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Should you crop before or after your corrections? If you prefer to make your corrections first and then decide how you want to crop your image, then crop afterwards.

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In this first part of our tutorial dedicated to portraiture, we have talked about the basic corrections that will let you optimize your photos before doing more creative kinds of post-processing. The basic corrections are applied in this order: White balance Tone exposure and contrast Color vibrancy. The possible blue cast is neutralized, so the colors become warmer. Tone Correcting tone involves both exposure and contrast, that is, the difference between the darkest and lightest tones in the image. Correcting small skin flaws using the Dust tool. Sharpness accentuation overall and details.

Tip As the effects of the Bokeh slider are very subtle and nearly impossible to reproduce in a screenshot published on the Web, as here , do not hesitate to zoom in a lot to explore the entire image and see its effects. Do I need to respect the rules of composition?

Adjust the grid by grabbing the corners. Place the grid where you want in the image to fine-tune the composition. Adjust each side or corner independently of the others and place the grid where you want on the image. A crop in format. Conclusion In this first part of our tutorial dedicated to portraiture, we have talked about the basic corrections that will let you optimize your photos before doing more creative kinds of post-processing.

Photo credit: Julien Cinquin. By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies. Ok Policy. In this case, tonal adjustments have revealed some distracting background details. For now, a little cropping and rotating will eliminate the distractions and make the subject fill the frame better. Click and drag to define your chosen crop. Moving the cursor outside the rectangle will turn it into a rotate tool and clicking and dragging within the rectangle will shift the image around inside the rectangle. We will now consider cosmetic enhancements in detail, starting with skin blemishes.

Zoom into the photo at so you can see the offending details. The cursor shows two concentric circles—the inner circle is the area where pixels will be copied at the currently set opacity from the selected source and the outer circle shows the distance over which those pixels will fade to full transparency in order to feather the selection into its intended location without any ugly boundaries showing. You can control the size and amount of feathering using the Size and Feather sliders or you can use the square bracket shortcut keys.

Adjust the size to be just a little larger than the spot as shown above. When you click on the spot, Lightroom will select a nearby area to use as the source and will show two circles connected by a line—one being the location you just clicked and the other being the suggested source area. The spot area will show a preview of how the area will look when patched with pixels from the source.

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Notice that there are two options at the top of the Spot Edit panel—Clone and Heal. Lightroom will select an area of skin from which to patch and you can modify its position in the same way you can with a spot sample.

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This technique is also useful to deal with stubborn shiny patches from oily skin such as the forehead or the tip of the nose. But we now need to turn our attention to specific parts of the image using the power of the Adjustment Brush. This is effectively a mask that determines where on the image your adjustments will be made. As you click and drag over the image in the areas you want to edit, Lightroom will overlay a red mask to show you exactly where your edits will be applied. The Adjustment Brush control panel should contain 19 sliders as shown below.

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You should see something like this:. Select one of them and adjust the size and feather using the sliders or the more convenient square bracket keys. If the density setting is reduced from to a lower value, the masking effect is also reduced in proportion. If you decide you want your adjustments to be applied less in some areas of the mask than others, you can paint over those areas again with a reduced density setting. If you like to build up your mask gradually, set the flow value to less than and you can build up the mask density by a number of successive brush strokes.

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This has the effect of reducing the local contrast and thus smoothing out skin texture in the masked-out areas. This enables you to control the combined effect of all the sliders you might have adjusted as part of your recent Adjustment Brush edit so if you think you went a little too far with your edit, you can simply back the whole effect off until it looks right. In addition to controlling a group of masked edits, you can also name and save a set of edits for later use.

Eyes are all important in a portrait and the Adjustment Brush can make some significant enhancements in that respect. Make sure the area around the eyes is not in dark shadow as is sometimes the case for photos taken in direct sunlight. You can also use the Burn darken setting to add depth in light shadow area to build up definition—it all depends on the subject but feel free to experiment because you can always go back in history to any previous edit in Lightroom.

Lightroom TIP: A typical portrait edit can have hundreds of small adjustments so it can be difficult to find a particular edit in the long history list. Young eyes are generally bright and clean but older subjects can exhibit red capillaries or yellow patches caused by high cholesterol.

In such cases, zoom in and use the spot removal tool to clean up what you can. This preset makes a slight increase in exposure, increases the clarity and boosts the saturation to enhance the patterns in the iris. Simply brush the iris to add the effect or hold down the ALT key as before in order to subtract from it. This will help you keep track of the extent of your edits in real time. Most people have less than perfect teeth so some ability to do virtual dental work is a definite plus when it comes to editing portraits. However, Lightroom can be used to fix that common problem of yellowish teeth.

If your subject is wearing lipstick, you can finish the mouth area by using the Adjustment Brush to boost the saturation in the lips. Zooming right in may also allow you to fix any less than perfect lip liner using the Spot Removal tool in Clone mode. That step is adding make-up. Set all fifteen sliders to their central position so they have no effect. Then set the Flow to 80 and set the Density to 15 as a starting point.

Next click on the box at the bottom of the panel to pop out a colour picker as shown here:. However, there is a trick—click any colour in the colour picker dialogue box and keep the mouse button pressed down as you drag out of the colour picker box and the eye-dropper tool will remain active. Move it over the colour you want to use from the photo and release the mouse button. Now simply paint on the image and watch the colour overlay appear. Give it a meaningful name such as Pink Eye Shadow. The temptation is to keep going but the aim of this tutorial has not been to create a perfect portrait but just to give you a few Lightroom tips and demonstrate how Lightroom can be used to perform a variety of useful adjustments without recourse to Photoshop.

As far as the artistic merit is concerned, the only opinion that really counts is that of the subject. Which key should Mac users use? Your email address will not be published. Set the same exposure across multiple photos perfect for bracketing. Share with friends Share. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Related Articles. How to Set Your Prices and Rates as a Photographer in One of the biggest struggles as a freelancer is to price your services. Photography is no exception. How To Use a Fill Light for Portraits A fill light helps to balance the light and gives you more control over your result. Using a single light source can cause ugly shadows…. These days, you can even make great portrait photos with your smartphone. There are also many great….