Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images

Lesson 18/24 - Lightroom® Post Processing For Family


Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images


Lesson Info

Lightroom® Post Processing For Family

The last thing I think I'll do in Lightroom is to show you what it looks like to edit a family. Everything I've done here, you're just gonna multiply it times six. (laughs) So, family portrait retouching can take a lot of work, effort, and time. And I won't go through all the steps, but at least, you'll see the general work flow. We'll go here cause we got everybody smiling. Nice. You can already tell I'm gonna do a little bit of crop here on this side, I'll crop it in on that side, crop it in a little in the top. A lot of times, it's better to shoot loose for the initial photo and then crop it in later. So many times, I take shots and my photographic brain goes to, you know, fill the frame, fill the frame, fill the frame. That's what we're taught all the time, if your photos aren't good enough, you're not close enough, right? That was the Robert Capa famous line. So, I'm always thinking closer, closer, closer, but with portraiture, a lot of times, I'm wishing I had different aspect ra...

tios I could crop to and so I, in fact, as I'm looking here, I'm realizing I chopped off all of their hands at the wrists. And I would like to have the option to have their wrists in the photo and their hands in the photo, so, especially with the newer cameras, you can actually crop really loose, or shoot the photo really loose and then still crop in and have a lot of pixels to work with. You know, a lot of the newer cameras are 40 megapixels, megapixels, that's a lot of pixels. So, let's start working on this image. I'm gonna go to my develop pane, that's right here. And, first thing I'll do is I'll go to crop, that's the crop tool. Or the letter 'R'. And you can crop to the same aspect ratio, or, you can actually pick a new aspect ratio. I'm feeling like 8 x 10 might work well for this, so let's crop to that aspect ratio. And it actually works pretty good, but there is too much on the top of their heads. So, I'm gonna go back to my original crop ratio of 2 x and bring it down to about there. Alright, good enough. Now, I'm gonna go check exposure on the face. So, I hover that around and you can see on their faces, my RGB values are fairly low. Now, they have a little bit darker skin complexion than Avery does, the young boy we just Photoshopped or Lightroomed. (laughs) So they won't be up in the 60 and 70 range, probably, they'll probably be more like between 50 and 60. How do I do that? I just, overall, go to my basic panel and increase the exposure until their faces are about where I want them. And that's really what I'm looking at initially. Overall exposure, adjusting to the face brightness. Bring my mouse onto the face and, quite often, Mom's face matters most. Kay, so I'm checking there, and maybe go a little bit brighter. Plus one. And that number there, on the right side, means plus one stop. And check the girls. Looking good. Alright, that's the starting point. Next global change I wanna check is clarity. Maybe add a tiny bit of clarity. One the reasons I do that, this is a little philosophical reason, comment, when you take photos with your camera and they come into Lightroom, Lightroom almost always gives it a flat profile. So, flat, in terms of contrast, and flat, in terms of color intensity and saturation, you can change that, you can change the profile that it comes into Lightroom, but most of the time, your images end up looking kind of washed out and drab. So, adding a little bit of clarity and adding a little bit of vibrance helps your photos. It's different for a landscape photo, you know, it's different than for a flower, but, so for people, I typically give a little bit of clarity and just a tiny bit of vibrance. To counteract that initial profile. Yep, that's looking pretty good. So, I've done my crop, I've done my exposure, overall, I've done my clarity and my vibrance, and now it's time to go into the regional settings. One of the reasons I love using these backdrops is they just look good right from the get go. I don't have to do a lot of work on that beautiful backdrop. I don't have to make it brighter or darker, I'm really pleased with what it looks like right now. I might end up doing a little bit of vignette on it, but, for now, we'll call that good. I'm gonna go into each of the faces, look at their faces, I'm looking for imperfections, so she has a little bit right there on her chin. I'll go to the letter 'Q' and do my spot healing tool, click there, click there. Go to the next one over, look at her face, looking at necks as well. She has a freckle, freckles are okay. Acne isn't. Our fun kid for the morning, I was gonna say, challenge, but it's never a challenge, it's just always exciting to see what happens, so here we go, he has a little bit of a dark spot on his forehead, I'll click that. Come over here, look at her shoulder, her face, I'm moving pretty quickly here, you guys kind of know what to do. Looking at Dad, he's looking good, his hair looks good, no imperfections, Mom looking, oh, looks like a little red spot there on her cheek. Okay, we'll call that excellent right now. And then the next thing I need to do is, do I need to do any skin softening? A lot of times, you do skin softening, I didn't show it on the other portraits. The kids, almost never need skin softening. The dads, nah, most dads don't want soft, kind of smooth looking skin. But moms, yeah, a lot of time with moms, they're like take everything wrinkle off my entire body, make me look like a fashion model. And I'm not gonna go over the top here, but I am gonna do a little bit of skin smoothing on Mom, just to show you what that looks like. I'll drop this down so you get a little more surface area. And the way that I do that is, I go to the brush tool. And then I go to my presets again. And then choose soften skin. And that first initial soften skin setting takes clarity down to minus 100. You're not gonna like the look of that, I guarantee it, it's gonna look fake. But, just to show you what that looks like, let me do it. It just looks almost porcelain-ey, if that's even a word. Like a porcelain doll. And I think you'll agree with me here, it just looks a little bit too fake to go to minus 100 on the skin softening. A lot of times I go down to the neck, as well. So, rather than minus 100 on clarity, I'll go to something like minus 40 or 50. And then sharpness brings back a little of the pore detail, a little bit of detail in the pores and the hair follicles, all that. So, isn't that weird, you go minus on the clarity to kind of smooth the skin out, and then a little bit higher on the sharpness to get some detail back in the face. Alright, we'll call that good. I keep saying that, we'll call that good. But, we will call that good. Let's look at before and after. Shift + tab. 'LL' for lights out. Step away from the screen. And this approach that I do, I do this in my office all the time, when I'm working on my photos, you know, you're always up against your screen like this. And then I get done and I'm like, okay, step back, just step way back and look at it as a big photo from a distance away. Then, you can see, globally, are there any issues? The photo on the left was straight out of the camera. You can see it's kind of flat. The photo on the right has lots of vibrance, the colors are there, Mom looks good, we got smiles and, Vander, I'm so excited. The next thing I would probably do on that photo would be to go to each of their eyes and do the eye fix, but, I'm not gonna take the time to do that, because you already kind of know what that looks like, so.

Class Description

When capturing images of families and children, you preserve memories for generations. Learning how to use flash opens up so many options, as you now longer have to be constrained by weather or location. Photographer Mike Hagen will help you incorporate flash into this genre of photography to create family heirloom images that also capture a moment in time.

In this class, Mike teaches you how to:

  • Create looks that wouldn’t be possible in natural light
  • Use your flash to freeze action
  • Use reflectors, modifiers and other lighting equipment to enhance your flash

Learn to harness the power of flash photography to make their memories last a lifetime. Give clients those special images by using flash photography to preserve their special moments.


Jayne Fletcher

Amazing class! Lots of information


Love the natural way Mike has to explain and to work on the studio. Plenty of tips and clear knowledge transfer for me that I manage quite well natural light but that I still mess with the on-camera flash.

Robert Spencer

The class seems great, but my connection - even at 20MB still give me 20 seconds and then butts out for a minute :(