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Cold Rainy Day Portrait Lightroom and Photoshop Editing Workflow

Cold Rainy Day Portrait Lightroom and Photoshop Editing Workflow

Watch This Video Tutorial

Photographers love when mother nature presents the perfect light for taking pictures. We often assume that means in the early morning and evening, but sometimes it can be right in front of us and we don't even know it, like at noon on a cloudy day.

This tutorial will walk you through the steps I took to process a rainy day portrait, making it match the feeling of the cold and windy weather at the time.

Original Image

Adults love to stay clean and warm inside during bad weather. Kids want to do the opposite, which can make for some fun photos.

Here's the original image we'll be working from. It's a cute picture, but we can make it better.

Step 1

Since this image was shot with auto white balance, it appears warmer than how it actually felt.

To make it better match the cold and rainy weather, I took the Temperature down to 5250.

Step 2

Next, I want to bring down the brightness of the cloudy sky a bit, so I changed the Highlights to -40.

I also increased the Shadows to +70 to bring back some details in the darkest parts of the image.

Step 3

After decreasing the Highlights and increasing the Shadows, sometimes the image becomes a bit flat due to lack of contrast.

To re-introduce some contrast, and give the image a sharper look, I increased the Clarity to +35.

Step 4

To brighten the image and add even more contrast, I increased the Whites to +55. This brightens only the lightest parts of the photo, while leaving the mid/dark tones alone.

Step 5

Lastly, to focus the attention on the kids, I gave the photo a vignette within the Effects panel by taking the Amount down to -25, and changing the Midpoint to 70 so it only effects the outermost edges of the photo.

Step 6

The signs in the background are pretty distracting, so we'll remove them in Photoshop. Since the Spot Healing Brush tool was upgraded long ago to use Content-Aware for its fill type, this kind of editing is dead simple.

Open the image in Photoshop and create a new blank layer.

Select the Spot Healing Brush tool (J) and make sure Content-Aware is chosen, and that Sample All Layers is checked in the top toolbar.

With the blank layer selected, simply paint over the stop sign first, then the orange sign, and finally, the orange sign reflection.

I find that breaking this up into multiple brush strokes, I get the best outcome.

Before and After

You could take things further by adding some blue to the shadows using the Split Toning panel to give it an extra cold look, but I like the balance between the skin tones and cold background as-is.

Final Image

Click the image below to view it at full size.

What do you think? Were you able to apply some of these tips to your own images? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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