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How to Edit Headshots in Photoshop Lightroom Like a Pro

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Sep 07, 23, updated Mar 27, 24

Everyone wants to look great in their professional headshots. Whether you want to add a headshot to your website, LinkedIn, or your online portfolio, a bit of editing will be needed. A few tweaks on the photo will put your best face, neck, and shoulder forward in all your photos. However, you do not want to look unrecognizable or a fabricated supermodel. So, how much photo retouching should a headshot receive?

Essentially, even lighting and perfect exposure are all that is needed to make you look the best in your headshot. Still, you may at times need to make a few more adjustments when editing to make your headshots look more professional. This article provides essential tips for editing headshots in Photoshop Lightroom.

In this article
  1. Part 1. How to Use Photoshop Lightroom to Edit Headshots
  2. Part 2. Useful Tips to Edit Headshots in Photoshop Lightroom
  3. Part 3. Wondershare Filmora's AI Features: Make Your Headshot Look Great in Minutes
  4. Conclusion
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Part 1. How to Use Photoshop Lightroom to Edit Headshots

You may be a professional or just a hobbyist looking to look more professional in your headshot, but your portrait editing skills will determine how well the portrait presents you (or your subject). With Adobe Lightroom, you can edit your headshot to achieve consistent and quick results. Here are the main steps to a successful headshot editing in Photoshop Lightroom:

Step 1Import the Photo to Lightroom

The first step is to import your photo into Adobe Lightroom. Navigate to the Library module in Lightroom by clicking on Import Photos and Videos. Then choose the destination for your files and select them all by pressing CTRL + A. Right-click on the photos, and choose Develop Settings then Copy.

lightroom photo import
Step 2Remove Marks and Blemishes

Using the Spot Removal tool in the toolbar, remove any marks or blemishes in your headshot. Use the tool to drag a square around the blemish or the spot you want to remove. Click on that spot and the tool will automatically select it. You can now press DELETE on your keyboard to remove it.

lightroom spot removal tool
Step 3Adjust the Exposure of Your Headshot

Next, you need to adjust the exposure of your headshot using the tools on the right side of the screen. The tools include Lights, Darks, Shadows, and Highlights. Adjust the exposure by dragging each of these to achieve the desired outcome. Dragging to the right will brighten the headshot while the left will darken it. To undo any change, press CTRL + Z.

lightroom exposure adjust
Step 4Soften the Skin

You can soften the skin on your headshot by adjusting the sharpness and clarity settings. Start with the clarity bar by dragging the slighter to the right to achieve a softer headshot and vice versa. Then use the sharpen bar to bring out the details of your photo by increasing the edge contrast. This makes your headshot look more defined and crisper.

lightroom exposure adjust
Step 5Work on the Details with the Brush Tool

Use the brush tool to diminish wrinkle lines by adjusting the shadow, contrast, sharpness, and clarity of the lines. The tool will also help brighten up the eyes by adjusting highlights, exposure, contrast, shadows, and whites. You can also whiten the teeth and bump up the exposure a bit. Remember to be subtle in your edits. You don’t want your teeth shining bright like a sum or looking fake.

lightroom exposure adjust

Part 2. Useful Tips to Edit Headshots in Photoshop Lightroom

A headshot retouch is a photo editing service that usually requires a lot of expertise. You’ve probably seen perfect portrait photos on LinkedIn and other websites. However, not every post-processing method is used to produce the headshot. In most cases, you will only need a few essential tricks to achieve a more professional finish for your portraits.

01of 06Pay Attention to the Eyes

The most important feature of any headshot is the subject’s eye. One of the ways headshot editing professionals make the eyes stand out is by boosting the irises. Start by making an ellipse over the iris. Then, boost the color and contrast in the irises to give the eyes an extra impact. You can best achieve this with the Radial Filter, which is located in the toolbar. You can also erase the outer parts of the iris with the brush, and use the Radial Filter to lower the exposure and make it look darker. Then adjust the saturation and clarity until you achieve the desired results.

