Here’s a neat trick I like to use when working with vocals.
Personally I often like to leave a lot of the breathing sounds in the vocal, but this doesn’t come without problems. Many times the breathing is unnaturally loud on a recording. This is usually made even worse by the compressor which makes the quieter bits come through better and your singer ends up sounding asthmatic.
No worries, here’s how to gain full control over the breathing.
Clean the audio. Get rid of any unwanted noise, including maybe some of the breathing as well.
Cut out the breaths and move them to a different track.
Now you can adjust the EQ, volume and other parameters of the breathing separately to the actual vocal track. I usually like to cut off some low end and make the breathing a bit quieter than what it was originally. I also use less compression (if any) than on the main vocal, to have it sound more natural.
Granted, this is a lot of work, but that’s vocal editing for ya. It’s little things like these that are the difference between professional and amateur standards. Just put in the work!