Lightroom Edits : Penelope
Two of my favorite LR tools are the Graduated Filter and Radial Filter. I use the Grad filter to subtly enhance or add directional light, kind of like a sun flare effect, but not as obvious (unless you want it to be of course). The Radial filter is great for isolating the subject and either adding light around it without affecting the subject itself OR vice versa brightening/darkening the subject without affecting the background. Since I exposed for her face when I shot the photo, I increased the overall exposure then used the two filters together to brighten the background more without overexposing and losing detail in her face. Here's the before-
I increased the overall exposure (+1.25) then added a wide Grad filter and applied the following settings-
Temp +3 / Tint +5 / Exposure +0.25
I then applied a Radial filter with the following settings to isolate her and create a kind of "reverse vignette" effect-
Temp +3 / Tint +20 / Exposure +0.50 / Shadows +25 / Blacks +25 / Clarity -5
Be sure to use a decent "Feather" so you don't get a harsh line/circle around the subject
(ignore my Noise setting in the photo, my pictures have been crazy grainy lately)
Here's the AFTER, just doing those 3 steps-
Here are the rest of the edits I made, if you're interested. Of course your settings will probably vary depending on the lighting, subject, background, etc.
Basic, Detail, + Effects Panels-
And these are the color adjustments. I don't think these would be great for skin tones since I was trying to accurately match the color of her fur, but if you want I can send you a preset so you can experiment!
And here's the final image after all that-
It seems like a lot, but I have presets saved for a most of those settings so that cuts down on some of the work. And if I have multiple images, I save the whole set of adjustments as a new preset and apply to them all at once <---why I love LR as opposed to PS.
Sorry, that got kinda long! Hope I didn't lose you along the way ;) I'm definitely still learning, but if you have any questions at all, I'd be happy to answer if I can.