7 Photoshop Tricks That Will Greatly Improve Your Portraits

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

7 Photoshop Tricks That Will Greatly Improve Your Portraits

Photoshop can be quite an intimidating program to use, especially if you’re a beginner. Since there are so many options available, it’s hard to find a single editing method that will both save you time and perfect your images.

If you’re having a hard time editing photos that your clients will love, all you need is an introduction to clever Photoshop tricks that are not only easy, but fun to work with. Using these tools, you’ll have more time to work on other things, get more editing experience, and acquire more inspiration. Let’s begin!

photoshop panel

#1 Replace Color (Enhances Facial Features)

Replace Color will add a pleasant contrast to your image and make your subject’s face stand out. Go to Image > Adjustments > Replace Color. Select the area you’d like to edit (I usually choose the skin area), and gently drag the Lightness slider to the right. If the results are too dramatic, change the layer’s opacity to around 40% to create a milder effect.

Enhances Facial Features

#2 Selective Color (Fixes Unusual Colors)

I use Selective Color to edit specific tones in my portraits. From darkening lip colors to fixing uneven skin tones, Selective Color will help you get the perfect results. Go to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color, click on the Yellow section, and experiment with all of the sliders. I usually focus on Black and Yellow for skin tones. To darken your subject’s lip color, switch to the Red section and drag the Black slider to the right.

Fixes Unusual Colors

#3 Color Filter (Adds Warmth)

An old, vintage effect looks good on any image. If you want to surprise your clients with a creative photo set, go to Image > Adjustments > Photo Filter. Create a warm, vintage effect by selecting any of the warming filters and setting the density to 20% – 40%.

Adds Warmth

#4 Gradient (Gives A Colorful Boost)

The gradient tool is something I occasionally use to add a spark of vibrant colors to my photos. The results are often striking and refreshing. To achieve this effect, click on the Adjustment icon at the bottom of your Layers box and select Gradient.
Select a gradient that appeals to you, click Ok, and change the layer mode to Soft Light. This will make the gradient slightly transparent. Then, change the layer opacity to around 20% – 30% for a subtle yet eye-catching effect.

Gives A Colorful Boost

#5 Match Color (Copies Inspiring Color Schemes)

To create a specific color theme, find a painting or photograph whose colors inspire you and, along with the photo you want to edit, open it in Photoshop. Then, go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color. I used Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as inspiration. If your photos looks very dramatic at first, don’t worry. Simply increase the Fade and Colour Intensity sliders until you get the results you want. Like Gradient, this isn’t a tool you can use often. However, it’s great for creative projects and fun experiments.


#6 Tilt-Shift (Recreates That Pleasant Blur We All Love)

If you’re too scared of freelensing or if you don’t own a tilt-shift lens, Photoshop has a solution for you. Go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Tilt-Shift. To create a subtle effect, carefully drag the Blur slider to the left. Too much blur will make your photo look fake, but a small amount will add a nice, dreamy touch to your portrait.

Edit The Same Photo In Two Windows

#7 New Window (Edit The Same Photo In Two Windows)

Editing the same photo in two different windows will allow you to focus on details and composition at the same time. Go to Window > Arrange > New Window for (image name). Once your second image pops up, go to Window > Arrange > and choose either 2-up Vertical or 2-up Horizontal. (I prefer the former because it gives me more space to edit.)

These aren’t the only tools available in Photoshop, as you may have already guessed. Nonetheless, I hope that the ones in this article improve your editing workflow, make you more curious about Photoshop’s hidden tools, and help you impress your clients.

Good luck!

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Virginia Franks
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7 Photoshop Tricks That Will Greatly Improve Your Portraits