Contrary to what a lot of editors like to do in the first pass, I do all of my main adjustments in Lightroom, applying proper exposure and correcting hue/saturation/luminance to my desired look. Shooting and editing in RAW makes any kind of color correction much easier to do with less damage to your original image. Just make sure to keep your standard sharpening settings at their default; this will allow you to maintain detail throughout your editing. Sharpening always happens last! The image on the left is what my work looks like prior to any correction, while the right has all of the corrections made in my First Correction Pass. Let’s move on to the second pass.
This is where things get real. I get out of Adobe Lightroom and move on to Adobe Photoshop. Adobe makes this very simple by right clicking on your image and clicking “Edit In” then selecting your version of Photoshop. This is where I make sure that I get rid of stray hairs, skin blemishes, and do dodging & burning to ensure that the light is falling exactly as I envisioned on my model.
If you’re doing this, you’re going to want to create a New Layer and title it “Blemish Removal.” From there you’re going to take your healing brush, set it to 0% Hardness, “Aligned” and Sample Layers “Current and Below” so that you sample from your original image, not your empty layer. Use your Alt or Option Key on Mac and click the area next to what you want to remove. That’s it, just start painting away all of the hairs and skin blemishes. Use the Bracket keys on your keyboard “[ ]” to make your brush larger and smaller different sized blemishes. If you’re shooting on a solid background, I find that that Cloning Brush works better to remove stray hairs that are against the backdrop. Use the same Alt/Option+Click technique to sample an area next to the area that you’d like to fix.
Once you have finished that step, create a new layer and title it “Dodging & Burning.” Set this layer to the “Soft Light” blending mode. Press the “B” key on your keyboard to bring up the regular brush tool. Set your brush palette to Black & White (primary and secondary palettes) and change the opacity of your brush to around 5-8% depending on how much you want to lighten or darken your image. Once again, ensure that your Brush Hardness is set to 0% to get a nice, even blend. If your primary palette color is white, it will lighten your image and vice versa (black will darken). You can start to brush in your adjustments. Ensure to accentuate jaw lines using burning, and accentuate cheeks using dodging (white brush). You can easily switch between burning and dodging by using the “X” key.
Another thing I like to do is ensure that there is very little shine and blown out highlights on my subject’s face. The simplest solution that I have found to getting rid of shiny patches on faces is simply by using your regular brush tool. Go ahead and create a new layer. Title this layer “Skin Highlight Fix.” You need to select your brush tool by pressing “B” on your keyboard. Adjust your brush settings to 0% Hardness, Opacity to ~5%, and change the Brush Mode to “Darken.” Here is where it gets really easy! Just press the Alt or Option Key on Mac and click next to the area that is blown out. This uses the eye dropper to select the primary color of your brush. All you need to do from here is slowly start clicking over the shiny part of your subjects face and voila, your subject’s skin will look smooth and not shiny!
From here, if you’re working hand in hand with Adobe Lightroom, all you need to do is press Ctrl+S to save and all of your changes that you made in Photoshop will show up in Lightroom!
I’ll try to do some actual video tutorials in the future. I hope this helps anyone who is interested.
Final Before & After
Other Before & Afters