July 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
I have been playing with Adobe’s PhotoShop Elements 10 since I posted some tips on capturing great portraits from the folks at Adobe. The Adobe people convinced me to try out a review copy of this photo editing software and it has quickly won me over.
Of course, it’s been fun playing with photos of my family, summer activities, and beautiful beach sunsets. But let’s be honest. In this era of social media, a good profile photo is as essential as a good mascara. And there are a few photo effects in PhotoShop Elements that have become part of my essential online cosmetic routine. I know these effects are working the magic I hoped they would because people in my networks have been begging me to do whatever I did to my photo to theirs. I have been joking with my sister that PhotoShop is the MAC Cosmetics of the digital era. And it is. Don’t go out in your digital public without a little touch up!
I’m not a pro at this. You should read Adobe’s pro tips on portraits if you are looking for that. I am a vain woman with very little spare time who rarely likes photos taken of me. Yet I live in an age where I’m constantly being asked to post photos of myself to some online profile or other. So I quickly honed in on the tools in PhotoShop Elements 10 that most quickly transform a photo of me from “Ugh, please delete that” to, “Oh! I am so posting that to Facebook!”
Here is my quick photo-editing routine.
I rarely have a professional photographer light the room, set the stage, and take a close up. Most of my pictures were snapped by my daughter while we are out doing something. But she has a decent camera. And those are often pretty good. I turn them into portraits by cropping out everything but my face and a little bit of background.
Depth of Field
Once I’ve cut out the part of a larger image I want, I zoom in on my face by blurring out everything else. This is very easy to do with the Depth of Field feature. You simply click on the part you want in focus and click, Blur. And it smudges everything but your face. This is very flattering and makes it look like you posed for a close up.
Next, it’s time to make you look like a movie star. The Perfect Portrait feature lets you click to remove a blemish (this works wonders!) or brighten your eyes (it’s like adding concealer!). You can even click “Slim” to take off a few pounds. Then add a diffuse glow to soften the light, which takes off a few years and makes you look lovely.
This is an easy one-click edit that takes an average photo and adds a glamorous, Vaseline-on-the-lens, blurry background effect. Take a terrible office photo and make yourself look youthful and beautiful in a couple of clicks with this one. Fast, easy, beautiful. Love it.
Of course, with all of this, you get better results from a better picture. But you can work wonders on a photo that might previously have made you cringe. Good luck!