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20 Professional Magazine Photo Retouching Tips

| March 18, 2019 | 5 Comments

Hundreds of photographers are fond of taking fashion shots and dream to master photo retouching as Julia Kuzmenko or Pascal Dangin. If you want to retouch your studio photos like professionals, follow these 20 photo retouching tips for making fashion portraits look good and natural in Photoshop or Lightroom.


1. Crop the Photo

One of the basic tools for retouching photos is a Crop Tool. It can increase the most significant fragments of the photo as well as remove unnecessary elements. You may use Lightroom and Photoshop to cut and crop your photos. A retoucher needs to:

  • Delete undesirable things from the background
  • Remember that cutting off the models’ limbs at the joint is unacceptable
  • Avoid placing the subject in the image center
  • Leave some free space during Photoshop face retouching
  • Crop portrait images at eye level


2. Do Natural Skin Retouching

Natural Skin Retouching

Making skin look natural is quite challenging but still possible. Achieving proper sharpness level matters. Your models will get too clear skin in case its level is too high. It means that all the minor skin details will be noticeable.  High end skin smoothing is a top question most magazine photographers ask, as they want it to look fantastic in high resolution. 

Some retouchers seek for high-end retouching tutorials while others prefer to waste hours on practicing in Photoshop. You may apply Clone and Healing tools to get desirable results. If talk about amateurs, they choose the easiest way, which wipes out the available texture, and get absolutely unrealistic skin. No matter which way a user chooses, it is critical to start image retouching with a whole body and proceed to skin retouching only after that.


3. Adjust Skin Tone

It is not challenging to figure out who has made photo retouching: a beginner or a professional. It is enough to look at the skin tone. To be more clear, an ideal high end retouching Photoshop actions features an amazing color selection of pink, yellow, brown and even more shades.


4. Use Frequency Separation Technique

Frequency Separation is an impressive tool for Photoshop retouching. Its main advantage lies in the ability to work separately with colors and details on different layers which are called frequency and low-frequency. So photographers can retouch photos without influencing the shadows and colors, as they will be improved on another level. Always make the skin natural. 


5. Use Free High End Photoshop Actions

Use Free High End Photoshop Actions

Next convenient and fast way for retouching photos in Photoshop is High End retouching Photoshop actions. You can get a perfect portrait in a few clicks. This is one of the most convenient and fastest ways to retouch portraiture in Photoshop. You can make color correction, edit skin, change eyes’ color, make teeth white, etc. 


6. Improve Colors

Improve Colors

Photo color correction is the most necessary photo editing step every photographer and photo retouchers should make. All professional photographers know for sure how to manage the right color grading, e.g. Brandon Woelfel who plays with colors super great. They devote a few minutes to check and tune such parameters as hue, shadows, white balance, saturation, highlight, exposure, contrast, curves, and noise. These are important steps you should perform:

  • A monitor should be calibrated before correcting colors
  • Take advantage of Lightroom Basic Panel
  • Be attentive and try not to overdo color grading in order to achieve a natural looking image
  • Intensify the highlights for enhancing available contrast
  • Try to make all photos in the same colors
  • Use effects like B&W, vintage, film, pastel, matte, etc. 


7. Address Photo Retouching Services

Address Photo Retouching Services

Many photographers simply have no time for Photoshop retouching and prefer to look for professional assistance. Those who appreciate their own reputation and don’t want to send bad quality shots to the clients, entrust image improvement to outsourcing photo editing companies like FixThePhoto. You can order deep color correction, skin retouching, stray hair removal, Dodge & Burn effect adding, body reshaping, background retouching, digital drawing, etc.


8. Reduce Noise

Professional photographers should constantly study different Photoshop tricks in order to present top-quality photos. It is especially important in case of noise adjustment. Low lighting in the shots may cause unpleasant difficulties. That’s why you need to take the following points into consideration:

  • A low ISO will help reduce the noise level
  • ‘Reduce Noise Filter’ should be applied if necessary
  • Stop at RGB channels and evaluate noise there
  • Don’t forget about the Surface Blur tool


9. Whiten Teeth

Whiten Teeth

Almost every person dreams about having an astonishing Hollywood smile. Everyone is happy to be an owner of white teeth especially in photos of glossy magazines. It is the main reason why shooters devote time for mastering one of the most popular Photoshop or Lightroom tricks called natural teeth whitening. It is essential to delete any available yellowness and achieve a natural smile at the same time.


10. Enhance Lips

Lips are one of the first parts of the fashion portrait that attracts attention. It is very important to make sure they look brilliant. It is necessary even if a model has great makeup as asymmetrical lines may spoil a portrait. Here are some helpful steps for mastering this image retouching trick:

  • Creating the first layer and smoothing it will serve as an excellent basis
  • Adjustment Brush will help make lips pop after applying a warm setting
  • Make sure that the lips have a gentle look that can be achieved by decreasing Contrast and Clarity
  • Never apply one and the same brush while retouching mouth


11. Сhange Eyes Color

Сhange Eyes Color

It often happens that a person is an owner of eyes the color of which doesn’t go well with a general photo tone. A professional should try to change it so that all colors look natural.


