Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to achieve that coveted bright and airy look for your photos using Adobe Lightroom.
Whether you’re a seasoned photographer looking to refine your editing skills…
…or a beginner eager to infuse your images with an ethereal and dreamy quality, this step-by-step tutorial will take you through the entire process.
Watch the full video tutorial here:
How to Edit a Light and Airy Photo in Lightroom
1. Setting of Your Photo
Before diving into Lightroom, it’s essential to capture the right setting in-camera.
The mood and style of your image should align with the look you want to achieve.
For bright and airy photos, choose well-lit scenes with subjects displaying a cheerful demeanor.
Natural light, smiles, and neutral expressions set the stage for the editing process.
2. Tone Curve
Begin your editing journey by adjusting the tone curve.
Create a basic “S” curve by lifting the highlights and slightly darkening the shadows.
This softens the image and contributes to the dreamy quality.
3. Basic Adjustments
Fine-tune the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks in the Basic panel.
Increase exposure slightly to brighten the image, but maintain a soft contrast for that light and airy feel.
4. Clarity and Texture
Utilize the Clarity and Texture sliders in the Presence section.
To preserve the softness, reduce clarity and texture slightly, giving your photo a smoother, more ethereal appearance.
5. Vibrance and Saturation
Vibrance enhances muted colors without oversaturation, while saturation increases overall color intensity.
Adjust vibrance and saturation carefully, keeping the look natural and soft.
Bright and airy photos often benefit from a subtle boost in color.
6. Color Grading
Use the Color Grading panel to adjust the color balance.
Depending on your color scheme, create a harmonious palette that complements your image.
For bright and airy aesthetics, consider cooler tones like pastel blues and greens.
7. Filters, Effects, and Masking
Apply filters and effects to enhance specific areas of your photo.
Graduated filters can balance exposure, while radial filters draw attention to key elements.
Utilize the Dehaze slider for increased clarity in landscapes.
Masking allows you to selectively apply adjustments for a cohesive final result.
In conclusion, creating bright and airy photos in Lightroom is about harmonizing your editing choices with the initial setting and mood of your image.
Remember that subtlety and balance are key to achieving the desired ethereal and dreamy look.
With these ten steps, you’re well-equipped to breathe life into your photos and create stunning visuals that captivate your audience.
So, grab your camera and let your creativity soar as you embark on this exciting editing journey.
Nate Torres is a portrait photographer servicing the Orange County and Los Angeles areas. He specializes in portraits of individuals, couples, groups and headshots. Nate Torres is also a photography writer and content creator and educates other photographers on portrait photography, composition, editing, gear, and business. You can find his content on his personal website, social media, and YouTube Channel, as well as on blogs such as Fstoppers, Photofocus, and Imaginated. Being a former SEO consultant, Nate also teaches other photographers how to use SEO to grow their own photography business on his educational blog, Shutter SEO.