Lightroom Videos

Video – Before & After Family Photo

Here’s another one of those before and after videos for you folks. I know these are popular because they really show the workflow and the link between the two programs we tend to use most – Lightroom and Photoshop. I thought this particular photo made a great candidate because I was able to do some very neat things in Lightroom (more than a lot of people think is possible) but I also needed to move into Photoshop for some quick retouching. Hope you enjoy it. I’m actually taking the day off to spend with the family since they’re off from school, but have a great Veterans Day / Wednesday.

Click here to download the video to your computer. [Right-click and choose the “Save As” option]



  1. Mark 16 January, 2010 at 15:10 Reply

    The “before & after” videos are very helpful. I watch them again and again. I would love to see one (or six) for processing super high contrast situations – like people in snow. When I process those photos, it seems like there are some serious trade-offs to be made. I’d love to see your approach.

  2. Andy 1 December, 2009 at 16:31 Reply

    Nice run through, I liked the custom vignette trick.

    If you edit in photoshop, is it possible to carry over your lightroom action history to your new file? For example if I crop a picture in Lightroom then use edit in photoshop the new image created is permanently cropped and you can’t re-crop to the larger size.

    I love lightroom because I can always go back and tweak something a long way down the line. Using edit in photoshop seems to make a point where you can’t go back. Of course you still have the original you can go back to. Am I missing something or making a mountain out of a mole hill?

  3. mattk 17 November, 2009 at 16:01 Reply

    Tim – Interesting points. I find the Brightness slider to give a lot more realistic fill then exposure. I also found reducing the Exposure to darken the edges gives more of a “burned in” effect then the Brightness. More like the actual vignetting settings which is what I personally like.

    Ed – Yep, but nobody knows what dodging and burning is anymore. Its a Photoshop world now and while the art of dodge and burn hasn’t change, the terms are definitely gone.

    Sylvain – I try to do a lot in LR. I’m just not a huge fan of that Brush for detailed work and I can’t break my habit of going to Photoshop for it. I just feel like I get so much more control (when I need it). If I don’t have detailed work to do, then heck yeah! Keep it all in LR!


  4. Sylvain 14 November, 2009 at 12:01 Reply

    Great vignetting technique. But why not doing all the cloning and sharpening in Lightroom. As I am telling my students, why leaving Lightroom and creating another file when Lightroom can do it all non destructively. I am telling to my student that if Lightroom cannot do the job it is ok to use the big Lightroom plugin called Photoshop. ( Ok it is a joke ).

    Thank’s for you always interesting tips.

  5. ed 13 November, 2009 at 17:22 Reply


    Nice tutorial.

    This would have been considered “dodging & burning” if you were doing these corrections in a traditional darkroom.

  6. timofej 13 November, 2009 at 17:16 Reply

    I use the same technique for brighten up faces and vignetting but use the opposite tools – exposure for the faces and brightness for the vignetting.

    I think that the brightness tool distorts the colors which is fine with vignetting since it’s more like “lens correction” vignetting in the LR. But you don’t want the color distortion on peoples faces.

    Using exposure adjustment for vignetting causes dull gray cast on the photo more like “post cropping” vignetting in the LR.

    What do you think Mats?

  7. GT 13 November, 2009 at 01:54 Reply

    David, same as me. I have seen it on videos and working with it. All, I can say is that MAC where build to do Design/Art/Video Editing… stuff, according to my experience. I work in both platform and the sad story is that my I-Mac of 2002 beats my 2009 PC as far as working with Adobe Product, isn’t that sad! The ultimate that I have witness was last year when I had one of my animation student rendered the same project at the same time and he was running the Vista on is MAC! Performance, PC took over 4 hours and the MAC took 1:15 hours!! Since then, I’m saving money to jump over in the MAC world!!

  8. David Arkin 13 November, 2009 at 00:49 Reply

    I would love to hear a discussion about the differences between a PC and MAC. I notice the speed within the programs (better with a MAC) but especially the smoothness and speed in going from one program to another. I almost always notice that on the learning videos, the instructor is using a MAC. There must be a reason for this. I wonder if this is the operating software or the processor/memory, or a combination of both.

