What’s the biggest misconception about the job of a portrait photographer? Perhaps that it’s easy. No big deal – just set up your camera, shoot – and boom! – the pictures are ready. But are they, though? What would people see if they went behind closed doors? Hours and hours of tedious, painstaking retouching. That is the sad truth about portrait photography. Is there any hope for a better, quicker, more efficient retouching process? Looks like there is one newcomer that claims to be able to grant you that, and for free! Enter PhotoDiva, a self-proclaimed smart portrait editor that promises to make your retouching infinitely easier. Sounds intriguing? Cocky? Both? Well, there is no way we’ll know unless we try this software ourselves.
Free Portrait Photo Editor: Overall Impression
If you came here expecting the convoluted interface that some portrait software have the audacity to sport, you’ll be disappointed (or relieved): PhotoDiva has a sleek, minimal interface that you’ll have to be utterly clueless to get lost in. All the necessary tools hide in the sidebar, and don’t spring right at you when you open the program. That’s right, give us some time to look around. There are buttons that allow you to view the original image, either side-by-side with the retouched picture or as a short glimpse of the original photo. A bit redundant, maybe, but probably aimed to please everyone. There are Undo, Redo and Reset buttons, suggesting non-destructive editing. And there we thought that good things didn’t come free…
Getting to the Point: Retouching Tools
So how does this portrait editing software promise to help you step up your retouching game? Queue in content-aware AI! This feature allows PhotoDiva to retouch your pictures in a click. The software comes with a collection of beautifying presets that actually seem to work just fine. We tried the Auto Retouch presets with at least a dozen portraits, expecting subpar and plastic doll-like retouching, but ended up with impressive that were quite natural-looking. Of course, these presets are hardly a match for what you get when you toil with Photoshop or Lightroom for a few hours. But PhotoDiva is fast, free, and still efficient as heck.
This is what this free portrait editor allows you to do with a just a click:
- Remove face shine
- Get smooth skin
- Lighten face
- Add a slight tan
- Remove eye circles
- Whiten teeth
Don’t trust any AI to do the work for you? Then you can enhance your portraits manually. There is the Custom Settings tab that allows users to retouch their pics just by dragging a few sliders. Swish-swish, just like this.
Admittedly, there could be a few remaining issues of your portrait that need some touching up, since PhotoDiva’s retouch isn’t perfect. But this picture editor makes up for it by providing us with two useful tools: the aptly named Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp tool. The Healing Brush does a decent job erasing any wrinkles or blemishes that could be left on the portrait, and the Clone Stamp tool is really useful when it comes to covering something really distracting (either a scar or a huge mole on the model’s face, or even a photobomber in the background).
Restoring Natural Look: Face Sculpt
This feature, that allows tweaking of the model’s facial features, may have people divided, but hear us out! How many times have you taken a shot of a person only to find out they didn’t look like themselves? Odd angles, bad lighting, other unfortunate circumstances may warp the model’s features beyond recognition. This is when the Face Sculpt tool really comes in handy. By dragging a few sliders you can restore your model’s natural look. Slim the face, adjust the size and shape of the eyes, lips, chin, eyebrows, add a smile for good measure. Don’t worry, you won’t turn your model into a plastic surgery addict, as the changes are subtle. Not bad for a free portrait editor.
Adding Depth and Glamour: Makeup Tool
This one’s juicy. And when we say juicy we mean colorful, glamorous, pretty as a picture (ha!). All jokes aside, this module is a gem. Some ladies might want to download PhotoDiva for this feature alone. As its name suggests, this module adds makeup to your pictures. Au-to-ma-ti-cal-ly. This is where PhotoDiva’s AI truly shines, as it recognizes the model’s facial features and applies lipstick, eyeshadows, bronzer, blusher and highlighter where they belong and does not turn your portrait into a colorful mess (the Simpsons’ Makeup gun, anyone?) This portrait enhancer comes with 50+ makeup shade and patterns, so that ladies could use them to bring out their natural beauty. Admittedly, PhotoDiva struggles a bit when it comes to models whose heads are slightly turned away or titled, as the colors may leak elsewhere, but it’s easy to find the pattern that will stay right it its place.
All the Essentials in One Place: Common Tools
It’s sort of weird to tackle somewhat mundane tools within this portrait photo editor jam packed with impressive features, but since this is new software, let’s dissect it to the fullest. The Common tab contains features that are, well, common to the majority of photo editors: lighting, tone, color correction, sharpness and blur tools, and a vignetting tool as well. There is one notable exception, however – a smart auto correction. Once again relying on a content-aware AI, this feature can instantly improve the overall quality of your image. The effect can overwhelming at times be, so thankfully you can adjust its setting and intensity.
Unleashing Your Creativity: Effects Tab
This tab is for explorers, artists, and those who strive for originality. At least within photo editing. There are only three tools here but, boy, do they deliver. There is the Change Background tool that allows to – you guessed it – change or remove the backdrop of your pic. And contrary to our expectations, it’s both easy to do and quite effective. This portrait editor automatically separates the object and the background, and you only have to pick a new backdrop. Too drastic of an approach? Then just blur the background altogether with a Radial Filter based tool. There is also a collection of 100+ beautiful effects that can add a completely different vibe to your picture. The collection is divided into categories and features some impressive lighting, toning, and vintage presets. Caution: causes severe addiction.
Conclusion: PhotoDiva is Here to Stay and That’s Why
So what’s our thought on PhotoDiva, you might ask. Is it better that Lightroom or Photoshop? No, nor does it try to be. Is the retouch it provides decent? Yes, even more than that. Is being free its biggest appeal? Certainly not. It’s hard to say if we’ve ever encountered portrait editing software that was quite as good at balancing user-friendliness with high-end performance. Sure, it has its flaws, like the Healing Brush not being that quick and responsive or the software actually utilizing a freemium distribution model, as the most impressive features come with a paid version. But at the end of the day PhotoDiva is a pretty robust and efficient portrait editor that we can actually swear by. So come on in, photo editing newcomer, we welcome thee!
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored blog post from AMS Software PhotoDiva.