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How to Make Portraits Pop Using Lightroom

Give your photos a 3D look with this simple processing trick
Photo of a portrait that pops

Lightroom can do a lot of things for your photos during post-processing but sometimes you just want to make a portrait pop. What does it mean when someone says a portrait pops? We’ve covered this topic a few times before in our Digital Photo tutorials but, in short, it means the image appears to be somewhat 3D so that it pops off the page or screen. It’s a look that a lot of portrait photographers are shooting for.

Previously we explained how to make a portrait pop using Photoshop (here and here) and now software expert Anthony Morganti shares a great video on how to make a portrait pop using Lightroom. In the below video, Morganti shows you how to transform an “existing light portrait,” in Lightroom so it jumps off the screen.

“Let’s face it: when we’re taking portraits in existing light, we’re often stuck with the light,” he notes. “We don’t have any external lights to relight the subject or to relight the scene, so we get what we get. But now with the new masking tools found in Lightroom we could really relight the portrait in post-production and make the subject pop.”

Why is relighting an image so key to making it pop?


“Typically, when someone looks at an image, they’re going to tend to look at the bright areas of the image before they look at the darker areas of the image,” Morganti explains. “Also, they’ll tend to look at the more colorful parts of the image before they look at the less colorful parts of the image. And finally, they’re going to look at the more in-focus parts of the image compared to the less focused parts of the image.”

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