02of 06Flawlessly Soften the Skin

The next thing you need to focus on is the skin. Remove any ugly masks, blemishes, and unnecessary imperfections. The Clone Stamp tools and Spot Healing brush are perfect for this job. Your headshot retouch does not have to be perfect. You only need to apply selective adjustments to soften the skin, boost the eyes, and lift sagging areas.

03of 06Remove Eye Bags

 Removing eye bags or signs that your subject did not have enough sleep in the photo is easy. Press CTRL/Cmd+J to duplicate the background later. Then use the Patch tool to make a tool to drag a dark patch over a clean skin area. A good source for this purpose would be a blemish-free forehead. Then click CTRL/Cmd+D, and play around with opacity until you achieve a natural finish. To smooth out the rough areas that remain, switch and use the Cone Stamp. 

04of 06Remove Any Hotspots

Hotspots refer to highlights on a photo that looks too bright. In most cases, they can make the face look sweaty. Photographers try to prevent this by using powder on the subject before taking the shot. However, these hotspots can easily be eliminated using the patch tool. You only need to draw rough selections of the area with the hotspot, drag them to a clear area, and make a new layer to edit to a natural shine.

05of 06Sharpen Your Image

One of the simplest techniques to fulfilling a headshot retouch is sharpening the image. A great trick is to sharpen solely on the Red Channel as it contains minimal skin texture. While you sharpen the facial details, you will be sure the surrounding details will be left untouched and retain their softness. The Red Channel is quickly accessible through the Channels panel.

06of 06Remove Stray Hair

You can retouch Frizzy hair using the Spot Healing Brush tool. Although tricky to use because it causes some smearing over the edge where the hair meets the head, the tool is an effective way to remove stray hair. You can also use the Clone Stamp to cut off stray hair from the base.

When it comes to headshot retouching, you are not necessarily required to have the best skills. But they will make your headshot look more professional. You can make the process easier by doing a headshot retouch with Photoshop Lightroom using a tablet. A pen allows you to make more precise actions compared to using a mouse. Make sure to program the hotkeys to have your favorite actions and shortcuts ready.

Part 3. Wondershare Filmora's AI Features: Make Your Headshot Look Great in Minutes

Wondershare Filmora is also a great tool that you can use for headshot editing. Although as a video editing software, it still has the ability to edit photos other than videos. With several AI capabilities at your exposure, you will have an easier time editing your photos and clips.

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1. AI-Powered Auto-Enhancement Tools

Filmora offers a range of AI-powered tool that automatically edits your photos and clips. The AI Portrait feature removes the background with high accuracy. You can choose from 70+ portrait and sticker effects to achieve a more professional look. The AI Portrait also recognizes the face, allowing you to automatically add AR stickers. With a unique feature known as “Human Segmentation,” you can remove the background of your human subjects without using a chroma key or green screen.  

2. AI filters and Effects For Creative Editing

Filmora is a friendly editing tool for beginners that does not require any professional skills to add portrait effects. With a wide range of filters and effects to choose from, you can do a lot with your portrait picture. Choose the preferred effect and add it to your portrait with just a click. The software will automatically recognize the human portrait and apply the effect. The choice of effects and AR stickers include Human Glitches, Human Noise, Emoji, Heart Eyes, Animals, Sunglasses, and more.

filmora ai portrait

3. Wondershare Pixcut – Lightweight Photo Editing Software

For specialized headshop retouching, Wondeshare Pixcut offers specialized photo editing features in one place. Main features include image background remover, object removal, photo background changer, and image enlarger. You can also automatically remove background in bulk, allowing you to do so with your photos in a short time. Other unique features by PixCut include an AI headshot generator, image upscaler, AI portrait generator, and transparent background maker.

wondershare pixcut


Headshot editing makes your (or your subject’s) portrait look more professional. When done right, it helps in sending a clear message to the audience. Lightroom allows you to edit headshots using technical skills to retouch specific aspects of the photo. However, if you want a quick edit and improvement of the headshot, we recommend Wondershare Filmora and Pixcut. While FIlmora offers you quick edit solutions, Pixcut has AI-powered features that help to automate the editing process.

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Mar 27, 24
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