20 Photoshopping Portraits Tips

20 Photoshopping Portraits Tips

20 photoshopping portraits tips to help you improve your portrait editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. Daily FixThePhoto retouchers improve thousands portrait photos of models, family, children, couples, etc. and now we want to share tricks and tips for photoshopping portraits as a pro with you. 

Photoshopping Portrait Steps:

  1. Photo culling
  2. Photo color correction
  3. Teeth whitening
  4. Eyes retouching
  5. Make-up enhancing
  6. Skin editing
  7. Stray hair removal
  8. Photo sharpening
  9. Adding Dodge&Burn effect
  10. Stylization with Lightroom & Photoshop Filters
View more about several ways on how to download Photoshop free trial and start editing photos like professionals.

Photoshopping Portrait Tips for Beginning Photographers

1. Make Detailed Photo Culling

Many amateur photographers tend to neglect images culling and do Photoshop portrait retouching of all photos they took. This photo editing step doesn’t require special knowledge but helps get cool results. Remove the photographs with distracting things (strangers, stains, too bright textures or colors), anything that distracts attention from the model. If some objects cut your model’s face, body or distracts, remove this photo too. I prefer Lightroom to be the best photo culling software for mass display, assortment, and uniting my images, and the Compare and Survey view get much benefit. Choose about 30 shots and ask your friends to specify the ones they like the most.

If you want to make a natural skin, remove stray hair from your model’s face and body or create dramatic, grunge or glitch effects in Photoshop FREE, I recommend you learning these techniques having watched YouTube Photoshop portrait tutorials.

How to Refine and Cull Images in Lightroom Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

2. Regulate White Balance

photoshopping portraits color correction

Before you start Photoshopping portraits, it is necessary to make color correction, namely, adjust the white balance. These settings are done to give the skin a natural look in the photo. It is extremely crucial for Photoshop indoor portrait editing when the artificial light is used.

You may have some difficulties, trying to get the proper color, as every light source produces the light of different color temperature. Some colors will look too bright, while others remain slightly faded.

View more a 7-step tutorial about installing brushes in Photoshop CC and create amazing photos and designs.

Easy Fix for White Balance in Photoshop CC

3. Make the Teeth White

photoshop portrait tip

Every detail in the portrait must be smoothly retouched. There are lots of Photoshop retouching tutorials about How to whiten teeth in Lightroom, but some photographers still forget to do it. That is why even the most charming smile loses its beauty. This yellowish tint appears as a result of the poor lighting. Photoshop editing is a very effective solution of such a problem. But be very attentive in order not to overdo the whitening, because the teeth will acquire a very unnatural look. Put Opacity to 50% for a better look.

How to Whiten Teeth in Lightroom Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

Read more about how to whiten teeth in Adobe Photoshop in 3 easy steps or download FREE teeth whotening Lightroom brushes to make it 1 click.

4. Make Eyes Stay in Focus

portrait retouching tips

Fortunately, there are many Photoshopping tricks for portraits that will enable you to bring attention back to the model’s eyes – to brighten them, change or enhance eye color or correct the eyes’ whites. Not all the shooters know how to edit like a pro. They just sharpen the eye and that’s all. If you lighten the model’s eyes, it’s better to brighten the area opposite the catch light. Having forgotten about it, you will receive a 100% unnatural and “alien” look. Find out How to change eye color in Photoshop or watch the following Photoshop video tutorial. I recommend download free Photoshop action for eyes.

How to Change Eye Color in Photoshop

5. Use Frequency Separation for Skin Editing

portrait retouching tips

Even the best Photoshop filters for portraits and Photoshop plugins may result in the distortion of the natural skin tones. What if use the Frequency Separation Technique to edit skin? This image retouching tool will enable you to separate the detail and the color to adjust them apart. You get two layers:
  • the high-frequency digital data layer (the details);
  • the low-frequency layer (tonal features).

