How do professional photographers retouch their photos using Photoshop and Lightroom? How did they learn to retouch and edit, especially in portraits and landscapes?

Free Lightroom brushes for portraits

Photoshop Clone StampBefore Lightroom existed, I used Photoshops clone stamp tool to remove dust spots from scanned film.

You select the tool, click an area similar to the affected place thats dust-free, and stamp it over the spot.

,Lightroom De-SpottingLightrooms de-spotting tool is even easier to use.

You paint over the spot or hair, and the program picks what it thinks is the best coverup to remove it.

You can adjust the size of the brush.

If you dont like the coverup choice the program made, you can move it or make it directly yourself.

,Heal Or Clone?You can also choose whether to straight up clone, or to just copy the brightness of the coverup over the spot - to heal it.

Healing can work well to reduce the glaring effect of lens flares.

,Editing PortraitsIn portraits, I try to get it right in the camera.

Well-placed strobes on stands in a mobile setup, or smart use of light and flash at events usually give me usable results.

The only tweaks I make are to clarity (mid-band contrast, adjustment in Lightroom) or full contrast.

Ill sometimes need to adjust white balance to make flesh tones look right with event shots, but thats usually it.

,Enhancing LandscapesIn landscapes, I adjust contrast and use graduated filters to compensate for the cameras lack of contrast range.

I may also adjust saturation and vibrance in Lightroom to enhance whats there, especially if my eyes saw better color than the camera captured.

,How did I learn?A photographer friend showed me how to de-spot in Photshop 3, more years ago than I like to think about.

After that, it was mostly trial and error.

,Lightroom Is Easier - And FasterI jumped on Lightroom right away when it first appeared.

Its tools are easier to use and work for 99% of what I shoot, so I rarely get into Photoshop anymore - unless I really need to use layers, or Im doing some client-requested enhancement (mole / wrinkle removal, skin softening) or heavy graphic design.

,Lightrooms Sync Settings is a huge timesaver.

I edit contrast and color, then de-spot a first shot I really like.

Then I look for other shots with similar light and exposure from the same session.

I select those, and sync settings with the first shot.

That gets me 90% edited.

,Get It Right In The Camera FirstRemember - even after you polish a turd, its still a turd.

Youre best off getting it right in the camera first, and that comes from shooting a lot.

Best free Lightroom Brushes

Digital art encompasses a very broad range of activities, anything from graphic design, to 3d graphics, to illustration.

Thatu2019s why I can give you a recommendation on each of these.

,Raster / Digital painting / SketchingKrita - a very powerful and versatile digital painting and sketching software.

Has a lot of the advantages of Photoshop, Corel Painter and others.

It has a very powerful brush engine, which however is somewhat overwhelming at first.

It also has a couple of unique features, that work well for designers, comic book artists and similar.

Namely - symmetry sketching, Smooth brush strokes (excellent for linework), and very versatile selection modes.

Iu2019ve used it for more than 5 years now, and I would never go back to Photoshop for digital painting.

Iu2019m using it as my primary digital sketching tool for logo design and illustration too.

You can see some demos on my logo and brand design Youtube channel (audio in Bulgarian).

,Raster / Photo editing / RetouchngDarktable - Very powerful alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

Excellent for photo development and retouching.

You are easily able to edit JPEG or RAW photos and turn them into professional images.

Only downside is that there are just too many tools and options for a beginner to choose from.

And unfortunately not enough tutorials online.

,GIMP - While very powerful and popular, I find it too complicated and clunky to use.

My experience however is very modest, so you can test for yourself.

,Vector / Graphic designInkscape - Excellent vector editor with very precise and easy to use vector drawing tools.

Color work, and other aspects feel a bit unpolished.

Unfortunately no color profile support, which limits Inkscapeu2019s capabilities only to digital images, and not print.

I have used it on and off for logo design, and would have given it more chance if it were capable of CMYK and color profiles.

,3d graphics / 3d Visualisation / Game artBlender - Another heavy hitter, when it comes to digital art.

This has been my go to 3d graphics too for almost 9 years now.

Free and open-source, it easily competes with very expensive Autodesk alternatives.

And the numerous movie productions and indie games made with it are a clear evidence of how good Blender is.

