my photos that I use on social media and my blog I use a Text Watermark with my business and blog name, The Weathered Door. Just like creating a graphic watermark you do the same first steps but instead of selecting "graphic" you select "text". You can change the text in the box below the preview image on the left side of the window then change the font, style, color and so on in the menu on the right. You can also change the opacity, size, inset and placement. Then click "Save" and title your preset. Once you have created the preset you can select it using the drop down menu in the main Export window. I have 4 'The Weathered Door' watermark presets that I use for watermarking images. I have one for each corner or a photo and I have titled them accordingly so it is easy to select which watermark I want based on placement of items in each photo.

If you want to view how the watermark will look before exporting the image just pretend like you are making a new watermark and select "Edit Watermarks..." from the drop down menu. The Watermark Editor Window will pop up and you can see in the preview photo what the watermark will look like. If you are exporting multiple photos at once use the arrows at the top middle of the window to click through and preview each photo. Just click cancel to exit when you are done. If you want to delete watermarks you also click "Edit Watermarks..." from the drop down menu and when the Watermark Editor Window appears you use the drop down menu in the top left to delete watermarks. First select the watermark you want to delete then click the delete option. If there is ever a time you are exporting personal photos that aren't for you blog or business but have been edited in Lightroom you can just un-check the "Watermark" box and no watermark will be added to your photos.

Previous and Reset Buttons

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The last thing I want to touch on are 2 little buttons you may find helpful. I don't use them often, but when I need to use them it's nice to have them handy. Similar to the Presets I talked about earlier (the presets that apply all of the adjustments you have made to other photos) you can also use the "Previous" button found on the right hand side below the side bar menu. If you edited a photo and then select another photo that is similar you can click "previous" and the adjustments you made on the previous photo are applied to the new one you selected. This is great if you are only editing a few photos and don't want to create a preset.

The button right next to it labeled "Reset" does exactly what it sounds like. It resets all of the adjustments you have made to that photo. It takes it back to how the photos was originally shot. It's as easy as that!


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If you are new to Lightroom or have never used it before this may seem like a lot of information to be thrown at you all at once. It's best to start out small. When I first began using Lightroom I only changed the exposure, contrast, and shadows. Overtime I became more aware and better at using some of the other tools and features Lightroom 5 has to offer. I found it easiest to start with just a few adjustments and get used to those before learning about more. Just start section by section. Bookmark or pin this post to reference later. As always, let me know if you have questions or if you have any features to share with me! I tried to keep the post focused on the most-used or most helpful features I utilize and know about in Lightroom, but I guarantee there is a lot more for me to learn about. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

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