This is one of the basic procedures I use when processing my raw files . Every single image I process is done uniquely in camera and post according to how i feel and my concept at the time . First you should open your new raw file in photoshop . I prefer to change to my own taste in raw all by eye instead of using auto which i only use when rushing ( oops ) , or to keep consistency in a batch .
Temp Lowered to 5200 because it looked too warm .
I lowered clarity a touch and increased the sharpness a touch . The most effective way is to increase Sharpness slightly and the radius to 1.7 which is the most efficient , at the same time that you decrease Clarity. This helps retain realistic looking texture in the skin and avoids a false look .
Slightly increase dehaze ,
also lower the contrast and open the shadows a touch .
Duplicate layer ( Always rename your layers e.g. this one is multiply etc to avoid confusion and make clear your intentions ) multiply with opacity usually pleasing to the eye it happily sits between 30 and 50 per cent . Black and white adjustment layer and a curves adjustment layer Press auto on these and adjust from auto to your own preference and as with all the tools at our disposal manipulate them to agree to our preferred concepts and enhance the refrain if you can make a link or gain further knowledge for yourself and others by doing so .
Flatten image .
Duplicate layer . Convert to smart object , filter > smart sharpen , zoom in on the eyes usually 200 % start at zero percent motion blur and increase slowly by eye to the preferential quality of sharpness ( Not too much not too little …. Just perfect ) .
Turn off the smart filter go to channels drag the red channel to create a copy then press command invert and drag to load channel as selection . Press command invert and drag red copy to load channel selection then press select RGB and return to layers . Turn the smart filter on and add filter mask to selection .
Duplicate layer name it heal or blemish as I do . Alter brush size to the smallest possible and zoom into desired area spot healing away any unwanted blemishes e.g. spots or freckles . Another good way to improve the look of your models skin is by using frequency separation retouching .The principle of Frequency Separation Retouching relies on the differences between the two concepts: High frequency images are detailed, and sharp, and low frequency images are blurred, soft and contain only the tones of the image… no skin detail .
Also stray hairs or unwanted unsightly eye drawers , as i call them ,that distract your attention from the subject , or just generally make the image feel or look untidy .
Next create a soft light 50% grey layer . Cmd Shift and N selecting soft light in the drop down menu and ticking the 50% grey box . This is to dodge and burn ) Light and shadow ) the image as required e.g. the eyes ( Highlights ) or creating greater textured effects in the skin ( Wrinkles ) if desired depending on your final notions or results .
Select to appropriate size brush for the chosen area , I like to go small brush and detailed to create a better effect it takes more time but is worth it. Also keep the exposure between 10 and 30 % for small incremental subtle changes . Whilst your dodge/burn alter the brush size using tab ( Mac ) . In a good portrait one of the areas I concentrate the Dodge and burn in are around the eyes , eyelash etc always going for a realistic but enhancing effect . Use this procedure in th same way on any other areas you feel require attention .
Next I use a noise reducing and ( premade action ) light enhancing layer or you can also increase grain depending on the final outcome your again desire .
I also neutralise the whites and correct any obvious or unwanted colour casts to achieve what is the most optically realistic image according to my eye . Use the opacity and fill layers levels to constantly experiment with each layer always looking for perfection or a better look .