How to Edit Newborns in Lightroom
Newborns photos are some of the sweetest images you will ever capture. They are beautiful and precious and all things wonderful.
However there are many potential trouble areas. Newborn photos can often show babies with red, splotchy, and/or jaundiced skin, red or purple hands and feet, and other issues.
Images of newborns almost always need some help in post-processing. This post will show you how to use presets and brushes to remedy the most common problems in newborn images.
Our favorite go-to Lightroom presets and brushes for newborns are from the Bella Baby Complete Newborn Preset Collection.
If you are simply going for a "clean edit", start with the global presets first (presets on the left side of the Develop module, in the Presets panel). Again, we will be using presets from the Bella Baby Newborn Preset Collection.
Let's start with this SOOC (straight out of camera) image:
Step 1: Choose a Global Preset
For this image, I chose the Pat-a-Cake preset, one of the all-in-one presets from the Bella Baby Newborn Preset Collection. The all-in-one presets will affect the entire image.
Step 2: Adjust White Balance (If Needed)
If the image needs a white balance adjustment, this is the time to do that. You can use the eye dropper in the Basic Panel to correct any white balance issues. This image has a pretty good white balance straight out of the camera. I added a bit of warmth.
Here's the image with the Pat-a-Cake preset added and a small white balance adjustment. Its looking great already!!
Step 3: Enable Lens Corrections
This often overlooked step has the potential to completely change your image - especially if you are looking for a clean, bright edit. For this image, I noticed that the lens I used (my Nikon 50mm f.1,4 lens) left a vignette on the edge. It is very noticeable because of the light tones of the background.
To enable lens corrections, move down to the Lens Corrections panel. Check the "Enable Profile Corrections" box. If your lens doesn't show up, you can highlight "Manual" at the top of the Lens Corrections panel and make some adjustments manually to correct any type of vignette you might see.
Step 4: Add Bella Baby Workflow Presets
The Bella Baby Newborn Presets Collection comes with a several workflow presets that can be layered on top of the all-in-one presets in order to customize the preset to your image. This particular image needs a bit more exposure and a decrease in color and contrast - which is very typical for newborn baby pictures.
For this image I added the following workflow preset:
- Bella Baby Workflow | Tone Rose Petal
Step 4: Use Bella Baby Adjustment Brushes
One of the reasons this collection is PERFECT for editing newborns is that it includes some amazing Lightroom brushes created specifically for fixing newborn issues. I use these Lightroom brushes ALL THE TIME to help fix baby skin coloring (jaundice, red skin, etc.) and smooth their skin.
For this image I used the following brushes:
- Baby Bella | Kiss Away the Red (over the skin)
- Baby Bella | Add Detail (over the eyes and hair)
- Baby Bella | Smooth as a Baby's Bottom (over skin areas)
Step 5: Clone or Heal
Baby images almost always need some major cloning on the skin. The Spot Removal Tool is perfect for editing baby skin. Between dry skin and other skin imperfections, there is almost no way to avoid it. This image is a rare newborn photo that didn't need much cloning. I just did a small bit of cloning on the blanket.
This entire edit took only 3 minutes! And the Baby Bella newborn presets and brushes really make editing babies super quick and simple and your images will come out looking fantastic!
Here is the Final Before and After Image:
Remember that all presets may need a bit of adjusting. They are not one-size-fits-all; they cannot magically be what EVERY image exactly needs. You may need to increase or decrease the settings a bit to fit your own image.
Do you have any questions or comments about Editing Newborns 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!