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How do photographers get that soft glowing look to their pictures? I will be doing some senior pics this summer so I have been looking at as many pics as I can and I see that alot. I am not even sure if "soft and glowing" are the correct words to describe but the pics definatley look better than they do in real life. Not meaning to sound bad but the pictures make them look much better. I would love to learn how to do that.
Probably a combination of good lighting and post-processing. Kimi had a homework assignment a month or two ago that shared one portrait photographer's secret. Have you looked back through the homework threads and checked the tutorial section of this forum? I think one or more skin softening tutorials have been posted.

In the pre-digital days that soft look was often due to special lenses used by the photographer. They were called soft focus lenses. The skin is actually just a bit out of focus. You can get the same look with digital processing using Elements. After all of your adjustments are completed and you are satisfied with the exposure, duplicate your layer.

Apply a slight gaussian blur to that top layer. See how the skin is softened and lines, wrinkles and small blemishes disappear? 'course, if you are doing high schoolers lines and wrinkles probably aren't a problem.

You should now mask this blurred layer and bring back sharper detail for the eyes, hair and a bit around the mouth. If you don't have a version of PSE with masks, or don't have an add-in program, you can use the eraser tool to remove blur wherever you don't want it.

You should look back thru tutorials and homework as Courtney said. There are some explanations there.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

Also, if you are using PSE 9 there is a section under the Guided panel called Fun Edits. In Fun Edits there is an option for "Perfect Portraits." It does a real nice job of making folks look good.
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