Some of you are curious about using Lightroom for editing babies and newborns. If you are a mom, well, I am on a quest to convince every mom that you NEED Lightroom! If you are a “pro” photographer, you probably know that Photoshop is standard for the fine-tuning of skin that you need to do on babies.
But, I’m here to tell you that there are some rules and tips you can use to edit babies in Lightroom. For an example, I decided to dig up a photo of my daughter from her baby years, when I was a regular mom, taking DSLR photos on Auto, and NOT a pro photog. Here is a fun photo that I took and, well, at the time, it was pretty good. I probably just lightened it up in PSE (what I had then for editing) at the time. But for this post I decided to show you the original, unedited photo here. So happy that I learned how to work my DSLR!
First, of course, I made a few basic adjustments over the entire photo with Exposure, White Balance and Contrast. But the fine tuning is what is needed, so here is what I did and what you can do for most of your baby editing!
First the rules:
Rule #1 NEVER sharpen baby skin. Don’t do it. Ever. (Never). This is one of those things I will make you write 100 times on a chalk board if you disobey me…”I will never sharpen baby skin.”
Rule #2 NEVER sharpen baby skin. So yeah, it is that important.
I’ve seen some crunchy baby skin…just sayin’. If you are sharpening the entire photo in the Detail section of the Develop Module, then you are sharpening baby skin. So make sure your slider is down to zero!
My biggest tip, and really is completely essential, is to use the Adjustment Brush. Over and over and over. See this example where it shows I have used 6 different adjustments.
#1 – Skin Adjustment – For the first brush, I painted on all her skin…making sure to make my brush smaller to get into smaller places. Then I slid the Clarity slider down to -100. Why? Not only should you NOT sharpen the skin. You should actually soften it. And this is how…less clarity.
#2 – Blanket Adjustment – I painted on the blanket, and slid the Clarity to +100, and the Shadows to -100. I probably could have bumped up the Contrast too, but I forgot.
#3, #4, #5 – I made three adjustments for the eyes/mouth. First, I paint the eyes and lids, and the mouth and nostrils. Bump the Sharpness to +100. Next I painted the eyeballs and bumped the Sharpness again and brought up the clarity and bumped up the Exposure to whiten the whites. Last I painted just the iris and adjusted the Clarity, Sharpness, and also lightened the Shadows a smidge.
Use the Adjustment Brush. It is your friend with skin and selective sharpening!
Next, I want to show you a little trick I learned at the Pro Photo Expo from Julieanne Kost (Adobe guru) that totally ROCKED my Lightroom world! (Disclaimer: this is only for LR4). It is called the Target Adjustment Tool. It resides in the panel called HSL/Color/B&W in the Develop Module. So choose the HSL and then you will see a tiny little “target” in the top left corner. This is your friend! Get excited because I am about to change your life! There are two ways to use this tool. First, you can choose Saturation, and then click on the Target. Go to your image and click and drag up or down in a part of your photo to change the saturation of the color you are clicking on. Click/hold/drag. SO…this is great for taking the redness out of skin. I just clicked on her red cheek and dragged it down a bit. For skin, it is usually affecting both the red and orange colors, and you will see those colors’ sliders change below as you drag.
Next, switch from Saturation to Luminance. I usually use this to brighten skin. Now, just click on where you want to brighten the skin, and drag up. So click/hold/drag.
And, here is my edited baby! Creamy skin, bright eyes, redness in the skin gone, but she still looks natural. And didn’t you love how I got a shot of that spit up! Ha!
Before and After: