This week we invited our good friends Stephanie and Tammy of Luminosity Photography & Design to share their photo editing workflow with you. Follow along step-by-step as they demonstrate how to acheive a clean and bright edit using Lightroom and Photoshop.
Our goal with each image is to be as clean and bright as possible. We love light! We can’t stress enough how important it is to find the right light before you shoot and you will be so pleased with your shots SOOC. However, we still like to do some simple final touches on our images to really make them pop! In this session we were visiting a campground and were heading outside for a mini shoot. Heavy rain came quickly forcing us to find a place inside. We were very limited but found a sitting area with a large window. It was actually a dingy and somewhat dark room so we pulled the chair as close as we could to the window and mom & dad hung a white sheet a few feet behind her.
The settings for this image are:
Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 50mm 1.2
Photo Editing Steps
We shoot in RAW so we always bring our images into Lightroom to start. Here we do basic tweaks as needed.
- Open the image in Lightroom.
- Crop if needed. In this case we needed a major crop! And what a difference it made!
- Adjust the White Balance if needed and Exposure and Contrast. (This image was a little on the bright side so we pulled the exposure back just a tad and bumped the contrast slightly.)
- Add Vibrance (This brings out the colors without really messing up the skin tones.)
Luminance tab. We most always bump up the reds to about 8 or 10 and the orange and yellow to about 6. (This just evens out the skin tones and really gives a more creamy look to them.)
Many times the camera will create a dark vignette around the image. Since we like our images to be bright and fresh we will usually remove this by adjusting the Lens Vignetting amount in Lightroom.
Once we are finished with the basic tweaks we will export the image as a PSD and open it in Photoshop.
Take care of any blemishes or spots that need to be removed by using the clone or patch tool. We use the patch tool almost every time on skin to remove small blemishes or scratches. In this case we only needed to remove the dark spot on the right of the sheet so we used the Clone tool.
- When making any adjustments we always create a new layer by either copying the background or creating an adjustment layer. So that we can preserve the original in case we need to start over. When finished the adjustment we flatten the layers to move on. Quick tip for copying the background: Just drag the “Background” layer down to the “Create a New Layer” tab
- Select the Clone Tool and set the brush to 100% opacity & 50% flow.
- Hold down the option key (Alt on a PC) and click on a clean spot of the image that you want to clone. Then click over the spot that needs to be fixed, a wrinkle in this case.
We like to use the burn tool to help bring out the eyes and sometimes the lips. We do this by lightly burning the dark lines around the iris and the eyelash line with a lower opacity brush. The size of brush depends on what you are burning.
- Duplicate the Layer and select burn tool set on Midtones
- Change the exposure for whatever you are burning (We usually do eyelash line at 20-30%, the iris outline at around 40%, and lips at 20-30% if needed.)
- Adjust the layer opacity if needed.
Create a little bit of a “pop” by using curves.
- Start with creating a Curves Adjustment layer to brighten slightly. Click on the line and drag slightly. [To create an adjustment layer, click on the black and white circle at the bottom of the layers palette and select your adjustment type from the pop-up menu. We selected "Curves" in this case.]
- Flatten the layers.
- Create another Curves Adjustment layer to make an “S” curve giving some contrast and pop. To create an “S” curve, click on the center dot to anchor it. Then click on the lower left and pull the line slightly to the right creating an “S” shape.
Sometimes at this point it is enough. However we like to finish off our images with a great action from the Michelle Kane- Creative Heart set called Bland to Brilliant. We run this at a low opacity of about 30-40%. This gives it a nice finish.
We will then do a very light sharpen with Unsharp Mask and we are done! For this image we set the Amount to 150% and the Radius to 0.2 pixels.
Black & White Conversion
Sometimes we like to have a Black & White of the same image so below are the simple steps to create one with a bit of a warm hue to it.
B&W Step 1:
- Create a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer (the same way we created the curves layer).
- Pull the Saturation all the way to the left.
B&W Step 2:
- Create a blank layer
- Select a color from the color pallete.
- Fill the empty layer with the Paint Bucket tool
- Select the solid color layer and make it an “Overlay” from the drop down menu.
B&W Step 3:
- Lower the opacity of the filled layer to your liking. We lower to about 15 or below.
- Flatten. [Select "Flatten Image" from the Layer drop-down tab.]
- Create another curves adjustment layer by clicking on the black and white circle at the bottom of your layers palette.
- Create a layer mask and then brush back any areas that are too dark with a soft round brush. [To create a layer mask, click on the grey rectangle with the white circle inside at the bottom of your layers palette.]
“After” Black & White Conversion
Stephanie & Tammy are sisters with a passion for God, life, family and photography. Their hope is to inspire others with all that inspires them and illuminates their lives. They have had the pleasure of owning Luminosity Photography & Design together for the past 4 years and just this year opened a brand new barn loft studio in their home state of Delaware! Follow them on Facebook or Pinterest.
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 Luminosity Photography and Design’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!
Would you like to be considered as an upcoming Featured Photographer in our “Before & After” photo editing series? Our schedule is filling up very quickly so please contact us ASAP. We only consider those who include samples of their current editing and writing style and links to their blog/website. We love to feature members of our community whenever possible!