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5 Incredible Ways to Retouch Portraits

I’m sure you guys have taken plenty of selfies right? But even with those “beauty” cameras or apps, sometimes you still need a bit of retouching action to your photos. And that’s where software like Photoshop works best! It is jam-packed with tools that can make photo retouching fast and easy! You can do just about anything to any photo with a few short clicks so here are 4 awesome ways to make use of this design powerhouse!

1. Remove Pimples, Moles, and Freckles with the Patch Tool

Everybody wants clear skin. Whether you’re a celebrity or just a regular person, clear skin is a sign of health and vitality. In today’s tech forward world, there are many apps that can give you that healthy look, but usually it comes at a very blurry cost. (Image used: 30425084)

You can retouch skin easily in Photoshop by using the Patch Tool. In the example above, the model has many moles all over his neck and face. To diminish the appearance of acne, moles, or freckles, create a selection with the Patch Tool (J). Click down on the area you selected and move your mouse over to an area with smoother skin. And just like that you’ve got perfect skin!

2. Clean Up Areas with the Clone Stamp Tool

Not every tool works best in different scenarios. When the Patch Tool doesn’t work, always try out the Clone Stamp Tool (S). With the Clone Stamp Tool, you can create a stamp of any area, and use it to paint an exact clone on any other part of the canvas. This tool especially comes in handy whenever you want to clean things up a bit. (Image: 43725344)

In the picture above, the model has bags under her eyes and a few hairs out of place. Let’s correct this by using the Clone Stamp Tool (S). Hold Alt to source an area as your stamp. We’ll use nearby skin to remove the under eye bags, and the background areas to clean up the hair.

When you’re finished, the result should look like this. Clean and simple!

3. Perfect the Color Harmony

Ah, young love. Photos should always tell a story. One of the best ways to make that story real is to understand the impact of color. Here we’ll change her bright blue shirt to match the dark blue hues of his plaid shirt. (Image: 17630250)

Portrait photos aren’t limited to just one model, so whether you’re working on a fashion portrait or a moment of love captured between two teens, try to make the colors more harmonious. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select an area of the photo you’d like to change. Perfect the color harmony easily by making small adjustments with Curves.

4. Add Makeup with Blend Modes

Are things looking a little pale? Usually you can add blush or lipstick to make colors in the face more vibrant. But this only works before you start taking photos. And sometimes intense lighting setups can wash out your model’s face, making it look as though they have no makeup on at all, or are even sickly.

Combat this in post processing by adding a little color with blend modes. Let’s take a look at this model for example. (Image: 30636072)

Experiment on several layers set to different blend modes. Use a soft brush to apply natural looking makeup and study YouTube videos for tips on contouring and natural colors. Blend modes like Multiply, Overlay, and Soft Light work best for this effect. Slowly build color until you’re happy with the result. And now you’ve got a diva on your hands!

5. Add Shine with Dodge and Burn

Instantly turn any photograph into a shampoo commercial. Create healthy shine for the hair and skin by using the Dodge and Burn Tools. (Image: 18208378)

First use the power of Dodge to add intense light to the hair. Create streaks of shine by using soft linear strokes that follow the original lighting setup.


Then follow up with a little Burn for more dimension and shadow. These tools combined quickly give you an incredible result that will take your photos to a whole new level!

Retouching portraits in Photoshop is a lot of fun. The ultimate goal should always be to make improvements that are natural looking and don’t detract from the model. Do you have any tools or techniques you prefer? Share them with us in the comments below!

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