Another plus is the vivid community.

A lot of information and tutorials to help you master it.

Best Lightroom Brush Presets

As you have likely seen here on Imaging Resource, Adobe made numerous big announcements today regarding its photography software.

The company announced Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC 2018.

Lightroom Brush Presets

As you have likely seen here on Imaging Resource, Adobe made numerous big announcements today regarding its photography software.

The company announced Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC 2018.

Free Lightroom Presets

I have downloaded several free presets.

I have not purchased any.

I use Lightroom almost daily.

With these points in mind, here are my thoughts.

I have seen offers of hundreds of presets for a reasonable price.

I think if I click on a preset I can look and decide if I like it, but gee, my list includes another 200 presets, do I have to click on each one and decide, and If I find one I like I may wish to modify it and after doing that maybe I should check out a few others and maybe modify them.

By the time I get to this point in my thinking Iu2019m ready to forget presets completely.

Here is what I have done.

I have created a u201cbasic presetu201d which drops the highlights, boosts the shadows, boosts whites, drops blacks, boosts clarity, and thatu2019s about it.

All of these adjustments are moderate and can be applied to any image and will usually improve (in my opinion) that image.

If I donu2019t like what it does I u201cCtrl zu201d and do it manually.

I have a modified Nikon D100 that shoots only infrared and Iu2019ve created a preset for a standard processing for those shots which gives me a good starting point.

I have also created a preset for basic noise reduction and lens correction which is automatically applied to all photos on import.

These can also be removed or modified of course, but seldom are.

My basic advice would be to download a few freebies and maybe a not too expensive collection and see if it seems worth it to you.

I use my few custom creations quite a bit but no downloaded presets at all.

How to use Lightroom brush presets

Lightroom is extremely easy, if you do not going into camera calibration part of business, they are extremely straightforward, and learning curve are not steep as other professional tool Adobe offers.

,There are lot of tutorial available on how to use Lightroom, and for the most of users, using ready made preset and adjust color temperature or fix minor imperfection with brush tool will be only things they will uses.

,For that, lot of youtube video are dedicated to that.

,But if you are willing to learn further, there are several books available that goes in depth than typical free online tutorial offers.

,For that, I would suggest to go to neighborhood bookstore to look thru what is being offer since each book are catering for slightly different audience group.

Lightroom brushes not showing up

Could you show an example of the results you are getting? That would help diagnose the issues and determine if the problem is lighting, exposure, or post-processing.

,Without that information, my best advice would be to set your camera to manual exposure.

Often the auto-exposure mode of a camera is making assumptions about your subject that may not be true for product photography.

Moreover, each shot may have a different exposure which then requires you to indivually u2018tuneu2019 each photo in post-processing.

,Then use a card like one of these ($10 for a package of two: DGK Color Tools DKK Color Calibration Chart Set),to adjust shutter speed, aperture (f-number), and ISO.

Use as low an ISO as possible while still getting acceptable shutter speed and depth of field.

In particular, be sure the white color swatch appears white in your image (not a muddy grey), and the black appears black.

,If your camera is not doing a reasonable job with the intermediate greys and colors, then adjust your camera settings until you get a decent result.

The minutes you spend here will save hours in post-processing.

u201cGetting it right in the camerau201d is a hallmark of good product photography.

,Once you have set your camera using the exposure card, continue in manual mode with same settings to shoot the subject of interest.

,If you do this, thereu2019s a good chance your images will require little or no exposure adjustment in lightroom.

But if they do, use the grey scale of the card to set the Lightroom white balance and exposure corrections, then use the Lightroom brush to apply the same settings to all images in your shoot without any further tuning.

,The key is using manual exposure which gives you consistent control over your images.

The consistency makes the post-processing step much faster and easier.

Lightroom local adjustment Presets

Unfortunately, you cannot apply a preset to a specific part of a photo in Lightroom.

Presets in Lightroom effect photos as a whole.

,However, if youre not happy with the skin tone after applying a preset to a photo, you can adjust the skin color and tone with the Local Adjustment tool(Brush tool).

Also, by adjusting the saturation, luminance and hue of orange you can achieve the desired skin color and tone.