You can argue and argue in favor of new software, third-party developers, or even be categorically against it, there are those too. But the main programs for photo processing were and remain the time-tested Lightroom and Photoshop. Good working relationship. For my needs, I often open the first of them: this is my main tool. Work out the light, color palette and temperature of the image, bend the curves. I open Photoshop if I need to remove some extra element in a photo, to conjure over the skin structure in a portrait, or to cover up something. But if I can limit myself to Lightroom, I do it. It also has several non-obvious tools that solve these problems!
Here are some.
This tool has helped me many times. Even in those cases when it was not at all about smoothing the skin in the portrait. Soften skin is opened through the appropriate brush. In fact, this is a brush that smoothes, softens the sharpness, removes excess grain and excessive texture. The tool is configured automatically, but as always, you can move additional sliders on a case-by-case basis (perhaps if you need less contrast).
I often use it when I don’t need full portrait retouching. But that same ‘light touch’ or ‘extra gloss’ is needed. This makes the task much easier than running the image around the next circle through the FS. In the matter of retouching, the soften skin brush is much less functional than a full-fledged Photoshop study, however, it should also be used for simpler and uncomplicated cases.
It’s not just for the skin! For example, I used a brush to smooth out the background on one of the product shoots: the client’s background was textured, made of thick cardboard, with roughness, and an even pastel was required at the output. The soften skin brush did the job perfectly. The same goes for shots taken at night, when the dark areas are rippling, or if you need to smooth out some objects in the picture.
The tool is ambiguous, but I will highlight it: in specific cases, it is much more convenient than secondary development. Smot removal is like a strange symbiosis of Photoshop’s healing brush and the healing tool in Google’s Snapseed. Spot removal, in short, really removes stains. Only it can be used in different ways. First of all, we are talking about random specks on the background, small objects or spots directly. In the product photo, I clean the background with it (immediately after the soften skin). You need to understand: the backgrounds are different, the customers are different, and the planes also have a different structure. Sometimes, it happens to work with not the freshest and in perfect condition. And that’s okay! In post-production, using spot removal, the issue is solved. Small spots, specks, chips — all this is at the right place.
The second recommendation, which should be used with caution, is to use the tool for more serious objects. It all depends a lot. This applies, for example, to a pimple that has popped up on a person, a part of an object that can disrupt the composition of the frame (for example, a wire sticking out in the sky during street shooting). Yes, even the objects themselves, if we are talking about something modest or auxiliary. Like, for example, a translucent fishing line for subject photographs, which was supposed to be covered up anyway.
Why with caution? This tool is not always suitable for such needs and justifies expectations. Need to try. Sometimes the result is not satisfactory or the solution will take too long. In such cases, it makes more sense to turn to the Healing Brush in Photoshop. However, in small situations like a mote on a plain background, this is an absolute must-have. Processing will be faster and easier.
In fact, an analogue of the dimmer / clarifier tool in Photoshop. Burn and Dodge are also called by selecting the corresponding brush in the drop-down list. I use them on an equal footing: over the years of processing, I have not noticed a significant difference in the behavior or quality of the result between these tools in Lightroom and Flash. “Clarifier” and “Dimmer” are well suited to darken the background if it is too out of place (or remove unnecessary vignetting) or vice versa to highlight some object if it was deprived of light when shooting. This is very similar to the push and pull processes in film development, where you need to raise or lower the exposure by several stops. Only in this case pointwise. And after that, as always in Lightroom: the rest of the set of sliders and settings is available if you need to do something else.