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10 Steps for Basic Portrait Editing in Lightroom

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Portrait editing is Lightroom is not only fun but also rewarding. The difference between Lightroom and other software for editing is that its workflow is non-destruction. This means poking a person’s face digitally for editing; there is no alteration of the actual photo.

Below are 10 Steps for Basic Portrait Editing in Lightroom

Importing your file

From the library module, find the image you wish to import into the lightroom. You can custom one lightroom preset which can work well with most of your portraits. After importing you will only be required to apply the preset you have created.

Adjusting the white balance

You can either use a tool known as eyedropper or move the sliders located below the white balance. The eyedropper tool is used when there is a neutral surface or wall in your photo.


But if there is no neutral reference, you can move the sliders to give more warmth to your image.

Adjust shadows and highlights

Adjusting shadows and highlights are done to balance between the background, hair of your image and the face. You can also fine tune your image later if you find it necessary.

Increase saturation and vibrance

If the image still appears to be dull, you can use the sliders found below the presence tab to increase saturation and vibrance. Moving the white sliders upwards gives your portrait a better clean look. At this point, you will realize that the picture starts to look more real.

Crop the image

Cropping can be done at any level. It gives your image a tighter and well-balanced headshot.

Soften the portrait’s skin

Ensure that you have zoomed the image for you to see the skin appearance better. Use the brush tool. Load the brush with whatever adjustments you desire to apply. Some of the available brush presets include those for teeth whitening and those for skin softening.

Fine-tune the adjustments you have made

Beneath the image, use “O” as the keyboard shortcut, to look for the parts of your image that have been touched by the brush adjustments. Also, use the erase brush tool to remove from the eyes, hair, and mouth the undesirable effect.

Brighten the portrait’s eyes


Zoom the image closer, and then add sparkle and clarity to the eyes using the adjustment brush. You will notice that increasing transparency makes the affected part of the portrait appear darker. You, therefore, need to compensate this with the exposure slider.

Add some color to the mouth

The technique used in adding color to the mouth is similar to that used in the eyes. You only need to increase saturation after brushing the clarity. You can also alter the lips’ hue by moving the tint and temp sliders up.

Teeth whitening

Ensure the saturation slider and the brush tools are decreased while the exposure slider is a bit increased. By doing so you will manage to lighten the teeth as required

The takeaway

Editing using Lightroom is similar to your preferred style of shooting in that it is more about an individual’s preference. This makes your work appear unique and appealing to the eye depending on your creativity.

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