Adobe Lightroom seems to get more and more useful every year. The most recent updates have made this a formidable piece of software. It used to be that I did a few small global adjustments in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and then headed straight for Photoshop to do the majority of the retouching work.
These days, I feel that there is less demand for perfection in terms of skin and more demand for a realistic look. At least in the work that I’m doing here in Europe anyway. Less is definitely more. Of course, I will absolutely go in and dodge and burn to my heart’s content if the image needs it. However, as this excellent video by Anthony Morganti shows, the masks are now so powerful in Lightroom that you can do much of your editing without ever having to open up Photoshop. Let’s take a closer look.
We’ve had the select subject mask for a while now in Lightroom, but it’s become even more powerful. It will now determine how many people there are in an image, and you can make adjustments on any number or combination of them.
Similarly, once you select the subject, you can then pick from a menu of different AI-created masks ranging between facial skin, body skin, eyes, mouth, teeth, or hair. And they are extremely accurate. If they aren’t, then you can make further adjustments to the mask.
And don’t forget the mask intersect tool, which lets you apply parameters of one mask, for example, the gradient tool over another mask, say the face or sky, for example.
I’d always believed that Lightroom wasn’t great for retouching portraits. However, that seems to be changing. Of course, if you’re shooting beauty or anything that needs a lot of detailed work, then Photoshop will still be your go-to software. However, for many of my shoots, this will do the job perfectly well, and the workflow and the start-to-finish process will be that much quicker for it.
What do you use to edit and retouch your portraits? Will you continue to use Photoshop now that Lightroom is so powerful?