I want to start by saying that I am completely floored by how amazing the submissions were for #holdme and #details. These two hashtags drummed up a lot of attention in Facebook group and seeing all of the stunning images from the talented photographers in the group just made me smile.
Below you’ll find the my top pics celebrating the best of the first quarter of the year. All of the images were found in the Facebook group and were tagged either #holdme or #details and each used one of our presets!
Take a look at the visually stunning images and give the photographers a follow to encourage them along their journey.
Danielle Navratil- Beholden Preset
Camille Wilson - Embrace Preset
Emma Ryan-Beholden Preset
Jessica Sircy- Beholden Preset
Johanna Gronka-Beholden Preset
Katie Ventura- Jade Preset
Korin Hunter-Beholden Preset
Kristi Neff - Wanderlust Preset
Morgan Mcguff- Embrace Preset
Morgan Liberastore - Wanderlust Preset
Morgan Mcguff - Embrace Preset
Julia Robbins- Beholden Preset
Tossama Chiwarak - Wanderlust Preset
Jaydean and Carey Winkworth - Embrace
Ashlyn Hale - Runway
Camille Wilton - Embrace Preset
Erin Cusisk - Wanderlust Preset
Candice Clarke - Embrace Preset
Emma Ryan - Embrace
Stephanie Sanzo -Embrace Preset- Brave
Jess Bryan - Wanderlust Preset
Kelli Neff - Wanderlust Preset
Korin Hunter - Willow Preset
Leonie Hollan - Embrace Preset- Brave
Photoshop and Lightroom are both amazing tools for photographers to use. Each program has their own pros and cons and the more seasoned of a photographer and editor you are, the more you probably enjoy using each program for its unique offerings.
While both programs are wonderful and can be great to use, there’s something to be said for how accessible and effective Lightroom is for photographers. In today’s post, we are breaking down why Lightroom is easier than Photoshop and why, if you’re going to take the time to learn a program, Lightroom should be the first one on your list of the two to tackle.
What’s so great about Lightroom?
Lightroom was designed specifically for photographers. The way Lightroom intuitively and almost seamlessly works for photographers will make it easier for you to use. Lightroom houses most of the image manipulation tools that you’ll need for editing your images. On top of that, importing your images into Lightroom first will help catalogue your images! What a bonus!
Why do people use Photoshop?
Photoshop was originally designed for simple digital photo editing, but as the capabilities grew, photoshop became the go-to for all your graphic design needs-- from architects to graphic designers, publishers and more. Photoshop has such a wide range of capabilities, that it is often overwhelming when you’re starting out. Photoshop now caters more to the graphic designer than the everyday photographer.
Why should I use Lightroom?
Lightroom is a staple because of its easy-to-use format and the way it can also help catalogue your images, apply presets in important and can overall improve your workflow. Here are my top favorite reasons to use Lightroom…
1 - You import your RAW files into Lightroom and can create collections, add keywords, and save all your files into specific catalogues.
2 - You can apply settings on import! If you know you’re going to be applying a certain preset to all if your images, you can apply settings when you import the images so when see them, they already all have the same settings applied. This is especially amazing if you have a studio where you control the lighting. You can apply the same settings to all of your images and just make minor tweaks to images as needed.
3 - No “save” button. Lightroom automatically saves all of your tweaks automatically so you have a database of edits and history of all the images you’ve edited.
4 - The editing panels are easy to understand. Everything is laid out easily and the tools are easy to understand. Each tool does exactly what it says it does-- brightness, saturation, vibrance, noise reduction, lens correction and more. It’s all straightforward and easy to apply with sliders so you can see how the selected tool modifies the image.
5 - Presets! Most presets are designed to work with Lightroom! Presets are total game changers and I love using my presets for all of the images I edit in Lightroom!
These are just a few of the reasons Lightroom has my personal vote as easier to use than photoshop. For the basic editing you need to do to an image you took, this is it! An extra perk is Lightroom for your mobile phone. Presets can work on your phone so any image you take on the go can be edited on-the-go to match your style so you can post to your social media feed or send a client a sneak peek before you even get the images onto your computer.
