3 Corrections for Perfect Portraits in Photoshop
The three most important areas when retouching a photograph are going to be the eyes, the teeth, and the neck. Do it right, and you can make the person look great. Here, we are going to discuss these problem areas, what to look for, and what you can do about it. Sometimes all it takes is a soft and subtle correction to fix some of the worst portraits, and create the Perfect Portraits.
For eyes, many times the largest problem is because of overhead lighting, eyes fall into the shadows. Portraits will look best if the eyes are fully defined, being lit directly from the front. However, more often than not, the light is coming from overhead sending both eyes into the shadows. Other times, the light will come from a single source on the left or right side, cause part of them to be defined, and the other side completely disappears into the darkened areas.. When defining the eyes yourself, you should be very careful not to over whiten the shadow areas. It needs to be subtle. Just enough so that there is definition, and it does look natural. Be extremely careful not to over whiten them, because it gives people a strange nuclear stare. If you would like to learn more about this topic, please watch the Photoshop CS5.5 Tutorial – How to Whiten Eyes. We will then go into more detail about various retouching techniques we use here in the studio.
The next area that really makes or breaks the portraits are going to be teeth. While the obviousness of them being crooked, will certainly ruin a shot, it’s also the discoloration or heightened contrast that can cause issues. For example, if someone smokes or drinks coffee, then they have that yellow tint to them. Perhaps the picture was taken in a green room, where the setting itself has a particular cast to it. Sometimes they may look pink as a reflection off of the lips. Even worse, harsh light can cause strong darks between them. The result there will cause the viewers attention to be drawn into the mouth.
What you need to do is to give them a balance, that gives it a more natural, cooler impression of white with a slight tint of blue. By taking the warmth away from teeth, not only will they "pop", but it will also give the surrounding lips and skin a warmer tone. Another thing that enhances teeth will be a slight, to severe, dental correction of the teeth using various retouching techniques. Please watch a video tutorial of how we Photoshop CS5.5 Tutorial – How to Whiten Teeth with Photoshop.
The third most important area is going to be the person’s jowls, the area between their chin and their neck. When people take photographs, they have a tendency to dip their head down, or tip their head up; in both cases it can cause a harsh shadow underneath the chin. This often happens with overhead lighting. Sometimes professional photographers will have the subject tilt their body to the left or right so that they will appear thinner in the chest and waist. Unfortunately, that will further cause creases in the neck that appear like ripples. This can actually be some of the hardest retouching to do, in order to make it look proper and presentable.
Before the need to make these corrections for perfect portraits in Photoshop, what the photographer wants the subject to do instead of lifting their head up or down, is to actually stick their chin straight out and move their head forward. Because of the flat plane of the picture, you will not see the person extending the head forward. You will however, see a decrease in shadow cast under the jowls of the chin, as well as loose some additional weight from the skin being stretched. The retouching under this area is exceeding complicated, because there is often a lighter and darker area that causes a gradient in the skin. A gradient just by default, is the hardest thing to mimic without completely recreating the entire gradient. So when working under the chin, you’re trying to grab parts of the gradient and move it around, and that’s something that causes the retouching to look blotchy and incredibly fake.
Much of the time, when you remove that extra jowl, double-chin affect, or other wrinkles to an excessive degree; the end result a person looks like they have a giraffe neck. At that point you’re moving up the collar, or lowering the head, or doing other excessive work. Clearly you want to avoid this extra work when possible. Inside our advanced video section, is the Photoshop CS5.5 Tutorial – How to Retouch the Neck, which is one of the hardest areas.
This article answers the question: What are the 3 Corrections For Perfect Portraits in Photoshop? If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer consulting one-on-one classes. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.