Hollywood Skin Effect in Lightroom


Senior Member
Sep 27, 2006

Hi gang. Here’s a look you see in everything from Hollywood Movie Posters to high-end portrait work, and you can do the whole thing right in Lightroom. You can see a before/after above. OK, let’s do this thing!

STEP ONE: Start by increasing the Contrast Amount to +43 (as shown here). If you compare this to the original image up top, you can see this version is more contrasty, but not quite enough, so we’ll add some midtone contrast in the next step.

STEP TWO: Increase the Clarity to +37, which adds midtone contrast that pulls out details, and makes the image look sharper overall.

STEP THREE: Now lower the Vibrance amount to -37 (as shown here) to desaturate the skin.

STEP FOUR: Lastly, let’s sharpen the living daylights out of him. Go to the Detail panel and increase the Sharpening Amount to 60 and increase the radius to 1.1 (depending on the image, you might be able to go higher on the Amount, to around 75, while increasing the Radius to 1.2. Just depends on the image). I zoomed in a bit so you can see the sharpening a bit better. This finishes off the look, so go ahead and save this look as a preset.

OPTIONAL STEP: If you want to take this a step further, and make a high contrast B&W from it, do this: First, click the Black & White button at the top right of the Basic Panel. Then increase the Contrast to +100 (depends on the image — you might not be able to go all the way to +100). Then increase the Clarity to +71 (again, depends on the image).

ABOVE: I wanted to show how much different the image looks after we converted to black and white (on the left) versus the look when you crank the Contrast and Clarity (on the right). Big difference. Go ahead and save that one a preset, too.
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