Portrait Software - How over the top, or not, do you go?

warprintswarprints Posts: 61Member
edited December 2012 in General Discussions
My Forum homepage currently displays an ad for Portrait Professional.   I clicked on the ad, because I've considered getting some sort of Portrait software.   The before and after shots they show are pretty extreme -- I mean, the after shots are altering facial features, not just blemishes or an occasional pimple.   
Do any of you guys do portrait work and use this type of software?  How radical of changes do your clients want/accept?   I guess very vain people will want all their facial features changed so that they look like some ideal person, but then it's not really a picture of that person.   What do you think?
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Comments

  • You may want to check out Pro Retouch 2.0 from Totally Rad. It's a set of Photoshop actions that offer a great deal of speed and control, without the results looking like plastic. 
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I have a bias toward simple cleaning up of the skin on females.  I remove some wrinkles, occasionally reduce nose irregularities, and clear off pimples.  Scars are reduced but not eliminated.  By simply reducing the sharpness in the large areas with the brush tool in LR, one can really make a nice skin texture.  For me, a control freak, I prefer this to any programmed retouching.
    Msmoto, mod
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2012
    I have used Portrait Professional and I give it two thumps up; hence, great product to own. Given the amount of detail portrait lenses can capture, the application does an amazing job in clean up facial blemishes and imperfections. You can go a far as you like in editing.


    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • warprintswarprints Posts: 61Member
    Thanks for the replies -- but I guess I was really asking what clients think about having their portraits "touched up" - and how far off from reality are they happy with?   Does anyone really have clients that want their portraits altered so that their noses are "fixed" and their cheeks are slimmer, etc.?
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    I have a process (I use photoshop) where Ill take out the acne and big wrinkles. Duplicate the layer and over edit the top one then lower the opacity to get much softer lines. It look very natural but doesn't highlight the blemishes.  Never liked portrait professional I don't remember if it is still installed on my comp...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    In my (limited) experience, I prefer what is possible in Lightroom - so that is pretty light retouching.  If there is a permanent blemish - mole or some such - it stays.  Temporary pimples etc. get removed and lines that the light has not helped get softened.  That's it.

    I can't see ever having a use for that Portrait Professional kind of software.
    Always learning.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Thanks for the replies -- but I guess I was really asking what clients think about having their portraits "touched up" - and how far off from reality are they happy with?   Does anyone really have clients that want their portraits altered so that their noses are "fixed" and their cheeks are slimmer, etc.?
    While on a recent photo shoot that I was doing for no cost I showed the client some of the images on camera and she asked if I could "do something" with her tummy.  Being a typical amateur I was more than happy to play with the liquify tool in Photoshop.  I literally removed pounds and she was overjoyed with the result but after doing tummy tucks and upper arm tightening on about 25 pictures I've learned that it's very time consuming and warrants a little compensation.  I've never touched up a face beyond blemishes and wrinkles and would not change the shape of a face without them knowing beforehand that the final picture might look a little different.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    I have used Portrait Professional many times.  Some women who are very concerned about looking good really love the result of Portrait Professional.  Many Christmas Cards have used my photos run through Portrait Professional. The new version even can take many pounds off the face.  I would say you can easily remove about 15 years and about 15 pounds with no one being able to detect the alterations.  That can mean a lot to certain people.  Just because you have it and can offer it doesn't mean everyone will want it.  But unless all the people you photograph really love their signs of aging, it is a nice option to have.   
  • warprintswarprints Posts: 61Member
    I have used Portrait Professional many times.  Some women who are very concerned about looking good really love the result of Portrait Professional.  Many Christmas Cards have used my photos run through Portrait Professional. The new version even can take many pounds off the face.  I would say you can easily remove about 15 years and about 15 pounds with no one being able to detect the alterations.  That can mean a lot to certain people.  Just because you have it and can offer it doesn't mean everyone will want it.  But unless all the people you photograph really love their signs of aging, it is a nice option to have.   
    Good points.  Thanks.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Here is a sample of what I just did to a pic of....yours truly  :D

    Original Pic


    ARN_5610-1

    Edited with Portrait Professional 11.0
    ARN_5610-2_pp
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Ahh... come on...those are twin brothers....
    I like the unedited version as certain characteristics are missing on the edited one.
    Msmoto, mod
  • warprintswarprints Posts: 61Member
    Yeah, that edit still looks like you.   Not as radical as some of the example PP shows on their site.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    To Warprints - it really depends. I take a lot of portraits of actors - a bunch of folks who are fairly conscious of their appearance.

