The skin of your subjects is one of the areas in any image that has a high chance of going wrong. As such, you need to be proficient with the special Lightroom tools at your disposal to address exactly these kinds of problems.
Here are some quick and easy fixes that will solve the majority of skin-related problems in a hurry.
Sometimes, bad-looking skin can be improved by simply toggling the brightness slider in Lightroom. A common problem is reddish skin; to fix this, just lighten the brightness to bring the skin tone to something closer to natural.
Image from Photo HowTo
Keep in mind that, when you do this, some of the image’s sharpness will decrease, so it is a balancing act. However, if the subject has noticeable wrinkles or too-large pores, then diminishing the sharpness as a side effect of increasing the brightness will only help touch up the skin!
Soften Skin Adjustment Brush
If you really want to edit out some unsightly skin imperfections in your subjects—maybe they have scars or frown lines—you’ll want to try the Soften Skin adjustment brush, designed specifically for this purpose. When you drag this brush over areas of your image, the clarity will decrease, allowing you to essentially hide noticeable skin imperfections.
Image from Digital Photo Buzz
A quick note: The brush’s default setting will raise sharpness in an image. You’ll want to manually change both the sharpness and clarity levels of the brush’s settings to get better results at hiding imperfections.
While there are preset brush settings, you’re always in control in Lightroom and can therefore change the default settings to less clarity and sharpness from the get go!
Color Noise Reduction
For this one, find your way to the “noise reduction” panel. There, you’ll see different sliders all aimed at the common goal of taking down the color noise that’s actually quite common when you’re shooting at a high ISO.
This technique is aimed at blurring pixels together slightly, which can help in subtly smoothing out the skin of the subject in your image. Proceed with caution, nonetheless.
Image from Wired
While it’s effective, know that reducing the color noise also will:
- Reduce the noise for the entire shot, thereby affecting everything including the skin and leading to less detail overall.
- Result in unattractive images if you do it to excess.
Of course, losing moderate amounts of detail overall is acceptable if you succeed in smoothing out the subject’s skin.
The Skin in Images
People never have perfect skin tone, and this becomes painfully obvious the more you take pictures of people. No fear, though—that’s where Lightroom comes to the rescue!
Although these three techniques are all solid approaches, ultimately, it’s up to you. Go gradually and easy with all of them, and see what you’re most comfortable with.