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Optimizing faces with Radiant Photo

Brand new to the market is Radiant Photo, created by photographers for photographers. Radiant offers simple, quick and powerful AI photo editing for landscapes, portraits or anything else your heart desires.

I was given a copy to try out and ran it through its paces with some portraits. So let’s take a look at optimizing some faces with Radiant Photo.

Plugin or standalone

First, you can run Radiant Photo as a plugin from Adobe Lightroom Classic, Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Pro. Or you can use it as a standalone application.

Why use it as a plugin? Well, if you are currently using a Lightroom catalog, that’ll be your best option for efficiency. This lets you clean up things that Radiant Photo can’t tackle, like stray hair, animal fur, spots and scuff marks on floors, etc.

However, if you are fairly new to photography, or don’t have Lightroom, you can use it as a standalone editor and it does a pretty great job.

In Lightroom, right-click your image and go to Edit In > Radiant Photo. It will pop straight over into Radiant.

Open as a Plugin from Lightroom
Open as a Plugin from Lightroom

Quick Edit

When you first open the image in Radiant it will open in the Quick Edit section. Radiant Photo detected there was a person there and hit my image with the Smart Presets for People.

Straight off it had already made some major improvements to my photo. You can tweak the Smart Editing sliders, and you can choose the strength of the Smart Preset and tweak the Exposure. You could call it done and save, but I wasn’t finished yet. Check out the before and after view in Radiant below.

Quick Edit Tab in Radiant Photo
Quick Edit Tab in Radiant Photo

Detailed Edit

Click on the Detailed Edit tab and a whole new level of options are now available. The Smart Editing is still at the top, but now there are other options for cropping (there are different ratio options, including custom settings. Rotation or flipping your image vertical and horizontal is available as well. There are different grid overlays for composition and such.

Heading down there are Tone, Color, Details, Graduated Filter and Finishing Tools.

Located under the Histogram is not only the basic settings tab but also a face icon for portraits and a color grading tab. I am mostly going to be looking at the People tab. This is where the magic happens.

Detailed Edit tab in Radiant Photo
Detailed Edit tab in Radiant Photo

Face selection

You will need to make sure a face is selected for most features to function. If your face has not been detected, it is a pretty easy fix by clicking Manually Add Face. Click this and then click on the eyes of your subject. You should see a thumbnail now appear in the Face Selection.

Uncheck the Show and Adjust Control Points, as it leaves the yellow dots on the face, which can be a bit distracting. If your face has been detected, there is no need to select it and it will be viewable in the thumbnail.

Face Detection in Radiant Photo
Face Detection in Radiant Photo


Working from the top down is the Eyes section. Auto Red-Eye, Eye Enhance, Eye Enlarge, Dark Circles and Catchlights. These have drop down menus and you can toggle this feature on and off.

  • Auto Red-Eye can be switched on and off, but that’s about it. I didn’t have any red-eye photos to test.
  • Eye Enhance can also be switched on and off and you can increase the strength of the changes made. I suggest subtle changes here as 100 can do some pretty strange things. But sticking around 30 gave a subtle pop to the eyes, brightening them up and adding some clarity.
  • Eye Enlarge does exactly what it says. I didn’t use it, but there may be instances you would want to. With this, subtlety is key.
  • Dark Circles was great at removing shadows under the eyes and reducing the dark circles.
  • Catchlights are interesting, as you can select different catchlights from ring lights, to umbrellas and softboxes to outdoors. You can then dial them up or down.
Radiant Photo Eyes Filter
Radiant Photo Eyes Filter


In the Face section, you’ll find three tools:

  • Face Contouring is actually reshaping the face, so be super careful with that. Personally I wasn’t fond of it, but perhaps it could be handy in certain situations.
  • Teeth Whitening does exactly what it says — subtlety is key.
  • Lip Sharpening helps to define your subject’s lips more. There are three settings here — Fine, Medium and Coarse.
Radiant Photo Face and Skin Filters
Radiant Photo Face and Skin Filters


The Skin area is all about smoothing and blemish removal. You can choose between Face Only or Full Body (I only did Face). There are three smoothing types, but beware of going overboard. You can choose Super Smooth and then dial the total Smooth filter down. I, however, much preferred the Subtle setting myself.

Sadly the Blemish Removal only removed a few fine wrinkles and artifacts, and did not remove some of the deeper wrinkles and acne. It did see a lip piercing as an acne spot and it looked a bit strange. But was fixed when I dialed the Blemish slider down a bit. There is no spot removal tool. The Infrared Removal seemed to even out the skin tone. Shine removal did just that and removed areas of shine.


Now, this is an interesting area, you can adjust skin toning and blush here. This can be done to Face Only or Full Body. You can choose between their color presets or create your own color tones. I wish there was a color picker tool here. But you just have to eyeball it and choose manually. The Blush did give a nice subtle glow to the cheek area. This can also be dialed up and down to your preference.

Radiant Photo Makeup Filter
Radiant Photo Makeup Filter

Saving and exporting images

Simply select Save (top right) and it will save it back in Lightroom (if you started there) as a TIFF file. Radiant will then close. You can then export it from Lightroom as a JPEG or any other format.

If you did not start in Lightroom and used Radiant as a standalone application, you can save as JPEG, TIFF or PNG file by selecting Save As in the File menu.

Save Function in Radiant Photo
Save Function in Radiant Photo


It’s super quick and very intuitive to use. Simple and well laid out. A few help pointers could be handy. For instance, if you weren’t sure exactly what a slider did you could hover or right-click for a simple explanation.

  • On the whole, the areas were fairly self-explanatory or you could figure them out with a little experimentation
  • All sliders and areas can be easily toggled on and off
  • Pressing the space bar gave you a very handy before and after view
  • The Quick Edits gave a terrific starting point with editing and could even be left there on some landscapes and such
  • The Smart Presets seemed to work quite well with images detected correctly, landscapes, people, etc.
  • Presets in the Detailed Edit area could be saved for future use or you can sync all images within a folder


Every program has a downside, right? Radiant is no different, but I am hoping that these might be something seen in future updates.

  • You cannot increase/decrease the size of your image (ie, zoom in/out) with the open and close square bracket keys or the mouse wheel. Yes, there is a Zoom function, but I am used to having it on the mouse, and it is rather handy.
  • No spot removal or clone tool. The Blemish Removal works fairly well, but things like stray hairs and a few stubborn blemishes needed to be fixed in Lightroom or Photoshop.
  • There’s a Color Temperature slider, but no way to set the white balance by sampling your image

Final thoughts

This really is a great program, especially for people who don’t like to spend a lot of time editing. It’s quick and intuitive and has great AI. I will let my final image speak for itself. Check out and slide between the before (left) and after (right).

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Rafael Jones

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