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Editing skin in Lightroom {blemishes, color correction and retouching}

What a great topic from Sandra in my Facebook discussion forum today! She was asking about how other photographers use Lightroom to edit their subject’s skin. This is a tutorial that shows how I use the adjustment brush and blemish tool to edit skin in Lightroom.

But what Sandra was asking about specifically was skin color. There are a few ways that photographers can approach this:

  • Use the white balance slider to cool down the overall color temperature of the image. This will alter the yellowy/orangeness of the skin.
  • In addition, if you have shot the image in RAW, you will have the ability to completely alter the WB setting with the drop-down WB selector. Shade/cloudy will warm the color temperature and tungsten/fluorescent will cool it.
  • Sometimes, I go down to the color adjustment area and dial down the yellows or oranges to adjust too-orange or too-yellow skin. You could also try the red slider if your subject has had too much sun.
  • The way you will have the most control is if you use the adjustment brush to paint on less saturation where you want it. Press ‘O’ while you’re using the brush to see where the brush is painting.

Once you’ve gotten the color sorted out, you can go to town on blemishes and retouching like in the tutorial I’ve linked for you above.

I’d love to know how y’all do it in Lightroom – let’s keep the discussion going below!

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  • http://profiles.google.com/chung.nguyen Chung Nguyen

    I like a more natural and real look. In the sample above, I would probably go in and clone/heal away the pimples near the model’s lips. I’d add a little bit of contrast to the image to make it pop but that’s about it.

  • Lois

    That’s a great tip — thanks! I use Apple Aperture, similar in function to Lightroom. If you ever have tidbits to offer for Aperture, please do.