How to Edit Portraits in Lightroom – 7 Basic Steps

Carmen Polanco

September 3, 2022

Portraits in Lightroom

If you’ve ever wondered how to edit portraits in Lightroom, then you’re in the right place. Before you can apply any advanced editing techniques, you’ll need to understand the basics of exposure. The histogram is a key tool for assessing exposure.

Ensure there’s no color-cast in the image

Lightroom has a feature that lets you check for color balance. You can use this feature to analyze the balance between your subject’s skin tone and the background color. Generally, you want the blue % value to be lower than the green % value and the red % value to be higher than the green % value. This will prevent unwanted color casts and make your photos appear more balanced.

In Lightroom, there are several settings that can fix this problem. The ‘White Balance Selector’ tool can be used to correct a photo that has green or blue casts. Lightroom can also remove unwanted color casts by adjusting the tint and color temperature sliders.

Smoother skin

When you’re editing portraits, you may want to smooth out the skin a little. This can be done in several ways, but the key is to ensure that you don’t make your model look plastic. HDR has been overused in portraiture, but that doesn’t mean you need to go this route.

Lightroom’s mask and overlay features are both useful tools to soften skin. You can toggle them on or off by clicking the box next to “Show Overlay” or by pressing the “o” key. You can also use the Erase tool to erase unwanted strokes.

Smoother the skin is an important part of portrait editing, especially for female portraits. However, this effect can be beneficial to male portraits as well. In Lightroom, the texture adjustment slider is especially useful for smoothing skin.

Remove imperfections

When editing portraits, it’s important to remove imperfections as well as tone the skin. The one-month rule is a good guide when editing a portrait. In general, you want to remove obvious marks, but you also need to tune in the imperfections that add character to the photo. You can use the Clarity tool to smooth out the skin and reduce visible pores. It’s also important to consider the sensitivity of the subject’s skin and its level of ISO. You can also use the Noise Adjustment Tool to reduce noise, but be careful not to erase details.

Another way to remove imperfections is to use the Spot Removal Tool. This tool works by allowing you to adjust its brush size and opacity. You can also adjust the feather of the brush, which will make the edges softer and more subtle. It’s best to use the Spot Removal Tool on small shapes, rather than large ones.

Apply makeup

When editing portraits, you should start with skin tones. This is the most important aspect of portrait editing, and you should aim to get as close to the real skin tone as possible. Be careful not to overdo the skin toning, however, or you risk giving your subject a sickly appearance.

Lightroom is a powerful tool for editing portraits, but it also has its limitations. For instance, portraits with poor exposure won’t be easy to edit with it. If you don’t have access to professional Photoshop software, you can use Lightroom presets to optimize portraits instantly.

Lightroom allows you to apply makeup to your portrait. You can use the tool to whiten teeth, soften skin, and increase the saturation of your subject’s skin tone. You can also decrease the exposure of areas you don’t want to appear as bright, such as their cheeks. Before applying makeup, make sure you know the desired look of your portrait, and experiment with different masking tools.

Tweak contrast

When editing portraits, it can be beneficial to play with the contrast slider. If you shoot in raw, your image will often be flat, so you can use the contrast slider to increase or decrease contrast. However, this can result in unflattering skin tones and reduce the overall contrast of the image.

The skin tones are one of the most important aspects of portrait editing, and you should always try to make the skin tones look as close to the actual skin tone as possible. But don’t go overboard; too much tweaking can leave your portraits looking sickly.

Adjusting the white balance of the image can make the skin look whiter or brighter, depending on the subject’s skin tone. Then, you can adjust the contrast by adjusting the exposure and saturation of the image.