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5 Things I Do to Every Portrait Photo

03Mar
  • 5 Things I Do to Every Portrait Photo

As I mentioned in my previous post, photo editing is very common in photography today, especially in portrait photography. If you hire a professional photographer to do your family portraits, it is very likely that the photos you get were retouched in some ways before being delivered to you. Contrary to popular belief, photographers spend more time editing photos than shooting them because there are so many different procedures that can be done to a photo. Some of these procedures are short and easy, taking no more than a minute to finish; others may take significantly longer to complete.

The procedures photographers perform on a photo depends on their individual styles and the editing software available. There are many popular software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Nikon Capture NX on the market, and they are widely used by photographers. I personally prefer Lightroom because it is more user friendly and helps you organize all your edited photos; I sometimes use Photoshop as well to edit photos when the situation calls for more sophisticated pixel manipulation. There are many things I do with the editing software, and some of them I do to every photo. Here are the five things I do with Lightroom to every one of my portrait photos:

  1. Exposure Adjustment – Lower the exposure level of background while brighten the main subject slightly. This helps the main subject stand out, drawing viewers’ attention to the main subject.
  2. Skin Smoothing – Apply the Soft Skin brush to every inch of skin visible in the frame, then remove any blemishes with Spot Removal tool. I also adjust the luminance level of the color red and orange, and increase the noise level of the smoothened skin to give it a natural look.
  3. Eyes Sharpening – Use the Sharpening brush to sharpen the eyes, especially if the model is looking directly at the camera.
  4. Eyes and Teeth Whitening – Apply the brush on the white areas of the eyes and the teeth, then adjust the saturation level down so they are whiter. However, if the saturation level is too low, the areas that were brushed may appear too white and unnatural.
  5. Graduated Filter – Apply a graduated filter at the bottom of the frame so the bottom looks less exposed and provides a more subtle “foundation” to the photo.

There are others things I do to portrait photos. However, I always make sure that I do these five things before considering other options. Do you edit your photos? What do you typically do to your photos? Please share your thought below.

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