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4 Photo Retouching Tutorials to Refine Your Skills

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photo retouching tutorial for skin

Photo retouching is one of the essential elements when it comes to post-processing your shots. Apart from applying effects and filters, or manipulating images in unique ways, by using a photo retouching software (Photoshop or Lightroom), you can make those modifications that make a significant difference. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

How to Retouch Photos in Photoshop: 2 Essential Tutorials

If you are just starting to learn Photoshop, you may find retouching photos quite tedious. However, the tutorials chosen are written with newbies in mind. Let’s take a look first at two complex, yet easy-to-follow, Photoshop photo retouching tutorials that will help you refine your skills and ease your workflow.

I. 3 Techniques for Retouching Skin

photo retouching tutorial for skin
Frequency Separation Technique © Dawn Oosterhoff

This tutorial is ideal for portrait photographers looking to achieve a beautiful, yet realistic skin for their subjects. The techniques outlined by Dawn Oosterhoff, the author of the tutorial, target an intermediate level of Photoshop knowledge. These are:

1. Touch-up Layer Technique.

2. Frequency Separation Technique.

You will learn:

  • how to remove blemishes, spots, wrinkles;
  • how to clean makeup lines (e.g. fill in gaps in eyeliner);
  • how to even out skin tone;
  • how to clear large pores;

Final result: a beautiful, natural looking skin.

II. Darken Overexposed Photos With The Multiply Blend Mode 

The purpose of this tutorial is to show how to fix overexposure using adjustment layers. While it targets an intermediate knowledge of Photoshop, it provides three easy steps that deal with simple overexposure issues

You Will Learn:

  • how to improve image exposure by using Levels in Photoshop (step 1).
  • how to use the multiply blend mode of the adjustment layer to darken overexposed photos (step 2).
  • how to adjust Opacity so to refine the tones and luminosity of your image (step 3).
photo retouching image exposure
Before and After Applying the Multiply Blend Mode to the Adjustment Layer

Here is what you can achieve: a much more expressive image – darker, more detailed, and more colorful.

retouching overexposed images
Fixing Overexposure in Photoshop: Tonal Correction © Steve Patterson

How to Re1touch Photos By Using Lightroom

Lightroom is another photo retouching software favored by professional photographers worldwide. Some find it more intuitive than Photoshop.

I. Tips for Retouching a Night Photograph

Serge Ramelli, the author of this tutorial, shows how important changing balance is when retouching night photographs.

Learn How to:

  • adjust white balance in Lightroom by adding magenta from the Shade Preset;
  • bring out very dark parts of the photo;
  • add a dynamic look to your night shot;
  • add clarity to an image by using brushed to paint particular areas of your photo;
  • highlight details by creating gradient filters;
  • remove noise.

Here is the beautifully retouched sunset shot taken from above of an urban setting (before and after).

photo retouching of a sunset
Night Photo Before and After Retouching © Serge Ramelli

At the end of the tutorial, you’ll find a complete walkthrough of this photo retouching material in the form of a video.

II. High-Contrast Black and White with Lookfilter Presets

This tutorial shows you how to turn a bland portrait into a stunning, crisp-looking photo by using Lightroom quality presets in just five steps.

Learn How to:

  • work with the Lookfilter Black & White presets in Adobe Lightroom.
  • fix underexposed images;
  • achieve the ideal contrast in a portrait taken in low light conditions;
  • perform basic as well as more complex corrections from cropping to toning the image;
  • retouch the eyes and surrounding area by using the brush tool;
  • highlight details by increasing exposure and clarity;
  • retouch blemishes.
photo retouching with Lookfilter preset
Before and After Applying the Lookfilter Preset © Harry Guinness

The changes you can achieve in just a few clicks are quite surprising. Here is the-the final result of retouching photo contrast by applying the Lookfilter preset.

photo retouching contrast
Hight Contrast Black & White Portrait Retouched with the Lookfilter Preset in Lightroom © Harry Guinness

Have these tutorials proved useful to you? Are there any editing and retouching materials you’d like to share with us? Feel free to reach  out!

Retouch Photos Online

Is photo retouching online a good alternative to professional photo retouching software? While there are many photo retouching services you can find online, not all of them can help you perform professional retouching. Nevertheless, there are a fun and easy medium to play with.

Photo retouching websites like or provide you with a few useful tools to enhance your photos. Here are just a few of the adjustments you can benefit of:

  • simple face retouching to improve skin texture and tones;
  • blemish fixing;
  • virtual skin makeup;
  • wrinkle smoothing;
  • teeth whitening;
  • red-eye remover;
  • imperfections remover (such as shine and oily glare);
  • lighting corrections.

There are also websites that offer enhanced quality image processing services like photo restoration, shadowing, and background removing. These much more complex online solutions are not free of charge. However, there are free trials you can benefit of and see if they meet your photographic needs.

Generally, these online photo editors also provide users with a set of color and glamor effects. For similar services you can find and use online, check out our post on free funky photo effects for beginners.

Why is photo retouching important? If you are a pro, you must already know that digital image processing is crucial for best results and pleased clients. Also, I hope that beginners have found that retouched photos are of great importance when considering building a career and reputation in the field.

Also, retouching photos can be a source of entertainment as you can transform your shots in all sorts of funny ways. Additionally, you can test your artistic skills and produce something out of the ordinary.

If you are interested in learning more about photo retouching, photo effects, and photo manipulation techniques,  you might find our beginner’s guide on picture editing very useful. Enjoy!

Hope our suggestions are useful and informative. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think by dropping a line in the comment section below. Feedback is great!

Disclaimer: all original images displayed in this post belong to the authors of the tutorials discussed and are protected by copyright.



Don Phillips

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