Touching up your portraits or selfies can help to improve them in many ways. It isn’t so much about making the subject of the portrait look ‘perfect’ as it is about making them look their best.
That can be a bit tricky at first, but there are a few easy tips that should give you a good place to start touching up most portraits or selfies:
- Start by color correcting the portrait
Color correction is a good place to start when you want to touch up portraits or selfies. It is especially useful if the color temperature is significantly off, but even if not it can help to act as a foundation that ensures any other changes you make will be applied to the photo consistently.
If there is a white element in your portrait you can use it to gauge the color balance. However if there isn’t then zooming-in on the eyes and using their whites may help.
In most editors you should have an automated white or color balance tool that will provide an easy initial option. From there you can adjust the other color settings until you’re satisfied that the colors look right.
- Soften some flaws instead of removing them
If you remove all the flaws on your subject’s skin you’ll normally end up with a very fake and unnatural portrait. Instead of that however you can try softening some of them to make them less obvious.
The key is to selectively soften parts of the skin only slightly so that it doesn’t make the skin look too ‘plastic’. It can help to zoom in on the area that you’re softening so that you can observe its effect more closely.
- Brighten the eyes and make them more vivid – slightly
One of the most popular ways to touch up portraits of selfies is to brighten the irises of the eyes and make them look more vivid. However that can be a bit tricky, and if you brighten the eye too much or in the wrong way you risk making it look eerily unnatural. You could avoid this touch-up process altogether by wearing some of the best colored contacts out there, so your eyes always look the beautiful color you want them to without having to photoshop it when you are done.
In most cases you should try selecting the irises and making small adjustments to the saturation, exposure, and sharpness settings in your editor. Be sure to compare how it looks against the original frequently, so you can see if it starts to look unnatural.
If you really want to make your eyes stand out you should learn more about the human eye and its characteristics.
All said and done you should feel free to experiment, and maybe even try out more drastic changes such as switching the hair color or using your editor as an eye color changer.
Keep in mind that every photo is unique and you’ll need to assess it to figure out what touch ups need to be made. That being said the tips listed above can help in most cases, and should help you to bright out the best in your portraits and selfies.