Eight Awesome Apps and Plugins for Beauty Portrait Photography

September 17, 2018

By Greg Scoblete

Reallusion FaceFilter3

Thanks to its deep integration with Mac OS, you can now import and non-destructively retouch a host of camera RAW files in FaceFilter3 (which works on Windows PCs as well). The program is capable of working on RAW images from a variety of cameras and can output a final file at 6000 x 6000 pixels in size (equivalent to files from a 36-megapixel camera) as either a JPEG or TIFF. The program contains an extensive library of makeup looks, from nude to tanned, metallic to matte. Each makeup template contains 20 layers and a wide variety of shapes. You can also manually define where makeup should land if the pre-defined patterns don’t quite fit the face. Beyond makeup, FaceFilter3 also lets you subtly remold facial expressions and features as well as add bokeh and focus effects to your photos.

Bonus Feature: Achieve a dreamy and exotic look with four sets of dramatic makeup elements that have been included: Discover luxurious Arabian/Bollywood styles, the magic of Hollywood movie makeup, or create sweet and cute Japanese/Korean styles. Each style is set apart with a completely different look, but you can feel free to experiment and combine them together for your own unique designs. This bonus further expands the dramatic impact templates already built in to FaceFilter3.
Price: $39 |


AKVIS MakeUp software, which has two modes—Express and Advanced— lets you retouch small defects on a skin, making it radiant, beautiful, pure and even. It is amazing how much a good complexion adds to rejuvenating and freshening up. In Express, you click the button and the software does the rest, smoothing away wrinkles, pimples and sundry other imperfections. In Advanced mode, you’ll get more hands-on control over your final look. Touch-up tools include a spot remover, teeth whitener and red-eye remover.

Bonus Feature: You can also achieve some special effects, for example make a B&W portrait or a High Key lighting effect which blows out harsh shadows and thus removes small imperfections and the shadows under the eyes. The facial features become well-defined and the portrait appears in the best light.

Apply corrections to photos in batches to streamline your efficiency. MakeUp is sold as a standalone app or as a plugin to Photoshop & Corel PaintShop Pro. Price: $80 |

Anthropics PortraitPro 17

With the newest version of its extensive retouching app, Anthropics delivers the ability to edit both subject and background (including background swaps) without leaving the program. A new Snapshot function lets you incrementally save your editing progress in steps so you can revert back to older versions of your image if you need to retrace your steps. PortraitPro lets you build your own presets (makeup looks, skin smoothing, etc.) for quicker recall in the future. There are tools for every conceivable portrait touch-up need, including makeup tools, skin smoothing and bronzing, and a vignette tool to give your subjects that classic look.

Price: $80

Cyberlink MakeupDirector

The MakeupDirector tool kit is extensive, featuring multiple options for applying foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, eyelashes, blush, lipstick, changing eye color, enlarging eyes and altering hair. It employs facial recognition and face-mapping technology to ensure you’re applying your makeup precisely. You can use stock makeup colors or use the color picker to create your own customized palette. If you’re on the hunt for additional styles, Cyberlink’s Beauty Circle community serves as a source of downloadable looks.

Price: $50

Photo Toolbox SkinFiner 2

Available as either a standalone app or a Photoshop/Lightroom plugin, SkinFiner packs plenty of automated tools to help you quickly retouch problematic portraits. It can give a first pass over portraits, smoothing skin, purging imperfections and retaining skin texture. Skin-enhancing tools include the ability to adjust or change skin tones, edit shadows and highlights, and adjust skin brightness and contrast. SkinFiner can apply edits to batches of images and has a series of presets for one-click fixes (batch-processing is only available when using the standalone SkinFiner app). You can also create and save your own presets for quick retrieval and import presets from third parties as well. The software’s “snapshots” feature lets you save edits at a given moment in time so you can go back to an earlier state of your image if you want to make adjustments.

Price: $60

Nik Dynamic Skin Softener

Nik’s suite of Photoshop plugins have been resurrected and retooled by DxO (which purchased them from Google) so that they run smoothly on modern operating systems and the most up-to-date versions of Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. If your subjects need a bit of digital retouching, Nik’s Color Efex Pro plugin features a Dynamic Skin Softener tool that lets you use an eyedropper to select a skin tone and smooth away imperfections. You can control what colors are impacted by the smoothing along with facial details grouped by size (small, medium and large).

Price: $50

Digital Anarchy Beauty Box

Known for its video retouching app of the same name, Digital Anarchy also produces a stills retouching plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop. The plugin features an auto-masking technology that analyzes your subject, determines skins tones and applies “smart smoothing” only at targeted areas in need of correction. After the software takes a first pass at smoothing away imperfections, you’re free to make further tweaks, such as reducing skin shine from strong light sources. The plugin has 30 presets to give your images a distinct look. You can let the plugin work its automated smoothing on batches of images, too.

Price: $99

Imagenomic Portraiture 3

The latest version of this high-powered Photoshop and Lightroom plugin delivers a 2x speed boost over its predecessor. It’s also been retooled to cope with the larger image files pumped out by today’s pixel-packing image sensors. The UI has been overhauled to make it easier to find the tools and settings you need. Portraiture offers slider-based tweaks for skin smoothing, skin masking and enhancements. There are also a series of presets to target specific looks or to apply smoothing in various amounts (normal, medium, strong). Beyond the assortment of built-in presets, you can build and save your own or import presets from third parties. (Here’s our hands-on review of the plugin.)

Price: $200


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