Something to try:
tone curve: -5 10 30 20 (boosts the shadows)
adjustment brush (auto mask): +1.0 exposure
After that, in the basic panel:
down the highlights
up the shadows
up the whites
0 or down the blacks
up the clarity
huge up on the vibrance
Assuming you are starting from a raw file, the first thing to pick is the "profile" in the Camera Calibration panel. I usually start with "camera neutral" as that is what I have my camera Picture Control set to so that the camera and LR show the same starting image.
Thanks ManiacJoe - that's certainly brought me closer.
I haven't tried the brush as yet (cos I don't know how), but should I be looking to the Tone Curve as the tool which will get me closer to my previous Auto Levels results for other photos?
I use the tone curve when I need to do some major brightness changes.
Other apps call it the gamma or levels correction.
For LR, I created a set of presets that contain different curve shapes so that they can be applied independently of other edits.
Some are just a simple bowed curve to mimic gamma corrections; others are S-shaped help with deep shadows and bright whites in the same photo.
Have you tried the Auto Tone button? You don’t even have to leave the Library. It’s under Quick Develop.
This picture has a fairly normal dynamic range and doesn't require the Tone Curve or Adjustment Brush to get good results. You can certainly "enhance" the picture using those Local controls, but first try the Basic Panel's Global controls.
Here's a quick primer on using LR's PV2012 Basic panel controls:
Start with all of the Tone controls at their default 0 settings and adjust them from the top-down in the order shown below.
1. Set Exposure to correct midtone brightness ignoring the highlight and shadow areas for now. Setting Exposure slightly higher (+.25 to +.50 EV) than what looks correct for the midtones seems to work best with most images.
2. Leave Contrast at 0 for now. It’s usually better to adjust this after the first pass.
3. Adjust Highlights so that blown out areas are recovered and “fine tonal detail” is revealed.
4. Adjust Shadows to reveal fine detail in dark areas. For most normal images simply setting -Shadows = +Highlights (Example -50 and +50) works very well.
5. The Whites control sets the white clipping point, which you can see by holding down the ALT key as you move the slider. Adjust it to the point where you see clipping appear with the ALT key.
6. The Blacks control sets the black clipping point, which you can see by holding down the ALT key as you move the slider. Adjust it to the point where you see clipping appear with the ALT key.
7. Now go back and adjust the Contrast control to establish the best midtone contrast.
8. Lastly touchup the Exposure control for the best midtone brightness.
9. If necessary “touch-up” the controls using the same top-down workflow.
Once you understand how the Basic panel PV2012 Tone controls work it only takes a few seconds to make these adjustments.
Using the above procedure with your JPEG screenshot I came up with the below settings.
Here's the result using your JPEG screenshot.
Left image has no adjustments. Right image has the above LR adjustments.
With the original file you should get even better results!
Thanks trshaner - that's also got me pretty close. Maybe I was just being a little tentative with how much of these adjustments I was using.
Thank you both for some the advice.
PS Auto Levels only sets the Black and White clipping points and midtone exposure setting. LR's PV2012 Tone controls include the Highlights and Shadows sliders, which greatly increase the ability to recover details in those image areas. In fact they are so good I rarely need to use The Tone Curve tool. For best results make sure you are shooting in raw file format. I've been able to take image files that I would have previously deleted as hopeless and turn them into very acceptable images. With more difficult images the Local Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush allow you to apply additional correction to specific areas of the image. A very powerful set of tools!