This example was created using concepts and techniques from “Vanelli’s Weekend Tips: Skin so soft.”
There are countless ways to edit skin and remove wrinkles. As a portrait photographer, I would rather have a makeup artist fix the skin and I focus on photography. But there are times when you don’t have a makeup artist and you have to enhance the portrait using image editing software. Here’s how to use Luminar to get soft, smooth, wrinkle-free skin.
Start with a quality portrait
I taught a group of photographers how to capture a natural light portrait using a large 8-foot scrim to soften the harsh light. We used the large setup because we were working with so many people, You can get similar results using a smaller diffuser. The diffuser made sure the subject was lit properly and didn’t have hot spots all over. Shooting with an aperture between f/2.8 and f/4.0 offers a shallow depth of field causing the skin to look smoother.
Using a combination of filters for soft, smooth skin
Apply the AI Enhancer Look. This Luminar Look will use the power of AI to quickly develop the image and automatically improves color, detail, tone and depth to the image.
Use a negative value for Structure, which typically adds detail and clarity to the image. The Amount slider determines the strength of the effect. By moving the slider to the right, the amount of visible detail in the image increases. Moving the slider to the left will cause the image to lose detail. Softness controls the overall softness of structure and textures in the image. I want some texture in the skin, so move the softness slider to the right. Boost controls the overall amount of the filter effect applied to your image.
Apply the Orton Effect filter. This filter allows enhancements to an image that includes glow and focus which produces photos that are sharp and blurry at the same time. This is a great way to add a unique look to your photos. The Orton Effect filter offers two different types. Type 1 increases the saturation of the image while Type 2 offers a softer glow.
Select Type 2. Normally to draw attention to the subject’s face, I would darken the outline of their face, but the Orton Effect does this with the Softness slider. Adjust Brightness, Contrast to your taste and use Saturation to adjust the skin color.
Then, mask out the effect on the eyes, eyebrows, nostrils and lips.
Since we are going to use these filters and their settings as a starting point for future edits, let’s save this as our own Luminar Look. Click the save Luminar Looks button at the bottom of the Edit Panel and give your new Look a name. Your custom Luminar Look is added to the User Luminar Looks in the Luminar Looks Collections. This will make future edits faster and more consistent.
The secret step to removing wrinkle and make it look natural
Click the Tools button on the top toolbar and select the Erase tool. Adjust the Brush size then click and brush over the unwanted area — wrinkles or blemishes. The selected areas will be highlighted in Red.
Click the Erase button to remove these areas. Notice how this looks unnatural. Don’t worry, we will adjust this in the next step. Click the Done button to apply the changes.
To make the edit look natural, add the Structure Filter. Decrease the Amount and increase Softness. Now, paint in the softness effect just under the eyes by applying a Filter mask. Click the Brush symbol and select Brush. Brush under the eyes at 100 percent opacity using Paint. Click the Done button to apply the filter mask. Here’s the secret step to making this look natural — add back some of the wrinkles by lowering the Layer’s opacity!
Comparing the original to the enhanced image
How simple was that! This is just one way to retouch your images faster. I know retouching is a delicate topic among photographers. How much retouching should we apply if any? Here are my thoughts, if I had a makeup artist on set, they would apply concealer to hide wrinkles. So, I don’t have a problem using software to hide wrinkles and smooth skin. My rule is simple — if the subject’s own mother doesn’t recognize them in the photo, you’ve gone too far.