3-Step Process for Retouching Fashion Portraits
Photoshop is an all consuming world full of plug-ins and hundreds of retouching options, and the simpler you make it for yourself, the better. I use a three-step process when retouching fashion portraits –– eliminating unwanted blemishes, filling in shadows, and running multiple layers of Portraiture to smooth uneven textures. Touching up your portrait without making the image look fake and over-polished takes a certain amount of finesse, but you’ll end up with a naturally beautiful image with a few simple tips and tricks!
Note: these techniques are applicable when using Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks. Adjustment Layers are like a gel — you place them on top of your photo, and everything underneath will take on the gel’s effect. You’ll then be able to paint the effect on and off with your Layer Mask.
Use the Spot Healing Brush to get rid of blemishes. The Spot Healing Brush is a little circle that you make slightly larger than your blemish. You place it over the blemish and Photoshop will erase it and fill it in based on the textures and colors of the skin around it. It works well for larger pimples or moles.
Use a Patch Tool to get rid of wrinkles. You can use a Patch Tool to select an unwanted blemish or wrinkle, and then click and drag that wrinkle to an area of skin that has textures and colors you want it to be replaced with. The Patch Tool will both replace and blend the area where the wrinkle was. I use this tool for large lines on the forehead, as well as wrinkles on clothing –– but keep in mind that it doesn’t work well for areas with high contrast (like edges) or areas with lots of texture.
Use Blend Modes to clone. Cloning smooths and blends by rapidly cutting and pasting pixels, but many people use the Clone Stamp Tool and end up losing skin texture. Over-cloned images can look fake, but an easy solution? Blend Modes. They affect how the brush interacts with the pixels you’re clicking on, and you can use them to add texture to images. For example, using the “lighten” Clone Stamp under the eyes will keep the skin’s natural texture, but fill in shadow. It works well for larger smile lines and wrinkles on the neck and armpits. You don’t want to erase them completely, you just want to fill them in.