Photo Post Production Workflow

In this article I am documenting my post production worfklow involving Adobe Lightroom, Portrait Professional, and Adobe Photoshop. The amount of time needed to edit a photo using all 3 of these software solutions is significant, so I tend to only complete all 3 steps with only my top picks from each shoot. Normally I will do all of the work within Lightroom, which gives me a lot of control over the image, but doesn’t offer the touch up tools required to finish an image at a more professional level. Once I have done some general image editing to get the color, contrast, and lighting where I want it I will export a copy of the image and open it up with Portrait Professional. You may have at least heard of Portrait Professional because they advertise in just about every photography magazine out there. I frequently see ads for them in Popular Photography. After trying out a demo version I purchased a copy for a decent price and use it mainly to smooth out skin and hair. It’s a partially automated system that also has some features that attempt to manipulate your subjects facial features to make them more pleasant looking. The settings allow you to change the size of the subject’s forehead, eyes, jaw, etc. Sometimes applying these types of “improvements” will produce some nice results, other times it will slightly disfigure the subject or leave noticeable issues around the area that was altered. I disable these features, but I can see why some people might want to use them and get a little creative.
Before After
After completing the skin and hair smoothing in Portrait Professional I will bring a copy of the image into Adobe Photoshop. This is where I will fine tune some left over blemishes, remove or edit any aspects of the photo that I don’t want. An example would be to change the color of an earring, or to remove an earring altogether. All of these steps take me a little over half an hour to perform. The video accompanying this article was sped up to 5x the original speed and in real time lasts 36 minutes. The good news is the the Lightroom step can be streamlined so that once you have set up the settings for one image you can apply those same effects to similar shots in your gallery with a couple clicks. That cuts down the amount of development time significantly when working with a gallery of images. Lightroom presets also help speed up the process if you find yourself applying a similar style to most of your photos.


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