EDITING Natural Light Portraits in Lightroom | Light and Airy Photography Tutorial

– Hey guys, so today is all about editing for the light and airy
look and I’m gonna show how I went from this to this. (upbeat music) I’m curled up right now
with Bella in my lap and a hot cup of tea and I hope you guys are also bundled up warm now that it’s getting a little chillier outside. We will go ahead and dive right in. So here’s the image we’re starting with and a quick before and after. As you’ll see, I shot this
image on the darker side so that I could retain the highlight detail in the veil and dress. Pulling up another quick example photo, here’s another shoot also on the darker side to retain the highlight detail in the background of the image. With digital, it loses the highlights of the image and just kind of obliterates all the detail there
even when shooting with raw like I do but it keeps those shadow details really nicely so that you can pull them out in the image.
And, as you’ll see here, there’s, in that background, when it’s lifted, these really creamy tones
and this nice soft fallout between the whites, those
highlights and those upper mids. When you expose for the skin
tone, not only will you lose all the detail of this but
you’ll get where everything hits more of a harsh line and
kind of a crispiness to it versus this really soft,
almost filmic look. The key to this is shooting at
a little bit of a lower ISO. Those other images, I believe, were ISO 50 and the one we’re working
on today is ISO 320. And that way, when you
lift, you still get nice, really clean, beautiful images. So we’re gonna go ahead and clear out our adjustments here to start fresh. The very first thing I do to all my images is I’ll come down to lens corrections, enable profile corrections to
take off that lens vignette that happens and this
is actually something I built into a preset,
I’ve made custom with some of the base adjustments
I make on all my images. So I’ll have that preset
applied upon import so that I’m not having to make those same adjustments
over and over again. If you’re interested in that,
I’m actually gonna drop it for your guys below in
case you want to play with it with your own images.
But for today’s tutorial, I wanna show you just if you were doing everything manually, no presets. So, diving in, we’re gonna
start with our basics and most people will dial up that exposure. And this is what it might
look like if I was adjusting and shooting more for those skin tones. But, as you’ll see,
we’ll lose some of those highlight detail.
So with exposure, I’ll generally start fairly low and then bring
in more of the shadow tones of the image to kind
of level everything out. It’s a little bit of
a balance between the two and we’re gonna go bring down that tint just so that, a little too magenta for me, a little easier to look at now. And then we’re also gonna
come into that tonal curve and play with the RGB channels.
And I love tonal curves ’cause it gives you a lot of control. You have your shadows here,
your mids, your highlights. And we’re gonna drag right
up from those midtones to give a nice, luminescent look. And then I’ll usually drop
a few points on my curve just to have those adjustment controls, just to really fine tune my adjustments. I’m gonna bring down
the shadows right here and then I’ll bring back
up, just in the blacks, just a hair.
And I do this because I’ll usually not want a true black
right in here. And later when we go to fine tune the
color toning of the image, you’ll see we’ll get a nice
pretty color in the blacks. Gonna lift just a little
bit more in those lower mids and this is starting to look pretty good. Gonna come down into the Hue Sat (HSL) I’ll usually bring up the
luminance of the oranges just a bit to give that
nice luminance look. You don’t wanna bring it up
too much ’cause she’ll start to look a little ghostly but just a little to lift that and then I’ll
come in to the saturation of those oranges and
brings those down a bit. So, as you’ll see, we’re getting kind of a little bit of a flatter look to the image at first. And this is when I’ll come back up and pump the contrast. And nowit’s starting to look really nice. So from there, we can start fine tuning and making it exactly how we want. I’m gonna bring up this temperature just a little bit more.
Just with my keyboard so I have those little micro adjustments. I’m dialing up and down
the temperature, the tint, to put it a little more towards the greens and then coming into the split toning, I’m gonna play with the
shadows and this is, like I said earlier, going
to bring a little bit of a tint right into those
blacks and shadow tones of the image without
doing a global warmth. I’m really liking that about right there. So this is looking pretty good to me. Some final adjustments, I might come in and do a little bit of skin softening. With skin softening, I’ll go a little bit intense at first to see exactly what is
happening in the image and avoiding any details,
like, around the nose, the lips, the eyelashes.
We don’t want to get rid of the detail of her
face, we just wanna soften some of these pores and fine
lines, just a little bit. That’s pretty good.
Zooming it back out, I’m gonna come over to clarity, and with any sort of skin softening,
I’m gonna dial that back quite a bit. Usually, like, negative 40, negative 30 So that it’s actually super, super subtle for those adjustments. So that’s looking pretty good. So I’m gonna do one more skin softening just because I’m seeing
these little creases in the sheer fabric of
the dress and I just want to soften those out to
give that nice illusion of it just being skin. So with the highlights,
I usually won’t bring these in too much, just a hair. You go too much and
the skin starts looking on the muddy side.
And we definitely want that nice, bright,
beautiful look to her skin. I am gonna come in to the tonal curve and bring up those lights just a hair for that nice, pretty skin tone. Just a few subtle tweaks to get it where I want it and that’s looking pretty good. So, one thing that I might do from here, depending on the image, is come in and do a manual lens correction, which is more of like a reverse vignette. For vignetting, I don’t
use the effects tool, which is basically just
putting white over the image. I’ll use the manual lens
correction vignette, which is a nice, soft vignette
and I’ll usually bring that midpoint, you can
kind of play with it to see what it does, down and
do a nice, subtle vignette but, for this image, our automatic profile correction actually
does a pretty good job and I’ll, just to spot check it, look over into the upper left navigator
and you can make sure that you’re not getting too intense of a vignette on your image. It’s good to look at it both big and small to kind of do that quick glance check. If you wanted to, you could come in exposure and paint back in this detail just a little bit more. It’s actually looking
pretty good without that, that’s just if you
wanted to play with just those little bit of micro adjustments and then also, I’m
noticing her arm is going a little bit pale so I
might even come in and just in that hand, let me get a little more pink, and there you have it. So we have our before and our after. Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial. If you want to play with that preset as kind of a starting point
to try this out yourself, grab that below and
also drop any questions you guys have for me in the comments and I will talk to you next week.

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