Our Perfect Portraits Actions are the ultimate retouching toolkit! We take the guesswork out of skin, color, and cosmetic correction, with guidance for making changes that are professional and custom-tailored to your needs.
As the ultimate toolkit, this collection works well with any of our action or preset collections that tone or style your images. We recommend starting with color correction and retouching before adding full color or black and white edits.
New to actions? Check out our full guide HERE. In this guide we'll walk you through how our portrait actions are organized and how to use them to get results you'll love!
Install Your Portrait Actions
Before you start using your new actions, you'll want to be sure that your actions are installed and that you know how to locate, expand, and play through your actions.
Now, in many modern versions of Photoshop you can simply double-click on .atn files (or open them with Photoshop) to automatically launch Photoshop and import the files. However, if this doesn't work, it's good to know where to go in Photoshop to import these files manually:
To install the actions (.atn file):
Go to the Actions Panel (Window > Actions) and click to open the top right corner menu (three horizontal lines). Select Load Actions... then locate the .atn file on your hard drive and click open to install. The actions will appear organized by collection in your Actions Panel as playable for use!
Meet your Luxe Actions
To begin, we'll walk you through the organization of our actions for this set! Our Perfect Portraits set includes our Luxe Action Toolkit so you can get your photo just right before transforming it into art!
Our Luxe Action Toolkit is broken up across the "QUICK ITEMS", "GENERAL WORKFLOW", "GRAIN", and "FINAL SHARPENING" sections for an easy-to-navigate workflow of all the little things you may need along the way. You'll find your collection actions nestled between the General Workflow & Grain sections of the toolkit.
Quick Items - Getting your layer panel ready for action!
Duplicate Image allows you to quickly copy your image to another layer, so that the copy will be selected when you go to play your actions or make any changes. This is great for when you know an action will carry out many steps and want to preserve the original for quick comparison without having to undo you work. *This can be helpful you first time working through a lot of steps with portrait retouching, especially if you'd like to merge layers as you go!
Flatten All Layers turns multiple working layers into a single compressed layer containing all of your changes, so that when you play an action it affects all parts of your target image, and not just a single layer of changes you may have made on upper layers.
Flatten All Layers To New Layer If you want everything you've done compressed to a single layer, but don't want to lose anything you did on previous layers for later reference, you can always flatten all changes to a New Layer that sits above all previous layers.
General Workflow - Basic image correction
Auto Histogram Fix - Play this action to balance out extreme highs and lows in your image!
Exposure Increase - Increases overall brightness
Exposure Decrease - Decreases overall brightness
Exposure Even All Over - Creates an even brightness across your entire image
Contrast Increase - Increases the overall tonal range in your photo, making the lights brighter and the darks darker.
Contrast Decrease - Decreases the overall tonal range in your photo between brights and darks.
Depth Contrast - Adds a 3d depth of contrast that boosts dimensionality.
Highlight Booster - Increases highlights, brightening the lighter aspects of your image.
Highlight Dimmer - Decreases highlights, crushing the lighter aspects of your image.
Shadow Booster - Brings shadows up, to brighten the darker areas of your image.
Shadow Cruncher - Brings shadows down, to darken the shadowy areas of your image.
Shadow Recovery - Brings up dark areas of your image to recover lost details.
Highlight Recovery - Crushes or dims highlights to recover lost details.
Temperature Warmer - Corrects for images that are too cool, or adds a stylistic warmth to your image.
Temperature Cooler - Corrects for images that are too warm, or adds a stylistic cool to your image.
Saturation Increase - Increases color saturation across your image.
Saturation Decrease - Decreases color saturation across your image.
Haze Add - Creates a sun or film haze look across your image using the tone curve.
Haze Remove - Removes sun or film haze from your image using the tone curve.
Dodge & Burn - Dodge & Burn allows you to make localized exposure changes by painting with a brush over pre-created dodge and burn layers. (This action includes pop-up instructions for application).
