Lightroom has made retouching and enhancing portraits incredibly simple with their spot removal and adjustment brush tools, both of which are located below the histogram in the “Develop” module. Whether you want to soften skin tones or really make your subject’s eyes pop, their range of “Effect” presets enables you to do just that quickly and easily. If you’re editing portraits and want a few simple tricks, here are 5 Lightroom beauty tips you must know!
Natural discoloration in your subject’s teeth can easily be fixed with Lightroom’s “Teeth Whitening” preset, located in the drop down menu next to “Effects” (which appears when you select to use the “Adjustment Brush”). When you brush over the teeth, the exposure will be increased slightly and the saturation reduced, giving them a luminous boost. Because you’re working with a small area, use a small brush size and set the feather to around 50 so that it’s not too hard or too soft.
The appearance of the subject’s eyes can make a huge difference to a portrait, drawing the viewer in and engaging them in the image. Sharpening the eyes will help add definition, really making them pop, and you can do this by brushing over the pupils with the adjustment brush and moving the clarity and sharpness sliders until you get the desired effect. You can also enhance the whites of the eyes by using the adjustment brush and the “Dodge” (Lighten) effect, which slightly increases the exposure. Again, use a mid-range feather and small brush size to work within this neatly defined area.
Blemishes such as scratches, pimples and dark freckles can easily be removed using the spot removal brush, located to the right of the crop tool. When you click on it you will see two options at the top - “Clone” and “Heal”. If you choose “Clone”, then the section of photo you select to cover your blemish will be applied as is, while if you select “Heal” it will blend your selected area with the pixels around it. This is preferable for fixing blemishes, as you’ll come away with a far more natural look. If you decide to work with “Clone”, you can play around with the “Opacity” and “Feather” sliders located below to create a smoother blending of the pixels until you get the effect you want.
Lightroom has made it incredibly easy to create a softer skin look in portraits with their “Soften Skin” preset, located in the drop down menu next to “Effect” when you select the adjustment brush. This preset reduces the clarity (while enhancing the sharpness slightly), and will reduce the effect of wrinkles and generally soften the skin of your subject. Select the brush size you want and a large “Feather”, then brush over your subject’s skin, altering the settings slightly if you want a more subtle or enhanced skin softening. Be careful not to go overboard or you will end up with a “plastic” look.
Lighten or darken skin
Similarly, if you want to lighten or darken the skin color of your subject, the “Dodge” (Lighten) and “Burn” (Darken) presets under the “Effects” drop down menu will do just that. This increases or decreases the exposure slightly, and adds a slightly lighter or darker effect to the skin color as a result.
The adjustment brush presets are a great starting point to work with in portrait editing, with the applied settings easily altered using the individual sliders. You can also enhance (or reduce) the desired effect by hovering your mouse over the adjustment brush pin after you have applied the preset. A double arrow icon will appear, and if you move the mouse to the left, the effect you have applied will be weakened, while if you move it to the right, it will become stronger!