Portrait workflow and Photoshop actions - Martin Podt Photography
The look

Adobe Photoshop is a great program for editing your photos. But for newbies it can be quite overwhelming. This is one of the reasons why I created allround Photoshop actions: with these actions you can edit your forest and landscape photos in the same way as I do, in a fairly easy way and without too much knowledge of Photoshop. 

With help of Yen T Do, I also created Photoshop actions for portrait photography. These actions form a complete workflow: simply start with the first one and work your way down the list, running the actions you want. The workflow consists of a number of main steps: skin, eyes and teeth, hair, lips, toning and finish. The actions are robust, non-destructive (no flattening is required) and can be run multiples times after each other. The portrait actions can be used in combination with the allround Photoshop actions.

How to get the actions?

The portrait actions can be purchased as part of our portrait workflow for 39 EUR via the PayPal button below. When you buy the portrait workflow, you will get the following:

- A presentation explaining the workflow for portrait photography and how to use the portrait actions and step-by-step explanation of two examples;

- 20+ portrait Photoshop actions;

- 15+ overlays and textures;

- Two example photos, including the RAW file and the PSD file of the processed photo;

- Bonus: 30+ allround Photoshop actions that I also use for processing my forest and landscape photos.

If the payment is successful, you will be asked to send me an e-mail and you will receive a password to login to this page. If you have problems or if you don't have PayPal or creditcard, contact me

Actions docked on the right side of my workspace

After installing the actions, open the actions in Photoshop by pressing Alt+F9, or in the menu go to Window - Actions. In my workspace, I have docked them on the right side for easy access, see the screenshot below.

Using them, starts with selecting an action and pressing the play button. Most of the actions create a group or layer with a black layer mask and end with selecting the brush tool. The effect of the action can be applied by painting in the appropriate parts of the mask with a white brush.

The main exception to this procedure is the frequency separation action. Frequency separation is a well-know technique for skin retouching and the action works in the same way as explained in many tutorials on frequency separation. The action creates two layers: 'High' and 'Low'. In 'High' remove spots with for example the clone stamp tool or the spot healing brush. Using the layer 'Low' skin tones can be equalized using the Gaussian blur filter. As a faster and easier alternative to frequency separation, the action 'Skin - easy smoother' is available. The action only requires painting in the skin parts in the layer mask with a white brush.

Guidelines for dodge and burn are shown in the picture below. Dodge is applied to the white areas and burn to the parts indicated in brown.

Dodge and burn guidelines

The examples below show what you can do with the actions. The overall effect is still rather subtle, but enough to make the photo stand out more. For more examples, please have a look at the galleries 'Portrait' and 'Portrait retouching with Yen T Do'.

Before and after

  • The look
  • Yen

Overlays and textures

  • Valentine
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