It’s always good to experiment and try new things but it’s also good to remember that there’s a reason why some things have become pretty much standard. The same goes for photography; there are times for those multiple light setups with funky colours but, sometimes, it’s nice to pull out the tried and true classics. Such was the case for this shoot of my, always lovely, wife.

This is a classic, clam shell beauty light, flattering and dead simple. It’s one light, a LP160, in a shoot through umbrella in front and just above the subject. Below her, just out of frame, is a silver reflector. That’s it, you can’t really fail, just start shooting. I can’t really think of all that much more to say about this shoot, so here’s another shot from it.

One thing of note about these shots is the fact that I tried out OnOne’s new Perfect Portrait 2 when I edited them. They recently released Perfect Photo Suite 7 and Perfect Portrait is one of the products included. I can recommend downloading the 30 day trial and give it a try. I did all the basic editing that I normally do in Lightroom and then finished up in Perfect Portrait by smoothing the skin and tweaking some details. I have to say that I like the product more than I thought I would. The overly smooth porcelain look you often see in fashion magazines isn’t exactly my style but you can be as subtle as you want with this plugin. In these shots I just made my wife’s skin a bit smoother, giving it a bit of a glow that’s quite flattering without looking fake. I also like the colour correction tool it offers, since finding the right colour is something I often struggle with.

Above you can see what the top shot looked like straight from camera (left), after editing in Lightroom (middle) and after final touch-up in Perfect Portrait (right). It might be difficult to see the difference between the two edited ones (especially since WordPress doesn’t render images all that sharp) but you should still be able to spot the added glow and slight colour shift in the final edit.

There are some other interesting modules in the suite as well but, for me, Perfect Portrait would probably be the only one that would see extensive use. So I’m seriously considering adding it to my workflow, if for no other reason than my wife likes her new look. I wouldn’t use this for all my subjects though, mostly young people, for the old folks I like to keep all the lines and texture on the face since it adds character.

That’s all, I shall return next week.