How to Edit Photos of People in Lightroom

Motherhood · April 1, 2016

Editing photographs of people can be tricky – this easy step by step guide for how to edit photos of people in lightroom will help you make your photos bright and beautiful!

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

I love lightroom for so many reasons- but one of them is the absolute ease that you can take photographs and make them truly brilliant.

Photographs of people can be a bit tricky- moving subjects can get blurry, they might need cropping, and they can lack the bright, sparkly eyes and vibrant colors you see in person.

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This guide will help you quickly and easily edit gorgeous portraits in lightroom!

Photography started out as a small hobby for me- but has quickly turned into my full time obsession. If you want to know more about how I got started taking dynamic, beautiful images- be sure to check out this beginners guide to gorgeous photos on Sweet C’s today.

Ok. First, let’s start with your photograph.

I’m going to chose a picture I took the other day of my daughter playing in the snow to show how I really make photos pop!

She’s a beauty, and it’s a pretty good picture, but I really wanted the colors and her cute face to shine more.

Here’s the before:

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

(there’s a slight watermark here)

We’ll start by cropping the photo- I don’t need to crop this shot much, but it is super easy to change photo sizes or straighten photos in Lightroom.

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

To crop in lightroom, you can easily move the crop rectangle to any shape you like- but I prefer to stick to standard sizing. I click the little “lock” icon to keep the photograph’s original size- otherwise when you drag the tool around, it can move and distort.

To rotate a photo, hover over the edge of the photo and drag it left or right until it’s the orientation you’d like.

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

Next, we need to brighten the photo and make her skin look a little less flat. I shoot with a Canon in RAW, which does save a huge amount of data so that photos are easily editable- but straight out of the camera it does not have proper contrast or color saturation, so I always adjust these.

Since each photograph is slightly different, I wrote out a quick list of actions I go through:

Adjust the exposure. Ask yourself if the image is too bright or too dark. (Almost always increase a bit)
Adjust the contrast. This will always be an increase- but might be a lot or a little.
Adjust the shadows. With people, this will almost always be an increase, to soften shadows on faces.
Increase Clarity, Saturation, and Vibrance a bit.
-See if decreasing highlights or blacks helps a bit- this is very different for every photo.

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

Next, we’re going to fine tune our results.

-Ask yourself if the photo lacks crispness. Is the photo a bit soft looking? Increase sharpness.
-Ask yourself if there are areas of the photo that look grainy. Increase noise reduction to eliminate that.

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

Pro tips:

-Pay attention to skin tones! Editing for bright photos can quickly make your tones a bit pale- and if you are naturally super pale (like me), or have darker skin tones, you might end up “whitewashing” your features- which isn’t at all our goal. Keep the person’s natural skin colors in mind.

-For paler or darker skin colors, you might find you need to go towards either blue or yellow in white balance, depending on the other colors in the photo. I almost always add a slight touch of reds when editing photos of friends with African-American skin tones, and I will almost always add a little orange or yellow to photos for people with very pale skin like mine. To have complete control over the colors in your photo, head to the color menu (it will have HSL/Color/Luminance as the headline). From there, select “hue” and then “saturation”. Slowly add a little bit more reds and oranges, and see how that looks. You can fiddle with any color there to find the best color profile! This sounds like a lot of work, and you likely won’t need to make these edits- but if you find your skin colors look a bit wonky (too yellow, red, gray, green, or blue) after editing, this is how you will regain control!

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

You should now have a gorgeous, bright, and colorful photo!

(there is a soft watermark just to protect my baby’s face from being used other places…)

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

Looking for a bit more advanced functions? Check out this tutorial on Sweet C’s where I am showing how to “airbrush” and use spot fixes for brighter eyes, to eliminate wrinkles, or get rid of acne!

How to edit gorgeous photos in Lightroom - simple tips and tricks to help you turn your photos from drab to fab!!

courtney copy

_________________________

Courtney, these simple tips can make a world of difference in pictures!!

Thank you so much for sharing these with us!

Head over to Courtney’s site, Sweet C’s Designs for more awesomeness! You won’t be sorry!

And for more photo tips, check out these other posts:

Fireworks and Sparklers Photography Tips on { lilluna.com } Great ideas to capture that perfect moment.

Fourth of July Photography Tips

Make gorgeous photos in adobe lightroom- this is the best for bloggers and photographers!

Adobe Lightroom Tips

How to do Photoshop Actions on { lilluna.com } Great tips!!

How to do Photoshop Actions

For all posts about photography, go HERE.

For all tips, go HERE.

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ENJOY!
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Comments

Linda

What a good tip about the pale skin. I’ll definitely give that a try. I think I need to upgrade to a proper camera too though.

    Lil' Luna

    Thanks!! The camera makes all the difference! It’s fun getting a new one:) Thanks for stopping by!

Mike Biblino

Nice tip Kristyn!

I;ve used Lightroom for a while know I don’t think i could manage editing wedding & portrits with out it.

Have you looked in to keyboard shortcuts? Use CTRL + / to bring up a list of shortcuts in lightroom

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