Lightroom Portrait Tutorial – Child Portrait Edit with Fake Sun and Lens Flare



Lightroom 5

Free Download

In this tutorial, learn how to transform a single raw image from a fall portrait session into a momma tear inducing, referral generating, "wall worthy" framer.

From Bland To Grand

With aย subtle "filmic" approach, we enhance the beauty already present.





Key Topics

  • Using the Basic Panel's shadows and blacks to create contrast.
  • Clarity versus saturation.
  • Tone curve, and how to be subtle but effective.
  • Radial filters, as a moveable sun and face light.
  • And more...

Image Download

You may download the raw file below to practice and follow along, or try and entirely original approach. It can be used according to a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Creative Commons License. Feel free to share your results in the comments!


  1. Pivko Presents on June 15, 2015 at 12:23 am

    What a beautiful website you have started here.

  2. obayed on July 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Some fantastic tutorials on Lr. Learn a lot of new things. Much thanks for sharing Pivko.

    • Pivko Presents on July 12, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Appreciate the feedback! Thanks for watching sir!

  3. Lance on July 14, 2015 at 5:45 am

    My take on your little girl photo

    • Pivko Presents on July 22, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      Lance, it would appear your take did not upload. Feel free to try again, limit the file size to 1000 pixels wide.

  4. Savanna on August 5, 2015 at 4:54 am


    Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. I really like your version (edit) of the photo, and I thought I would share my edit. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I used my own preset and then did some minor adjustments to the photo, let me know what you think.

    • Savanna on August 5, 2015 at 4:55 am

      Wow, this file turned out huge. I can post a smaller version if needed.

      • Pivko Presents on August 6, 2015 at 7:34 pm

        Savanna, no worries it uploaded above! Thanks for sharing your work, great job! The colors are outstanding, as you really nailed making the image look much more fall colored than the original. If I may present one piece of constructive feedback, I believe the image is a touch too bright, and you could bring the exposure bar down one stop or so. This would help preserve more detail in the sweater, and restore contrast in the midtones and shadows. With that said, I have seen photographers use the bright/white look very successfully, and that may be something that appeals to you. In that case I would use the tone curve or blacks slider to help restore a more perceivable black point int he image.

        Take this all with a grain of salt as it is all a matter of taste! Once gain, great job and thanks for sharing.

  5. Chris Stiles on August 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Love the tutorial. Very easy to follow along, will be looking for more!

  6. Daniel Banek on August 13, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Your tutorial is one of the best learning experiences I have discovered so far. Outstanding work. Thank you very much.

    • Pivko Presents on August 14, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      Very kind of you to share, much appreciated.

  7. Franco on October 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Pivko, I have been practising and watching tutorials of Camera Raw and Lightroom for years and at this point I can say I know pretty much how each slider works, but mainly as mere filter effects. In this case, the huge amount of conceptual photography tips and information you shared in this video is just amazing, and you found the way to attach a grounded sense to every single adjustment you made. I really appreciate your time in doing this work.

    I hope you continue updating the site. See you again over here! Regards from Argentina.

    • Pivko Presents on October 13, 2015 at 2:21 am

      Thank you very much for the kind words!

  8. Mandy Colon on October 14, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I’m an amateur photographer hoping one day to make it big (and epic)! I spend hours each week watching tutorials, reading directions, learning more about LR & PS, and taking photos… I do not have a website yet, but possibly could but really afraid my hard work will be criticized and that will discourage me! But, I will one day, and this tutorial really helped me so much! I stumbled across it accidentally, and it was the best “accident” I had! Thank you for such an informative tutorial, and I truly understood everything and was able to apply these directions to my own Fall photos… what a difference! I didn’t even know LR had all these great features (I use a lot of presets)– so, this made me happy and I’ve received some nice compliments on my pictures (still a work in progress but I am learning)! Thank you again! Amazing work!!!

  9. Carver on October 28, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Hi Pivko! I picked up a new monitor yesterday and thought I would share my interpretation of your child portrait. Tell me what you think! I did a B&W version which I personally preferred over my coloured version.

    Thanks for sharing your tutorials; they’re very informative and exciting.

    • Pivko Presents on October 29, 2015 at 5:01 am

      Carver, truly outstanding. I like it better than my version because it looks more natural. It looks you shifted it to a cloudy day in late November and it’s a brilliant choice. I notice a little focus vignette happening too which is classy and I wish I thought of it. I would love to see the black and white.

      Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pivko Presents on October 29, 2015 at 5:05 am

      Did I mention your colors are gorgeous?

  10. Agata on November 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Pivko,

    I’m not receiving the confirmation email and I would really like to try your tutorial ๐Ÿ™

    Maybe you could figure out the reason for it.

