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



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In this tutorial I’ll be sharing the step-by-step process for how to edit natural light portraits in Lightroom to achieve a light and airy look to the photos.

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▷ ALSO WATCH – Part 1: ‘How to Shoot Natural Light Portraits’, with shooting tips and techniques for creating a clean, light, bright and airy look that’s popular with portrait and wedding photography.

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Music Credit:
Retro by Hurley Mover:

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 I'm curled up right now with Bella in my lap and a hot cup tea and 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 totally obliterates all the detail there even when shooting with raw like I do but it keeps those shadow details really nicely so you can pull them out in the image and as you'll see here there's just in that background when it's lifted these really creamy tones and this nice soft rollout 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 crisp enos to it versus this really soft almost filmic look the key to this is shooting out a little bit of a lower ISO those other images I believe where is of 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 and Mabel profile Corrections to take off that lens vignette that happens and this is actually something I've 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 going to drop it for you guys below in case you want to play with it with your images but for today's tutorial I want to 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 and it's a little bit of a balance between the two we're gonna go bring down that tint just so that they're 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 cuz they can do a lot of control you have your shadows here your mids your highlights and we're gonna drag right up from those mid-tones to give a nice luminescent look and then I'll usually drop a few points on my curve just to have those adjustment controls I'm just really fine to micro 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 like a nice pretty color in the blacks I'm gonna lift just a little bit more in those lower mids and this is starting to look pretty good I'm gonna come down into the hue sat I'll usually bring up the luminance of the oranges just a bit to give that nice luminance look you don't want to bring it up too much because you she'll start to look a little ghostly but just a little to lift that and then I'll come into the saturation of those oranges and bring 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 now it's starting to look really nice so from there we can start fine-tuning and making it exactly how we want I'm going to 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 I just put it a little bit 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 I'm 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 like details like around the nose the lips the eyelashes we don't want to get rid of the detail of her face we just want to 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 I said it's actually super super subtle for those adjustments 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'm gonna come into 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 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 and yet 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 all 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 too to kind of do that quick glance check if you wanted to you could come in exposure and feedback 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 make it 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

45 thoughts on “EDITING Natural Light Portraits in Lightroom | Light and Airy Photography Tutorial

  1. Brilliant. As a video guy myself branching into photography, this kind of detail and breakdown of Lightroom is really fantastic. The final turned out really beautiful too. Subbed.

  2. Thank you for making a video that isn't so reliant on presets! I had a few photos with a light look to them already and wanted to make them even better. Your tutorial did exactly that! Definitely subscribed and will be checking out more of your content! 🙂

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