Portrait clients now expect some level of retouching on the proofs they see to make their final selections. Even a quick pass of removing blemishes using Lightroom Classic can take a couple of hours. There has to be an easier, faster way!
Proofs are most of the photographs from a session that the client or, in the case of most gentlemen, his significant other uses to pick the favorites. It’s not unusual to have 200 to 300 photos from a shoot with several outfit changes. The opening photo shows a large portion of the entire take.
People can’t or simply don’t want to imagine what the final product will look like. This means that some kind of skin retouching must be done on each proof. It used to be that applying a bit of blur to each face would do the job. There are tools that do this pretty well. Unfortunately, blemishes can still be distractions that some clients just won’t look past. They understand, logically, that the final will look much better than the proof. Emotionally they are uncomfortable. Client expectations must be met. And it had to be super-efficient to be cost-effective.
Artificial Intelligence speeds skin fixes
I use Lightroom’s Web module to make proofing websites. It’s super fast and the site can be saved as a template for proofs. It even has a built-in uploader. It does not have a fast way to solve for skin imperfections. Yes, there are plug-ins that can handle this. My new, absolute favorite solution in the AI Skin Enhancer found in Luminar 4. It’s super easy to use too.
Eight easy steps
- Click the + button and add the folder of RAW files.
- Select all of them (Command (WIN: Control) + A)
- Hold down the Command (WIN: Control) key and deselect the eye blinks or others that won’t possibly be picked.
- Click the edit button
- Choose the face (portrait) icon.
- Click on AI Skin Enhancer then move the slider to the right. If there are some tough skin issues click AI Skin Defects Removal.
- Choose File > Export, set a destination folder then click the Options button and choose the type of file and size.
- Click Save
That’s it. Luminar 4 applies the AI Skin Enhancer tool to each file and exports a file ready to turn into a proofing website or for delivery by Dropbox or the like.
Full disclosure, while Luminar 4 is fast, it does take time for each proof to be opened, have the effect applied and then saved. This takes time but it does not take babysitting. Once Save is clicked, Luminar 4 carries the load. A progress bar shows with a graphic telling which photo of the total number is being processed. On average, on my Mac Pro, each file took three and a half seconds. Much faster than anything else that includes applying an effect.
The photos below are straight out of Luminar 4 sporting AI-enhanced skin!
Click on each one to see a full size version.
I have made a set of Looks for skin and portrait enhancing in Luminar 4 that makes getting the look right very quick indeed.
What about portraits of women?
Skin enhancement is just the first step. Luminar 4 also has Portrait Enhancer. This is an AI tool it just doesn’t have AI in its name. Portrait Enhancer handles all the other tweaks that we love to see in final portraits. Women tend to be much more in tune with their looks than do men. Portrait Enhancer makes proofing for them a snap.