Do you prefer Lightroom or Photoshop? Why? Share below.
Did you know that you have a superpower?
As boudoir photographers, we are all connected by the superpower we share. The results of our superpower are making our clients feel gorgeous, unstoppable and fierce. The way our client feels ripples out to their creative energy and confidence they bring to us during their session and then they leave their session feeling empowered to be the most amazing and authentic versions of themselves.
The superpower you possess isn’t editing, it isn’t quit wit to make your client laugh and it’s not even an amazing studio setup and flattering lighting.
Your superpower is the power to pose.
The superpower of posing is incredible.
It’s like that saying, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.
With this superpower of yours, it is your responsibility to pose your client in a way that will produce the best possible photograph. Your ability to pose your client and ease them into the poses, ensuring them that they look fabulous, is one of the best ways to use your superpower for good in the photography world.
So how do you hone your superpower?
In all the superhero movies that is always that stage where the superhero is just learning about their ability and just figuring out how to best wield their power.
I want to give you a few tips for posing your client that will help you really get confident in your superpower so you can wow your next client!
TIP 1 - Get to know your client
Get to know your client so you know how to make them feel comfortable. The more you and your client chat and get to know each other before the shoot, the more relaxed they will be during their session, which means they will be willing to do what you say and will feel confident that you are making them look good. Send out questionnaires, help them pick their lingerie and talk during their hair and makeup! Be totally available for them so they understand you are in their corner, ready and willing to be their cheerleader and always keeping their best face (or booty) forward.
TIP 2- Remember the FAB 4
The FAB 4 are the 4 things you should always remember to look for on your client. The hand placement, the facial expression, the curves and the hair. If a client feels uncomfortable, their face and hands will show it. Asking your client to close their eyes and exhale is a great way to help them relax before you take a shot! The client is counting on YOU to make their curves pop and keep their hair looking flawless.
TIP 3 - Posing should make sense!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise for you but posing really should make sense. The pose you put her in should be true to reality, but slightly more exaggerated to really capture all the subtleties. Once you posed your client and captured the photograph, you can prompt your client to move naturally (run her fingers through her hair, close her eyes, etc) which will create new life in the pose and allow you to capture all the sizzling details.
While we can’t all go to superhero skills, I want to be the wise leader who is here to help you! Consider my posing guide in the shop your curriculum in the Academy for the Boudoir Superhero! My guide gives you ALL my best tips and tricks for posing your clients from where to put your focus, the right words to say to encourage and give comfort to your clients and even the exact wording I use to guide my clients into the poses that leave their own jaws dropping when they see the final images.
This guide is seriously going to help your posing superpower impact each and every client you have the opportunity to work with. I even give you my exact posing flows to transition your client from pose to natural movement! Trust me, this guide is worth it! Check it out in the shop here.
I love my studio so much. All the years I’ve shot in a studio it’s been wonderful to have the consistency of the space. From the actual props we used to the lighting, it’s always consistent. Shooting outdoors is a whole different story. As much as you can bring reflectors and can plan for the best time of day to shoot, you will inevitably not be able to always control your light.
So how do I choose the light I am going to shoot in when shooting outdoors?
When you’re on location you’re just working with what you have available to you. Trust me when I tell you, nature doesn’t always give you what you need to create the images you envision in your mind. It’s up to you to be creative and to understand where to best place your subject for the different light available to you.
A couple notes on outdoor lighting…
Sometimes all you have to work with is harsh light. When I have harsh light to work with I find it’s important to place my subjects just right to avoid squinting or harsh shadows. You either avoid the harsh light (finding some shade) or you should fully embrace it. Don’t half ass it or ‘try to make it work’... If you’re going for harsh light, go all out.
The best light is an overcast sky. An overcast sky, filled with wither fluffy clouds covering the sun or the dramatic clouds signaling a rain storm, make everything soft and even. This style of lighting is really perfect for editing with presets. It really is the easiest and safest way to shoot knowing you don’t have to worry about squinty eyes, shadows or where the light is hitting your subject.