Collection Actions - These actions are the core of the collection and will apply thematic changes to your images.
The naming here is indicative of the effect that will be created when you playthrough the action. With actions we always recommend playing each of them at least once to familiarize yourself with the collection upon purchase. Also be sure to read through all pop-up windows as these will guide you through crucial steps in the process or let you know when things aren't working!!
Grain - These actions apply a stylistic or filmic grain over your image.
Final Sharpening - These actions apply clean, professional sharpening over your final image.
Portrait Action Workflow Example
Here we'll walk through an example workflow using a few tools and a typical workflow involving the core actions!
Step 1 - Open Image and open your Actions panel (Window > Actions). Here we have expanded the actions and layer panels to appear larger so everything is accessible and easy to read. Once familiar with the actions, you'd typically maximize your workspace by moving the actions panel above the layers panel, having the image take up most space so you can zoom in on subject features for precision.
Step 2 - Here we applied the "Histogram Fix" action to balance out extreme highs and lows and get a brighter more balanced image to start.
Step 3 - Now we're going to play through the Skin: Soften with Texture action this will allow us to remove blemishes and smooth skin without losing the natural skin texture. Be sure to read the pop-ups as you play this action so you don't miss suggested ranges for ideal settings for the High Pass and Gaussian blur for a professional and not overdone look. Once you have adjusted the settings you will see a black layer mask and your brush tool will be selected and set to white so that you can immediately begin painting over the skin you'd like to retouch.
Step 4 - Here we'll apply the Eyes: Enhance & Whiten action to boost the look of the eyes. Again, this action will provide a pop-up message with instructions, a black mask, and a white brush for painting on the effect.
Step 5 - Now we'll apply the Lip: Soft Color Action for a soft boost to the lips. You can adjust color before or after. We'll do it first, by expanding the newly created layer group and double-clicking on the default pink color to select our new color (click "OK" to apply). Then we'll return to our black layer mask, with our soft white brush to paint on the new color!
Step 6 - Now we're going to apply the Color Changer Action to selectively change the color of her eyes. First the action will allow you to select a color range to dial in the exact tones you wish to change in the image. Eyes are multifaceted and a bit tricky so we'll adjust range and fuzziness accordingly, and because the eyes are different due to the shadows, we'll hold the shift key to select the other side as well. Then we'll select our ideal color, adjust brightness and contrast, and then clean things up in our layer mask with the black brush to remove any pigment that was caught outside of the iris.
Step 7 - Now we'll apply the Brush: Mute Color Action to mute this color just a touch. Very subtle. This action simply requires us to select the color we wish to mute and then subtly desaturates that color.
Step 8 - Here we'll adjust the opacity on the Lip: Soft Lip layer to get a slightly bolder look to match the bolder eye.
Step 9 - Then we'll go play the Brush: Brighten Shadows action to brighten up the side of her face that noticeably darker.
Step 10 - We'll then lower opacity on the Brush: Brighten Shadows layer to get back some of the dimension we lost.
Step 11 - Now we'll play the Brush: Remove Skin Yellows action to reduce some yellow in the skin.
Step 12 - Then we'll adjust opacity on the Skin: Remove Yellow layer to bring back some of the natural color and warmth.
Step 13 - Finally, we'll apply the Skin: Soft Skin Color Boost Action to bring some life back into the portrait overall and lower opacity to taste.
Step 14 - With retouching complete, we'll apply a full color edit with our Brixton Film Actions, playing the Warm Base Action.
And here are our results from just the Perfect Portraits Workflow:
And After our Stylistic Edit:
Now, this is just a sample workflow to illustrate the flexibility of the collection and the options you have within several of the core actions, and not a standard recipe. We encourage you to experiment with different workflows until you find the one that works best for your portraits, and looks and feels natural to you and honoring of your subjects/clients.
Get stuck? Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org for 1:1 recommendations.