    Some of them are young actors with complexion problems who ask for some help, some ask for a lot of help.

    I usually use Adobe Camera Raw's blemish brush. While  CS6 has much better and more precise tools, ACR will generally do a nice job. LR 4.3 is terrific and has organizational tools, too, and it would be the choice for batch processing for any number of other reasons, but not touching up photos. (As an aside, Bridge and CS6 works with ACR presets to batch process, too, in Actions - so it would be a fast processor for 'like' processes.)

    Youths aren't the only ones who appreciate a little touch up, but the amount of touch up clearly an 'artistic' decision.

    Some character is best to leave as is:

    image

    Again, there is a question as to whether the hair is a bit wild or some of the wrinkles could be smoothed, but it was my decision to leave it as it was.

    My best,

    Mike
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited December 2012
    The old adage is that the camera adds 10lbs (4.5kg) so isn't it our duty to remove them?
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    Yes, if that is what the person wants and many do.  
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    Also, starting with middle age each year adds a pound to your weight so in 10 years you have 10 extra pounds.  
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Ahh... come on...those are twin brothers....
    I like the unedited version as certain characteristics are missing on the edited one.
    I do not have a twin brother, but I do have a twin sister....I'm 5 minutes older than her :P

    As for the edit, it was my own personal touch up using Portrait Professional, I did not use many of their default setting.. The larger size of the pic shows the changes I made... to me the application is very useful
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    I used to work for a wedding photographer as a retoucher... I learned quickly how broad of a response one could get. One bride wanted me to take off 50pounds and the next freaked out when I minimized a scar... At this point I remove almost nothing unless by request but instead minimize its impact...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • TabazanTabazan Posts: 29Member
    Just for fun (or to give that specific "look at me, I'm just back form my surgeon"), I would chose Portrait Professional. But for serious portrait work, back to Lightroom.

    PP is not bad in itself but I feel it as not as professionnal in fact.
  • grholmegrholme Posts: 2Member
    Hi.
    I was impressed by Portrait Professional and like what I can do with it. It shortens my work flow
    One caution. I found that you have to force your self to be light handed with it. It is so easy to go overboard and you can end up with a Pablo Picasso type image :-)
    I try to not remove facial blemishes but reduce their prominence if possible so they are not as "distracting?"
    I am not a pro portrait photographer but I find that works best for me on the ones that I do. I like small tweaks, no major surgery.
    You can get that "I'm just back from the surgeon" look in Lightroom also. :-) heh heh heh
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    edited December 2012
    The old adage is that the camera adds 10lbs (4.5kg) so isn't it our duty to remove them?
    That depends mostly on the focal length you are using and the angles.  If you know how to get the right angles and the right perspective, you should never have to worry about that.

    Portrait professional is a decent stand alone program and provides quick results as long as you keep it in check.  The default settings are way to over the top and since its a separate program it adds an unnecessary step in the work flow.  There are quite a few other plug-ins for Photoshop that integrate into the workflow a lot better such as Portraiture.  As for touch ups, I'm fortunate to work in an industry where most of the people I photograph are younger and have great skin, plus having a make up artist most of the time helps too.  The most editing I've done lately has been very simple touch-ups using healing brush. 

    How much is over the top?  For me, Its always about commercial viability and if I could see this picture in a magazine in the newstands.  It's important to keep some blemishes or distinguishing features in there because it provides realism to the picture.  There are way too many photographers out there that just run a general filter and make the faces look fake and unnatural.  To me, that defeats the entire purpose of taking the picture since the more you edit it, the more you take away from it.  The next time you go to the mall,take a look at the ads of the clothing stores (not cosmetic stores since that's a different category) and you'll notice how simple the editing really is.


    Post edited by safyre on
  • juliej466juliej466 Posts: 1Member
    I agree with safyre, Portraiture is a much better program.  It does not alter the shape of the face and as a bonus you can adjust multiple faces as the same time.  Portraiture simply smooths the skin as much or little as is desired.  Going too far with edits can make the individual not look like themselves.  I have seen instances where a photographer edited a portrait so heavily that the individual looked like they had aged 20 years in the next pictures they posted to their Facebook account!  They had friends asking them if they had taken ill!  Your main goal should be to de-emphasize any harsh facial features, I try to make the adjustments only to the point that it looks like nothing more than great lighting (which is key as well)...but sometimes even the best lighting needs some help ;)
  • jonnyapplejonnyapple Posts: 130Moderator
    This is a fun video that seems to fit in with the conversation.

    CC is welcome. DC is also welcome when I deserve it.
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