My favorite kind of light is, and i’m sure you could guess it because all photographers love it… golden hour. The warm golden tones are simply gorgeous for capturing your subject and always make for lovely images no matter what.
So how do I decide which light to actually shoot in?
For me, it really depends on the mood I am going for. When I’m at a session I look for variety and different lighting situations to see which will best bring my vision to life. Trees will give me shadows and more dappled light when the sun is still high which can give a real dreamy feel to the images you are creating.
I also look for open shade. If this term is unfamiliar to you, open shade is when your subject stands fully in the shade looking towards you. You will be in the sun. It’s the perfect way to keep your subject free of harsh shadows.
If my subject has the availability, I’ll always pick golden hour. Golden hour gives a dreamy feel and I just love how the soft light hits hair and skin makes it all seem to glow. It has an ethereal effect and makes everything look like it could be a fairytale.
The blue hour, which is the hour right after sunset, is perfect for moody tones. If the look you and your subject are going for is more moody and dramatic then this light will work best.
The most important part of all is to learn how to work with all of these different kind of light situations so you can be prepared no matter what the day brings your way. Being prepared is the best way to bring a vision to life, even if it’s not what you originally anticipated. Becoming skilled with your camera and understanding the benefits and tricks to working with each lighting situation is going to make you a stronger photographer for your clients.
When I first found photography I had no idea how much it would change me. When I first picked up a camera it was like being born again. Yes, that does sound cheesy but it’s true! I started seeing things I’ve never seen before and I noticed the intense beauty of the colors around me. I was in Hawaii, which is breathtaking to begin with, so this new light of seeing was addictive. I can remember seeing the sunset with this new perspective and being deeply moved.
I was also addicted to learning everything I could about photography.
I joined a local photography group and received a ton of guidance in my new found passion and even became an intern. During my internship I basically shadowed her sessions and got to carry around her gear. It doesn’t sound glamorous but I learned a lot about working with reflectors and how to work with light, I learned a lot about my gear and the technical aspect of photographer in a short amount of time. I made sure I didn’t miss out a single learning opportunity.
What I wish I had known during this time of learning was that…
- recognizing and developing your own style takes time
- posing people and editing shouldn’t take hours
- skin tones are really important
- seeing how color casts and knowing pure white is crucial
But, what I really want to tell you is this…
Photography is not a destination, it is a way of life.
You will always be learning something new that you didn’t previously know.
You will never stop learning.
You will always feel a bit left out, a bit behind and not good enough.
But that is part of the beauty of being an artist. What I’ve learned is that the beauty of being an artist is the constant state of wanting to improve and grow because what we do as photographers is really a gift. You have the ability to freeze time, you paint with a photo.
I’ve learned that once you start this thing called ‘photography’, you cannot go back because it becomes a part of you. The part of you that you have awakened was always within you and now that it is awake, it becomes an addiction, your way to heal and your source of joy. It’s not that you love photography, you need photography.
After realizing we are all in this perpetual cycle of learning, not feeling good enough, creating something we are proud of, then learning more, I learned a lot about myself. I learned about what makes me happy and where I have found my place in the world. I know what I will do for the rest of my life, my life with a camera in my hand. I learned that you have to take the road less traveled and that you have to find your voice within yourself instead of looking to other places or other artists.
-to let go of old
I've learned that you have to take the road less traveled that you have to find your voice within yourself and not look at other places or other artists.
I've learned to let go of old habits and to welcome new.
I have learned to enjoy the journey of being an artist.
I've learned that I'm in fact an entrepreneur that works until the midnight hours in order to reach my goals.
I did not know this about myself.
I learned that I have grits and that I will keep going no matter what obstacle is in my way.
I want you to know that YOU TOO are an artist, with grit and the ability to reach your dreams. You are allowed to build a brand. You are allowed to fly high.
Images From When I First Started Photography
Is anyone else out there always chasing the light?
As much as I love shooting in my studio, it’s a fun adventure when I get to take a client outside for their boudoir session. It feels a little more daring and wild! Shooting outside is a whole lot different than shooting indoors. In my studio, I control everything- the lights, the environment… I set it up and keep it just right for the duration of the shoot.
