How did I go from the before to the after picture here in less than two minutes?
First let’s discuss what’s happened. I adjusted the exposure, vibrancy and definition in Aperture. Then I exported to Photoshop. There I removed all catchlights from the eyes except for one using the Clone Stamp. I darkened the pupils, and brought out her natural eye color using the Burn Tool and Saturation Tool. I removed blemishes (don’t remove birth marks) with the Patch Tool and then used a remarkable new product called onOne Plug-in Suite 4 to do the rest.
Using the plug-in, I also smoothed and softened her skin, further drawing attention to the eyes, vignetted the background, boosted saturation for all colors except the skin and did all this on a duplicate layer that I can further tweak if I want to control opacity, etc.
Using onOne’s “Magic Portrait Fixer” preset, I was able to do at least half the work in about 15 seconds.
You can use this illustration to see two things…
1) You shouldn’t overdo retouching (especially when the client is looking for a traditional actor’s headshot as she was here.)
2) You don’t have to spend hours to improve a portrait.
NOTE: I could have done much of this in Aperture, but I had to go to Photoshop anyway to use the onOne Plugin so I “round-tripped” to Photoshop and back into Aperture for final output.