When it comes to photography, portraits are an entirely different beast than nature, landscape, or product work. And the same thing is true when it comes to editing. Learning how to edit portraits isn’t just a matter of mastering the different Photoshop tools—it comes down to knowing what looks natural, and what just looks way overdone. If you are just getting started on editing portraits in Photoshop, here are four videos on four different elements essential to the portrait: skin, teeth, glasses and eyes.
How To Edit Portraits: Retouching Skin
When retouching skin, things can go wrong very, very quickly. There’s definitely a happy medium when it comes to smoothing skin, and it all depends on the person in your portrait and the purpose of the picture—magazine images tend to be “airbrushed” a little more, while a family portrait is better left looking very natural.
There are several different ways to edit skin, and some are better at correcting certain issues than others. Editing redness, for example, can be done easily through using the yellow channel of the image, while zits and wrinkles are best edited with the healing brush. Here’s an excellent rundown of a few edits that you can achieve for different skin issues within your portraits:
How to Edit Portraits: Perfecting the Smile
The smile is a big part of a portrait—if it’s a little off-color, it can affect the whole image. Even if your subject has nice pearly whites, sometimes lighting can give a yellow hue to the teeth that isn’t there naturally. But like any of the edits we’ve discussed today, it’s easy to go overboard. Here’s a quick and easy way to whiten teeth without making them look fake.
How to Edit Portraits: Fixing Tinted Glasses
Glasses can create issues in portraits, but Transitions lenses–ones tint all on their own in bright light—are a photography nightmare. If glasses are part of your subject’s look, you don’t want to take them off, but outdoors, it’s the same as wearing sunglasses.
There are a few different methods for fixing this issue. The easiest that I’ve found requires an extra step when actually taking the image—take a second image with the exact same pose and lighting, only with the glasses off. Then, in post-processing, you can clone in the eyes to eliminate the tint. But if you already have the image and didn’t take that second photo, there are still a few techniques to fix the tint:
How To Edit Portraits: Brightening the Eyes
Arguably the most important element of a portrait is the eyes. The first step is getting them sharply focused when taking the image, but what if they still aren’t quite as riveting as they should be? In post-processing, you can brighten and enhance eyes to give them that wow factor.
There are multiple ways to do this, but we love this three step guide from Phlearn that includes adding a bit of pizzaz simply by using the paintbrush tool. Here’s how.