In this Lightroom tutorial, we’ll walk through how I attack a series of commercial fashion images from a quick and low-budget shoot done in a basement. You’ll see how we can get great images and edit them beautifully even in tight spaces. I’ll cover the toning, exposure, and sharpening of the images as well as syncing the images so they all have the same settings as well as extending the white background, doing some skin retouching, dodging and burning, and more with the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom!
Looking Over the Images
When you import your images into Lightroom it’s always a good idea to start browsing through them and just take mental notes of things that need to be edited in every photo (i.e. sharpening, dehazing, contrast and color adjustments, etc…) I like to look for things that need to be edited that I can copy across all of my images from a single set. NOTE: This is particularly useful in something like this shoot I did for my buddy’s company, Henley Bond, where the lighting and background didn’t change throughout the entire day while we shot.
Making Exposure and Contrast Changes and Syncing Them
Adjust the Exposure and Contrast to kill off some of the light blowback into my camera lens (because we had the model and our lights a little too close to the white seamless drop because we were working in a confined basement space for the shoot and didn’t use enough flagging). I also added some boost to the highlights and whites to ensure the white background would be 100% white, also a little kick to the shadows and blacks to enrich them a little, also some sharpening, a profile lens correction, and some dehazing. I selected the rest of the images in this set and hit the “Sync” button below the Basic editing panel on the right side of my screen to sync the settings across my images.
Retouching Blemishes With Spot Removal
Grab the Spot Removal; Tool (Q) and zoom in on the clothing and simply click and drag to navigate around the image quickly as we attack these blemishes. I typically like to set the Spot Removal tool to the Heal option and remove spots, fuzzies, and blemishes from the suit and from the model’s skin. NOTE: I like to start making these edits after I have synced all the changes that I know each image will need. These are the edits that will need to be customized for each image and I can now attack each image individually to make the needed edits quickly.
Extending the White Background
Use the Adjustment Brush (K) and crank the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks all the way up and make sure “Auto Mask” is not ticked on and simply paint where the white background should be to quickly extend the white background and fill the frame. Double up the Adjustment Brush by hitting “K” twice and paint over areas that may need additional brightening to push that background to solid white. TIP: To paint away something like the line that passes through his head, zoom in on the photo to make the brush size smaller and have a finer control over painting up against his hair.
Polishing the Shoes the Dodging and Burning with the Adjustment Brush
For accessories in a photo like this such as the shoes and the watch (i.e. elements that are purely supporting elements and not the focal point or object that is being sold in the photo) I like to go and boost the contrast and clarity when it is a shiny object like the polished shoes and watch. Grab the Adjustment Brush and punch up the contrast a little and add 15-30 clarity (this is an amount that is up to you and your taste) and carefully paint over elements to which you wish to add some midtone punch.
Watch the full video at the top of this article to see exactly how I did what I do and my thought process in doing all that as well.