Speed-editing a Portrait in Adobe Photoshop by Aaron Nace

There are tons of videos on YouTube of people doing absolutely incredible things with Photoshop. Most of the time these videos are more impressive than they are practical. It’s pretty rare that I need to create a disaster scene from found photos, as amazing as the video is.

Today I stumbled onto a post from FStoppers featuring Aaron Nace speed-editing a portait for an editorial audience. The original image was shot by Aleksandar Jaredic.

Aleksandar Jaredic Before After by Aaron Nace of Phlearn.com

Aleksandar Jaredic Before After by Aaron Nace of Phlearn.com

It reminded me of a photo shoot I did last year. I originally was commissioned to shoot 5-10 executive head shots. When I got to their headquarters the plan changed to an incredible 45 head shots and an event shoot. In my head I was totally overwhelmed but I couldn’t let the client know this. I was working solo and given 8 hours to shoot 45 people and an event. Impossible right?

I then had three days to edit all the photos including some really heavy Photoshopping of the portraits as well as the building itself. Somehow I managed to get it all done and my client was pleased, to say the least, with my work. A few of the executives asked me for copies of the finished images for personal use.

My workflow for editing the photos was nothing like Aaron’s mostly because the context and intended use of my photos was totally different from Aleksandar’s. However, this video taught me some tricks I’d not thought of and is a great example of how a little goes a long way.

Today we’re editing this image by Aleksandar Jaredic, and we only have five minutes to do so! Sometimes you need to be able to edit quickly for clients. We start by correcting blown out highlights using a combination of curves adjustment layers and Apply Image. Next we move onto the skin, eyes and sharpening parts of the image we want to stand out. After that, all that needs to be done is some quick cleanup and darkening around the edges!

A great way to become faster at editing is to learn keyboard shortcuts religiously. Check out our guide to Photoshop keyboard shortcuts HERE, you can even download a desktop wallpaper so they’re there at your fingertips whenever you need them!

So there you go. Were you impressed? I love studying other photographers and videographers workflows. How about you? Videos like this make me curious about photographing humans again. For the last few years I’ve been almost exclusively an architectural and landscape photographer.

In fact, that executive portrait session I wrote about earlier was originally supposed to be me shooting their new headquarters. The “human element” wasn’t added until a few days before the shoot was to take place.

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