Shooting outdoors though? Well, the natural light is always shifting and changing-- especially during the coveted golden hour when most of us photographers are scheduling our outdoor shoots with our clients.
Today I am walking you thought some basics steps for editing natural light images in Lightroom. There are a few key things and process you can walk through to get the best edit from your natural light image, even if you’re unfamiliar with where to start if you’re an indoor photographer. I’m walking you through 4 unique lighting situations and sharing what I do. I’m also including a handy video so you can actually watch me edit the photos!
Let’s dive in!
1.Shooting in Harsh Light
First off, shooting in Harsh Light means there is direct sunlight hitting your subject. If you follow along with the video, you’ll be able to watch exactly how I edited the image.
The first thing I do is look over my image and make the first adjustments necessary. In this image, I needed to dehaze the subject by increasing the clarity. Next, I turned up the exposure. At this point, I start looking at the skin tone. Since you’re shooting outside, the elements around you and the tone of the sun will impact the skin tone of your subject. Try to bring the skin tone back to a real life tone. With the dreamlike look from the haze created when shooting a backlit image, it’s important to sharpen the image so i’ll often do that next.
Tip - there is always yellow in the green so if you captured any greenery from grass to trees in your image, and you want to change the tone, remember to also work with the yellows and not just the greens in your image.
After making these few slight edits I usually apply a preset. Depending on the preset you use, you’ll make a few more minor adjustments to exposure and vibrancy. Presets are amazing to apply an overall look to your image that can be consistent throughout an entire session. When you apply a preset, you’ll make a few small adjustments and voila! A gorgeous image is edited and ready to send to your client.
EW 01 PRESET
2. Sun is Behind the Clouds With No Harsh Light.
You can’t control nature. One second the sun is out bright and the next, clouds roll in and everything seems to change. During an outdoor session you’ll need to be prepared to edit a variety of images in different ways. This image you’ll watch me edit in the video was actually taken during the same session as the first image I edited which was shot in harsh light.
The original image is quite dark (since the sun had just become covered by the clouds). The very first thing I do is turn up the exposure, shadows and the blacks. Then sharpen and adjust the clarity of the image. The image itself doesn’t quite ‘pop’ at this point so I added some more contrast to add more color to the photo.
If you’re adding a preset to the image (like I did!), you’ll make some minor adjustments after applying it, like shadows, clarity and adjusting the color tone. Using a preset in this kind of light can help achieve a whole new look!
If you haven’t watched this video yet, you can check out the video and watch me apply a number of presets until I find the one that I think helps bring out the best of the image.
3. Harsh Light Hitting Your Model From The Side
You’ll be in situations when shooting outdoors when the harsh light will be hitting your model from the side. When this is the case, I turn up the exposure, shadows and blacks first. The image I demonstrated that had cloud cover was very similar in the sense the original image was dark. From here I adjusted the clarity to dehaze the image since there’s a lot of harsh light hitting the model, creating that dreamy look that we want to keep, but still find clarity in.
In this image I made the decision to crop the image. Cropping images can help make the image less distracting so that your eye is drawn to where the light is hitting the subject. From here, adjusting the tone and vibrancy are the next things to really create a catching image that draws in the viewer and allows the subject to really stand out in the image.
4. Underexposed Image
When shooting outside you can move in and out of little pockets of light, making your image underexposed. When your subject has no light hitting them, your image will possibly be dark. So, here’s how to edit an underexposed image taken outdoors.
The first thing you’ll want to do is increase your exposure. From here, you’ll choose your personal preference of white balance for your image. When an image starts underexposed without light, chances are it will be tinted more blue. Warming it up for the white balance will be ideal! I generally like images warmer so I have adjusted my white balance to be set to auto in Lightroom.
Sometimes you do not need to make a lot of changes to the photo once you have adjusted the exposure and the white balance! When that happens, it’s such a nice surprise.
If you are making further edits, the ones I generally adjust blacks and shadows up just slightly. Then I adjust my color tone, which will all depend on your photo. To create even more punch in your photos that are taken without any direct light on your subject, you’ll also turn your contrast up while lowering both your vibrance and saturation sliders.
