How to Retouch Dramatic Portraits in Photoshop CC

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: RETOUCH IMAGES & PHOTOS! | Learn my process for most of my portrait retouching when using Photoshop.

In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll cover liquifying a Smart Object to make non-destructive edits to your images, cleaning up blemishes on a new layer, retouching eyes with adjustment layers, dodging and burning, adjusting tone and color grading the image, and sharpening to complete the effect. We’ll also cover applying a few finishing effects by returning the image to the Camera RAW editor and also having some fun with the Crop tool and exploring the way we could make the final image look.

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Open the DNG through Camera RAW (make sure no settings are applied in Camera RAW) and open as a Smart Object in Photoshop
  2. Liquify on Smart Object background layer
  3. Add a Screen Curves layer to adjust brightness
  4. Blemishes layer to clean up fine blemishes
  5. Curves Color Dodge/Burn to sparkle/shape the eyes
  6. Vibrance to kill color shift in whites of the eyes & whiten teeth
  7. 50% gray dodge and burn
  8. Duplicate dodge&burn and blur it. Mix the opacity to blend both D&B layers
  9. Add Curves
  10. Color LUT CrispWarm at 50% opacity
  11. Hue/Sat layer and use finger to desaturate the blue tint in the black shirt
  12. Merge all to new layer and convert to smart object and add sharpness in Camera RAW editor and mask to just the face
  13. Duplicate this layer 2x and refill the mask to black and edit sharpening for the shirt area and the jeans/foreground
  14. Digital re-light with 2x Levels and Quick Masking reduce opacity on layers if needed
  15. Merge all to new layer and convert to smart object
  16. Name this layer “final_tones”
  17. Enter Camera RAW and boost Clarity to +20 and Dehaze to +20 as well
  18. Use HSL to reduce saturation of blues to -80
  19. Use Curves and set the black point’s Output to 2 or 3 and the white point’s Output to 240
  20. Play with the Crop tool and a 2.39:1 ratio