Portrait Editing Technique

Portraits are good opportunities to use a shallow Depth of Field, having the focus solely on the main subject. If the photo wasn’t taken in such way, a good place to start is to mask the background and add a bit of blur. #TODO how?

Starting with lighting. Portraits usually start with a bright subject, so the idea is to further contrast it with the surroundings. This can be done with a small bump up in Contrast and Highlights plus a notch down on Shadows. This effect can be more dramatic by reducing the Exposure of the background and/or increasing it for the subject.

Moving on to colors, the goal is to emphasize the colors related to the main subject. If the background is neutral, we can just add a good deal of Vibrance to increase color saturation for details. Otherwise, this adjustment can be done just for the subject coupled with a reduction of Saturation for the background. If there’s some fashion involved, it’s interesting to add a small bump in the Saturation of the most prominent colors for the clothing/make-up as well.

For effects, adding a good chunk of Vignette will guide the attention to the center of the image. If the subject is a person, reducing Clarity a little bit might smooth out skin imperfections.

And as final details, an increase in Sharpness will bring crisper edges and balance out any Clarity reduction.