Capital Photography Center | Photography Classes in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and Online

Editing Your People Pics

May 16, 2020 by Catherine Simmons

Whether you are taking casual family & friends’ photos or capturing professional style headshots and portraits, having the skills to edit them will make your images stand “head and shoulders” above the rest, pun intended. 

Lightroom and Photoshop have incredibly powerful editing tools and learning them is not as difficult as you may think. Many photographers begin by learning Lightroom, but eventually transition to Photoshop as their needs for specialized editing tools and techniques increase.

Lightroom is great for tasks such as whitening teeth, brightening eyes, removing small blemishes, or lightly smoothing skin; however, some tasks require the more advanced capabilities offered in Photoshop. For instance, fixing a chipped tooth, removing stray hairs, slenderizing trouble spots, enhancing a smile, or a toning down a hot spot on the forehead are easy with Photoshop’s built in filter tools, adjustment layers, and advanced brushing techniques.

Additionally, even some of the fixes Lightroom offers, such as skin softening or color correction, can be accomplished with more advanced specificity in Photoshop.

  • For enhancing highlights in the hair, Photoshop users can dodge and burn on an 18% gray layer so as not to destroy pixels as well as to have fine tuning capabilities by reducing or increasing opacity on those changes.
  • Sometimes, skin tones can appear to have red blemishes or rose-colored imbalances. By using a hue/saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop, those red problem areas can be eliminated rendering a more natural and healthy-looking skin tone.
  • The patch tool can be used to remove the redness, bags, and wrinkles from underneath a person’s eyes with a few clicks of the mouse.
  • The liquify tool allows for the slimming of specific areas on the body and/or face as well as in enhancing of a smile or evening out asymmetrical attributes, in the eyes for example. Photoshop is a very powerful program with which photographers can fix just about anything with a basic understanding of simple to use tools.

Which Program to use? To decide which of the 2 programs is right for you, it’s helpful to consider the needs at hand. If you have 30 images from an event or photo shoot and you just want to add some basic exposure or color adjustments, Lightroom may be a better choice. If you have a few stand out portraits or images which you want to transform into an heirloom photograph, Photoshop will probably be a better option. Regardless of which category your work falls under, it’s highly likely that at some point, you will need both.

It is good to have Lightroom as a foundation to using Photoshop and when you subscribe to the Adobe plan, you get the Photography Plan, you can get Lightroom Classic, Lightroom and Photoshop all bundled together for $9.99 month.

Workflow - A good workflow might be to use LR for your simple exposure adjustments, white balance correction, and cropping. These edits can be applied as a “batch edit” which means that by editing one image in the bunch, those edits can then be applied to all other images taken in the same lighting elements, so you are not having to edit each of the 30 images separately. This saves time and ultimately money if there is money involved. After these basic edits are finished, you can then load your top choices or the files which may need some advanced work into Photoshop. In other words, it’s invaluable to have a working knowledge in both programs.

Certainly there is a plethora of editing programs available, however, Adobe LR and PS are highly supported programs in the photographic industry. Both offer RAW file processing which are then easily sharable among other creatives who utilize these tools and trouble shooting is easy with Adobe support. 

Courses that can help

Editing Portraiture with Photoshop - Learn how to make your good portraits great! Although it is designed with portraiture in mind, many of the tools and techniques explained can be used across all genres of images. 

The course materials are available on May 21. You can choose to study independently on your own or to study with full participation. The full participation students will have a live session on the first day in order to become familiar with the course outline and the Photoshop workspace. Then students can jump right in and begin editing either with sample images provided or with their own images. Each week, full participants will meet with the instructor via Zoom to discuss successes and challenges, ask questions, and engage in conversation surrounding topics related to portraiture and the photographic editing process as they relate to Photoshop.

Additionally, we offer the Lightroom Classic Develop Module course regularly and still have spaces in our June date and have just added a July date as well.  Note: This course covers the tools for general purpose photography and does touch on a few portraiture editing tips.

We hope to see you in an online editing course soon so you can learn new skills and and effectivly use the powerful tools available for editng special photos of your favorite people!