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Soft Light Baby Portrait Processing Lightroom Workflow

Soft Light Baby Portrait Processing Lightroom Workflow

All babies are adorable, at least to their own parents. If you're dealing with a face only a mama could love, the good news is that you can bring out as much cuteness as possible in your photos.

This tutorial will walk you through the steps I took to process a natural, soft light baby portrait in Lightroom.

Original Image

Here's our original image. Super cute, right?

We can make it even better with just a few tweaks in Lightroom. This should take us less than 5 minutes.

Step 1

For portraits like these, I like to increase the warmth so the skintones look a little friendlier.

I bumped up the Temp from 3600 to 3700, and increased the Tint from +6 to +8.

Step 2

Next, I brightened up the image by increasing the Exposure to +0.33.

I wanted to bring out the details in the face, so I increased the Clarity to +45. I almost always increase the Clarity as much as possible without creating areas that are too dark in my images.

Next, I brought back some of the darker details by increasing the Shadows to +75.

Lastly, I increased the overall image brightness and contrast by increasing the Whites slider to +30.

Step 3

In the Tone Curve panel, I increased the Highlights slider to +15. This brightens up the very brightest parts of the image while leaving the rest unaffected, giving the image a livelier look.

Step 4

I increased the Sharpening Amount to 50, then under Noise Reduction I set the Luminance slider to 35. This gives me nice sharp details and at the same time smooths the micro details like imperfections on the skin.

Step 5

Under the Effects panel, I set the Post-Crop Vignetting Amount to -15 with the Midpoint slider at 65. This adds a slight vignette to the image, bringing the focus directly to the face.

Step 6

One of my little secrets for portraits is to subtly enhance the eyes.

Use the Adjustment Brush and paint over the eyes. Set the Exposure to 0.33, the Clarity to 10, and the Saturation to 10.

This will add some vibrance to the eyes without looking fake.

Before and After

In just a few minutes we've turned a flat, dull image into something vibrant and engaging.

Final Image

There are a few dust spots and imperfections that show up at larger resolutions, but this image is at least web-ready.

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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