    Either way, the videos are wonderful and thanks for all of the work..david

  9. Sonesta 12 November, 2009 at 14:45 Reply

    Matt…awesome tutorial! Love the manual vignette. I was in need of this recently and I’m sure I will use it often since I take a lot of off-set photos. Love the cloning idea…I understand too that you probably would have done more with the pumpkin (i.e. color matching, etc.) but for the sake of video time that wasn’t possible. I would echo others’ comments though in the fact that it would be great to see a video dedicated to cloning. I do currently use the face brightening with the brush very often…love that feature! I’m with you also on preferring sharpening in PS. Maybe LR3’s sharpening will be better. I love your before & after videos too. Great way to see the whole workflow and the combo of LR & PS. Love it!

  10. Antonio 12 November, 2009 at 13:47 Reply

    Hi Matt, thank you for the video..
    Why you don’t writhe a book or ebook or a dvd with the workflow in LR an CS4 like this tutorial?

    There are many book of LR and CS4, but no many who mix the two software.


  11. AJ 12 November, 2009 at 11:48 Reply

    Loved the Adjustment Brush tip. Many thanks.

    Slightly off-topic but do always use a laptop Matt? Do you also use a desktop or do you connect the laptop to an external screen? Sorry if this has been asked and answered before. Sometimes miss these things at my doddering time of life.


  12. KC 12 November, 2009 at 10:37 Reply

    Ditto on the gray pumpkin!

    I would guess that working with a higher resolution file and playing with the blending mode might help with that?

  13. James 12 November, 2009 at 09:32 Reply

    Hi Matt, Great Video, love the selective sharping and custom vignette, excellent.

    Second Jacks call for a video to deal with excessive highlights caused by flash, such as a shiny forehead.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. Quentin Fennessy 12 November, 2009 at 09:03 Reply

    Very helpful video, Matt. I appreciate that you oversharpened for the video so we could see the difference. The pumpkin+free transfer trick is very handy also. Perhaps my favorite suggestion is the local sharpening for denim and jewelry. I’ve not thought of that before.

  15. Jase 12 November, 2009 at 06:32 Reply

    Nice vid Matt – I love these as you really get to see what all the little changes add up to in the end – without going over the top.

    Oh and that “personal vignette” tip – that ROCKS – I’m definitely going to try that one out ASAP

  16. Daniel Austin Hoherd 12 November, 2009 at 02:01 Reply

    I’m with Jeff and Jack, awesome vid except the pumpkin greyness, which could easily be fixed. Very cool to see somebody else’s workflow. I dig the brushing vignette, which we used to call burning and dodging. 😉

  17. GT 11 November, 2009 at 23:54 Reply

    Nicely done Matt and very cool way of doing the skin tone for her, especially the Hulk look! I will start to use that feature more now.

    But, it amaze me how fast Mac works with LR compare to PC. Next purchase, most definitely a Mac!

  18. Doug 11 November, 2009 at 19:35 Reply

    Fantastic … I was familiar with the techniques but when you put them together the way that you do, I am amazed. I learned a lot from this tutorial and I hope to see more like it. This is what I need.

  19. Jack Booth 11 November, 2009 at 17:55 Reply


    These before-after videos are my favorites. I’m with Jeff, though, on the gray on the pumpkin. Maybe a future video could deal with restoring flashed-out areas to a reasonable level, which often is needed for snapshots using flash where a shiny forehead results. Keep it up.

  20. Paul 11 November, 2009 at 16:39 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the great video. I’m a big fan of your before & after videos.

    I noticed that you used the brush tool and the brightness control to brighten the face. What is the difference between using the exposure slider or the brightness slider to brighten something?

  21. Judith 11 November, 2009 at 15:54 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Julieanne Kost did a video on the brush tool in LR2 where she shows that you can sharpen the eyes etc. really nice with this brush tool and using the clarity slider. Maybe a good tip for your blog readers!

  22. BH 11 November, 2009 at 15:08 Reply

    Great tutorial. I’m sure that those who are fairly new to LR and PS will find a start-to-finish session like this invaluable.

  23. Jeff 11 November, 2009 at 14:13 Reply

    Overall a great tutorial. I’m not 100% with you on the pumpkin though. It looked a bit gray when you lowered the opacity of that layer. Maybe you could locally increase hue & saturation to compensate?

    I really like the technique of making your own vignette mask though. I’ll definitely use that one! Thanks!

  24. Kim Skinner 11 November, 2009 at 13:49 Reply

    Very helpful video! Thank you.
    I love Lightroom and use it almost exclusively, but just picked up CS4 and am excited to learn what I can do there. Thanks for the tips about moving back and forth!

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