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  • Writer's pictureAmy Demidow

Free Photoshop Actions For Portraits

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Today I released another photography video on my Instagram. This time it centred on how I use Photoshop to retouch my images, in particular my portraits. To make my life my life much easier and to speed up my editing process, I use these free Photoshop actions for portraits to do all the boring work for me. Using photoshop actions help me to get retouching as fast as possible- what more could you want?

I use two editing and retouching techniques in Photoshop to retouch my images. The first one I will provide you with a Free Photoshop action download for is 'Dodge and Burn'.

So What Does it Mean to Dodge and Burn ?

If you have never used this photoshop editing technique before, don't worry, it's super simple. I know the name sounds slightly odd but all it means is the selective lightening and darkening of different parts of an image. Most of the time we darken the dark bits and further brighten the light bits, but it can be used it different ways to this too! So, despite it being simple to do, it is actually quite a powerful technique which can make a big difference.

The thing to remember with dodging and burning is to be patient and build up the effect gradually. Yes, it can take a lot of time but the idea is to make the effect subtle and natural, so it's a wise idea to use a soft-edge brush with a low opacity and flow!

...And What About Frequency Separation?

Frequency separation is a process used by photographers to retouch skin. The process puts high and low-frequency information onto different layers. High-frequency information is about the fine details:hair, pores, fine lines, and skin imperfections... basically the textures. Low frequencies carry information about shadows, tone and colours. It's quite long winded creating all these layers, so you will be happy to know the Photoshop action does this all for you!

Separating low and high-frequency information onto different layers means that you can retouch one without affecting the other. You can smooth the skin’s texture without affecting the colour. Or you can lighten shadows without changing skin texture consequently allowing for more precise retouching.... you can't use the Photoshop actions to do all this work for you though...

Photoshop Actions Download

Dodge N Burn
Download ZIP • 1KB
Frequency Seperation Action
Download ZIP • 2KB

To do these two techniques much easier, here are the Photoshop actions downloads! You can thank me later. Like I said, these do most of the boring work for you in terms of setting up layers etc. Click the above links and install them how you would normally install software. Once, they have downloaded you should be left with an '.atn' file. Drag and drop this onto the Photoshop icon on your desktop- it will then load up in your list of actions and be ready to use.

Now you have downloaded those, you are ready to watch the retouching video and do it all yourself on your own images you have photographed yourself. If none of what I said makes sense, the video will totally clear things up.

Good luck!


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