  11. Jeana on November 18, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Pivko!

    I just downloaded LR two weeks ago and am trying to learn how to use it as I just did my first (unpaid- just trying this out!) shoot with a couple seniors. Your tutorial has been BY FAR the most helpful and I have watched probably 15 videos now. I used your edits on a very similar photo I took – backlit with a real sunflare ๐Ÿ™‚ and thought I’d upload my photo but with very similar editing to what you did. I’d love some feedback… I was trying to figure out how to get her hair to pop a little more as the sunflare washed it out a bit. I tried using the brush tool and adding contrast but I wondered if there was a better way? I love your way of adding contrast by darkening blacks and lifting shadow, and I really appreciated your section on detail – how to sharpen just those important features of the face. I want to practice
    more with that.

  12. Jeana on November 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Here is the original photo without edits.

  13. Jeana on November 18, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Oops. Here is the original photo without edits with the photo actually attached!

    • Pivko Presents on November 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Jeana, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your wonderful work. I love the shot and I am sure your client will be happy with her portrait!

      One thing you can try out is the “Brush” feature when using a radial filter. You can find it on the top right of the radial features “New | Edit | Brush” or press Shift-T when you have a radial filter selected. Once the brush is up hold Alt to subtract from the radial filter the areas where you may want to restore contrast, like the hair. You can really dial in where you want the flaring effect that way.

      However despite that I like the look of your final photo bloomy hair and all!

      Thanks so much for sharing and glad the tutorial was a help ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Linz on December 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this video! I’m brand new and know this doesn’t look quite right, so I’m happy for any advice. I tried following your tutorial with this photo. I couldn’t figure out the tone curve at all.

    • Linz on December 19, 2015 at 7:29 pm


    • Pivko Presents on January 29, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      I think it looks great. The only thing you may want to do is play with increasing the exposure, or dropping a radial filter on his face and raising it a half stop to make his face pop a tiny bit more. Great shot.

  15. MoonaV on January 29, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Love the tutorial! Thank you so much!

  16. Brooke on February 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Are you using Lightroom 6? I have LR 5 and one of the features (skin tone) was not available. Also, when I tried to put a radial filter on her face the exposure was automatically way off and I couldn’t seem to get it right. Anyways, great tutorial, thank you very much.

  17. Sebastien on February 12, 2016 at 12:07 am

    My version !

    • Pivko Presents on February 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      Truly great job, love your edit.

  18. catherine on February 27, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Tried my best!

  19. Way on March 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Pivko,

    I just saw your tutorial on Youtube today, really great stuff. Here’s my version of your child’s portrait. Kindly let me know your thought and how I could improve it. Many thanks!

    • Pivko Presents on March 30, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Way,

      It does not appear that your image uploaded. Feel free to try again, and make sure you reduce the size to something like 1000 pixels wide!



      • Way on March 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        Hmm.. It doesn’t seem to work for me..

        • Way on March 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          Last try, if it doesn’t work, here’s the link:

          Sorry about all these entries..

        • Pivko Presents on March 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm

          Hi Way,

          Nothing to be sorry about, I just switched hosting and it looks like my comment images are not working right now and you were the first to discover it. So thank you for letting me know the website needs a little tweak.

          Your edit is beautiful, colors are perfect, and your choice of contrast is really well done. Those blacks look so crispy I feel like I can pick the picture up off my screen. You went with a lower exposure and I love the way it looks on the sweater an environment, but I believe it’s making her face less prominent and her eyes a bit dark. The way around it would be a radial filter around her face (click invert mask and turn up the feathering) where you can boost the exposure a bit That way you will maintain your contrast and texture throughout, but brighten up the focal point and give us a better view of her blue eyes.

          Please understand this is just my opinion, and your image stands on its own without my suggestion. Great job and thanks for contributing!


  20. Way on March 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Pivko,

    Thank you so much for your advice, I agree with you that I should bring up the exposure on her face and eyes, those blue eyes are just too beautiful to be missed. Skin tone adjustment has been my weakness.

    Thank you for your wonderful tips and presets.

  21. Freda on May 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Hi Pivko,

    Thank you so much for the tips and advise! I loved how you explained everything in detail, right down to the reasons behind them. Here’s my edit. Not so much of a green person, so I made the leaves orange/ brown instead. Please let me know what you think! Once again, really awesome tutorial!

  22. Den Prado on May 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Pivko.
    I come across your tutorial in youtube and have the guts to tried twerking the picture under it. Hope you like my version. Your comment are so much appreciated.

  23. ned on May 17, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Hi Pivko.
    You such a great help. Thank you for the detailed advice and tips.
    More Power to you.

  24. Kelly Lambert on May 17, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you for the tips! I had been wondering how to do the sunburst effect! I’m so glad I found your video on youtube! Here’s my edit.

Leave a Comment