Fixing Skin Tones with Brush Tool

By Amy

May 03

Brush on Warmer skin 

I LOVE <3 me some Lightroom!!

It is so quick and easy to edit photos and I love how you can pick a specific area and only make changes there.

See how easily and quickly you can improve skin tone with the brush tool in this short video!

Fixing Skin Tones with Lightroom's Brush Tool


I once found Lightroom intimidating, but this is an amazing piece of software that you shouldn't let scare you.  See how quick and easy it can be!

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Fixing Skin Tones with Lightroom's Brush Tool

Today we are going to go over a very quick tutorial on how you can make that final edit to make your photo pop and improve the skin tone with one simple tool. Are you ready to learn how? Let’s go!


This photo is courtesy of Kelly Zwick of the Learn Blog Photography Facebook Group. You can see that the original that is photo #1 (on the left) is a little washed out. So what she did was add a preset, and not sure which one, but it obviously brought out the colors and made them a bit deeper (picture on the right). But if you look at her daughter's skin tone, she’s a little dark against this very bright background.


Pre-Shoot Fix

An easy way to fix that before the photo was taken would just to use a 5-in-1 reflector which could bounced some light back at the child. Another option, would have been to add a flash.  

Post-Processing/Editing Fix

Or in post processing you could use a brush tool which is what we are going to use today.


#lightroom's #brushtool can take make your #blogphotos standout! See what it's capable of.

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So we are going to focus on this one.

Go to develop.

Pinch your fingers together so we can see the lovely little girl.

And then hit the brush tool over here with the dotted lines around it.

Fixing Skin Tones


So we are going to brighten her up a little bit. We are going to do that in combination. Use a little bit of exposure and a bit of the temperature brush. It’s already set to exposure, it’s already bumped up to just under 1. I don’t think we even have to go that far.


I am going to see how that works.

And obviously this is not set in stone, you can go back and edit it later.


So you can see that I have the feather set so it’s going to gradually fade away. So let’s see what happens when I do that.

Tweak until you're happy

That’s better. She definitely looks brighter. But let’s see what happens if we change that a bit more and take this down a little bit. I honestly don’t know what her natural skin color looks like as I haven’t seen her in person. But I think that looks pretty good.


Ok, so now let’s try her shoulder.


Now we can always hit this show selected mask overlay and it will show you exactly where you have painted. So you can see I got a bit outside the lines and let’s bring this up a bit more. You can see when you get in a bit closer, it almost looks like there is a glow around her. I’ll hold down the option on a Mac or the alt on a PC. Kind of paint around her a little bit more tight. It’s easier when you don’t use the trackpad.


Get rid of the mask. And take a peak.

I think that looks much better. Much more natural skin tone. The original photo with the preset that she had used almost made her skin look a little too blue.

Fixing Skin Tones with Lightroom's Brush Tool

The more you do this, the more you will be able to see easier when the skin tone looks off. So really it’s just trial and error and teaching your eye to see it.


There are some more scientific ways of going about it where there is specific numbers based on their fair or olive skinned or this or that. I have never gotten to that specific. I just basically go by what I like.


So there!


Kind of brightened her up and made her look a bit more natural. I think that little tweak made a huge difference.  It brightened up her skin tone and made her look a little more natural and lively. I think it compliments the bright colors of the background much more.



You could have gone on and done the flower, hair and dress. But ultimately i wanted to show you how big of an impact it can have on the skin tone and generally just brighten up and make the photo look finished.

If you're looking for Lightroom Brush Tool 101 type tips, check out this tutorial.​


Got a Q?

This is Amy from Learn Blog Photography. If you have any questions, please send me an email or hit me up in our private fb group and I am happy to answer your questions.


This was courtesy of Kelly Zwick of the Learn Blog Photography Facebook group. If you enjoyed this tutorial, and thought it was helpful, please share this on social media I would love it to get this out in front of more people so they can also learn how Lightroom and in general photography can be for their business. I would greatly appreciate shares and/or comments.


Have a wonderful day.


Happy snapping!


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About the Author

Amy is the owner extraordinaire at Learn Blog Photography and Amy Paris Photography. She's a single mom to an amazing teenage son. She's passionate about photography and skiing (downhill), the faster the better! Sign up for a FREE 30-min call to light up your photos & biz! bit.ly/2udzBXB