Fast Portrait Fixes

Everyone wants to look their best (and maybe a little better) in photographs. Whether you’re working on a self-portrait or an image of a friend or client, retouching photos of people is a fine art, and done manually, takes a lot of skill and practice to get right.

Specialized retouching software like PortraitPro 12 makes it easy, and you don’t need any experience to get great results. The workflow is simple: Select a photo, specify your subject’s gender, and the software automatically identifies the outlines of key facial features to enhance. It does remarkably well on its own, but PortraitPro also lets you adjust these outlines in case they’re off slightly, which typically happens when the subject is shot at an angle, rather than head-on.

In most cases, you probably can save the file at this point—the software is that good. It automatically softens skin blemishes, smooths facial features, adds brilliance to the eyes and improves color. And, now, in Version 12, it even enhances the lighting.

If you want to take more hands-on control, you can refine the results even further, with more than 150 sliders to adjust the smallest details. You even can do wilder effects such as changing your subject’s eye color.

Also new in Version 12 is the ability to share your retouched portrait on Facebook, right from within the application itself. Three versions are available: Standard, Studio and Studio Max. The Studio versions can be run as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom, and offer support for RAW files and 48-bit color. Studio Max adds a powerful batch-processing mode for professionals working on large groups of images. List Price: $49 (Standard); $79 (Studio); $149 (Studio Max). Contact: Portrait Professional, www.portraitprofessional.com.

MICROPHONE QUICKSTART GUIDE

The Facebook button opens a window where you can add a description, decide to show "Before and After" images or "After Only", and post directly to the social-networking site.

You can use PortraitPro to work on group portraits, too. Click "Other Faces" to select which person you want to work on.

Use the Touch Up Brush to paint over blemishes, wrinkles, stray hairs and other imperfections.

Use the Restore Brush to bring back original details that were automatically softened or removed by PortraitPro.

Use the Navigator to zoom in and focus on small details.

The Presets pane offers a variety of one-click "recipes" created from the Portrait Improving Sliders. You can also save your own presets.

The Portrait Improving Sliders contain more than 150 specific adjustments you can make. Drag the slider controls, or click the numeric value to the right of each slider to enter an exact value, or increase or decrease the effect incrementally.

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