When you use a preset, you can achieve some stunning looks with just a few clicks-- applying a preset then making a few minor tweaks. If you have a lot of images to edit from a session, applying a preset on import will help you bulk edit!
When it comes right down to it, editing is a fun way to bring to life the image you envisioned in your mind before your finger hit the shutter button and the camera took the shot. My best piece of advice is to take time to have fun and play around in Lightroom! When you give yourself the time to play, adjusting all the sliders to see what they do, you’ll find what you like and you’ll develop your own unique editing style.
Be sure to watch the video and comment below letting me know your thoughts on how I edit images! If you’re interested in trying out presets to add that extra ‘wow’ to your images, you can grab some in the shop here. If you’re interested in grabbing a pack or two, I highly recommend the Embrace Collection or the Wanderlust Collection.
When your subject has no natural light hitting them. your image will possibly be very dark so you will want to increase your exposure. Then you will choose your personal preference of white balance. I like the image to be warmer so I have adjusted my white balance to be set to auto in Lightroom.
Sometimes you do not need to make a lot of changes to the photo once you have adjusted the exposure and white balance.
In this particular photo, I will adjust the blacks and shadows up just slightly. You will then need to adjust your color tone depending on your photo.
To create more punch to your photos in this light you will want to adjust your contrast up while lowering your vibrance and saturation sliders.
Using a preset can help you achieve a lot of the above looks quicker with some minor tweaks. If you have a lot of images to edit using a preset and then use bulk edit.
Most importantly have fun, play around in Lightroom and adjust those sliders to learn your editing style.
Raise your hand if you love Jen Rozenbaum! I can just imagine you raising your hand and saying out loud ‘obviously!’. I am so excited that Jen and I collaborated to create the Fire + Ice Preset Collection. This is quite possibly the ONLY preset collection you will ever need for editing your boudoir images.
Images by Jen Rozenbaum
We created the Fire collection for darker, more moody boudoir images that send smoke right off the screen. Then, we created the Ice collection for those bright, light and almost ethereal edits that make you feel like you’re right there with the subject. We created each collection then thought of how perfect and complimentary they would be together; when it comes to boudoir, you may shoot one of your clients perfectly for Fire, while the next session needs Ice.
Images by Jen Rozenbaum
Just for you, we put the two together into the Fire + Ice Preset Collection. Jen and I couldn’t be happier with how this collection of 23 presets came together. Even though we are both boudoir photographers, this collection will work well for weddings, lifestyle and more! Try them out with all of your work and see how Fire + Ice can draw in your viewer and make your client stand out.
Images by Jen Rozenbaum
The set of presets includes Fire + Ice which includes 23 presets between the two collections and the toolbox with 23 adjustment presents. You’ll also receive a little e-book with instructions with how to use these presets in Lightroom. You should have basic knowledge of Lightroom before purchasing these presets so you can make the most of them for your images.
Shooting couples is such a privilege-- whether a wedding, an engagement shoot or a just because session, being able to photograph two people in love is always an honor. If you’re used to, or are more comfortable with, shooting individuals adding in another person can be a little intimidating. Instead of focusing on getting one person confident, owning their space and their angles and being comfortable in front of a lens, you have two! Talk about stressful!
I'm sharing 5 tips for photographing couples that will ease you into the process and will make you comfortable working with two people at one time.
1- Get to know the couple.
Get to know the people you are working with. When you have your in-person (or over Skype or Zoom) meeting, watch how they interact. Be aware of their little quirks together and make notes. Ask them questions about their history together-- where they met, what drew them to the other person, etc. This information can be helpful in selecting locations for their session, and can give you some insight into the kind of couple they are. Be sure your pre-session questionnaire is thorough and touches on anything else that can give you a little insight into the clients. It’s also especially important to ask them if they’ve been photographed by a professional before. This will help you understand if their time with you will be brand new or if they will understand how the general process works.
2 - Select a comfortable location.
A comfortable location can mean a few different things…
Say the couple love going for coffee dates to a local coffee shop. Going there for some of their session will make them feel comfortable-- especially since they are in a place they are familiar with. They can order drinks, chat, and even cuddle over their lattes and cappuccinos. If a couple has never been photographed before, taking them to a location they know can be a great way to get to them to relax.
