Smoothing Skin in Lightroom
If you are new to Lightroom brushes, once the brushes are installed, to access them, just click on the brush icon below the histogram, then click where the second arrow is pointing to in the image below. It may say "Exposure," or "Contrast," etc. Click there and the brush menu list will drop down. Move your mouse down the list to see all the brush names and click on Skin Smooth when you see it.
Before you smooth skin, you should first make sure to brighten your subject, if needed. If the skin is underexposed then blemishes, wrinkles, etc. will be much more noticeable. Exposure can be easily fixed with the Add Light brush.
On to smoothing the skin. Select the Skin Smooth brush and select your flow. This brush is fairly strong, so the smoothing effect may be too much if your subject is young, so you can reduce the flow a bit.
Tip: You do NOT want the skin to be over-smooth because then they can look like plastic and that is not a good thing.
For those who don't know, flow is how much of the brush effect that you see with each stroke (i.e. when you click and move the mouse over an area). When the flow is reduced, the full strength of the brush does not show through. So, if you have a brush with a strong effect, you can reduce the flow so that not as much of the effect is applied to your image.
Now start brushing over the skin on your photo. A pin will be anchored down wherever you start brushing. Make sure you use a brush size that suits the job. That means make the brush large enough to cover the area quickly. You can make your brush bigger or smaller with the bracket [ ] keys on your keyboard, or by using the scroll wheel on your mouse.
Once you start a new pin click "done" at the bottom of the image, the pin will turn all white. If you wish to go back to that pin/change and want to alter something, just click the pin. When it goes back to black and white, it will be active again.
You may or may not see a red color on the area you brush over. This is your "mask," and it's only there to show you where you already brushed. If it's distracting to you, it can be turned off at the bottom of the image (there's an arrow pointing to it in the image above).
If you brush an area you did not mean to brush over, you don't need to delete and start over. Just change your brush to the Erase brush and then brush over that particular area.
Once you're finished editing with the brushes, click Done in the bottom right corner, below the image. You can continue on with your editing or export the image if you're finished.
Smoothing skin is an easy change to make, thanks to the Pretty Presets Lightroom Portrait Brushes. Below is a short video showing how to do the steps explained above, along with a few tips for using brushes.
Smoothing Skin, Sharpening Eyes and Whitening Teeth Video Tutorial
Want More Help Editing Portraits?
If you missed our previous three portrait editing tutorials check them out now! They build on the basic but necessary and important things you need to know when editing portraits and using brushes in Lightroom:
- How to Brighten and Make Eyes Pop in Lightroom
- Whitening Teeth in Lightroom
- Adding Light to Shadowed Eyes in Lightroom
If you would like additional training for our Lightroom Portrait Brushes we have a fantastic, in-depth Lightroom Portrait Brush Training Video you can watch right here.
Do you have any questions or comments about Smoothing Skin in Lightroom? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And please share our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!