For some photographers, retouching portraits in Photoshop is part of the fun. For others, especially pros working through large image sets from multiple portrait sittings, retouching can become a grinding chore. If manual retouching sounds like all work and no play, consider investing in software that specializes in streamlining common portrait corrections.
These apps take the heavy lifting out of the process by automatically creating masks and offering preset corrections to simplify enhancements like skin smoothing—great for beginners, but helpful for even experienced Photoshop users who want to speed up their workflows. Batch processing and the ability to save custom presets can dramatically reduce turnaround time for busy portrait studios.
Whether you’re a pro looking to expedite repetitive tasks, or a photographer who’d rather work with a camera than a keyboard, these applications will help you quickly create stunning portraits that your subjects will love. A downloadable demo version is available for each, so you can try before you buy.
One of the most popular portrait-focused applications, PortraitPro makes dramatic portrait enhancements (almost) completely automatic. Open your photo in PortraitPro, and the software identifies key facial features of your subjects, prompts you to select gender for each and adjusts its enhancements accordingly. After giving you the option to fine-tune its facial feature detection, the software smooths skin, removes blemishes, brightens eyes and teeth, and reshapes facial structures. It can even "relight" your subject for more pleasing highlights and shadows. All of these adjustments can then be manually controlled with simple sliders if you want to dial back or intensify the effects. PortraitPro can handle group portraits, too, allowing you to refine the look of each subject individually. Three editions are available: Standard is a stand-alone app, while the Studio and Studio Max versions also work as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom. List Price: From $39 (Standard). Contact: Anthropics PortraitPro, portraitprofessional.com.
ATHENTECH PERFECTLY CLEAR PLUG-INS 2.0
Though not strictly a portrait processor, Perfectly Clear 2.0 now includes the Beautify feature from the Perfectly Clear smartphone app. Upgraded for the desktop, Beautify makes 10 adjustments to your portraits, including basic enhancements like skin smoothing and shine removal to more dramatic changes like eye enlargement and face slimming. Beautify’s facial detection techniques identify age, gender and prominent facial features to help automate the process. In addition to its portrait-enhancement ability, Perfectly Clear also offers tools to improve photos of any subject, such as exposure, color and dynamic range corrections, noise reduction and intelligent sharpening. Available as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom; a stand-alone version is currently in beta. List Price: From $149. Contact: Athentech Imaging, athentech.com.