by Jr Gamogamo

Step by step guide to basic photo retouching.

  • Exposure and Temperature

    • Every photo, no matter how perfect still has a room for improvement and in photo retouching, the first thing that we need to do when we open the photo is to correct the exposure and temperature.
    • Open the raw image and the screen as shown below will appear. This is where you will edit the exposure and temperature of the photo. I also like to change the black and make it -10 to add more depth to the photo. Just play with it until you are satisfied with the skin color of your subject.

  • Color correction using adjustment layers

Once you are already contented with the exposure, temperature and whatsoever things you change.Click "Open Image" for us to start the retouching.

First, let's put some curves and level on our photo so it would not look flat. We can do that by creating an adjustment layer. Click onto your adjustment layer on the lower right of your screen and create curves and level. This two adjustment layer will help us make the color of our subject more appealing.

Once you have created the two adjustment layers, we will now adjust them based on our own preference.

For the CURVE, make sure to create an "S" shape for you to get the perfect highlight, mid tone and shadows in the photo.

For the LEVEL, it will now depend on your own preference on how much depth you want to add to your photo.

**There are instances where the photo has been already dark or the subject is wearing a dark colored shirt that when you add this two adjustment layers, the details of the dark part of the photo are already removed. In those cases, you can just mask the dark parts in the two adjustment layers to bring back the details on it. (I will be releasing another tutorial about masking)

Spot Removal using Patch tool

After correcting the exposure and the color of our photo. It's time for us to get rid of those eye bags, acne and those unwanted stray hairs. We can do this by using the patch tool. (You can also use the spot healing tool, but I prefer this one since it's easier for me to use it and the outcome looks better for me.)

First, let's select the patch tool (J) and fix the setting of the tool. You can see the settings just right below the menu bar. Make sure that the "Patch" is in normal, "Source" is clicked and put the diffusion to "5".

After making sure that the setting has been already good. You can now start patching all the unwanted things on the skin like acne and unwanted stray hair. Just make sure not to remove the mole and freckles unless the client wants it removed.

For the eye bags, what I do is patch it, but don't remove the selection first, click Ctrl+Shift+F then change the opacity to 50. It will lessen the eye bags. (The 50 opacity is perfect for me, As what I always say, it's your your own preference) Don't fully remove the eye bags for it will really look weird. Our goal is just to lessen it and not to remove it.

Also, after opening the photo, make sure that you duplicate it so that you can keep the original file as a reference while editing. Also, for us not to mess the original photo and to easily make adjustments when it is needed. Remember to work the spot removal on the duplicated photo and rename the layer as "Spot removal". Just untick the eye shape beside the layers for you to check the changes that you made on your photo.

Smoothing of skin using cloning tool

So basically, I'm already good with the outcome of the photo after removing the acne and unwanted stray hair and lessening the eye bags, especially when your subject have a beautiful skin like the subject in my example. But if your subject has a senior skin? How can you lessen or get rid of it? This is where the cloning tool enters, when we are about to make the skin more smoother

Create a new layer in where we will do all the cloning then rename in "Cloning" (Obviously). Select the cloning tool (S) and let's fix the setting. Make sure that you are in normal mode, opacity is 10%, the sample is in "Current and Below" and for the brush, use a soft to medium - sized round soft brush for it always gives the best result . A hard brush creates a noticeable seams, it creates a visible edges along the path of the clone. Opacity is only 10% because we don't want to over do it and still leave a texture for it to still look realistic and not edited

To begin cloning and smoothing the skin, simply click on the preferred source area while holding down the "ALT" key ("Option on Mac) . Then, with no keys held down, begin painting over the area you want where the wrinkles and senior skin area. The image area from the source will be transferred to the destination

Just repeat it until you get the desired look and texture on the skin you like

For the teeth whitening, you just need to use dodge tool, change the opacity to 10% and gently brush it to the teeth. The dodge tool will do the trick.

So basically, that's is everything in basic skin retouching. I had so much fun creating this mini tutorial for you and hope it helps you in retouching your portraits. There are so many ways for you to retouch your portrait skin, but I find this easier especially for beginners. I also did not include Photoshop actions and just explain it through hand edits for you to familiarize the tools and work around in Photoshop. Although, this was supposed to be a mini tutorial having shorter explanations, it still ends up longer since I tried to make it as detailed as possible. Please forgive my sample for it's a little bit too easy for the tutorial. I haven't shot a portrait of a senior and all my portrait shots have beautiful skin. Hope you enjoy this mini tutorial and hopefully release a sample of this tutorial with senior skin. If you have questions, don't hesitate to message me.

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