11 Skin Retouching Tips for Amateurs

11 Skin Retouching Tips for Amateurs

Would you like to master the art of skin retouching and figure out how to eliminate all sorts of skin flaws like a real pro using Spot Healing Brush or frequency separation techniques? Then examine the following 11 tips, implement them, and bring the skin in your portraits to perfection.

Top 11 Skin Retouching Tips

There’s nothing wrong with minimal retouching, but if you are set on becoming professional, you’ll need to learn how to do more skilled, realistic high-end retouching. The tips below will help you create polished shots even if you are a complete beginner.

1. Eliminate Minor Skin Imperfections

skin retouching minor skin imperfections removal

Loose hair that covers the face/wrinkles surrounding the eyes and mouth are two widespread types of distractions that, when minimized or eliminated, can help highlight the most significant parts of the shot.

Using Spot Healing Brush Tool, smooth skin in Photoshop by neutralizing pimples, wrinkles, and small scars. But be careful not to overdo it. Do not eliminate the characteristic features of a person (moles, dimples, small wrinkles).

2. Eliminate Large Spots

skin retouching big spots removal

The elimination of large spots works almost exactly the same. You will only need to pick up a larger brush and draw over a larger area. However, drawing large areas with the Spot Healing Brush Tool, particularly areas with a delicate texture, such as skin, can lead to texture loss and blemishes.

There are two ways around this. Firstly, you can try the Spot Healing Brush Tool to paint over this area several times until you get a plausible result. If this doesn’t work, get as close as possible with the Spot Healing Brush. Then use the Clone Stamp Tool to pick up a skin texture sample from an unedited spot nearby. After that, paint this texture over the Healing Brush to restore certain details.

3. Apply Frequency Separation

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  • skin retouching frequency separation

    Applying frequency separation, align the light and dark skin pattern. This Photoshop smoothing skin method is fitting for small spots, red spots, skin spots, spots on a dry, oily and greasy skin, as well as wrinkles.

    Besides, it is perfect for smoothing out baked makeup, softening the combination of two composite pictures, eliminating soft and moderate hot spots.

    However, shots enhanced using the frequency separation method may acquire a “plastic” effect to a greater extent when the method is used on a large surface. Therefore, don’t overdo it – preserve the natural skin texture.

    4. Eliminate Unwanted Shades

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    • skin retouching adjust skin tone

      The majority of digital shots tend to over-saturate their colors and emphasize the red hue of the skin. Hue adjustment aims to correct these color differences by applying a hue adjustment layer. In most cases, tweaking the hue is combined with adding grain to restore the depth and texture of the skin.

      When performing skin retouching, remember that the tone of the skin brown should be beige-colored, without red and yellow areas. Try adding blush as well. This way the skin will have a healthy look.

      5. Enhance the Skin Around the Eyes

      skin retouching enhance the eyes

      Adjusting the skin color around the eyes requires practice, particularly if you are dealing with skin color or a color you aren’t familiar with. The hue adjustment layer can be revised and customized, so don’t be reluctant to play around with the settings until you achieve the skin that appears natural and healthy.

      To achieve the best effect, follow simple eye photography tips.

      Paint over all the dark areas that you wish to lighten – think about circles under the eyes and any distracting shadows. Your goal should be to reduce sharp shadows and reveal some details. The Spot Healing Brush or Clone Stamp Tool will assist you in this.

      Also, don’t forget about small wrinkles that I suggest eliminating in order to make the eyes look more expressive and natural.

      6. Add Volume

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      • skin retouching add volume

        Although this method to soften skin Photoshop takes a long time, as a result, you will achieve is a textured and smooth-looking picture that appears natural. Apply Dodge&Burn to make the skin look radiant and voluminous.

        Always check before after in order not to go overboard. Otherwise, it may lead to spots on the skin. Using this technique, you can visually make some areas smaller, for instance, reduce the pores of the skin, and vice versa, emphasize significant elements, such as the eyes.

