Today’s post is about finishing faces. It has no illustrative photo, for a reason.

You see, when you shoot a portrait, with today’s multi megapixel cameras and great lenses, you can zoom in to pore-level. And when you do that, even Angelina Jolie is human rather than angelic.

So it behooves us to be a little easy on the skin. To go easy on imperfections. But in a subtle manner.

Here are a few things to make things look better after the fact:

  1. Use a softening filter. We rarely do this anymore in the Photoshop age.
  2. Select a soft image setting in our cameras. This too is unnecessary.
  3. Use the “Clarity” setting in Lightroom, and set it to, say, -15. This is mathematical magic worth trying.
  4. Use Lightroom’s (or Photoshop’s)  healing brush to permanently remove temporary blemishes – such as pimples, bruises, etc.
  5. Use Photoshop’s Healing Brush to move wayward hairs into place.
  6. Use the same Lightroom Healing brush to make slight facial adjustments (I have been known to ever so slightly move an eye).
  7. Minimize permanent features – Healing brush set to an opacity of 33%, say.
  8. Use the HSL tool to increase the luminance of orange – this is kind to skin.
  9. Optimize the exposure of skin – the brighter, the smoother.
  10. Slightly vignette the image.

And with some simple tools like the ones above, carried out in seconds, we can subtly impriove faces until the subject loves the image without knowing quite why.

And that is why I am not illustrating this with an image. I would rather keep everyone guessing.

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