What is the best method in Lightroom for removing shine from someone's face that is highlighted in only certain areas. I have come across the skin smoothing tool but it just lowers the clarity and doesn't create a nice appearance.

  • The only think I can think of is highlight reduction or dodge and burn to reduce local highlights. But that won't necessarily create a good look and may give a dull grey.
    – DetlevCM
    Dec 23 '14 at 9:25
  • 2
    Use the Spot removal tool set to Heal mode with a relatively large radius. Really though, Lightroom is not set up for this kind of edit: that's what Photoshop is for. Dec 23 '14 at 12:26
  • The best way it to use Photoshop and the associated cloning tools it offers. LR just isn't going to be quite as good.
    – dpollitt
    Dec 23 '14 at 14:12
  • lightroom has cloning too Dec 23 '14 at 23:16
  • I think DxO has a dedicated product for that(LR plugin or standalone), with a 30 day free trial.
    – JDługosz
    Dec 24 '14 at 5:19

Depending on the extent of the shine, reducing the Highlights or Whites sliders can help with undesirably shiny skin.

Another technique for reducing brightness in a specific part of the image is to reduce the luminance for a particular color in the photo. You can you use the "HSL" panel and select "Luminance" and dial down the luminance of the color or colors that correspond to the skin tones of your subject. This technique is also useful for making blue skies appear more deep and balanced, rather than washed out.

However, if you've truly blown the highlights (eg, highlights are clipping in the image histogram) then you may need to use a more targeted tool such a spot removal tool to manually tweak the shiny areas on your subjects.

  • If you have truly blown the highlights, I would head to Photoshop and get ready for some effort!
    – dpollitt
    Jan 19 '15 at 18:17

Does Lightroom have a way to apply effects to areas of a photo based on drawn masks (bezier curves, etc) and parametric masks (R, G, B, Y values)?

I use an open source RAW processing program called Darktable which allows me to apply an extra Exposure operation to the areas on the image that fall within a (bright) pixel brightness range, with the exposure set to a negative value. You have to decide the best way to measure pixel brightness (Y, R, G, B), how to specify the softness of the range, and how much darkening can work and still look natural.

I know LR has some capability of reconstructing semi-blown-out highlights, which is also critical to this.


Use the radial filter tool, use with an appropriate radius to "paint" on the face in the photo. E.g. you can turn down the highlights, whites, midtones.


Such retouching is not the strong point of Lightroom. It is designed to do general adjustments to the whole image - a local manipulation is therefore difficult to apply using Lightroom.

Photoshop however is built for those tasks.
There are many elaborate techniques to soften skin, but you might want to try the spot healing brush (and the clone tool) as well as the mixer brush (whom you have to play with).
If you have to much time on your hands, you could take a look at a technique called "frequency seperation".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.