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Simple Tips For Improving Baby Images with Newborn Brushes

How to correct blanket imprints and redness in Lightroom with newborn brushes

Recently I had the privilege of photographing my grand-nephew (I prefer saying it that way over "great-nephew" because it makes me feel too old), and editing the images were a synch with the help of the Pretty Workflow and the newborn brush collection. 

The image below had a problem I try to avoid - fabric imprint. Usually, those are a real pain to fix, and honestly sometimes impossible to fix (one time I showed up and the baby was in a waffle weave sleeper - those first images were abandoned because I couldn't get the weave out of the skin). Thankfully, with the use of the Newborn Lightroom brushes, I was able to get the problem minimized enough where it's not noticeable anymore.

As for the blanket not being wrapped correctly, I had to pick my battles. This was the first time in six months I have shot a single image (I had a serious accident in December) and the first time in 20 months since I had photographed a newborn. I was exhausted by this point and was really in zombie mode. 

If you think my nephew looks a bit old for newborn shots, he was. He was in the NICU for his first three weeks of life. These photos were taken five days after he got out of the NICU. Thankfully he was a great sleeper for me, but he liked to be stretched out (as you can see in this image).

My Edit Workflow

The first thing I did was go to the Lens Correction panel and turn on the 'Enable Profile Correction,' to get rid of the vignetting the lens caused. I also cloned a bare spot in the blanket. 

The next step was to balance the light on one side of the image with a graduated filter. Just recently I wrote about how much I love graduated filters for the natural way it applies directional light, and it was perfect for this image as well.

Brush Work

Once I had the lighting worked out, I opened up the brush menu and started working on those small, local areas that are perfect for Lightroom brushes. The second image below shows all the brush 'pins,' which are the little gray circles. They show where I started brushing with each newborn brush. The brushes I used were:
  • Baby Fix Reds - on any area that had redness to it, like the arms, hands, side of face
  • Baby Clarity - brushes on over the eyelashes and lips
  • Baby Smooth Skin - used this twice on the arms to smooth out the blanket indents, where he had been laying on his belly for previous shots

Image problems fixed with newborn Lightroom brushes

Lightroom brush pins showing where brushes were used on photo

Small, Realistic Changes are Best

I say this over and over, but I can't stress it enough - let your subjects be "real," meaning don't make them so perfect the edit isn't realistic anymore. The "after" image is much improved, without looking like it had major post-processing done to it. 

Comparison of baby picture before and after using newborn bushes

New to Using Brushes?

If you are new to Lightroom and you're unsure how to use brushes, below is a quick video of me editing this image. Also, we have MANY helpful tutorials on how to use brushes in Lightroom, as well as several recorded webinars dedicated solely to brushes, and using our custom Lightroom brush sets.

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