This week we invited Arden Prucha, a natural light photographer from Ft. Worth, to share her photo editing workflow with you in our “Before & After” tutorial series. Follow along step-by-step as she demonstrates how to edit a photo in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Precious Baby “E”
Camera: Canon 5D MarkIII
Lens: 100mm 2.8 (L) Macro IS
ISO 500, SS 1/125s, F/2.8
To begin, import into Lightroom 4. I use LR4 to create a very clean and crisp edit. My favorite things about Lightroom are being able to adjust exposure, white balance, contrast, fix skin tones and add noise reduction smoothing!
First, I want to adjust the white balance. Dragging the Temp slider to the left cools the photo a bit. And I drag the Tint slider also to the left to bring down some of the magenta due to the baby’s pink skin.
My “secret weapon” for fixing skin are the color sliders! The Luminance bar can lighten and darken the colors. Everyone’s skin tones usually have one or more of: red, orange, pink, purple.
Reduce the grain to get a nice, smooth photo by dragging the luminance slider slightly to the right.
Now it’s time to bring the photo into Photoshop (My version is CS6). [To bring your photo from Lightroom into Photoshop, click the Photo tab, choose “Edit in,” and select “Photoshop” from the drop-down menu.] Once the photo opens in Photoshop, I always duplicate the layer of the image. [Ctrl+J or Cmd+J] This way if I have done a poor job when cloning and using content aware tool, I can just delete the layer, rather than worrying about the history brush.
I select the Clone Stamp tool. [To use the clone tool: while holding down the ALT key, click on the area of clear skin you want to duplicate. Then click the area you want to cover.]
For this photo, I want to remove some blemishes, flakes of skin and red patches.
I have also cloned out the wrinkles of the blanket on the left side, the thread by her bonnet, and the open holes in the blanket. To merge the layers, click Cmd(or Ctrl)+Alt+E. Or select “Merge Down” from the Layers drop-down menu.
Now it’s time to paint a little color on the blanket. Click on the foreground swatch to bring up the color picker tool.
Then choose a soft brush and adjust your opacity. (I moved the slider down to about 67%.)
(You can ALWAYS “fade” your last step… another one of my “secret weapons” in editing! Should you brush on a color balance or contrast boost, but it’s just too much… FADE it until it looks perfect! [Select “Fade” from the Edit tab and adjust the opacity in the little window that pops up.]
A lot of photographers use “curves” for contrast, but I really like levels. The mid tones are better, in my opinion! From the Layers tab, choose “Adjustments,” then “Levels” from the drop-down menu.
Fade those levels so they aren’t so bright. [You can also do this by reducing the opacity in your layers palette.]
Next, I run a couple of actions to tweak the color and to smooth my photo. (These are actions I have created utilizing Michelle Kane’s “heARTy bundle” and TRA’s “Revenge” set.)
Finally, I crop and save.
A local and destination natural light portrait and wedding photographer located in Fort Worth, Texas, Arden Prucha specializes in photographing people who LOVE color, laughing, posing, chatting and loving. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest for more photography inspiration.
Now it’s your turn!
Join us in our free Photography Community tomorrow for Fix-it Friday. At that time you will be able to download a high-res version of Arden’s beautiful photo, edit it in your own style, and share your results with the other members in our forum. Not a member of our I Heart Faces Community? Be sure to join today!
Don’t Miss Our Ultimate Newborn Photography Guide. An amazing FREE resource for all photographers!