Lightroom Presets – Sharpening for Portrait Photos


A few weeks ago I posted some landscape and outdoor sharpening presets for Lightroom. This time around I have some presets that tend to work best for portraits. The main difference is the masking feature. With landscape and outdoor photos we typically want to sharpen everything. With portraits, we usually want to sharpen the details (eyes, lips, hair, etc…) but keep the sharpening away from the skin so it doesn’t get that textured look to it.

You’ll see 3 different versions here – Light, Medium, and Strong. Also, you’ll need to make sure that you zoom in to 100% for them to work (otherwise you won’t see any change). One more thing… keep in mind that portrait presets need a really sharp portrait to work best (mostly the eyes). With landscapes I find you get a little more flexibility to sharpen your photos. But with portraits if the eyes aren’t already sharp, no amount of sharpening is going to save it. In fact, most of the result in a portrait preset are really going to be seen on the eyes so make sure that’s the first place you check.

Here’s a quick Before/After

Hope you enjoy. Have a good one!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for offering free presets. I were wondering if they are supposed to use with RAW files only?

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  2. Matt,

    Is there any way to have presets folders “nested” in LR4? I have many folders of your presets and want to store them in a folder called “Matt’s Presets Folder”.

    So far I’ve not come up with a way to do this. Can it be done?

    Thanks,
    Dave

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  3. I cant make it work. The result is ugly already with Light preset. I get artefacts and it seems so do you. Just look at the boy’s eyebrows and the whites of the eyes!

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  4. Matt,

    Is this specific to Caucasian skin tone? I tried it on an Indian skin tone and it creates speckles on the skin.

    Thanks,

    Uday

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  5. I have a question is this only a free trial and how long can I use the free trial for until I have to pay. Thank you

    Post a Reply

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