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How To Edit Portraits in Lightroom

The ability to take high-quality portraits is an important skill for any aspiring photographer, as it opens the door for you to work with fashion models as well as corporate clients in need of headshots. While it takes a lot of effort to create the perfect setting and lighting for your portrait sessions, you have even more work to do once you get back to your computer. With a little bit of help from digital editing software, you can take a seemingly ordinary photograph and turn it into a stunning piece. Here are some hints on how to edit portraits in Lightroom so you can create images to delight your clients.
White Balance and Crop
Human beings see through the light that reflects off of objects, and that light’s color can greatly affect the appearance of your photography subject. If the image doesn’t look right, consider adjusting the white balance to compensate for the type of lighting on your set. Once you’ve done this, you should also crop out unnecessary parts of the photo to keep the focus on your model.
Adjust Shadows and Highlights
Don’t worry if your model’s skin looks overexposed or there are areas of shadow in the frame, as LIghtroom makes it easy to fix this problem. Use the highlights slider to take some of the brightness out of the subject’s complexion, and adjust the shadow value upward to brighten some of the underexposed regions of the image.
Perform Adjustments With Brushes
Once you’ve made some of the larger changes, it’s time to do some fine tuning on the image. Use the adjustment brush, which is on the far right of the screen beneath the photo’s histogram. With this tool, you can “paint” effects onto the image, which allows you to do things such as smoothing the skin, whitening the teeth or bringing out the color of your model’s eyes. Simply choose the desired effect, adjust the flow to augment the effect’s intensity and brush it on the areas you’d like to adjust.
Make Your Models Shine
These are just some of the basic ways how to edit portraits in Lightroom, but this powerful software offers so many more features for aspiring photographers. Like any other endeavor, it takes years of practice to truly perfect photo editing, so take every opportunity to practice on your friends and family members. If you need photographs beyond portraiture for any of your special projects, Shutterstock has an entire library with millions of royalty-free images for easy purchase.
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