The Sleeklens Portrait Perfect Collection is a set of photography actions in review.
This workflow is used to adjust exposure, temperature and colour on the overall image, while highlighting certain features through vignettes and glow. More importantly, it offers localised editing on the skin, eyes and teeth of the subject.
Sleeklens offers workflow solutions to photographers working in both Lightroom and Photoshop. Their product range includes actions, overlays, textures and more. They recently contacted me to introduce their brand. They offered me the opportunity to trade a workflow related to my genres of fashion and portraiture for a product review. In this blog post I will be reviewing the Sleeklens Portrait Perfect Collection.
At first, I was sceptical that Sleeklens would offer anything new. Over the last 8 years I have established a solid workflow for myself when it comes to fashion and portraiture retouching. But therein lies the problem. We often develope a workflow that works for us, and run with it. Continuing to use the same techniques even though the technology progresses. I decided to have an open mind and use the opportunity to up-skill myself. For one thing I hoped it could be a tool to save me time in front of the computer. I had recently shot the Themed Model Portfolio | Poolside, which would be perfect for testing this retouching collection.
Model | Nandi M at Rage Model Management
My own workflow comprises of 10 steps, most of which are built into actions that I run in a specific order. These include body styling, skin preparation and softening (frequency separation) and adding back pores for realism. As well as whitening teeth, enhancing eyes, skin tone, adjustment layers, dodge and burn and textures overlays. In the Sleeklens Portrait Perfect Collection, half of these steps have been configured into a one click action, entitled “From a Candy Store – Advanced Portrait Retouch”.
I captured my screen on one of my first attempts to show the process. Later use saw me adding additional options from the “Portrait Retouch” set to focus on aspects such as teeth, eyes and skin tone. I also experimented a little with colour treatments.
Treatments and Colour Overlays
Other than the standard photo clean-up, the collection offers a variety of tonal overlays, which I will refer to as treatments. Treatments are as old as photography itself. The idea originates from the experimentation of film developed through alternative methods, often to create colour casts like with Cyanotypes. These effects have become pop culture thanks to apps like Instagram. Off course, as commercial photographers we would not necessarily use them to quite this extent. Subtlety is most often the answer. After all, we are looking to enhance a high-end image, rather than save it from the poor quality that mobile produces.
I feel that the “All-in-One” action set may be more suitable for the above. Although creating some interesting effects, the nature of these actions requires them to flatten down the image. And not having the capability to tweak results to create your own version may result in your work having a cookie-cutter feel. All the other actions in the bundle offer customisation.
Be careful to limit your creativity. This online video tutorial for the Portrait Perfect Collection shows the editor starting the retouch process by running the “Base – From Cloudy Days” action. Fair enough. The title indicates that it is intended to be run on the original image and the output used as the base for the consequent editing. The image looks better immediately. Who doesn’t want that? However, I do not recommend this. It will limit your options to make changes to the image later. Rather, do your standard touch-up, save a new file and then experiment with treatments that alter colour, tones and focus.
For example, the below image of Nandi M at Rage Model Management illustrates various treatments tested on a standard. In the end, I opted for “from Cloudy Days” as it enhanced her skin tone. And used “Enhance Tones” to add vibrancy and a sunny feel to this poolside shot.
Developing Your Style
It is important that once you have selected a treatment for a series of images, the same effect be applied to the full series for consistency. This is especially true when working with narratives, like you would find in magazine editorials.
Bright Idea: Take this consistency further by working with the same treatments in your photography for an extended period of time. This will help you to develope a recognizable style. Working with the Portrait Perfect Collection could certainly assist with creating and refining this style. The ability to mix and match effects means that you can truly make it your own.
Conclusion on Sleeklens Portrait Perfect Collection
All things considered, in some aspects it is better than the process I currently have in place. I will integrate what I love most about it into my existing workflow. Not to replace it and my style with a new one. But rather to add more depth to what I’m already creating. Whether you are a novice ready to take your portraiture to the next level, or a pro looking to further streamline your process, I recommend you try the Portrait Perfect Collection for yourself.
You can purchase the Sleeklens Perfect Portrait Collection here.
This $120 bundle is currently on promotion for only $49!
Model Shannon C
Model | Phumudzo R at Model-IT
Capture & Retouch | Field Photography
Photographic Assistant | Juan Acevedo
MUAH | Tris Alves
Models | As per Above