Hi and welcome back.

I have a great, simple post today to improve your portraits simply, quickly, and effectively.

Once you bring your image into Photoshop, duplicate the background layer by clicking CTRL J or Command J, or drag and drop your image over the new layer icon.

Once you’ve done this, we will be exploring the Blend Modes.  This is inside the dropdown box above the new layer.  Scroll down the palette and choose Soft Light.  You will see the image change for the better.

Once you’ve seen the color, shadow, and contrast change for the better, you’ll notice that it may be too much for the overall image.  Now, change the opacity of the filter/layer from 100% to between 25-50%.  This will return skin tone but leave much of the overall enhancement.

Voila, the contrast, shadows, color, and sharpness have been greatly improved in only a few simple steps.

Before and After

This is a great technique for any photo that needs a contrast adjustment.  Digital capture is fantastic, but sometimes it needs some overall, or global, adjustments.  The soft light setting is great for portraits, but also try the other settings to see what you get.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy Photoshopping.