If a couple is more shy, taking them somewhere out of the general eyes of the public would make them more comfortable. Skip the bustling coffee shop and try out a unfamiliar park, a deserted piece of beach or a path off the beaten trail. They will instantly feel more at ease without thinking other people are watching them.
3 - Look into your partner's eyes.
There are a few go-to prompts you can use with your couples no matter where you are. One of the best prompts is simply to look into each other's eyes. It sounds almost too simple to be true but it’s simply one of the best! If the couple is smiley and goofy, you’ll immediately be photographing big smiles, laughter and giggles. If they’re a steamy couple, get ready for chemistry!
4 - Move!
Walk, run, jump, dance, reenact a scene from Friends or The Office… it doesn’t matter what it is, just get your couple moving together. Movement is beautiful to capture and can help tell a story with the images. Something as simple as walking together hand in hand can create beautiful images that add more visual interest than standing or sitting together stagnant.
5 - Whisper
Having one person whisper something into the other person’s ear is one way to elicit a sweet reaction. Encourage one person to whisper the moment they knew they were in love, their favorite memory or even their best knock knock joke! The actual moments they are whispering will make for beautiful photographs, as will their reaction to what is said! During the shoot encourage a few of these small moments that can help tell a story, show interaction and build connection that create a wonderful experience for your clients.
Photographing two people can be a challenge but can be very fun when you focus on telling the love story between the two! Make it fun, expressive and comfortable for the clients by encouraging them to just be themselves, have fun with their partner and remember that their photos are meant to be representation of who they are.
What are your best tips for photographing couples? Share them below!
Practice makes progress. Photography is no different, and we all know that from how much we’ve grown and changed over the weeks, months and even years. When it comes to your boudoir photography, things are no different… although it may feel a little weirder asking your friends to come over and let you take their picture in their skivvies while you up your photography game and get in some practice!
I am sharing my top five tips for practicing your boudoir photography. These tips will help you grow, will challenge your autopilot settings and will even help you unlock your full creative potential as you explore new styles to find what really draws you in.
Tip 1 - Find a Friend.
We can all find that ONE friend who is ALWAYS up for photos. Find that friend and work with them often as you’re practicing the tips. What’s nice about asking the same person is that you get to know them well enough that you have the freedom to play with things like lighting and locations without worrying about giving them enough directions, etc. They’ll get used to you, your directives and will feel comfortable heading out into the forest or heading to the beach for your latest creative whim.
Tip 2 - Head Outdoors.
If you’re more comfortable in a studio, head outside. Start by browsing Pinterest for some creative and unique ideas that actually get you excited about exploring the wilderness for your boudoir session. Maybe you’re drawn to moody beaches, whimsical forests or rocky terrain. Whatever it is that calls you, head there and explore what it’s like to work with your model in nature. There will be unique poses, natural props and real lighting to work with so this will require you to get creative in your adventure. Have fun and embrace how you aren’t able to control every aspect of your surroundings.
Tip 3 - Get Inside.
If you’re already drawn to the outdoors rent a studio and get inside. Make the most of your time by playing around with studio lighting, different backdrops and props and really explore all of your options. The same as Tip 2, head to Pinterest and explore things that catch your eye as a reference point and to get your own creative juices flowing. You’ll be surprised how inspiration can strike.
Tip 4 - Texture
Velvet, lace, silk and tulle are all gorgeous fabric options that can create beautiful textures, add a unique vibe to your shoot and can be fun just to play with. Have your model hide beneath silk sheets that cling to outline her frame, use lace in front of your lens for a hazy effect or drape velvet as a backdrop for an era feel. Fabrics can be cost effective and fun to play with so head to a local fabric store and add them to your trunk of outfits and props.
