How to Create a Bright Pastel Beach Look in Lightroom

Whether you're on the beach in Maldives or boardwalk in California, this bright pastel look is perfect for your summertime photos. In this Lightroom tutorial, you'll learn how to create this pastel look by starting with a flat base tone and making color adjustments. A free preset is available for you at the end of the tutorial.

Preview of Final Results

Step 1

Start by importing into Lightroom a photo of a sunny spot with blue skies. It's important to have something blue in your photo so that you can see the color shifts that you'll be making later in the tutorial.

Here's the image that I'll be using for this tutorial.

Step 2

In the Edit panel, open the Light section. Here, use the following settings to create a flat look:

  • Highlights: -100
  • Shadows: +100
  • Whites: -100
  • Blacks: +100

Step 3

Next, increase the contrast to your desired look. For my photo, I set it to +75. Immediately, you'll get a bright and vibrant look. This technique is used as a starting point for dreamlike colors similar to @benthomas.

Step 4

Go to the Color > Color Mixer. In the Adjust dropdown menu, select Hue.

Step 5

Now we'll shift the skies to give it a blue look. Simply set the Blue hue to around -40.

Step 6

Next, select Saturation from the Adjust dropdown menu. Reduce the orange saturation until skin tones look natural. Then, reduce the blue saturation to your desired levels. I used the following settings:

  • Orange: -30
  • Blue: -50

Step 7

Finally, we'll finish the look by adding some effects. Go to the Effects section and set the following:

  • Clarity: -20
  • Dehaze: +20

This will give your photo a soft contrast. You can set the clarity to -50 and dehaze to +50 for a stronger effect so that you can see what's happening.

Final Results

Download the Bright Pastel Lightroom Preset

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