Frequency separation helps completely get rid of black-heads from a model’s nose by wiping over the affected area with the clone tool, removing just these defects without damaging the color and tone. Besides, you can put detail back into a burned out area in several clicks.

The Amazing Power of Frequency Separation Retouching in Photoshop

6. Match Skin Tones

portrait photoshop tips

Every photographer knows that the color of the person’s face and his/her body may differ slightly. It happens because of many reasons:
  • suntan;
  • makeup;
  • blush;
  • the peculiarities of the skin;
  • light conditions.

So, you need to analyze the skin tone first and then proceed to Photoshopping portraits.

How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

7. Remove Bags under Eyes

photoshop portrait retouching

You may have a portrait photo-session outdoors when the light is harsh or the lighting in the studio is rather poor. Moreover, your model may feel tired and suffer from insomnia. Anyway, you will probably see the dark bags under the model’s eyes and you must know how to get rid of them NATURALLY. You can do it your own or apply Lightroom portrait presets.


Remember, any skin retouching may be a tricky task and you have to know all the nuances how to make it naturally beautiful. The customers usually know what the result they want to see, so watch these creative Photoshop portrait tutorials to do everything the best way possible.

Reduce Dark Circles under Eyes in Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

8. Eliminate Skin Redness

editing portraits in photoshop

The most frequent problem with newborn or baby portraits is the redness of the skin. It usually appears on the cheeks, near the nose and the eyes. Fortunately, with the step by step Photoshop tutorials for beginners you will learn to get rid of redness.


Removing Purple, Blue or Red Color Casts from Newborn Skin in Lightroom

9. Apply a Dodge & Burn Effect

how to edit portraits in photoshop

In the photo terms, “dodge” means “to lighten” and “burn” is “to darken”. These techniques have become very popular among fashion portrait photography, and they are a must if you need to add shadows and highlights to a picture. Thus, the visual contrast of the photo is increased.

You find the dark areas on the skin and dodge (lighten) them, while the light spots must be “burnt” (darkened). In such a way, you will be able to even the skin tone and improve all the imperfections. According to cool Photoshop tutorials, every professional photographer must know how to use “dodge” and “burn” tools. They are very effective and completely non-destructive. If you need it but have never done before, address portrait photo retouching service and order Dodge & Burn retouching for about $5.

How to Dodge & Burn in Photoshop

10. Experiment with Hair Color

hair retouching in photoshop

Photoshop editing of hair takes a long time. And not always the result satisfies the photographer. You can do hair color change for making stylized photos or improve the hair color and make it more vivid and pop. You need to know that changing the color from light tones to dark tones is more comfortable than doing vice versa. This actually does not depend on the program in which you work. Sometimes the transition from dark shades to light shades of hair color is almost impossible. And this must be taken into account when you proceed to Photoshopping portraits. It is essential not to overdo it when you are editing portraits in Photoshop. Otherwise, you will get an unrealistic photo.

How to Change Hair Color in Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

11. Remove Stray Hair

stray hair removing in photoshop

Photoshopping portraits always includes hair editing. Usually, a photographer or retoucher removes hair that protrudes or covers the part of the face. It is a very laborious work that takes a lot of effort. Stray hair is the main problem of most portraits outdoors. There are many Photoshopping portraits tips for quick hair editing. Each photographer chooses the suitable image retouching technique. If you have not yet determined the most optimal one, then we suggest watching the video from which you can get to know different methods that will help you speed up the process of editing portraits in Photoshop.

How to Quickly Remove Stray Hairs in Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

12. Add Volume and Shine to Hair

how to edit portraits in photoshop

Photoshopping portraits is not only about face retouching, but it includes image manipulations with the hair. The following video will show you how to edit like a professional photographer. They will help you give the hair volume and shine if it is necessary. Therefore, you will be able to make your pictures eye-catching.

