"Photographing people has always been a great honor for me," says Aundre Larrow. "My theater teacher gave me his worn Minolta SRT-101 as a birthday gift when I was 15. I carried that thing with me everywhere, photographing my friends to the point they stopped noticing the camera altogether." Although Larrow also worked in photojournalism in college, portrait photography remains his passion. "I’m not really sure why I. Maybe it’s the only child in me that loves any excuse to be around other people, or how amazing it is to freeze a moment you had with someone forever. There’s just so much truth in the human spirit, and I believe my work chases that." We recently asked Larrow to share six of his Adobe Photoshop Lightroom presets, plus his tips on shooting and editing portraits.

Tip: Make a moodboard.

Before you capture someone's portrait, make two moodboards: One for light, one for positioning. The save feature on Instagram is great for this. I try to share these moodboards with the subject, client, photo editor, etc.

Before and after applying the Blue and Grey Tones preset.

Before and after applying the Pink and Muted Green preset.

Tip: Try Color Mix.

Lightroom's Color Mix gives you comprehensive control over all the colors in your images. You can make an edit based on how you want the shadows to look or the clothing of the subject and then use Color Mix to be sure the skin tone is just right by tweaking Hue, Saturation and, most importantly, Luminance.

Before and after applying the Warm Highlights preset.

Tip: Less light can be more.

Sometimes you need less light—sunset isn't always the absolute best time, and you don't always need to take window portraits at noon. Sometimes the flickering light of blue hour can give you the subtlety you’re looking for, or you can reduce the intensity of morning light by a little diffusion.

Tip: Reach the next level.

Here are three ways you can improve your work:

  1. Practice.
  2. Find good mentors.
  3. Study the light in others' photos; if you're close with them, ask how they achieved it.

Tip: Start with the Black Point.

When your shadows and blacks aren't rich, your photo doesn’t have an anchor. Use Lightroom's Black Point first and then edit your Highlights and Shadows instead of Exposure to achieve more dynamic range in your images.

Before and after applying the Earth Tones preset.

Tip: Pick up a pencil.

The combination of an iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil makes detailed edits in Lightroom even easier.

Installing presets.

Having trouble getting presets into Lightroom? Follow these instructions.

For Lightroom (must have version 1.3 or later):


1. Download the preset here.

2. Open Adobe Lightroom on your computer.

3. Select File > Import Profiles and Presets.

4. Select the downloaded preset file and click Import.

5. Open the photo you want to edit and click the Edit toolbar on the right-hand side of Lightroom. Select the Presets button and you’ll find the imported preset.

For Lightroom Classic (must have version 7.3 or later):

1. Download the preset here.

2. Unzip the zip file on your computer.

3. Select an image and go to the Develop Module.

4. Click on the + icon in the Preset Panel. Select Import Presets.

5. Navigate to the preset you downloaded in step 1.

6. Click Import.

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