How to edit newborn photos in Lightroom
One of the most precious, and at times challenging, portraits any photographer can take is newborn photography. You will need to a dose of patience but a larger dose of editing skills. Most photographers find that Lightroom will work perfectly for this type of photography. Its tools are ideally suited to making the necessary edits while saving time.
In most cases, the easiest part of a newborn photo session will be posing the baby for their picture. After all, newborns sleep a lot, and you can position them as you like for the picture. However, newborns also often arrive with minor skin imperfections typical in the days following birth. No worries! Lightroom’s tools make it relatively straightforward to end up with the flawless photo your clients (and you) want.
Here are some tips to help you along:
EXPOSURE & RAW:
We recommend you start with slightly overexposing your shot. Overexposure will brighten the baby’s skin to give it a more natural, glowing appearance. If you over expose the shot, you’ll be able to adjust it quickly during the editing process.
To set the exposure, open the Histogram page. Go to the exposure setting and play around with the Stop. You’ll likely need also to add a little Fill Light as well. Play around with both to achieve what you want.
We recommend shooting RAW because it helps maintain the color tones close to their natural tones making it easier for you during the editing process
Adjusting skin tones is par for the course, even with these newborns.The HSL sliders in Lightroom are essential. You have two options for making skin tone corrections: you can adjust each color individually, or you can use Lightroom’s Targeted Adjustment Tool to change element: saturation, luminance, and hue, and Luminance. Some photographers find prefer to adjust the White Balance to get a more accurate skin tone. However, if that doesn’t work, then use the Targeted Adjustment Tool. Move over the part of the skin on the image you’d like to correct. Click, hold, and adjust by moving the mouse vertically. You should see the sliders changing while you move the mouse.
It can sometimes be helpful to make the adjustment, then step away from the image for a while to have a better perspective on the color. Staring at the same picture, same spot, and colors can make it difficult or tricky sometimes to discern a difference!
To reduce or remove the redness so common in newborn skin, you can try the following:
- Adjust the hue using the mouse to change the red and orange.
- Move color sliders to the right to affect brightness.
- If you need to change the saturation, then lower the mouse to reduce saturation.
CONTRAST AND CLARITY:
While still on Histogram, you can adjust clarity or contrast of a photo. When it comes to newborn photography, these two can be critical in the overall feel and look of the picture to achieve the effect most people come to expect in a newborn photo because they lend themselves to an ethereal, softly focused look - especially in a curled-up, sleeping baby! These sliders can help you adjust and achieve that look in an image.
Two things to keep in mind. The contrast slider can sharpen the contrast to an image’s edges. The clarity slider, on the other hand, when adjusted down allows you to create more of that “creamy” factor which makes newborn images so dreamy! Finding the right balance is important if you want to create that soft focus effect typical with newborn pictures!
Some photographers prefer to adjust the contrast by using the Tone Curve tool instead because it allows for more precision during the adjustment. It can be a little trickier to do sometimes. So if you’re not achieving the results you want with the Tone Curve tool, we recommend you try the clarity and contrast tools. As always, use whichever is most comfortable for you - that’s the beauty of digital photography and the ease of Lightroom and other photo editing software programs!
LIGHTROOM PRESET FOR NEWBORN PHOTOS:
Once you arrive at a balanced look you love in Lightroom, you can use their fabulous Presets to save the look for future editing. The amount of time you save will be valuable! Once you have some practice using Lightroom for newborn photos, we recommend creating a set of various looks you like and saving them as Presets. On your next editing job, try them out. And of course, you can use our Newborn Collection for Lightroom and Photoshop, that we especially created for Newborn photography. It can simplify your time and editing hours.
Practice can make perfect images or close to perfect! Practice with Lightroom when you’re not under a time crunch or working on a client project. Take some pictures and play around with them in Lightroom. We recommend you use different looks and different images to broaden your experience. While it’s an invaluable tool for photographers, Lightroom can also be a lot of creative fun. Give it a go!
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