        7. Add Texture

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        • skin retouching add texture

          When smoothing skin in Photoshop, remember to preserve the skin texture. Sometimes it will be enough just to add sharpness to certain areas. In other cases, you need to create a texture artificially, for instance, via Filter – Noise – Add Noise.

          The high-frequency layer contains the entire texture. In this layer, you can apply the Clone Stamp or Patch tool. When using the Clone Stamp tool, you need to boost the opacity of the brush to 70-100% and soften it to 25%. Pick an area with an even texture as a clone sample and correct large pores, thin chin hair, and anything else that requires attention.

          The Patch tool is more effective for dealing with deep wrinkles. Select a wrinkle or part of a wrinkle and move it to an adjacent area with evenly textured skin. Be careful with these strokes since your task is to reduce wrinkles and pores, not eliminate them completely.

          8. Use Touch-Up Layer

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          • fixthephoto skin retouching before after fixthephoto skin retouching before after

            It is one of the most efficient skin retouching techniques for eliminating skin blemishes, spots and marks. It can also be used to neutralize flakes of cosmetics, tiny misplaced strands of hair, dust or fluff.

            Apply a corrective layer to retouch makeup, for instance, to remove lipstick that has bled into the surrounding skin, or fill in gaps in the eyeliner to achieve a beautiful, clean line.

            However, the method of retouching the correction layer isn’t suitable for hot spots, spots on the skin, and multiple small spots. Apply the correction layers only when it comes to retouching of evident issues that are surrounded by flawless skin.

            9. Add Color Effects

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            • skin retouching add effects

              To make skin retouching complete and the portraits more expressive, add effects. For instance, enhance shots with different shades by applying qualitative presets and actions.

              10. Apply “Digital Make-Up”

              skin retouching enhance make-up

              If the model’s makeup was ruined, fix it using Spot Healing. This tool will greatly smooth out wrinkles. You can also try the Clone Stamp tool for this task. Apply the Patch and Clone Stamp tools to eliminate dark circles under the eyes.

              Always make sure that the foundation used on the model’s face matches the rest of the skin tone of their body.

              11. Change Background if Necessary

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              • skin retouching change background

                Sometimes, to make the skin look more attractive, you need to change the background. You will have to make an exact hair mask. Obviously, it will be difficult to cut out clothes and hair. But the properly picked out background will beautifully emphasize the skin color.

                To change the background in Photoshop, select File > New to start a new project. In the dialog box “Create”, click the “Background Content” section and pick a background color. Automatically, the color will be set to “White”. Also, you can pick a preset color or a transparent background.

                Freebies for Skin Retouching

                These free presets and actions will greatly simplify the workflow and reduce the time spent on further picture post-production. It is particularly relevant for novice users.

                Pro Skin Retouch

                skin retouching freebies skin retouching freebies

                The Pro Skin Retouch actions are meant for enhancing portrait shots. They will put emphasis on the significant elements in portraits, boosting brightness. The eyes will become more prominent and the skin tone – lighter.

                Frequency Separation

                skin retouching freebies skin retouching freebies

                Frequency Separation is a technique that every experienced retoucher is supposed to master. It separates the color and the tone from the elaborate elements and textures. This quick Frequency Separation action will assist in achieving flawless skin within seconds.

                Matte Portrait

                skin retouching freebies

                With these presets, the shots will acquire a neat and appealing warm matte effect. The presets will be a perfect match for portraiture, as well as pictures shot on a cloudy day in bad lighting conditions.

                Dark Moody Collection

                skin retouching freebies skin retouching freebies

                The Dark Moody Preset Collection will appeal to those who are after a dramatic look in portraiture. Aside from making the colors darker and moodier, the presets will add warm hues to the skin tones and will create a truly peculiar effect in photographs.

                Lr Brushes for Portraits

                skin retouching freebies skin retouching freebies

                These brushes are aimed at making the skin smoother, emphasizing eyes, whitening teeth, and correcting color tones. They will bring portrait shots to perfection in a matter of minutes – no long manipulations required.


                Eva Williams

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