Step by step bright And beautiful
See how a few simple changes can bring your photos back from the brink
01 adjust the exposure
Import the image into Lightroom’s Develop module. In the Basic panel, up the Exposure to +2.30 and Contrast to +21. We also took the Shadows and Blacks to +15 and +75 respectively. Drag the Highlights and Whites slider down to around -70 each. Each image will differ, so use your creative judgement and the histogram to decide how far to adjust the values.
02 correct distortion
In the Lens Correction drop-down tab, and from the Basic tab, tick Enable Profile Correction and Remove Chromatic Aberration. Lightroom will automatically match the profile of the lens that the shot was taken on. Next, head to the Manual tab. Set the Lens Vignetting Amount to +11 and the Midpoint to 50. This will subtly brighten up the corners of the image.
03 reduce noise
Noise is introduced when you boost the exposure on an underexposed image. Use the Luminance slider (found on the Details panel), and adjust this image by moving the slider to +47. You can also use the Detail slider. We took this up to +24. Zoom in to the image as you make these changes – too much noise reduction can create an unnatural and ‘plastic’ result.
04 Sharpen it up
The final step is to add a little image sharpening, to counteract the smoothing that comes from the noise reduction. Sharpening can also be found in the Detail panel. Set the Amount to around +70, Radius to 1.0 and Detail to 25. When you zoom in the image will look very grainy, but the result should nevertheless be acceptable when the portrait is viewed from a distance.