How to Retouch a Photo

In this tutorial I will show you how to retouch a picture of a person and get the image more celebrity-like or magazine-worthy (in society’s eyes, not mine), without getting an airbrushed look.

Here is the original image:

We will begin by whitening the teeth. Zoom in on the mouth of the person. You will need to select the teeth, and there are multiple ways to do this. I bumped down the tolerance on the Magic Wand tool and used that to select the teeth. Hold down Shift as you add new area to the selection, and if you select an area you don’t want, hold down Alt and click to delete it from your selection. You could also use the Lasso tool to select manually. Click the Brush tool, select white as your color, and make sure your brush blending mode is Normal. Set your brush opacity to around 12% and paint over the teeth.

Next we will use the patch tool to remove some blemishes. Duplicate the background layer. We will work on the duplicated layer for now. Click the Patch tool. Zoom in on the face if you are not already zoomed in. Start selected red or blemished areas with the Patch tool and drag the selection to a clearer part of the face.

Make sure your patch tool settings match this:

Go ahead and continue using the Patch tool to correct blemishes, smooth lines/wrinkles, and get rid of dark under eye circles. We have done quite a bit of work on her, so in order for it to still look natural, we will blend the old and new images. Make sure the duplicated image is selected, then change the opacity of that layer from 100% to 75% or so; use your own judgment depending on how much you changed.

Next we will add a little color with makeup to her face. Create a new layer, and then choose color as your blending mode. Choose a brush; I’ll use the soft round 17 brush. Double click the swatch to change the color; I chose a blue. Start to paint onto the new layer around the eyelids. You can make the brush size bigger or smaller as needed. Change the color to a more pink color. Create a new layer and change the blending mode to soft light. You can start to paint the eyeshadow on the new layer.

Use the eraser tool with a brush size of 100 and hardness of 0 to remove some of the color to give a soft gradient.

Now we can add color to the lips. This will be similar to how we did the teeth. Select the lips with either the Lasso tool or the Magic Wand tool. Use the Brush tool, make sure the blending mode is Normal and the opacity of the brush is 12% or so, and then choose the color you want. I made the brush size really big so that I could paint it with one big swipe to avoid uneven strokes.

One last thing I will do is chill out on the eye shadow since it’s pretty bright. Change the opacity of each of the two eyeshadow layers to maybe 75%. Flatten your image by right-clicking on a layer and selecting Flatten image, and viola!

Before

After

By Kristen Pace

Kristen Pace is a current graphic design student and intern with iEntry, Inc.

Leave a comment