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LightRoom processing with kids photos?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by HaViet, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. HaViet

    HaViet Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    Hi, trying to learn LR and most of my photos are kids.

    Could you name a few things that you typically do with children photos?

    So far, I only do WB, exposure, black/white level, and lens correction. If you have to do 3-5 things in LR5 with children photos, what would they be?

  2. Toddster

    Toddster Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2013
    Todd Cleaver
    When I shoot people candid, as most kids pictures are, I often find shadows in the faces that could use a little work. I'll generally use an adjustment brush on the face and bring up the exposure a little. I often find that adjusting shadows rather than exposure is a better solution, sometimes a little of both. In the same adjustment mask I may also drop sharpness a little and ether add or remove a little clarity. Be careful though, if you overdo it you wind up with an natural looking glow on the face, a little goes a long way.

    The great thing about Lightroom is that the non-destructive work flow lets you play until your heart is content and undo anything that you don't like. Have some fun and experiment to find out what works for you.

  3. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    As Todd said, local adjustments to the face are the next biggest priority. His suggestions are excellent.

    One minor tweak to try though, and this one is counter intuitive, decreasing clarity and increasing sharpness actually works well for reducing skin blemishes. I wouldn't have thought to try that but LR includes a "soften skin" preset for local adjustments and that's exactly what it does. However, as Todd says a little goes a long way so you'll want to dial down the maximum settings on "soften skin" if you use it.

    Also besides the face often adding a vignette or giving more control using the circular gradient adjustment layers can add focus to people in the photo. Usually increasing brightness and contrast where you want the eye to focus through any number of means helps draw the eye (exposure, shadows, contrast, clarity are all potential controls).

    Last - or really I should say first - kids move a lot and so frequently your in camera composition is not optimal. A judicious crop in LR - eliminating distractions at frame edges, reframing to get face or eyes to a more balanced place in the frame, expanding or eliminating open space, emphasizing and eye line - all these things can improve a photo quite a bit.
  4. YantaYo

    YantaYo Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    Use Vibrancy instead of saturation - unless you want to give people a sunburn look.
  5. HaViet

    HaViet Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    Thanks guys, very helpful tips.

    Most times, I try to just give it a proper exposure/wb. Also a bit of contrast and sharpness.

    I tried not to play too much with brushes or skin tones, as I often end up with a somewhat unnatural image. Perhaps my skills are just terrible, but I also don't want to overdo a photo.
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