Portrait-specific post processing software

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
533
8
St. Paul, MN
Anyone use portrait-specific post processing software that you can recommend -- or warn against purchasing?

I don't have Photoshop and only use Lightroom 5. For the most part, this has met all my needs. But, what do you use for portraits of students who have more than a mild amount of adolescent blemish reduction needs?

I often see Portrait Professional ads on these pages (I know that the ads aren't endorsed by CR) with samples that overdo things a bit. Anyone have experience with this software?
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,829
1,055
Southeastern USA
Photoshop is essential. The skin treatments possible with Imagenomic's Portraiture are the best, but being able to locally adjust with Photoshop makes it a truly professional plug-in.
 

unfocused

EOS 1D MK II
Jul 20, 2010
5,362
2,099
66
Springfield, IL
www.mgordoncommunications.com
I use a combination of Photoshop and OnOne Perfect Portrait. OnOne is good for some light reduction in blemishes and skin problems and does a good job of improving eyes and teeth.

But for teen and young adult skin I find the best system are the tried and true healing brushes in Photoshop. Make a second duplicate layer, and then go to work on that layer with the healing brush. If its too much, you can reduce the opacity a little, so it looks more natural and then duplicate and merge the duplicated layers in Photoshop.

Then use OnOne to soften the skin a bit and improve the eyes and mouth.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
8,236
1,593
120
Nothing touches Photoshop, and nothing does skin retouching like frequency separation and dodge and burn.
 

PureClassA

Canon since age 5. The A1
Aug 15, 2014
1,932
553
Mandeville, LA
Shields-Photography.com
I have Lightroom 5, Photoshop, and Portrait Professional.

I shoot in RAW and always begin my work in Lightroom for most adjustments and especially cataloging. I'd guess 90% or more of my time in there.

I use portrait professional sparingly and I have many of the features tuned down or off entirely. For example I always have the shaping feature off as it is too heavy handed. The default skin corrections are as well but once you set them correctly and build a profile it really is nice and simple. However, even with the facial recognition capabilities, it is of course imperfect. Most times It doesn't quite get all the right skin area masked (most commonly under the nose), but you can adjust that.

All that said.... there is a default "Skin Softening" brush in LR that works very well, which can also be adjusted. I find the -100 clarity too much and back it off to about -65 or so.

Then there is photoshop, which just lets you do everything but it requires a much greater patience for its longer learning curve. However, once you get a feel for the workflow there is nothing else comparable.

I really don't even use Portrait Pro much anymore at all. One thing I find frustrating is that once I make my LR corrections and export to "Edit in Portrait Professional" it requires me to make another TIFF file first, then PP wants to make its own picture adjustments, etc... then I send it back to LR and have to dump the original TIFF.... It's just sort of a pain in the ass.

The new version can work with RAW files supposedly but I haven't tried because they don't have near the capability of LR.

Further I find the flow between LR and PS much smoother than between LR and PP (for obvious reasons... both are Adobe). When importing lots of files at once to PP, it gobbles up excessive amounts of RAM and CPU, especially if LR is running in tandem. I have a Mac Pro quad core thank God. Before I had a Mac Mini and running those two together was physically painful.

Bottom line is this. Adobe lets you get PS and LR right now for $9.99 per month. It's a friggin steal. You'd be crazy not to get it. But do as much of your work as possible in LR5. There really are a ton of tools in there and only go to PS when you really need to for complex edits and adjustments. Staying in LR (or any comprehensive single program) will really keep your workflow simple. The more exporting to other software you do, the more your workload increases exponentially.
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,530
22
Photoshop. Learn Photoshop. It's the prime tool. Expensive plugins are generally "canned" versions of what you should easily be able to achieve with Photoshop. Too often images processed through plugins tend to look a lot like images that have been, well, processed with a plugin. People who do use them skillfully tend to use them sparingly. Go directly...

-pw
 

Marsu42

Canon Pride.
Feb 7, 2012
6,316
0
Berlin
der-tierfotograf.de
pwp said:
Photoshop. Learn Photoshop. It's the prime tool. Expensive plugins are generally "canned" versions of what you should easily be able to achieve with Photoshop.
As I'm not able to do the the Photoshop thing (yet), I admit that I find Portrait Professional Studio excellent for standard portraits - and even for a PS wizard, it's probably quicker than the real thing(tm). Time is money, and how long do you want to sit layering around with PS for a few bucks?

All portrait clients of mine were quite happy with the results with PPS, and since there's no need to use all options you can prevent a overprocessed look. The problem is that once you move out of the standard portrait look you're back to square one as the facial recognition won't lock on.
 

JonAustin

Telecom / IT consultant and semi-pro photographer
Dec 10, 2012
641
0
Horseshoe Bay, TX
unfocused said:
I use a combination of Photoshop and OnOne Perfect Portrait. OnOne is good for some light reduction in blemishes and skin problems and does a good job of improving eyes and teeth.

But for teen and young adult skin I find the best system are the tried and true healing brushes in Photoshop. Make a second duplicate layer, and then go to work on that layer with the healing brush. If its too much, you can reduce the opacity a little, so it looks more natural and then duplicate and merge the duplicated layers in Photoshop.

Then use OnOne to soften the skin a bit and improve the eyes and mouth.
This ▲

I've also found good tutorials online for using adjustment layers in Photoshop to reduce / smooth wrinkles.

I currently use the OnOne Perfect Effects 8 suite, and am considering upgrading to v9. Lots of nice tools and effects in addition to the Portrait module.

Other than Lightroom, Photoshop and OnOne, I also use Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-ins periodically, when I don't have / don't want to spend the time to do a lot of labor-intensive retouching.