TIP: Make any necessary exposure, WB adjustment, and heal/clone touch-ups prior to applying the Develop Preset. Preset effects display the best on properly exposed images. You can adjust these again, if needed, after applying the preset.
APPLY THE DEVELOP PRESET- For this image I applied the Vibrant Matte Preset from the Matte Collection.
TIP: Presets are fully adjustable and sometimes require some tweaking to suit an image . After applying a preset, make any adjustments needed to get the best overall look.
USE LIGHTROOM BRUSHES TO MAKE LOCAL ADJUSTMENTS– Here I used a variety of Lightroom Brushes from both the Brush Collection and the Matte Collection; Warming, Darkening, H&S, Skin Soften, Eye Sparkle, Eye Whites and Color Enhance.
TIP: When switching between Lightroom Brushes be sure to click ‘New’ before choosing the Brush Preset- otherwise your last painted on effect will switch to the new settings.
USE A RADIAL FILTER– In my opinion, this is the secret weapon of Lightroom and one of my most used tools. Here I added Radial Filter B from the Matte Collection and decreased the exposure setting to create a more dramatic effect.
TIP: Radial filters use the same same settings panel as Lightroom Brushes- this means you can use brush presets for radial filters too. I’ve found Radial Filters are the most effective way to add a controlled, cohesive vignette in Lightroom.
To learn more about the Radial Filter- Check out this tutorial!
LASTLY- Sharpen and prepare for print and web as needed.
One of my favorite and most used Lightroom Tools is the Radial Filter. I’ve found it to be the easiest and most efficient way to enhance the background of a portrait in Lightroom. For this reason, I prefer using a radial filter to create a vignette on a portrait over using the vignette setting in the effects panel. I’ve found using a Radial Filter provides a more cohesive effect and gives me more control of the settings and vignette placement.
The Radial Filter is located in Develop Module on the toolbar just below the Histogram. (or click Shift+M)
Click on the Radial Filter tool and place the cursor (+) in the approximate area of the photo that you would like to be the center of the Radial Filter. Click on the center and drag until you create the shape and size of the filter that suits your edit. Once the filter is in place, you can reshape and resize it as needed by grabbing the handles (white squares on circle) and moving them accordingly.
The Radial Filter uses the same effect sliders as Lightroom Brushes. This means you can use brush presets or create your own effects. The effects will automatically default to applying outside of the filter (there is an option to invert mask if you ever need to change this for another effect). For this image, I chose to use the Radial B preset from the Matte Collection. You can adjust the opacity of this effect by moving the amount slider. If you want to customize it a bit more, you can open up the effect sliders (black arrow) and adjust the individual settings as needed.
TIP: The Feather slider adjusts the fade of the filter. Keep this adjusted soft for a more cohesive filter application.
The Final Image after applying the Radial Filter.
Like you, my heart sings when I can one-click a preset and finish with a beautiful edit. Unfortunately, because there are many factors that contribute to how a preset effects the photo, this doesn’t always happen though. Factors such as; lighting, lights and shadows, shooting file format, camera type, white balance all play a role in the overall edit- even the colors that you are photographing contributes to the preset effect. So, although it would be amazing to have one click edits happen for every photo, often preset adjustments will need to be made.
For this tutorial, I’ll be sharing a quick fix to giving your photo a boost if the preset you applied happens to fall flat.
I took this photo of Olivia on an overcast-rainy day. As you can see, while the soft light was glorious for skin tones- it also came with very little contrast and depth.
I knew I wanted a clean edit so I decided to apply the OWP Lightroom Preset Brisk + the Finishing Preset Reduce Noise; both from the Rustic Collection. The effect of this preset was definitely a beautiful enhancement to the original but I felt it fell a bit flat and still lacking of depth.
To adjust the issue, I pulled up the strength of the contrast slider until I felt it was sufficient (being careful to make sure her skin didn’t grab to many highlights from the contrast increase). Then I moved to the Tone Curve Panel and adjusted the sliders (Highlights, Lights, Darks, Shadows). I played with the sliders until I was pleased with overall adjustment. I’ve included the curve panels of both the original curve and of the adjusted curve on the photos above. Tip: Turn on your blacks and highlights clipping arrows in the histogram to alert you when/if you’ve gone to far on these adjustments.
To finish, I decided to brighten the background colors. If you like more rich, muted tones then you could also leave it as is. To enhance the colors I used the Color Enhance brush from the OWP Brush Collection and painted onto the backround (and foreground bokeh). By using a brush instead of the panel slider, I was able to enhance the color without effecting her hair and skin tones.
These adjustments were quick and easy and made a wonderful difference in the edit. I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick Lightroom tutorial by One Willow Presets and have found it helpful to your workflow.
Happy Editing! -Jess
One Willow Presets for Lightroom are creatively designed to provide beautiful and effective photo enhancements. These Lightroom presets help streamline photo editing and provide a wide range of edits; some are subtle, some are simple and some are a bit more dramatic, but all are fully adjustable to suit your image and photography style.