Review: Portrait Perfection Photoshop Actions, from SleekLens
Portrait Perfection from SleekLens
When Sleeklens got in touch with me to review Portrait Perfection, their latest offering for portrait photographers, I was excited to see what innovations they were bringing to the table. Portrait Perfection is a collection of 56 actions that's good for Photoshop 4 through to Creative Cloud, compatible with RAW and JPEG images. The collection is a broad tool for portrait retouching and editing, and offers an all-in-one solution for photographers who don't necessarily want to spend hours in Photoshop but want some quick and very usable results at a reasonable price ($49.99 at the time of writing). SleekLens have a wide range of tools for Photoshop editors, which you can see here.
Installation was a breeze - it's just a case of putting the .atn file in a safe place on your hard drive and loading it from the actions panel in Photoshop.
In order to do the review I worked on an on-location child's portrait - straight out of camera the image was a little under-exposed, needed some skin work and light retouching, some cooling-off of the sunny yellow tones and a final sharpen and prep for the web.
Here's the image I started with:
Not a bad image, but in need of little something to sweeten it up!
I started with the patch tool to remove a few small skin blemishes, cleaned up under the eyes with some light clone stamping then set to work with some of the Portrait Perfection retouching tools.
Soft Glow Skin is a basic skin smoothing action that gives similar results to Imagenomic Portraiture and is very simple to use - you just paint it on and adjust layer opacity to avoid 'mannequin skin'. I also used the Reduced Reds colour correction to remove a little bit of red around the eyes and nose. I then used the Rose Skin Brush to put a little red back, this time to give slightly rosy cheeks.
If you open the Fast Retouch action you get a number of options, as shown above. I used Bright Sparkly Eyes to brush on a bit of light into the irises and used Lashline and Details to give a little definition to the eyelashes. There's also a Glossy Lips action, which I used very lightly.
In the Enhance Tones section of the collection are a a set of 14 colour grading actions to change the mood of your image. I chose Star Trails, which cooled down my image and took away the slightly too sunny look (it had been shot in bright sun in India). The other actions in this section add a range of interesting tonal changes, and there is something to suit most images, but these will be best suited to images taken on location rather than in the studio. To finish the grading, I added a slight curve in Photoshop to just lift the overall brightness of the image.
My final process was to run one of the web preparation actions - this gives a little sharpening and resizes at 960, 2048 pixels, or allows for custom sizing. Saving as a .png is best for sharing on Facebook, .jpg everywhere else.
Here's my final image:
There isn't a dramatic difference, because the image was shot with care initially :-) but the SleekLens actions are definitely a user-friendly way to edit quickly and improve your photographs.
The collection contains a number of useful features that I tried but weren't appropriate for this particular image - there's a set of vignettes, movable light glows, all-in-one colour graders and some finishing tools like frequency separation and painterly effects.
Portrait Perfection is competing in a marketplace with big hitters like Greater Than Gatsby and Florabella - it holds its own very well as an all-in-one solution and is priced very competitively at $49.99. It is easy to use and gives impressive results.