11 Skin Retouching Tips for Armateurs

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Retouching in photography is important in photography, be it basic retouching, or the high end retouching to make your images look professional and perfect. It is a skill that can obtained and made to perfection with practice so you don’t have to worry if you are just getting started. The more you do it, the more you master the skills. This article will guide you on how best to retouch your shots like a professional for you, as a beginner to obtain a natural and professional clean look.

  1. Get rid of minor skin imperfections.

Some skin imperfections like wrinkles surrounding the eyes can work against your intentions of highlighting the most expressive parts of a shot. Therefore, it is really important to spare your time to work on them to get a result that would amaze your clients or audience. You can use the spot healing brush tool to work on the small pimples, wrinkles and scars because you would be working on small portions, you would not have to worry on texture loss. You should just be careful not to overdo the process because it will present you with an unnatural look. Also, retain the characteristic features of the model, like dimples, moles etc. If you eliminate the features, might be just creating your own model which should not be the case.

  • Work on the large spots.

Here, you will need a larger spot healing brush tool to paint over the blemish repeatedly to get the desirable result. In case, you get that the texture of the shot is lost in the process, you can zoom in with spot healing brush, then with a clone stamp tool, get a skin texture sample from an area that you have not altered with. Apply the texture on the retouched areas to restore the details lost.

  • Apply the frequency separation tool.

This tools works best in eliminating the small spots, red spots and wrinkles. It can also be used to smoothen out baked make-up as it softens the combination of two composite pictures. Be careful with this tool as it may result in a plastic artificial look when used on a large surface .Try as much as possible to retain the natural skin texture.

  • Eliminate the unwanted shades.

Sometimes, it is inevitable to get an oversaturated color and emphasized hue of the skin when working with digital shots. You can correct these color differences by applying a hue adjustment layer and adding grain to restore the original texture and depth of the skin in the shot. Adding blush would also assist in getting a healthy looking skin for your shot.

  • Brighten the eyes by enhancing the skin around it.

You can achieve that by painting all the dark areas around the eye, like the dark circles and shadows. Your aim is to reduce the sharpness of the shadows so as to reveal more skin details. The tool to use in this case would be the spot healing brush and the clone stamp tool. In case you had missed any wrinkles around the eyes in the first step, this would be the point to eliminate them to achieve more expressive, healthy and natural looking eyes.

  • Add volume.

If you have followed the above steps precisely, you would be working with a textured and smooth looking picture with minimal flaws if any. The next step would be to add volume and increase radiance of the skin, and the dodge and burn tool would be your best tool to use. This technique can be used for the opposite effect, in case there is need to, like to reduce the size of the skin pores.

  • Add texture.

In the above steps, we have retouched skin retouching with a low-key aim of preserving the original texture, but in some instances it may not be enough and you will be required to add create and add texture on to some areas. You can create texture by adding noise to some areas.

An alternative would be using the high-frequency layer which contains the entire texture. There are two tools to use in this layer, that is, the clone stamp and the patch tool. When you use the clone stamp, you should adjust the opacity to 70-100% and then soften it to 25%. Then, obtain a region of even texture to get the sample to apply on the regions that needs added texture like thin chin hair.

The patch tool works best for the deep wrinkles that you would like minimized. Select the part of the wrinkle then move it towards the region with even texture in slow and careful strokes till the desired look is obtained.

  • Use touch-up layer.

This technique is most effective in dealing with the blemishes, spots, strands of hair on the face and neutralizing chapped lipstick. You can use it to retouch on messed up make-up, for instance, lipstick that has bled outside the contours of the lips or filling up discontinued eyeliners with gaps. It can only be used in retouching minor evident issues as its not preferred for large portions if the face, unless you would want to tarnish the natural look.

  • Add color effects.

These effects would increase the vibrancy of an image and make your portraits more impressive. You would need to apply the preset effects that would complement the portrait.

  1. Apply digital make-up.

This would be necessary in case the model had no make-up on, or it is ruined. If the latter is the case, use the spot healing to fix it. Ensure that the foundation used on the face matches the skin retouching tone of the model’s neck and the whole body. If not, the make-up will look plastic and unnatural.

  1. Change the background when necessary.

This would make the skin retouching to stand out because you would have gotten rid of the distracting aspects in the background. Ensure the background picked complements the skin or a transparent background could do, in case you want a more professional look.

I hope the article got you aching to try the tips out already. Take your time and be patient while at it as it can be really time consuming to get that perfect masterpiece.

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