Are you interested in transforming your portraits into professional photographs? You can do that with Portrait Photo Editing! Portrait photo editing, also called headshot photo editing is used to fix portraits. 

Read this portrait retouching article to get an idea of portrait photo editing, its importance, benefits, types, and more! By the end of this portrait image editing guide, you will get step-by-step instructions on how to edit portraits in Lightroom (or any other software). 

I hope you get what you need from this headshot photo editing guide. Let’s get started!

What is Portrait Photo Editing?

Portrait photo editing is the process of improving a person’s skin, hair, and eyes. A portrait is a photograph of a person’s face. So, portrait retouching is done using photo editing software like Photoshop for creating beautiful and eye-catching photos. 

During the portrait retouching process, the subject’s imperfections are fixed. For example, a professional portrait editor can:

  • Fix Contrast
  • Enhance Colors
  • Smoothen Flyaway Hairs
  • Remove Bumps And Blemishes
  • Adjust Contours And Highlights
A Stunning Girl Before Photo Retouch Service
Figure 01: A Portrait of a Stunning Girl Before Retouching
A Stunning Girl Looks More Gorgeous After Photo Retouch Service
Figure 01: A Portrait of a Stunning Girl After Retouching

Why is Portrait Photo Editing Important?

Everyone desires attractive photographs, especially those of the face. When clicking portrait photos, professional retouching helps remove blemishes, smooth skin, and even whiten teeth. 

Portrait photo retouching can help remove flaws in your images. A photo editor can make necessary adjustments such as improving color, saturation, and brightness to bring your portrait to life. 

Benefits of Portrait Photo Editing

What are the benefits of portrait photography and editing? A portrait helps capture the essence of a person’s personality. So, if your portrait doesn’t accurately reflect who you are, editing can help restore your original look. 

Benefits of Portrait Photo Editing for Businesses

Business portraits are also called professional business headshots. A business can build legitimacy and credibility with professional headshots. 

For example, business portraits should make the person appear confident and approachable. It will help impress clients, employees, vendors, and customers. 

A neutral background and perfect lighting are essential to make the portrait pop. However, the photo shoot may have less than ideal conditions. In that case, headshot photo editing will help you make the portrait just how you want it. 

Professionally edited headshots help cement a business’s branding and image. 

Benefits of Portrait Photo Editing for Professionals

Professionals from all walks of life will benefit from portrait photo editing. 

Professionals who require a proper headshot/portrait include: 

  • Models
  • Actors
  • CEOs
  • Entrepreneurs

A professional will benefit from a well-edited portrait photo to send to future clients, employers, and on sites like LinkedIn. 

Benefits of Portrait Photo Editing for Job Seekers

Job seekers must stand out from other candidates. One way to do that is through a professionally edited portrait/headshot. 

A skillful portrait photo editor can help job seekers look professional in their headshots. Portrait photo retouching will remove blemishes, and fix shadows, and lighting that helps the job seeker be unique among other applicants. 

Benefits of Portrait Photo Editing for Families

Family portraits help bring family members together. However, it can be difficult to get the perfect portrait with multiple family members. For example, a child in the portrait could have creased clothing. In that case, portrait photo retouching can fix the wrinkles. 

A Beautiful Couple Is Smiling Before Background Removal Services
Figure 03: A Portrait of a Couple Before Retouching
A Beautiful Couple Is Smiling After Background Removal Services
Figure 04: A Portrait of a Couple After Retouching

Types of Portrait Photo Editing

What types of portraits require professional photo editing? Essentially, every portrait can benefit from light editing at least. However, portrait retouching is especially important for commercial and professional headshots. 

The major types of portrait photo editing include the following:

  • LinkedIn Portrait Photo Editing
  • Actor Portrait Photo Editing
  • Beauty Portrait Photo Editing
  • Model Portrait Photo Editing
  • Corporate Portrait Photo Editing
  • Family Portrait Photo Editing

LinkedIn Portrait Photo Editing

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool for job seekers, job hunters, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The first thing a visitor sees when they arrive at a LinkedIn profile is the profile picture and name. 

LinkedIn headshot photo editing helps make the portrait look professional. Impress your network with a high-quality portrait. Here is a stat for you: LinkedIn profiles with professional headshots receive around 14x more profile views and are 36x more likely to receive a message than those who don’t.

Actor Portrait Photo Editing

An essential aspect of a professional actor’s persona is their portrait. In general, casting directors prefer natural-looking portraits. However, that doesn’t mean you can subtly edit the actor portrait. 

Actor Portrait Photo Editing is used to retouch temporary imperfections such as scars, stray hairs, or blemishes. An actor has a higher chance of being noticed with a lightly edited portrait. 

Beauty Portrait Photo Editing

Before - Wedding Photo Skin Tone Fixing
Figure 05: A Portrait of a Bride Before Editing
After - Wedding Photo Skin Tone Fixing
Figure 06: A Portrait of a Bride After Editing

A beauty portrait is a close-up portrait, from the shoulders up to the hair. Beauty portraits are either artistic or commercial in nature. It can range from no makeup all the way to full-on makeup. 

