Many times when you are processing portraits in Lightroom or Photoshop you are working towards a soft, pleasing look. However, with some portraits you may be after a more dramatic and intense look. In this tutorial we’ll take a quick look at how you can create an intense portrait in Lightroom, and we’ll also showcase some before and after images to show how the effect can impact photos.
For this tutorial we’ll be working with this sample photo:
And here is a quick preview of the effect that we will be creating:
To get started, we’ll apply the following settings in Lightroom’s Develop module:
- exposure: +0.36
- contrast: +65
- highlights: -65
- shadows: +45
- whites: -60
- blacks: -60
The settings to highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks will give the photo and HDR-like appearance with a strong black point for deep blacks. We’ve also significantly boosted contrast and increased the exposure a little bit to avoid letting the photo get too dark with the changes that we are making. Adjust the exposure as needed for the particular photo that you are working with.
Next, make the following changes to the settings:
- clarity: +100
- vibrance: +60
- desaturation: -60
Increasing clarity to the maximum at +100 will add mid-tone contrast and give the photo a sharpened look.
Next, edit the following settings for sharpness:
- amount: 120
- radius: 2.2
- detail: 60
- masking: 0
And use these settings for noise reduction:
- luminance: 30
- detail: 50
- contrast: 25
- color: 30
- detail: 50
- smoothness: 15
Adjust the sharpening and noise reduction settings as needed for the specific photo that you are working with.
And the last step we’ll take is to add a vignette with the following settings for post-crop vignetting:
- amount: -20
- midpoint: 50
- roundness: 0
- feather: 50
- highlights: 0
And now we have our finished product.
Here are a few other before and after images with the same settings in Lightroom.
With this new set of Lightroom presets you can easily transform ordinary photos into powerful photos with a strong impact with a single click. The set includes 17 different one-click presets plus 40 stackable workflow presets inspired by the popular Dragan effect.
Found here: Dragan Style Lightroom Presets
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