How to Edit Underexposed Natural Light Portraits on Lightroom and Photoshop

If you’re shooting a lot of natural light portraits, you might want to get some editing tips from this workflow tutorial if you like underexposing to retain details.

Whether you’re shooting more natural light portraits by choice or because of equipment constraints, it’s worth learning how to edit your photos from a variety of shooting conditions. Today, we’ve got a workflow video tutorial for you in case you often underexpose your photos to get more detail out of the scene or background.

In the detailed video tutorial below, Francisco Hernandez shows us how he edits his natural light portraits. This style leans more on the colorful and contrasty style (as opposed to the bright and airy style), so if that’s the look that you’re going for, then this is the right stuff for you. Here, you’ll learn how to edit your shot as a RAW file in Lightroom for the exposure and color adjustments, then export it as a JPEG file after in Photoshop to make the rest of the adjustments.

Before he begins, Hernandez also tells us that this workflow is not necessarily for producing the best quality for your image, but it works perfectly fine if you’re editing for social media. We also learn from the video description that he also purposely underexposed the shot to keep the background exposed properly. So, the point of this whole workflow is how to brighten up the subject to keep the scene balanced, clean up the image, and finalize it for social media posting.

It’s better to let you follow through his tutorial instead of us making an outline of steps here, but allow us to give you a heads up of what to expect. Since you’re essentially adjusting the exposure for the entire scene and make it look not only brighter but also more balanced, there will be a lot of steps involved here. you’ll learn how to make the colors pop, use layers to have better control of your adjustments, and do some dodging and burning.

Now, on to the tutorial:

Don’t forget to visit his YouTube channel for more photography tutorials from Francisco Hernandez.


Screenshot image by Francisco Hernandez