Saturday, January 10, 2009

Retouching baby photos

Now I know why people always brought their kids to Sears for their "official" portraits, even though they had working cameras at home: babies have skin worse than teenagers. I was getting some closeups ready for my little girl's blog when I saw it up close and personal.

I don't love spending all kinds of time playing with my photos. But this is my little girl we're talking about — I wouldn't be much of a daddy if I didn't make her look her best, right? I was looking for a quick and easy solution, so I went looking for "portrait" plugins for Photoshop.

I knew anything I found, no matter how fancy, would smooth out skin tones while sacrificing detail. But I was willing to compromise a little detail if it saved me a lot of time. I settled on Portraiture 2 from Imagenomic, which is available as a trial download. It's a pretty complex plugin, and does its job well, I think.

Before applying Portraiture 2 plugin.

After applying Portraiture 2 plugin.

I call the above shot the "Olan Mills effect." It's smooth as a baby's bottom, but missing a lot of detail, like skin texture and wrinkles, little hairs, etc. But on the other hand, it's quick and easy to apply.

The shot below uses filtered daylight from a window blind, and really accentuates the baby's dry skin and acne. I couldn't leave it that way. But I like the way the light and contrast of the shot looked, so I didn't want to just smear away all the imperfections. I chose a more labor-intensive approach, using the healing brush and blur tool.

Before painstakingly removing skin blemishes manually.


t took maybe 10 minutes to get rid of the skin blemishes manually. Not my favorite way to work, but we're talking about precious memories here!

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