Let me go back a little bit and tell you what got me literally enraged. First of all I love photography because when I do things right I get a positive reaction in people that I've never even met before. It's the thing that provides perpetual energy for me - as long as I make people happy with my skills they will keep making me happy back and I will go on taking nice photos. Second, capturing a certain moment requires knowledge, practice, skill and trusting your gut. Taking great photos does not require any Photoshop skills, however Photoshop requires nice big files that can be edited and retouched to look more enticing and interesting to the eye.
Having all this in mind, I keep looking at online galleries of portraits, wedding shots, advertisements and what not photos of people and keep getting disappointed. I see all the pretty colors, nice composition and, to my disgust, the flat, toneless, poreless skin!
Here's some advice on taking photos so you won't have to retouch too much:
- Set your lights properly. This means that you should watch for shadows and burns on the skin.
- Set the exposure right.
- Set a proper ISO. This will give you less grains in the shadowy areas so you won't have to fix that later and lose skin detail there.
- Make sure you use a good angle so you won't show too much of any skin imperfections.
Once we get there and load the photos into our editing software here's what I'd suggest:
- Do NOT blur it all out! Not even newborn babies have porcelain skin.
- Leave some pores. Skin has pores and they are everywhere! This is what skin is all about.
- Do not sharpen the eyes in exchange for blurring the face. This will make the blurring look even worse.
- If you soften the image then soften the entire photo. If you are sharpening some areas make them look natural
- Think about what's aesthetic and not about what's smooth.
Think of a great idea, do a nice setup of lights, find a nice spot... all the rest is less than significant or a matter of chance.