Our ver­dict

Amateur Photographer - - Testbench -

AT A time when aware­ness of the im­pact of neg­a­tive body im­age is grow­ing, and when the pub­lic can now spot a Pho­to­shop fail a mile off, re­touch­ing tools like this may at­tract a de­gree of con­tro­versy or sus­pi­cion.

But Por­trait Pro­fes­sional is very, very good – not just in terms of its over­all re­sults, but in tread­ing that fine line be­tween en­hance­ment and ide­al­i­sa­tion. How­ever, you do need to be able to see where that line is. If you cross it, your sub­ject stops look­ing like the real-life per­son you pho­tographed and in­stead starts to look like a model, and that can be flat­ter­ing and un­flat­ter­ing at the same time. It’s great for pro­fes­sional mod­els whether they are male or fe­male (Por­trait Pro­fes­sional is equally good at both), but if it’s a pri­vate client or some­one you know, you prob­a­bly need to flat­ter them, not ‘ fix’ them.

We can’t blame the soft­ware for that. In­deed, it’s dif­fi­cult to see how Por­trait Pro­fes­sional’s abil­ity to con­trol the de­gree and type of en­hance­ment can be im­proved. It does both ends of the spectrum, from gen­tle en­hance­ment to out­right ide­al­i­sa­tion equally well.

It’s not even par­tic­u­larly ex­pen­sive. The Stan­dard ver­sion is the cheap­est, nor­mally cost­ing £59.90 but on of­fer at £29.99 at the time of go­ing to press. It of­fers all the en­hance­ment tools of the other ver­sions, but works only as a stand­alone pro­gram, doesn’t sup­port raw files and doesn’t do batch pro­cess­ing.

Next up is the Stu­dio ver­sion at £99.90 (cur­rently £49.95). This will work both as a stand­alone pro­gram and a plug-in, and of­fers sup­port for raw files and dif­fer­ent colour spa­ces.

There is a Stu­dio Max ver­sion at £199.90 (cur­rently £99.95), which adds batch pro­cess­ing, but un­less you’re likely to want to en­hance a whole se­ries of im­ages au­to­mat­i­cally, the Stu­dio ver­sion is the best value. Por­trait en­hance­ment is the kind of job you’re likely to want to do im­age by im­age.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can sim­ply down­load the trial ver­sion. This is save- dis­abled and the edited im­ages are wa­ter­marked, but it will give you a flavour of what this re­mark­able pro­gram can do.

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