My sister is our family photographer. I have an expensive Nikon digital SLR, but she has the equipment and experience to take a photo and make it better than the original.
Our last photo session was a disappointment. She took a few hundred photos of me, my husband, and the kids, but left me with the original un-retouched jpg images. That meant I was on my own to make the photos actually look good.
The Disappointments Of iPhoto
It took just a few moments to bring the photos into iPhoto. What a disappointment. Sure, my kids and the cherub faces looked beautiful. Portrait photos of me were a different story.
Wrinkles, blemishes, moles, oh my! Yikes!
My sister’s expensive camera, expensive lens, and expensive lights managed to highlight my facial flaws in 24-bit backlit LED color plastered on a 27-inc Mac screen. Where’s the love, sis?
iPhoto is nice to retouch here and there, click to remove red eye, and add some saturation, but I needed some digital botox. iPhoto was digital Clearasil and didn’t do the job of moving my skin back into the 20th century where it belongs.
So, I set out to find a few Mac apps that would re-touch my untouchable face, and give my children scrapbook photos where they’ll smile and remember their mommy, rather than chuckle at the old raisin woman.
Specific Tools For Specific Jobs
I dug into Photoshop Elements because it has more enhancement tools than iPhoto. Sure enough, add a few layers of this filter and that filter and my portrait looked better, younger, more like my imagination.
Spurred on my the success of a digital makeover, I dug around and found a Mac app that does exactly what I was after. A beautiful before and after effect. Before, wrinkly and blemished. After, a lovely Mac queen who just looks a decade younger (except for all the old person’s clothes).
The tool? Portrait Professional. It’s digital air brushing, especially for faces; portraits. Yes, it’ll touch up, but that’s not a make over and that’s what portrait photography needs for those of us who stopped counting birthdays.
Portrait Professional appears a bit complex what with all the buttons and sliders, but the steps are basic.
Select male or female face (somehow it knows what to do). Mark five points on the portrait face—nose, eyes, corners of the mouth, in my case. The app displays drag tools for eyes, nose, and mouth which can be repositioned tightly around each feature.
Then, click. In a few seconds my face changed from corn cob to beauty queen. Blemishes disappeared, wrinkles—especially those around the eyes and mouth—were reduced significantly, and overall skin tone looked many years younger.
Sliders in the toolbar let you tweak everything, including skin tone, color, and even the shape of the face itself (it changes as you get older, you know). As an example, the eye slider can change the actual level of the eyes. A touch up brush helps to remove larger blemishes, moles, and other imperfections which are perfectly captured by the camera.
Take a look at the composite I pulled from the Portrait Professional web site. Slick, huh (click the image for a larger pop up view)?
Impressive. Portrait Professional works as a standalone Mac app (and Windows) or as a Photoshop plug-in. Yes, you can do the same thing in Photoshop or Elements, but it’ll take time to learn the tricks, while PP performs the whole transformation with a few clicks.
Think of it as a digital makeover for the 40 somethings who want to look like 20 somethings.