Retouch Your Photos Like a Pro in 10 Simple Steps


When retouching photos, it is best to work non-destructively. Therefore, most of these tips will be done with layers and layer masks. If you are not familiar with layers and layer masking, you should take a quick break to get familiar with them and return.

Retouch Your Photos Like a Pro in 10 Simple Steps

1. Cropping

Start your project by creating a duplicate image of the main image. Select the layer, double click to unlock it and duplicate it by pressing CTRL+J. This will save your main image in case you need to backtrack and start over.

The next thing you’ll want to do is crop the image. Select the crop tool and cut out parts that are irrelevant to the entire image.

2. Liquify

Most professionals don’t like to use this technique too much, but it can be essential in many cases. Never neglect the liquify tool. Select any portion of the image you want to affect with the lasso tool. Make a new layer with that and then liquify that layer. Blend any noticeable discrepancies with a soft brush and layer mask.

3. Spot healing brush

Use this tool to remove any unwanted blemishes or fine wrinkles. This tool works best around the cheeks and forehead.

4. Clone stamp tool

This tool is like the spot healing brush, but it is best used around the mouth, nose and eyes.

5. Curves

Curves is an essential tool for lightening or darkening shadows. Use the graph to help you guide the line where needed. When using curves, create a layer mask to help make the adjustment more targeted. Paint over the areas of the skin that need adjustment. Use a soft brush to paint.

6. Hue saturation

This tool will help you even out the colors. Like with curves, use layer masks to help target the problem areas.

7. Layer masks

I mentioned using layer masks above. They are important because they will help you work non-destructively. Moreover, they will help you work with specific areas in the image. It is best to always work with layer masks when you are making color adjustments.

8. Dodge and burn

Create a new layer and set the foreground to completely grey. Set that layer to overlay and use white and black colors on that layer to dodge and burn. This will help accentuate the highlights and shadows.

9. Eyes

The eyes are very important. You should select the eyes and make a new layer. Use curves to brighten them.

10. Blending

If there are any fine lines in your image from the adjustments you made, you can blend them together with a brush set to a low opacity. Make sure you are working with layers that correlate to each other.

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