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o o oc b by Jason Anderson

We've all come to know the advantages of Lightroom in organizing and managing our image libraries. Even more complex operations such as converting images to black and white, creative cropping, and web gallery generation are done with ease. Yet for some reason, with all of these features, many people still resort to Photoshop for other edits such as dodging, burning, eye sharpening, and even teeth whitening. Lightroom 3 has brought many of these features to the table, and thus makes the need to round trip to the full version of Photoshop creative suite less necessary.

Today, I'd like to take some time to talk about just one of these features - the adjustment brush! With an adjustable brush size, feathering and flow rate control, you can control dodging and burning, iris enhancement and teeth whitening all natively in Lightroom. This is even expandable with additional plugins from a number of software vendors.

Rather than go over each of these features and how to make the adjustments, it's more helpful to cover one in depth, so here I chose to explain how to use the Teeth Whitening option of the adjustment brush.

To illustrate how it works, I chose a selection from a recent photo shoot with the Castle Rock Fire Department. Our "model" fireman, Devin, was very easy to work with and struck several poses with very minimal instruction and guidance. He even cracked a smile for a few shots, which made for a great opportunity to do some post production on those pearly whites. Here is the image with the default settings after I imported the set into Lightroom. (next page)

This particular image makes for a great instance where the adjustment brush's Teeth Whitening tool could be used to really make the image work better.

On initial activation of the brush, you can see there are a number of tools within the adjustment brush, including the Teeth Whitening Tool. Others include the Dodge tool, Burn Tool, Iris Enhancement, and Teeth Whitening. Select the one you want to use for making your edits, and Lightroom will place a check box next to it indicating it is the active tool.

To start, I zoomed in on his teeth to better see what I am working with and to exert more control over the areas that I am whitening. Once I was dialed in to the right scale, I activated the adjustment brush. You can tell the adjustment Brush is active because of the dots that surround the brush tool itself.

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You can also look at what the settings are for the adjustment tool you've selected simply by clicking on the arrow just to the right of the tool itself. Since we're using the Teeth Whitening tool, expanding the settings for that tool shows us the various settings ranging from Exposure to Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and more. Since everyone is different, they will need specific adjustments to their own portraits, and your own subjective goals and taste preferences will also factor into play, so feel free to make adjustments and save these to your own tastes and needs. Here I am simply using the defaults for demonstration purposes.

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