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Add Realistic Light Sources in Lightroom

Lightroom's intelligent presets make it easier than ever to add realistic light
lightroom light

Lightroom’s powerful AI powered editing tools have done wonders to increase the versatility of the software. These tools have made editing in Lightroom much faster and also given photographers more creative freedom in post-production. In a new video tutorial Glyn Davis shares his tips for using the AI powered tools to add realistic light sources into images. 

“If you want light in a portrait it’s always best to do it during the photoshoot,” Davis admits. “But what if you didn’t, or what if you want to add more light.” 

Thanks to the advanced tools in Lightroom if you messed up in-camera, you have much more leeway to fix it in post. Here’s how. 

Step #1: 

Davis starts by selecting a radial gradient mask which he drags over the portrait subject’s face. The red overlay shows where exactly the gradient will appear. 

Step #2

Next Davis adjusts the exposure of the gradient under the Tone slider. These adjustments create a fake light source on the portrait subject. 


Step #3

He moves the light source behind the girl by subtracting the subject from the mask selection. This will take the light off of her face and give the illusion that the portrait was shot with a hair light to separate her from the background. Because the selection was created using masks its easy to move the placement of the faux light around in the frame. 

Step #4

Davis creates a preset of the fake light-source so that he can replicate this effect on any picture using a single click. He does this by clicking Create Preset, names the preset and then before saving makes sure that only Masking is clicked in the options. Saving as a preset will speed up the process in the edit room substantially. It will even work on pictures that have more than one portrait subject. 

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