12. Make Eyes Pop

It is not a big surprise that professional shooters are eager to enhance the appearance of models’ eyes. Some of them prefer outsourcing photo editing while others master it themselves. Here are some useful steps a photographer should perform:

  • Open Photoshop and create a New Adjustment Layer. Then choose Exposure
  • A mask inversion or filling it is the next step
  • Then start working with irises and pupils. Paint them with white and black respectively
  • Go to “Luminosity” in a blending mode of the regulation layer
  • Try to add contrast to the irises through increasing the exposure
  • Finally, work with the “Offset slider” and try to change it


13. Add Digital Make-up

Most models prepare for a photo session, choose appropriate clothes and do makeup. However, even professional makeup can be easily spoiled by lightning and time. But don’t get upset if it doesn’t look gorgeous. There are many Adobe Photoshop photo retouching tutorials which make it possible to get a brilliant result. Fix makeup and overall look of the face by performing the next steps:

  • Focus on a red channel while sharpening, as it has the smallest amount of skin texture
  • Select Radial Filter for boosting the irises
  • Eliminate dark spots under the eyes with the help of Patch tool and Clone Stamp
  • Wrinkles smoothing is possible via Spot Healing Brush and Clone Stamp
  • A skin tone should be the same on the entire body and match the face color


14. Add Volume and Shine to Hair

Add Volume and Shine to Hair

Exactly this part of image retouching is really challenging and requires a lot of time. All in all, the process involves changing the hair shape, adding extra hair and increasing the volume. Professionals shouldn’t hurry, they need to devote some time to do it at a high level and get an astonishing result.


15. Change the Hair Color

Sometimes shooters need to change the color of the hair. Changing fair hair and making it dark is not a problem. But the situation is different in case there is a necessity to create the fair color. It will take plenty of hours and still doesn’t mean a photographer will get a desirable result. All photo editing services recommend being attentive in order not to make hair look yellow in the picture. Receiving a realistic shade is a primary goal here. 


16. Get Rid of Flyaway Hair

Get Rid of Flyaway Hair

Flyaway is constant distress for all magazine photographers. It is just impossible to avoid this problem during outdoor shooting. Sprays or any other attempts to fix the situation may not help. Only practice and the best photo editing software will solve this issue. All in all, a shooter must:

  • Change a selection edge to sharp or soft using Contrast and Feathering sliders
  • Apply “Healing brush”
  • Try not to overdo


17. Use a Liquify Tool for Clothes

First of all, photographers should choose the tool called “Liquify tool”. It will do any necessary manipulations like reflecting, pushing, pulling, rotating or bloating some parts of your models’ outfit. High-end retouching also requires paying attention to possible incongruous bulges. They can appear because of incorrect posing.  So photographers shouldn’t overdo it and achieve a natural image.


18. Remove Creases & Wrinkles on Clothes

Remove Creases & Wrinkles on Clothes

It is essential to avoid dirty or wrinkled outfits on the shots. Either Spot Healing Brush Tool or Frequency Separation is the best choice for getting rid of unappealing stains, wrinkles, or folds.


19. Remove Distracting Objects

Remove Distracting Objects

First of all, shooters must devote extra time to see whether the photo has any details which may distract a person’s attention from the main object. Otherwise, people won’t be able to catch the main idea and understand the message a photographer tried to convey. That’s why the removal of all useless objects should take place. 

  • Eliminate small elements via Spot Healing brush
  • Make rapid changes via Content-Aware tool or Content-Aware Move/Fill
  • Delete all odd elements in Extend Mode
  • Return to a previous state if necessary. Press “Control + Z” for Windows


20. Change the Background

If you deal with advertising photography, your shots must be ideal. Removal of hair, clothes or jewelry can require some time. Anyway, photographers must not get upset and remember that practice makes perfect.


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Category: Production

Comments (5)

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  1. Greta James says:

    Thank you so much for your advice that you can change the brightness of a person’s eyes so that they look more engaging. Yesterday, I was talking to my sister and she was talking about modeling. It got me thinking about the people who take those professional photos and edit them. That must take a lot of skill. I would think that if I were a company that wanted to look professional in their advertising, I would want to look for professionals to help.

  2. Marty says:

    Most of the images (if not all) in this article have been pushed too far.

  3. Eileen says:

    How change the Photo Cutout Service in Photograph actress the Photo Cutout Service in Photograph After that simply unlock your image and make a
    layer backup. Then head to the left side select the pen tool. Now click on the image for selecting every angle. That’s was called photo cutter. Now right click the image and click save selection. Click on the
    image then click select reverse.

  4. Thank you for your helpful tutorial. I have also the same work. Best of luck.

  5. alexyng says:

    I needed this tutorial about photo retouching. this will be my guide to learn. thanks for sharing your article.

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