Before and after: A lifestyle newborn edit in Lightroom

Before and after: A lifestyle newborn edit in Lightroom

An editing before and after with a video tutorial by Kelly Marleau-before

original photo

An editing before and after with a video tutorial by Kelly Marleau-after

after image

My goal when photographing a newborn session is to make the best possible image in camera.

Then, I enhance what’s already there during the editing process.

My editing program of choice is Adobe Lightroom CC and I edit about 95% of my images there. There are times that I will pull an image into Photoshop for more detailed cloning but for the most part, Lightroom can do exactly what I need it to do.

In the video below, you’ll see how I take a straight out of camera RAW photo of a newborn from basic to polished without using any Lightroom presets.

The video goes into quite a bit of detail which results in the edit taking longer than it normally would if I were simply editing without explaining. Normally, this would be a 5-10 minute edit in my standard workflow.

Related: See more editing tutorials for Lightroom and Photoshop here.

For reference, the final settings are listed below.

  • Exposure: +0.55
  • Contrast: 0
  • Highlights: +17
  • Shadows: -55
  • Whites: +11
  • Blacks: -14
  • Clarity: 0
  • Vibrance: +10
  • Saturation: 0

Tone curve: changes manually made to tone curve by adding 2 points (see the video)

Hue: no adjustments made


  • Red: -7
  • Orange: -5


  • Red: +9
  • Orange: +8

Split Toning: no adjustments made


  • Amount: 25
  • Radius: 1.0
  • Detail: 25
  • Masking: 80

Lens Correction:

  • Enable profile corrections: checked

Transform: no adjustments made

Camera Calibration:

  • Blue primary hue: +2
  • Blue primary saturation: +10

The radial filter was added around the baby with exposure, highlights, shadows and blacks pulled down and temp increased.

The clone stamp was used, set to heal to remove large wrinkles from the duvet.

In order to help decrease the wrinkles, the graduated filter was added from the bottom and left side with contrast and sharpening pulled down.

About the Author:

Kelly lives just outside of Edmonton, Alberta in the ‘burbs with her husband and 2 full-of-personality little girls. Aside from kid giggles and the creak of the garage opening as her husband comes home from work, the sound of the shutter clicking is one of her absolute favourite sounds. Kelly is the woman behind, Fiddle Leaf Photography, where she offers in-home lifestyle newborn and family photo sessions to Edmonton families. She has a passion for capturing life as it is. Right here. Right now. Visit Kelly Marleau online.


  1. Tanya Rey Feb 11 2018 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    It’s fun to watch other photographers editing. I really love using Lightroom and it’s significantly reduced my editing time.

  2. Emily Feb 11 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

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