Join Robert Vanelli for an in-depth discussion in this video Improving skin and fixing blemishes, part of Portrait Photography: Business Portraits.
- Now, our next step, we're going to smooth out the skin and remove some of the blemishes. Now, a few years ago, the porcelain look was heavy. People would over, over-soften the skin to where the person looked like a porcelain doll. Now, thank God that that look has kind of faded away. So, here's a general rule of thumb. If the person's own mother doesn't recognize them in the photo, you went overboard on the skin softening and on the edits. So, it's for yourself, as a photographer and as an editor, you have to know when to push it a little bit far and then dial it back down to where it looks realistic.
Like in her case, we want to make sure that, when her clients come and see her, that they're really coming to see her, and not the person that was in the photo. Because if they don't recognize her, it does no good for a corporate portrait. So, let's jump back into Lightroom, and I'm going to show you how we're going to soften the skin and then remove some of the blemishes. So, to make the editing easier, I'm going to go back to the Wacom tablet to paint in the effect. And, by now, I'm sure you're going to predict we're going to go into the Develop module. I'm going to press keyboard shortcut D to bring it up, and let's select Fill, because what we want to do is get her face as much onto the screen as possible.
Now, we'll select the adjustment brush again, and, from the dropdown menu, we're going to come down here to Skin Soften. As you can see, the clarity is all the way to the left, to -100, and what that's going to do, it's going to blur the skin quite a bit. So, let's dial that back just a touch, maybe to about 60%. Now, one more thing we want to do, while we're at it, is let's come down here and click on the Auto Mask.
What that's going to do for us is, where that little brush sign is, or the little plus sign, anything we click on in that area is going to be selected, so I can go over and paint sloppily, and I'm not going to get the hair. If I put that plus sign on top of the hair, well, then it's going to start selecting that area. So, as long as we stay onto the skin, we'll be fine. So, let's begin. So, I'm going to click on the skin, and I'm going to slowly start painting. To see what I'm doing, I'm going to press the keyboard shortcut O, for the opacity, and I'm going to come around, and if I need to, like coming through areas here, I'll use that keyboard shortcut again, the bracket key to make my brush either larger or smaller.
Good. And let's paint. And around the skin here. And it's looking good. Good. Let's bring it down a little bit. And let's check the areas here, great. Now, if you'll notice, I went out just a little bit, and that's fine because we'll use the Alt key on a PC or the Opt key on a Mac to change my brush from adding in, subtracting or erasing the effect that we just did.
Good. And we're set. Now, let's press that Alt key or the Opt key, and let's paint away the overspill. Press O again to get rid of the overlay, and let's take a look at this on the screen itself. So, Fit, good, press Enter on the keyboard to lock in the changes, or just click on the adjustment brush again.
Beautiful. Click on Fill, and let's move it down a little bit. Nice. So, look what we just did. In that short, simple painting, we were able to paint in a little more softness into the skin. Now, while we're here, I did notice there's a few blemishes we want to get rid of, right in here. So, if I click on the Spot Removal tool, and let's just zoom in a little bit tighter, right here I'm going to adjust the brush size and just one click, and what Lightroom's going to do for me is it's going to take this area here, and it's going to try to find the best possible match, and what I want to do, instead of cloning, I want to be sure that it's set to Heal, so it heals that area that had the blemish.
Here's another one. Click. And it's selected, and if I don't like where the selection is, like in this case here, I'll just click on it and bring the selection around, there we go, to find the best spot. Let's click on Fill. Good. Now, if I press the keyboard shortcut, the spacebar, I'm able to move around the screen. Good, good. I want to zoom in again. Let's go to 1:1, good, right here, here's another spot.
And I'll do one more, beautiful. Now, if I have an entire area, let's see if I can find one, let's say right here, so if I have an area right here, instead of doing one click, let's bring the brush size a little bit smaller. I want to do is lightly just paint that area here. So, instead of it being just a round circle, now let me Ctrl+Z, so I'm going to undo that one, I'm just going to paint just that little spot, and watch what it does.
It takes that same paint pattern that I just created and it found another spot. If I click on the spot removal tool again, it locks in the changes. So, here we are, and now I'm going to hit the before and then after. One more time, before, which was a good photo, but now look at the difference with the after. And within just a few minutes, we were able to take a good image and make it a lot better.
- Choosing a backdrop
- Scouting locations
- Lighting for corporate headshots and environmental portraits
- Establishing rapport with clients
- Creating a sense of power through posing
- Editing portraits with Lightroom
- Cataloging and organizing images