It doesn't matter if you're a professional photographer, a "prosumer" hobbyist, or some schmuck who made a promise that you'd take some good looking pictures because you own a DSLR camera that's never been switched off automatic... chances are pretty good if you're a photographer at any level, you've been faced with the problem of needing to edit your pictures. While many folks are pretty good at Photoshop, if you have batch processing of portraits to accomplish, you're probably hungry for an easier way. Enter Perfect Portrait 1
I'll front load my review by stating very explicitly, this is by no means a replacement for the Adobe Creative Suite. Perfect Portrait 1 isn't even a plug-in. This software exists somewhere on the fringe; for those who don't have the time or patience to manually adjust color, paint out every imperfection in the skin, change the skin tone or enhance features like eyes, lips and teeth.
It's designed to be a part of your workflow, like a hearty automated action that can function as a stand alone product. Perfect Portrait has some pretty powerful features packed in, which can save you hours depending on the number of Portraits you have to edit. That's because this software is designed expressly for the retouching of portraits. That means no extra tools to bog you down, this is just what you need to touch up your portraits, nothing more and nothing less.
For starters, Perfect Portrait automatically finds the faces and features in your images. Users only need to make slight adjustments to the image mask in order to get perfect results with just a few clicks. If for some reason the software can't identify a face you can define where it should look and then paint the mask yourself (something I never needed to do in my evaluation).
Perfect Portrait doesn't just identify the face, it also finds the eyes and the mouth. The software contains enhancements for each of these features so it's vitally important that each one is masked off correctly. If there are some uncertain areas or incorrectly highlighted areas, you can manually correct the software while in mask mode.
Very similar to the healing brush in Adobe Photoshop, Perfect Portrait 1 contains a Retouch Brush. Retouching can help remove scars, acne, stray hairs, and any other unsavory features which might be a blight on an otherwise beautiful face. Now you don't just have to remember your wedding day with rose colored glasses, you can see it that way too. Isn't augmented reality better than actual reality?
There are also sliders that help with this as well. You have the ability to smooth out the skin, removing blemishes, shine and shadows while enhancing or reducing the tell tale texture that can make or break a convincing post production edit of that perfect portrait.
Once you've finished skin retouching, then you can fine tune the skins color using the "SkinTune" feature. If you have a powerhouse software like Photoshop, you'll probably do color correction before ever importing your work into Perfect Portrait... but if you have to use this as a standalone photo editor you'll appreciate the ability to change the strength, warmth and color.
Last, you have the option to adjust some of the important facial features. Starting with the eyes, you can make the color pop, make the sclera whiter (or the "white part" whiter for you corn-fed Americans), and you can improve the eye's clarity all with simple sliders.
Next you can adjust the mouth by again strengthening it, whitening the teeth and improving the vibrancy of the color.
You can read all that on the manufacturer's website. You can even look at some great looking promotional pictures. But where the rubber meets the road, how does this software perform in the real world? ...and more importantly, should you part with your hard earned cash for what this package brings to the table?
The answer depends on whether or not you shoot and edit a ton of portraits. I don't think any of the results produced in Perfect Portrait are unique to this software. In fact, I'd gamble that most professionals are capable of doing most of these touch-ups with their existing software.
That being said, Perfect Portrait does do something that bigger software packages do not.
Perfect Portrait 1 makes these touch-ups quick and easy. It's as easy as opening your picture, adjusting your mask, and moving some sliders. While Photoshop can do these things very well the reality is that when you take lots of photos and need to do more specific editing than batch solutions will allow, it's absolutely valuable to have a solution to common editing tasks which speeds up your workflow.
The Final Say
So would I recommend this product? For an amateur? No, Photoshop Elements or GIMP would be fine for the occasional touchup. But if you have a large batch of portraits to edit, or if you're a professional, this title will pay for itself in time saved. Plus, it's easy to use and easy to learn... so why not add this to your post-production workflow?
Get yours by clicking the Amazon link above, or by visiting the manufacturer's website here.