Portrait Professional – an example

There are many photographers out there who wouldn’t dream of using anything other than Adobe Photoshop for their re-touching needs. The process is time consuming and complicated employing the use of filters, layers, the clone tool, the spot healing brush and the liquefy tool amongst other things.As a professional photographer time is money. You have just shot a wedding and have over 200 images to sort through and re-touch. Do you really have the time to spend on these images using photoshop?

There are a number of programmes out there to help you with this and Portrait Professional is one that I certainly would recommend. Not only can you remove blemishes and wrinkles but it also gives you the ability to re-shape the face, and improve facial features. Why would you want to do this you may ask…..you will sell more prints and make more money is the simple answer and the time you spend processing your images will be reduced, again more savings.

Today I am using a portrait sitting as an example. I have only used Portrait Professional as my editing tool and nothing else. The young lady in question had a break out the night before which couldn’t be completely covered with make-up or disguised with lighting. This is normal, being photographed makes most people nervous and those spots will pop up just to make it difficult.

Portrait Professional works as a stand alone editor or as a plug in. If you are using it as a plug in, first duplicate the layer as the product does not automatically do this for you.

This is the original image untouched.

Before we start a word of warning. Do not overdo it. Taking a few years off and a little re-shaping will help sell prints, distorting and taking too many years off will lose you business, so remember less is more.

The first thing you will have to do when you bring in an image into Portrait Professional is chose the sex of the subject and outline the features. Take a little time getting this right and you will reap the benefits of this tool.

Here is the choice I made

When you press next, the programme will make a guess at what it thinks should be done. In general this result is generally not worth considering and I would recommend that you re-set to the original image so that you can make the choices yourself.

This was the programme’s suggestion

Actually not as bad as I have seen but not what I envision at all. So I took my own advice and reset.

The first thing I will do is check the skin selection. The default will chose the skin that is visible when the face is selected. Click on fit and you will see that not all of the skin is selected as shown below.

Select extend skin area and paint in over all skin showing. I f you don’t do this you will have a line like a tide mark, not a pretty sight.

Now is when I start look at re-shaping the face and features. In general I will lengthen the neck and play with the eyes and jaw. Occasionally the head may need re-shaping but be careful…..less is best.

In this instance I used these settings

The default for the programme does not show you all the sliders, a mistake in my opinion, so make sure if you see and arrow on the tab that you click it to see all your options.

Next I work on the imperfections and wrinkles.The orange and red indicators on the sliders are there for a purpose. If you take them into these regions you have probably gone to far….less is best.

Here are the choices I made for this image

If your colour balance was off at the start you can change the skin hue at this point. This image didn’t need it. Next step is texture of the skin. I hate to see plastic faces which have been smoothed so much they look like a mannequin. This set of sliders can prevent that. The default tend to make gold splodges so work on the size and brightness of the texture until it looks realistic. There is also a drop down box for skin texture type. I am told that there will be 5 different skin textures in the update coming soon, I look forward to trying these out. The blotches I mentioned earlier may not show up on small prints but enlargements will look odd. Here are the selections I made for this image.

Now is the time to work on those imperfections that weren’t removed earlier and so select the touch up brush and clean these up, this is the tool to select.

Next I work on the eyes. Again be careful that you don’t over whiten the eyes and watch for any artefact when you sharpen. The default for sharpening will also sharpen the eyebrows which will look very odd. You can change this by clicking on the arrow and expanding the selections. Less is best.

Here are the selections I made.

The next step you can change the eye colour, not something I normally do but you can. You can also brighten the iris and darken the pupil but remember…..less is best.

My selection below

Next we work on the lips and nose. I tend to use the saturation, darken and contrast sliders but have found the sharpen mouth tends to distort so I leave alone. Also the nose controls needs some work by the programmers and I leave this slider alone. You may disagree but be careful….less is best.

Here are my choices for this image

Next is hair, chose the hair tidying mode. Full hair shadows, thickens the hair and smooth hair does exactly that. Remember women like tidy hair, even if they haven’t brushed properly before the shoot but be careful…..less is best.

My choices were

The final sliders are used if you didn’t get it right in the camera. Play with these if you have to. I didn’t because I can get it right in camera.

The job is now done so it is time to save and move onto your next edit.

This was the final result, total editing time ten minutes and nothing complicated to do.

If you go to http://www.portraitprofessional.com/?gclid=CNfDk6marqECFQ-Y2AodyB6xEQ you can download a free trial, what have you got to lose. Just remember…..LESS IS BEST. Good luck. If you have any questions just ask and I will do my best to help you.

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