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Fashion Photography Retouching Tutorial

In this tutorial our main goal is to learn how to professionally retouch our photo and keep our model from looking overly artificial. You will learn how to retouch your fashion photography, which will include removing blemishes, wrinkles, fly away hair etc, how to lighten your photo and how to enhance makeup and eye color. This tutorial is compatible with Non-Photoshop programs such as The Gimp and PAINT.NET (some tools may differ).

Those who are into photography know that it takes more than just a camera and a model to create a stunning portrait there are a lot of key factors involved. Even if you do capture that perfect photo you may find out that your photo still needs a bit of work. Most if not all photographers edit there photos to get that wonderful glamorous fashion capture and to make your fashion photography stronger.

Before and Final Result

Step 1

First and foremost pull up your image that you will be retouching. I’m just going to pull up a photo I took of a model earlier this year.

Step 2

Now before you start Gaussian blurring the face out or anything else like some people are prone to doing. We need to figure out the problem areas first, the parts that are distracting or those areas that just don’t look right. Upon first glance the photo looks pretty good but it’s not. I’m going to circle some of them to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

So I have circled some of the areas that need to be taken care of so that our photo stands out better. These are not all of the problem areas but this will give you an idea of what to look out for.

Step 3

Before we even start on our model we need to tend to our background. As you can see it is a bit dark and since I am going for a happier mood I want it a bit brighter. So go to LEVELS and start adjusting the levels until you get them how you want.

My INPUT Levels are: 15, 1.49 and 234.

Step 4

Alright the photo is now lightened so I can begin on my model’s face. I am actually going to go for a more realistic look here, I don’t want her face to have that typical porcelain doll look that sometimes comes off too photoshopped and obviously fake. The goal here is to enhance the qualities the model already has.

Duplicate your original layer so you can keep the original as reference and also just in case something goes wrong. Grab your |Healing brush, using a soft round brush and start fixing your problem areas. It’s best to keep your brush small, probably no larger than 35px. Take your time retouching your photo; it’s going to be worth it. Here is our “new” photo.

Step 5

Use the Dodge tool to brighten the teeth and the whites of the eyes.

Already you can see a major difference between what we have now and our original photo but we are not done yet.

Step 6

Take the Dodge tool and use it on the color part of the eye to make it slightly lighter/brighter. Next take the Burn tool and go around the outline of your iris to make it darker

Step 7

Create a new layer and pick the color of the models eye, fill in the eye and set the layer to 58% opacity and use the Color Mode.

Step 8

Use the color picker to select the eye shadow then color around the eyes. Gaussian blur around 5. Next use the Burn tool to darken the lower eyelid and top lid, Use the Dodge tool to go over the highlights of the makeup.

Step 9

Make a new layer to add blush to the cheeks and lipstick to the lips. Turn the layer to 48% under Soft Light.

Step 10

Duplicate your background copy layer and turn it black and white. You can adjust your black and white presets to what best suits your taste (if you are using a different program that doesn’t give you the presets when you turn your photo black and white you can either change the levels using the brightness/contrast or color balance). Place this layer at 55% on Lighten Mode.

Depending on the original tones of your photo the colors may be different than mine after doing this step, that’s perfectly okay. My image looks like this now:

As you can see the colors are softer now and our model seems to glow.

Step 11

Add highlights to the face and lips by painting in areas with a white soft brush at 21% opacity with your layer mode as Soft Light. The highlights will help accent our model’s natural features as well as give some light to darker areas that may be there.

Step 12

Make a new layer keeping it at 100% and Linear Light mode then fill in the dress.

Step 13 (optional)

You can go in and add more adjustments as you see fit but I am going to stop right here after STEP12 because I don’t want to overdo it and make her look unnatural and too smooth. If you want to improve and enhance your fashion photography or just simple portraits all you have to do is follow these steps and take your time. Remember there are always more than one way to do something including retouching, I use different methods all the time, so if you find another way go for it. If you have any questions feel free to ask, I will try my best to help you.

Written by CrazyLeaf Editorial

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