5 MINUTE GUIDE: How to retouch photos in Photoshop CC

Learn the five essential steps to retouching any portrait in Photoshop in this fast-paced tutorial!

We’ll cover a very fast outline of the process I like to use when retouching portrait photos in Photoshop. From Camera RAW, color temperature, and toning, all the way to frequency separation, getting rid of flyaway hairs, sharpening, and color treatments.

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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.

We’ll talk about retouching a portrait photo in Photoshop and these techniques will work with studio or location shot photos.

  1. Color Correction/Set temperature + Whiten Background in C-RAW
    1. Push the color correction
    2. Tweak the tones and reduce contrast overall
    3. Open a 16-bit image as a Smart Object
    4. Quickly show how to boost out a white-ish background using the Eyedropper tool and boost Highlights/Whites/Curves white point
  2. Pixel pushing (liquify, blemishes, solid white BG, etc)
    1. Liquify (smart object allows us to always edit it)
    2. Use a brush on a new layer and paint in solid white where needed to ensure a solid background. Use the eyedropper to test the edges and ensure the whiteness
  3. Retouch features (eyes, brows, skin, hair, wrinkles, etc…)
    1. Retouch the eyes
    2. Trim the brows and thicken them (clone to fill, new Curves layer set to Overlay and masked/reduce opacity for darken)
    3. Frequency Separation skin retouch + wrinkle/bag removal
    4. Use those frequency layers to touch up the hair as well
    5. Also use frequency layer to dump flyaway hairs
  4. Dodge & Burn
    1. 50% gray layer set to Overlay, later reduced to Soft Light
  5. Color & atmosphere & Sharpen (toning, mood light, re-lighting, flares)
    1. LUTs, Curves, Color Balance, Selective Color
    2. Create a flare?
    3. Sharpen by merging all and using Camera RAW
    4. Also a capping High Pass sharpen
    5. Finishing Grain