Here’s a little secret that can get you fabulous portrait results without Photoshop or the college education you need to learn how to use it. A few years ago I bought PortraitPro for my Mac (back then it was called something else). Think of it as Photoshop for Portraits without the extreme learning curve.
The reason I forked over the change for PortraitPro was our daughter’s wedding and how aged I thought I looked in the wedding party photo. Even iPhone cameras are good enough to capture far too many wrinkles that I care to make public.
PortraitPro is, as the name implies, an app for portraits; packed with tools that just work on faces and not backgrounds, mountains, landscapes, or closeups (unless the closeup is a face, I guess). Even on photos not taken in a studio with perfect lighting, PortraiPro makes it straightforward, almost simple, to repair skin blemishes (pimples and imperfections), reduce visible wrinkles, and add a few enhancements.
It’s one thing to remove some wrinkles and pimples and adjust the skin tone to something less reminiscent of Donatella Versace meets Donatello the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but it’s something else to take a decent portrait photo and turn it into a classic. Before I get into the details of what else PortraitPro can do, check out a few Before and After shots.
PortraitPro’s tools remove visible blemishes and can alter skin tone throughout the portrait. It also comes with makeup controls so it works much like when a movie star puts on makeup but someone captured a photo prior to the makeup session.
That means bronze controls, highlighting, blusher, mascara for lashes, eyeliner styles, eyeshadow colors and shapes.
And, speaking of shapes, PortraitPro also reshapes the face making it perfectly symmetrical which is a dramatic change by itself.
Here’s another sample and notice the eyes have been lifted.
How are such startling results accomplished?
In a word, tools. Point and click tools. Slider bars for effects. Simply select the portion of the portrait you want to repair or enhance, then select the proper tool, make adjustments in the controls, and you’re done.
Well, not quite.
It isn’t so much that PortraitPro has a learning curve, it does, but nothing like the plethora of tools that come with Photoshop. Instead, there’s more of a trial-and-error curve because the adjustments you can make on a portrait are innumerable, even though the tools focus on elements such as lighting, lips, eyes, skin tone, teeth, and blemishes.
The controls themselves are visible within a righthand sidebar and are not difficult to understand but take some practice to implement appropriately. PortraitPro can detect gender and age and display just the tools you need for that portrait. Facial shapes can be altered, symmetry added, even countenance can be improved by lifting a smile, and it’s all done in real time, while you adjust, but it’s easy to get lost in Slider-land.
I picked up the old Portrait Profession version back when it was in single digits. The latest is version 15 which has more makeup enhancement features, including an option to improve mouth, chin, and nose with auto detection and automated editing. The latest version also has a child mode which is one reason I upgraded (grandchildren).
Yes, there’s a trial try-before-you-buy version so I suggest you try it first because, as easy as it is to get solid professional level results, PortraitPro requires plenty of trial and error effort to get started.