Basic Photo Retouching Made Easy, Get Started Today!

Photographs capturing millions of smile of both the viewer & the subject in the picture is a melodious procedure of compassion. It is with immense precision & passion that a photographer succeeds in taking that one picture. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To add to the saying with keen observation is that a superior quality picture doesn’t just capture the memories but also tells a story for ages & how they have come down to be this exquisite. 

But do you think this is it with the photographs that you put everywhere or frame to give it to someone close? Or there is more to it? Yes, the answer is that there is a lot more to it too which comes under post processing services of photography.

Photo retouching is one of the fastest growing industries as photography doesn’t really end with the image captured between the lenses but there’s a lot more to it after that. There is no room for flaws left with the enhancement & it can only be realized with the help of an accurate photo editor or just with the magic of retouching. 

Aspects that any editor should keep in mind while making a miracle

  1. Creativity takes you a long path into the world of mastering artwork. Everywhere this is the fact that without creativity you don’t stand to be unique or different. Always being able to think out of the box will surely take the editing & retouching to the next level of embracing beauty.

2. Experience comes with time to time editing and keeping on trying to involve into learning the tools step by step. Keep editing until you feel that this is where you have got it all. You must have heard of the saying “Practice makes a man perfect”, so just apply this fact in your stepping stones towards a pro. 


3. Knowledge of the main software is required to make you efficient enough to make it a clear task. You don’t want to be lost in the middle of a workflow to tutor yourself about the procedure of the same. Learn all the tools that you will be using while editing & make it a habit of learning bit by bit. Bring in the ability to continuously learn and practice new skills.

4. Detail oriented is what makes an amateur editor a professional one. Start building the habit of being focused on the details of each & every bit of the tools & photographs. This way your eyes will always be open to see any flaws or requirements for mending.

5. Communication & patience is the key to perfect retouching or editing overall. You need to communicate with your client about how you are going to edit & hold onto the patience while editing. Editing asks for a lot of patience & keenness.

Different aspects such as color replacement, removing unwanted elements, adding or removing shadows, adding or removing reflections if any, skin correction, blur removal, enhancements, etc are all included in beauty photo retouching or simply retouching. Besides having the knowledge of the tools & software, retouching also depends on the artistic judgment of the editor or whoever is editing. A Photo retouching specialist should be able to make wise decisions in editing as it is the photographer that brings any editing idea ever possible. He/she should be ready to work under strict deadlines too as the field of editing is wide & time is less.

Basic routine to get you started with retouching

No one can define a routine of editing better than someone who is already into it, i.e. you. We can just generalize some steps from the basic research & understanding of the procedure of retouching but who can perfectly outline a routine is an editor who is in the arena doing the editing.

Here is a basic retouching routine that can be helpful for you to kick-start your retouching workflow. You can always come up with your kind of routine of retouching which comes within the circle of your conveniences & ease.

1. Preparing the base: Before doing anything with the editing part, export different versions of your RAW image in a single PSD file. This can help you get an idea on what the same picture will look like with different color balances & exposures. To get a base layer, place the layer with medium exposure for the largest area of the image at the bottom of all the layers & mask these layers with a black layer. Masking & painting can be done using the white brush & then flatten the image after the exposure is revealed.

2. Correcting the skin: It is a most vital step of the whole routine. Start with removing the fine lines, blemishes & other flaws using the spot healing brush. It is important that you choose really small brushes while working on spot removals. Even using black white layers can help you achieve even tone. This is very keenly monitored as it develops the play board for further editing & retouching. Only if you are able to remove the spots & correct the skin, you will be able to see the effects if you put any.

3. Sculpting or moulding: Basically fashion pictures ask for sculpting or moulding to curve down to top-notch looks figuratively. Most of the clients ask for that perfect figure to make the picture better overall. You might need to reshape or sculpt your model or any subject in the picture. An editor or any retouching specialist needs to be very careful while doing this as it takes a lot of keen observation onto where to focus more. Just be aware that you don’t end up making some unnatural manipulations.

4. Eyes do the talking: Eyes are a key aspect of any face after lips. So as a photographer or an editor, it’s your duty to make it more expressive than it actually is. A good eye correction can make a picture to a great extent. Use proper red-eye correction to add life to the images. With the help of stamp tool, you can remove the blood vessels from the white part of eye visibly by zooming in. Darkening the eyeshadows & eyebrows will uplift the dramatic aspect of the whole image. If you find that the eyebrows are absconded, fill in to give a fuller look.

5. Face touch-ups: After clearing up all the spots or defects in the eyes, shift the focus on face overall. Yes, all the retouches mentioned can be considered in the face touch-ups too but there are few things that you need to look after here also, specifically. Reshape the lips & clean up the outlines to get a cleaner look. Make observations on the face and make sure that there are no visible blemishes. Also, make sure that the face looks perfectly sculpted.

6. Hair styling: Hair is the additional element of the photograph. It adds a lot of texture to the overall image & makes sure you have pulled the perfect hair touch-up. You need to correct while retouching if the subject’s hair looks frizzy. You can use healing brush to remove all the extra flyaway’s. Also, give close attention to the remove the hair that crosses over other hair implying to break the flow. Also, add the extra shine to the hair.

Few secret points to grace up the retouching.

  1. Don’t remove stretch marks as it represents the owner.
  2. Retouch the entire image all at once as it will make a quick effect on the image to give you a better understanding of what to do next.
  3. Don’t depend on tutorials as they all give the points with some of their previous experience. It may happen that you can do better with the same once you get your hands on it.
  4. Careful of the curves while sculpting or moulding as any little wrong in this will deteriorate the whole image.
  5. Always ensure that you leave the final output with sparkling eyes as it adds a lot of emotions to the picture.
  6. Color balance is one key factor to take care of. Not too much and not too less, there should be the balance. Check for the color waves while editing.
  7. Exposure does add an extra dramatic touch-up to the overall output but again you need to be careful with this too. The shadows & mid-tones are also important while considering the exposure.
  8. Avoid taking the RAW images if they aren’t of high quality as the pictures that aren’t taken properly cannot be made beautiful.
  9. Try understanding the human anatomy to get better hands on the sculpting & retouching. With this, you will know where to put shadows & where to not.

Overall, having the understanding of the tools & software can take you a lot way in retouching arena. To remind you that as a retouching editor or any individual you are, the goal is not to make the subject look unnaturally beautiful but to enhance the beauty of subtle corrections.