How to highlight your portrait using radial filter in Adobe Lightroom


Sometimes photographers want to highlight their subject (mostly in portrait photography). Using Dodge/Burn it can easily be done in Adobe Photoshop. But in Adobe Lightroom there has no such tool to highlight your subject in the photo. Today I am going to give a lesson on how to highlight the subject using Adobe Lightroom. I am going to use the “Radial filter” to highlight my subject of my portrait.

Here is the preview of the image “Before and after” effect.



At first open the photo in Adobe Lightroom. To open it in Adobe Lightroom simply drag the photo with right clicking and release it in Adobe Lightroom working field.


Now click on “Import” to import the photo in Adobe Lightroom. Now the photo is showed in the “Library”. Simple adjustments can be done by “Quick Adjustment”. But I don’t use this field. I prefer advance adjustment of my photos by using “Develop” menu. To develop the photo click “Develop” on top.



This is the important part in Adobe Lightroom. If you want to use any preset then first you need to know the presets action and change your photo according to it. The photo is a bit warm. So go to the “Basic” settings and adjust the color and exposure.


I give some contrast on the photo to give some highlight. Don’t forget to keep the triangles checked on the left and right of the histogram. They will alert you if the photo is over exposed or underexposed. I reduced the black to have a good contrast look.  Now I add some “clarity” (increase the mid-tone) on the photo. But using clarity may reduce the color a little. Add some “Vibrance. If vibrance is too high then the saturation should be kept little low to make perfect saturation.


Tone curve is very important to adjust the color of a photo. Most of the adjustment can be done by using the tone curve. Go to the “Tone curve” and click on the “Point curve”. Now you can see the RGB in a straight line. Sliding the curve in downward will increase the contrast and setting it upward will increase the highlight. Now all we need to do is taking the lower point of the curve to upward to give a fade look. And change the “RED”, “GREEN” and “BLUE” individually to have the right color tone.




Split toning is also a very important feature of Adobe LIghtroom. Color tone on photos can be done easily by changing the Hue and saturation of a photo. So you can get a good result by changing the toning according to the photo you are processing. For this picture I choose “Blue” for the highlighted areas and “green” for the dark areas.



Click on the Radial filter icon underneath the Histogram (the keyboard shortcut for it is “Shift+M”). The Radial filter panel opens up beneath, revealing the sliders that you can adjust. Hold the left mouse button down and drag the mouse across the image to place the Radial filter. In this example I held the mouse button down while I dragged to create a wide Radial Filter. There is a lot of space between the lines making up the filter, indicating that it will create a smooth graduation. If you let go of the mouse button early, you create a narrow Radial Filter that gives a harder graduation. Drag the circle to position the Radial Filter where you need it.



Before that I want to make some lens correction. Go to the “Lens correction” option and checked the “Enable profile correction” and select a lens profile. For this photo I have selected “canon EF 15mm 2.8”. It gives a very good result. To make the vintage effect, go to the “Effect” and slide the amount of the highlight property to the left.



Now to save the photo, go to the “File” option and select “Export”. A dialogue box will appear showing the saving directory and the format you want to save. Select “JPEG” as the file format and add the location where you want to save it. Then click “Export”.


So you see how easy to highlight the subject of a photo using Radial filter In Adobe lightroom.



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