Tip 5 - Strike a Pose
If you've been shooting boudoir for a while you may feel like your work is becoming stagnant. Same pose, different subject. This is another perfect time to grab your up-for-anything friend to work on creative posing. Try new poses and allow your model to give you honest feedback if the pose feels weird or uncomfortable. Let the model be creative and try posing on her own and see what kind of magic she creates that you can then recreate with additional models. With paying clients, we are committed to results but with a friend, exploration is a perk of the relationship you already have. Show the photos to your model as you are going through them so they can also see or perhaps offer suggestions.
These seem pretty basic for a reason-- exploring to unleash your creative side is something that is often lost once we transition to full-time photography. Our clients now pay our bills so the freedom of expression when we were first experimenting with our camera and friends feels like a thing of the past. Try to give yourself at least one shoot a month with no other purpose than to let your creativity run wild. See what happens. Your clients will thank you for it.
We all shoot portraiture during our sessions. If you’re doing a family session you’ll get some individual shots of people which is portraiture. If you’re shooting a branding session or boudoir session, that is also portraiture. Since portraits are something we all come in contact with in our lives as photographers, let’s talk about editing portraits in Lightroom.
Today I’m sharing my 5-tips for editing portraits. A lot of these might seem really simple and basic, but that’s because going back to basics and getting those right means you can add in your own personal editing touch after! I know we all have unique editing styles that attract our ideal clients so we don’t want to mess with the goodness you already do! Let’s dive into my 5 tips for editing portraits in Lightroom.
Tip 1 - Start with White Balance
As I said, this may sound basic to you, but start with white balance. Good white balance will help you achieve a good skin tone, which is especially important when working with portraits. There are two pieces to white balance. The first is making sure your monitor is calibrated correctly. If your monitor hasn’t been profiled, you might have quite the shock when viewing your work on your phone or when your work is printed! The second part is using the White Balance Selector tool in the Basic Panel of the Develop Module. Click on the tool or hit the ‘W’ keyboard shortcut and hover over an area of the portrait that should be neutral in color. Try to avoid a BRIGHT white or black area because there is a possibility the color is saturated and might give a false reading. The White Balance Selector will do a great job at automatically adjusting the color temperature and tint, which gives you a nice base to continue to edit from.
Check out my YouTube video on White Balance here.
Tip 2 - Check out the Highlights and Shadows
Take a look at your histogram. Your histogram will show you the distribution of brightness values so that you can spot loss of detail in the highlights or shadows. If your slider is peaking near the left (shadows), then you’ll want to brighten up your image. If the slider is peaking near the right (highlights) you’ll want to bring in some more shadows. You want your photo to end up pretty equal throughout unless you’re going for a super dark, shadowy look or a really bright and airy look.
Tip 3 - Crop
Cropping your portrait is a great way to remove any distracting pieces of background so you can focus on your subject. Your composition for a portrait really matters because you want your subject to stand out and be the main focus. When you look at your image, eliminate any background that doesn’t support your subject or that pulls focus.
Tip 4 - Look at the Skin
This tip is totally optional! Some people don’t like to use the spot removal tool for blemishes to keep a real and raw look to their image. Others like to go for some skin smoothing to even out skin tone and to help keep an image looking clean and polished. Whatever you decide to do, do it with class. You want your subject to know it is them! If your subject has defining features, don’t spot remove them away accidentally! Use any Spot Removal or Adjustment Brush selectively and wisely.
Check out my YouTube video on skin tone here.
Tip 5 - Make the Eyes pop!
Eyes are always a gorgeous feature to make pop in a photo. Making the eyes of your subject pop can be a fun way to add some wow-factor to your portraits-- especially with boudoir when your subject is working that ‘smize’. With your Adjustment Brush selected, select the Iris Enhance option. This Lightroom preset makes a slight increase in exposure, increases the clarity and boosts the saturation to enhance the patterns and colors in the iris. All you’ll need to do is brush the iris to add the effect! Be sure to check the Amount slider when you’ve finished and either back off or increase it until the eyes look improved, finding the balance between natural and obviously edited.
These 5 tips for editing your portraits in Lightroom will make your portraits wow whoever sees them. It’s often these simple, basic things we already do that we skim over without realizing how important they are. Next time you edit a portrait, approach it with fresh eyes and enjoy the process of all the small tweaks that can make a big difference.