5 Practices to Improve Portraits In Photoshop

Are you happy with the portraits you take at the moment, or do you always feel like something is missing? If you want each photograph to look perfect there is only so much you can do when someone is in front of the lens.

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Most of the great work will have to take place in your studio when you’re playing around in Photoshop. There are a few good practices to improve portraits in photoshop and we’re going to look at what they are, because from now on your finished product will look 100x better every time.

Make Sure You Edit the Eyes

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We’re programmed to look people directly in the eye, so when you look at a portrait the eyes become the centerpiece of the entire photo. You should know how horrible the eyes sometimes look when you take a photograph of someone, but once you get on Photoshop you can fix it easily. You need to remove any red eye from the photo and you should also whiten the area around the eyes to make them look more natural.

Don’t Forget to Whiten the Teeth

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Unless someone has spent thousands of dollars at the dentist they might not have the whitest teeth in the world. You need to take care of them because even if someone’s teeth are a little yellow it can ruin the overall look of the portrait. To make the changes, use the elliptical marquee tool to select an area to work on then add a selective color adjustment layer to create the desired effect, because this will let you keep the natural shading and coloring of the tooth.

Soften the Skin

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One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last few years is the improvement in photo quality because of the high-end cameras available to everyone. This isn’t always a good thing when you’re shooting portraits because most people don’t have perfect skin, which means they don’t want to see every line on their face. You can use Photoshop to naturally soften the skin and everyone will love the finished product.

Add a Custom Vignette

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When you’re shooting portrait photos you don’t want too many things in the background because it can take the focus away from the subject. Once you add a vignette to a photo it automatically redirects people’s attention back onto the face in the photo. It’s good practice to add a custom vignette because the pre-cut ones that come with your software just look unnatural. I’m positive you can come up with something a lot nicer.

Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool

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You can use the spot healing brush to take anything out of your photo that shouldn’t be there. Did someone fall and cut their head a few days before they were due in the studio? It won’t matter because their cut will vanish into thin air after you’ve played about with the spot healing brush. You just need to remember not to go too crazy, because you’re trying to touch-up the photo instead of altering it into something completely different.

This post was written by Jenny Wadlow; she is a freelance writer and often writes for Boothalicious, a leading service provider of photobooth hire in Melbourne, Australia. She enjoys painting and sketching in her leisure time. You can follow her on Twitter @JennyWadlow.