Editing back-lit photos in Lightroom in 4 easy steps

Editing back-lit photos in Lightroom is by far my favorite type of editing.

Not only is the light beautiful, but Lightroom can really make the colors and vibrancy of a photo shine in just a few clicks. In this newest tutorial, I want to show you just how simple editing a back-lit photo can be and how you can start applying these editing steps to your photos so they can shine too!

See for yourself how easy it truly in this quick demo + check out the video tutorial for an even deeper look!

how to edit backlit photos in lightroom

Step 1

To start off, I applied my "rockin it" preset from my favored Life in Color collection. This preset adds to base to my editing, but still needs a little polishing since this back lit photo is a little on the dull side to begin with. 

lightroom preset before & after


Step 2

Clicking the radial filter tool, I applied a radial filter across my model to brighten her without brightening the entire photo. I made sure to check the "invert mask" so my dodging application would only affect the center of the photo.


Step 3

In the basic panel, I made small adjustments to the black, white, and vibrancy sliders to make the photo "pop". I also increased the yellow in the white balance to give it a warmer glow. 

 lightroom presets with adjustment

Step 4

Lastly, I added a subtle vignette to give the photo a little bit more depth and contrast. Since vignette settings are hardly a one size fits all, I moved the various sliders around until it looked just right for this photo.



Step 5

I finished the photo off by a small amount of sharpening and a side-by-side comparison to check my work.


Need further explanation to the steps provided above? Don't forget to grab your life in color presets in our shop too!

Watch this short video now so you can start applying these editing techniques to your photos today!

What did you think of today's tutorial? Leave a comment below to let us know how it will help you in your editing workflow OR leave a suggestion for a future tutorial - your request could be the next video on our blog!

Want to see more useful Lightroom videos & tips? Sign up to get weekly updates & get a sample pack of FREE Lightroom presets when you do!

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