By Lea Hartman on | No Comments
We all love that perfect one click edit. You know the one. It’s already perfectly exposed, perfectly composed and one simple click on your preset of choice transforms it into your vision. Ah, it’s lovely when that happens. But if we’re being honest, it’s rare.
Sometimes, an image needs a bit more control than you can offer it using only a creative preset. You apply one, hoping for the one-click wonder but find using that preset actually makes your editing process longer because of the many tweaks you need to make in order for it to work. (HINT: If you have to adjust a preset drastically in order to achieve your vision and make your image shine, it’s probably not the best preset for that particular image). Applying your presets should give you some sort of immediate feedback regarding whether it’s a good fit.
So, what do you do when isn't a good fit for your image? Well, you can continue to click through your go-to presets, be they from one of your Pretty Presets collections or one of your own making. You’ll likely come up with a good fit eventually. Or, you can skip the creative preset all together and use the tools that offer you the most control - Lightroom Brushes.
I want to show you how easy it is to get a classic clean edit using only the brush tool. I’ve used all Pretty Presets Perfect Portrait Brushes but you can build your own brushes if you have the time and don’t already own this set.
Let’s start with my SOOC (straight out of camera) jpeg image. It’s overexposed and a little washed out.
Next, I used the same brush settings (size: 100, flow: 100) and applied one click of Add Clarity followed by Fix Casts Red on his face at a lower opacity. For more control, I like to use the lower flow and brush on multiple layers if needed.
Now that I’ve made some broader, all over adjustments, it’s time to get a bit more detailed. I used the Eyes Sharpen Brush on his eyes and the Hair Add Contrast brush on his hair, eyebrows and his five o’clock shadow.
I wanted to darken the background a bit and doing so in a controlled way is actually very easy. Using a graduated filter or a radial filter would darken the foreground as well as the background, requiring me to go and select the erase tool to remove the effect from his shirt. But by again using the Add Darkness brush the highest flow as well as selecting “Auto Mask,” I’m able to apply the brush to only the areas of the image that I want to be affected. (HINT: Hitting “O” while in the brush tool will turn on the colored overlay so that you can see exactly where your brush is being applied).
At this point, the brush editing is done but I did go in and use the healing tool to remove a few blemishes as well. Here is a before and after screenshot. I hope this demonstrates how much more control you can implement into your editing workflow when you put the brush tool to work for you.
Looking for Lightroom Brushes (the same brushes I used for this edit) to make your clean edits easy and fun? You can find Pretty Preset's incredibly useful Lightroom Portrait Brushes right here.
P.S. - If you prefer to edit in Photoshop, check out our fabulous Portrait Action and Brush Workflow Collection for Photoshop that's out of this world and will take your editing to whole new level.
Do you have any questions or comments about clean editing in Lightroom or Lightroom Brushes? 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)!
Lea is a self taught natural light photographer currently based out of North Carolina. Happily married for 14 years, she and her lover boy are raising three crazy kids wherever the army sends them. She's addicted to coffee, jamberry and her dog, Huxley.