Creating White Porcelain Skin in Lightroom

Hi Gang: This is a technique I learned years ago from German Photoshop Guru Calvin Hollywood, and it’s a two-step process for changing your subject’s skin to a white porcelain look (you’ll see this look sometimes in high-end fashion photography). While I originally learned it in Photoshop, it works perfectly here in Lightroom, too!

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Above: Here’s our original image.

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STEP ONE: Go to the HSL / Color / B & W panel and in the HSL section, click on the Saturation tab up top, and drag the Orange slider all the way to the left to -100.

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STEP TWO: Now click on the Luminance tab and drag the Orange slider all the way to the right to +100 (as shown here) and the skin turns white (as seen here) to complete the effect.

NOTE: When you change those two settings, it works wonders on a lot of skin types, and you get the solid white look you see above, but it also affects other things with orange as part of their overall color. If you want that original color back, you should take the original image from Lightroom over to Photoshop as a Smart Object — as shown in the next step (this next part is totally optional).

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OPTIONAL STEP 3: If you need to keep the hair and other areas in their natural color, then you can optionally do this in Photoshop. Click on the original image in Lightroom, then go under Lightroom’s Photo Menu, under ‘Edit In…’ and choose ‘Open as Smart Object in Photoshop’ (as shown here).

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OPTIONAL STEP 4: Once the image open in Photoshop; go to the Layers panel and right-click directly on the layer’s thumbnail and from the pop-up menu that appears, choose ‘New Smart Object via Copy’ (as shown here). This makes a duplicate layer that is unlinked to the image on the Background layer (Smart Object layers are linked together by default, so without choosing that menu command first, changes you make to the duplicate layer would be applied to the original layer, too).

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OPTIONAL STEP 5: In Photoshop; click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s the third icon from the left); then get the brush tool; choose a small soft-edged brush; set Black as your foreground color, and paint over the areas you want want to return to their original color, as I have here where I painted over her hair (my cursor is on the hair in the left side).  Now, in this particular photo, I think it looks better without bringing back the original hair color, but of course, it just depends on the image.

Okey Dokey, hope you found that helpful. 🙂

I’m over in Iceland today, taking pictures and trying to stay warm. 🙂

Have a great Monday, and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday!

Best,

-Scott

Author: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Editor of "Lightroom magazine"; Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books. You can learn more about Scott at http://scottkelby.com

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5 Comments

  1. Very interesting Post, really helpful for creating porcelain in adobe lightroom

    Post a Reply
  2. I recognize this photo!
    From your “Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques For photographers using Photoshop” if I am not mistaken. Phew… that’s a long title Scot!

    I highly recommend this book guys. Simple and effective techniques. always gives me great results!

    Corconia.

    Post a Reply
  3. Why would any want to do this? I would love to see an example. Can someone post a website?

    Post a Reply
    • Google “model photos porcelain skin”

      You’ll find many photos which exhibit this general core look.

      Not my cup of tea, but then – I don’t drink tea either. 🙂

      Post a Reply

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