November 2, 2020

Skin Retouching


The Power of Photoshop

It's important to remember that not all you see on instagram and advertising is real.

Photoshop is an extremely powerful tool. You have the ability to create worlds, manipulate reality, and be whoever you want to be. So it should come to the surprise of NO ONE that the ability to do something as easy as changing your entire face is not exactly difficult for those who are practiced in Photoshop.

In the sample image in the header of this blog you'll see a self portrait of me that is edited into absolute oblivion. My skin is smooth, my contour is on point, and my hair is dialed in.

Below I've included a raw image so you can see just exactly what we are starting with.

I didn't do my makeup, in fact... I slept in my makeup and literally woke up looking like this. I was still stumbling around my house in my crusty eyeliner barely caffeinated when I decided to shoot this photo and write this blog for you fine folks. So you'll see all my lines and wrinkles, tired under-eyes, Melasma discoloration, crazy fly-away hair, lint on my sweater, and an entirely different book in my hands.

With a couple hours of free time and a few techniques, here we are. A fully edited Brittany worthy of some movie poster. In this photo I used:

  • Frequency Separation to retouch the skin. By manipulating the skin tones and textures of the face in separate layers, you're able to edit skin in a way that looks realistic. I took it a bit overboard here to make a point but you see what I'm saying. Looking at my skin you can still see actual skin textures that can fool an audience into thinking that the skin is naturally as smooth or flawless as it is appearing in the image.
  • Dodge & Burn to accentuate highlights and shadows. Examples being the highlight on my cheekbone, and the darkness of my eyebrows and eyeliner.
  • Basic painting techniques to literally paint on lipstick where there wasn't before. (If you know me, you know I love a bold lip. So obviously I was gonna gimme some good lipstick.)
  • And for fun used some compositing techniques to put me in a library, sitting in a chair, holding a different book.

As a photographer of both creative/fantasy imagery and real lifestyle photography, I tend to use this type of editing solely for the creative stuff. I like to keep my lifestyle photography real, and my fantasy work fantasy. This edit of me obviously being fantasy. heh.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little behind the photoshop veil magic!