Add Shine, Color & Volume to Hair in Photoshop

13. Remove Blemishes with the Healing Brush

editing portraits

Very often photographers are asked to remove freckles, birthmarks, acne and other skin defects. The photos of models for glossy magazines are done with the help of different Photoshop retouching plugins and tools. Spot Healing Tool is perfect for removing blemishes on the face. It enhances the image editing process greatly. If you want to learn more about this technique, we recommend watching the video with useful Photoshopping tricks for portraits.

How to Remove Acne in Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

14. Enhance Make-up in Photoshop

editing portraits

Make-up is a great way to emphasize the beauty of the face and to highlight its individual peculiarities, for example, the shape of the eyes. Basic retouching in Photoshop also includes editing makeup. Photoshop tricks described in the following video will help you improve the makeup and make each part of the face expressive. This type of editing is mandatory for Fashion and glamor photos. The results will be impressive.

Enhance Makeup in Photoshop Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

15. Reduce Wrinkles with the Photoshop Healing Brush

editing portraits skin retouching

Many customers do not want to see wrinkles on their face in photos. Wrinkle smoothing is a great way to improve the picture and surprise the customer even if he/she did not order this service. This tool makes it possible to perfect the image. When you remove wrinkles from the face, do not overdo. Otherwise, you will get a cartoon image of a doll. The photo should look natural so that the results of the image retouching will not be visible. You can use tips for Photoshopping portraits from the next video.

How to Remove Wrinkles in Photoshop

16. Сonvert a Portrait into Black and White

black and white retouching

If you want to give the picture an emotional mood or show the character of a person, turn a photo in a black and white one. This option is suitable if you're going to focus on the subject. Use the manual black-and-white photo editing, don’t use auto correction.


Make Black and White Conversions Using Calculations in Photoshop

17. Sharpen Your Portraits

how to edit portraits in photoshop

Photoshop portrait filters help photographers shift focus to specific details of the image. In this case, you can use the Sharpening Tool. It becomes possible to lay the emphasis on some parts of the picture. You can also regulate contrast, change light and composition. These tools enhance the image quality. You should evaluate the finished image and highlight those elements, which will help show the model in the most favorable way. It can be accessories, such as watches or hair wreath. Bright parts of the clothing can be also brought into focus. You can also concentrate on the eyes or hair. In this case, it is important to be very careful, otherwise, you will accentuate the undesirable details, which will distract attention from a model. Watch the video to learn more Photoshop tricks about sharpening photo.

How to Sharpen Portraits in Photoshop

18. Correct Glasses’ Reflections

how to edit portraits in photoshop

The glass reflections may spoil the whole portrait image. It happens because of the glare from the glasses. This defect is sometimes complicated to eliminate, and photo retouching can take extra time. One of the most effective tips for Photoshopping portraits is to take an additional photo of a model without glasses. This method will help you quickly retouch the picture. There are a few more Photoshopping portraits tips of removing reflections which you can find in this video.

How to Remove Glare from Glasses in Photoshop

19. Remove Hotspots

portrait editing

Sometimes you can see shiny areas on the face. They appear because of a flash or lighting. This defect spoils the photo because the face looks sweaty. In fact, it is the most typical problem with portraits. Shine skin of the face is a problem for many photographers and retouchers. Such spots look very icky, so they must be removed or at least reduced. It is challenging to do. If you have some problems with removing hotspots, you can use the Photoshop tricks described in this video:

Basic Skin Retouching for Beginners - Photoshop Portrait Tutorial

20. Use FREE Lightroom & Photoshop Photo Filters

lightroom presets free


Make a quick and professional color correction in Lightroom – apply pastel, matte, film or vintage effects to your photos.

photoshop actions free


By means of Photoshop actions you can brighten eyes, make teeth pure white or enhance the skin tones.

All of these tricks for Photoshopping portraits will help you quickly and efficiently edit the images. These video tutorials are suitable for beginning photographers who just start their photo retouching experience. Using Photoshop & Photoshop alternatives retouching tools properly, you will be able to create gorgeous pictures.



Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.




Get New & Fresh Content From FixThePhoto