Welcome to #filterfriday, where every week I talk about Photoshop presets and editing tips I've been using lately in my professional and personal work.
Some of you know that I am a full time graduate student, have an internship, and work a part time job on top of doing photography, not to mention I have a personal life! So on some days when I've had 4 shoots in one day and piles of homework on my plate, presets help me stay on schedule while still maintaining a quality of editing for my clients by streamlining the process.
For this week's #filterfriday, I'm talking about some presets that I know in the future will be helping me out on those difficult days: Sleeklens' Portrait Perfection workflow collection for Photoshop and Lightroom.
Disclaimer: Sleeklens provided me with the preset package, but the opinions are completely my own.
The Portrait Perfection Collection includes 56 Photoshop actions ranging from simple exposure adjustment to complete skin retouching. Almost all of the actions are completely customizable to your own style, from natural to airbrushed looks. Many utilize layer masks and opacity for complete control over the effects. The actions are also labeled and categorized by type within the actions folder for easy identification and access.
I like to maintain a natural style to editing, with minimal retouching done to my portraits, so I have mainly been using the actions effecting exposure, temperature, and tones (although you will see how I had a little fun with the skin touching actions at the end!)
For this shot of Sarah from Sarah Maybe I wanted to riff off the vintage vibe of her jacket and went with a more stylized edit. I first processed in Camera RAW to adjust exposure and contrast, then opened in Photoshop for Sleeklens actions.
TIP: As someone who struggles with creating natural looking vignettes, the Dark Vignette layer is now officially my FAVORITE vignette creator.
I loved the colorful, spring tones in this shot of Jenn from Hello Rigby! However I had to underexpose the shot to maintain the background because of the lighting conditions, and decided to brighten her skin and outfit post-processing. To brighten skin, I usually start with bringing up the shadows in Camera RAW and then use dodging and the occasional desaturation layer in Photoshop. However I decided to see how Sleeklens handles skin retouching and brightening. While some of the actions were too strong for my personal taste, I found that the PORTRAIT RETOUCH - Honey Skin Brush did exactly what I needed.
TIP: What makes these actions especially useful in maintaining an efficient and smooth workflow is that most of the layers made with the actions without painted through masks can be copied over to other files without adjustment - they automatically adjusted to the new image!
I wasn't able to cover all of the actions included in the Sleeklens Portrait Perfection collection in just one post, but these are the actions I have found to help my workflow the most. I can say that the collection is definitely tailored best towards portraits needing heavy retouching and enhancement, however it is totally adjustable to those like me who like to maintain a more natural editing style! And once in awhile I do headshot sessions where my clients desire more in depth retouching so this collection will definitely help me there.
That's it for #filterfriday this week! Stay tuned for next week's post about more editing for Spring themed shoots.
Karya Schanilec is a Seattle based photographer specializing in fashion, portrait, and performance photography.