Beauty Portrait Photo Editing is important to achieve the effect you want. For example, beauty portraits with less makeup can still be edited to slightly fix small blemishes. 

On the other hand, a portrait with a subject with lots of makeup can use photo editing to dramatically change features, like the color of lipstick. 

Model Portrait Photo Editing

Models depend on professional-looking photos to get clients for their work. 

A model portrait can be of diverse types. For example, a model can pose for glamour portraits or a surreal headshot. Each type of portrait requires different photo editing skills to get the best out of them. 

Corporate Portrait Photo Editing

Corporate portraits/headshots are professional shots used by businesses to promote their employees on their websites, social media, and other channels. 

Corporate Portrait Photo Editing helps retouch the headshot to reflect the needs of businesses. For example, a smiling portrait can help clients become comfortable with the employee. A first impression is very important for corporate portraits. 

Family Portrait Photo Editing

A family portrait consists of people of all ages, ranging from grandparents to grandchildren. Hence, it can be challenging to get family portraits right during the photoshoot. 

Family Portrait Photo Editing helps fix and retouch any problems from the photograph. Portrait retouching is essential to get the most out of family portraits. 

History of Portrait Photo Editing

Portraits have been popular for thousands of years. Before photography, the rich and powerful used hand-painted portraits to show status and nobility. 

After the advent of photography, portraits rose in popularity. For example, during the Civil War in the US, photojournalists created soldier portraits. 

As portrait photography progressed, so did portrait photo editing. From manual portrait editing in the early days, modern portraits are edited using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop.

What is the Future of Portrait Photo Editing?

The future of portrait photo editing is the same as regular portrait editing: AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) will become relevant in the future for portrait editing. 

A skilled photo editor will be able to use AI-powered editing tools to fix imperfections with a single click. As a result, we can expect portrait retouching to become a fast and simple process. 

What are the current trends for portrait photography and editing? 

Trendy Portraits Achieved Via Portrait Editing:

  • The “Self” Portrait
  • Newborn Portraits
  • Environmental Portrait
  • Glamor Portraits
  • Fine Art Portraits
  • Candid and Street Portraits
  • Conceptual Portraits

Portrait Photo Editing Skills

Wondering what skills a portrait image editor should have? Whether you want to become a portrait photo editor or are looking to hire a professional, you will benefit from knowing the list of skills. 

A portrait photo editor and retoucher needs to have the following skills:

  • Use Layer Masks Effectively.
  • Understand Different Gradients.
  • Know How To Dodge And Burn.
  • Use The Healing Brush Properly.
  • Perfect Different Blending Modes. 
  • Master Presets To Speed Up Editing.
  • Use The Selective Color Tool To Fix Unwanted Color Casts. 

Portrait Photo Editing Tools

Portrait photo editors using powerful desktop photo editing software prefer Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. 

Regular people wanting to quickly edit their portraits can do so on their smartphones. Furthermore, online photo editors help retouch portraits without downloading any bulky software or app.

The top portrait photo editing apps for iOS and Android are

  • Fotor
  • PicsArt
  • FaceApp
  • AirBrush
  • FaceTune2
  • Beauty Plus
  • YouCam Makeup

How To Edit Portrait Photos?

Editing portrait photographs may seem daunting. But, the process doesn’t have to be difficult for simple portrait retouching. Read the following section for a step-by-step guide to portrait editing. 

Portrait Photo Editing Step-by-Step Process

Want to learn how exactly to edit portrait photos? You can do so yourself using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop.

Use the following 11-step process to edit your portrait photos perfectly:

  1. Import the portrait to your preferred photo editing software.
  2. Crop the image.
  3. Fix the background.
  4. Adjust the white balance.
  5. Adjust exposure, highlights, and shadows.
  6. Increase the saturation and vibrance.
  7. Brighten the eyes.
  8. Add color to the mouth
  9. Whiten the teeth.
  10. Soften the skin.
  11. Lighten the hair.


Well, there you have it! This portrait photo editing article covered all the major topics on portrait/headshot image editing. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this portrait photo editing guide. 

Now, over to you. What do you think about this portrait photo editing article? Let me know in the comments below! 

Portrait Photo Editing FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Portrait Photo Editing. Find answers to common questions on headshot photo editing. If you have more questions, please comment below!

What are the four types of portrait styles I can edit?

You can use four major approaches to portrait photography and editing: Constructionist, Candid, Environmental, and Creative.

What is the best portrait photo editing software?

The top portrait photo editing software includes:
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop
ON1 Photo RAW
DxO PhotoLab 4
Skylum Luminar AI
Corel PaintShop Pro
Serif Affinity Photo
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

What are the elements to consider when editing a portrait?

The main components of a portrait are light, composition, and moment. Light is used to create mood and feeling. Composition helps tell the story. And moment? It is the smile and natural elements.

What are the major types of portrait photographs I can edit?

Four major types of portraits are:
Family Portrait
Lifestyle Portrait
Traditional Portrait
Glamour Portrait

Do professional photographers perform portrait photo editing?

Yes, they do! No matter how good the photographer and studio setup, they benefit from portrait retouching. However, the work required usually is not massive for a photographer with a professional studio setup.

This page was last edited on 26 January 2023, at 12:22 pm