Retouching studio photos in Photoshop

This lesson will show several techniques for processing studio photos in Photoshop. We learn how to draw hair, retouch your skin and more. This lesson will be interesting not only to photographers, but also useful to all those who are engaged in photo retouching and will want to learn new ways of retouching studio photos in Photoshop.

This type of retouching is used by professional photographers looking for new retouching portraits. Now you can learn more about how professionals are retouched. For best results, you should start with a photo of excellent quality. Lighting and photo quality are very important aspects when processing photos.

When retouching, the author constantly performs the most natural processing and works without damage to the photo, but sometimes extreme effects give very interesting results.

Step 1. Remove Background

The photo that the author used in this lesson has a contrasting gray background, which will greatly facilitate the separation of the model from it. For this purpose, in photo studios, the use of uniform colors has been used for a long time. So, transfer our model to Photoshop and create a layer mask (after unblocking it). Carefully separate the model from the background, taking into account all the details. To remove the background, the author used the tool Quick Selection (Quick selection) to quickly select a model and Refine Edge (Clarify edge) to smooth sharp edges and separate from the background with settings: in the section View (View) invited to put on Black (on black); Feather (Feathering) – 2.4 px; Contrast (Contrast) – 40%; Shift Edge – + 5%); Output to (Exit on) – Layer Mask.

Step 2. Creating a new background

To create a new background, the author created a new layer and used a correction layer. Gradient Fill (Gradient fill). A black and white radial gradient was created with settings from 3e3e3e in b5b5b5, then you need to put a tick next to Reverse (Reverse) and Align with layer (Select by layer), Scale put on 200%. Next, an adjustment layer was created Solid Color (Color) with color 306578 and put the overlay mode Color (Color) with opacity 70%. The selected background helps to further highlight the model.

Step 3. Hair Restoration

Restore the hair that was removed in the previous step. Increase the image in the hair area on the left. Next, Ctrl + Click on the mask layer with the model and go back to Refine Edge (Specify edge). Put a tick next to the Smart Radius and brushing along the contour of the hair, we will see how the removed hairs begin to appear. When finished, click OK and Backspace to remove excess parts near the hair.

Next, we will create a new hair brush. Create a new document with a white background, with dimensions of 35×35 px and a resolution of 300 dpi. Now with a black hard brush with a diameter of about 1-2 px, put a few dots (approximately 5-6) in different places of our new document. When finished, go to the tab Edit – Define Brush Preset (Edit – Define a brush) and name the brush Hair. Close this document and return to the document with our model.

In the tab Window (Window) select Brush (Brush) and go to the brush settings. Choose our new brush in the settings Brush Tip Shape (Brush print form) remove Spaсing (Interval) to 0, and the angle of inclination set from -80 to -100. Let’s go to Shape Dynamics (Dynamics of form). Size Jitter (Oscillation size) reduce to 0 and in Control (Manage) put Pen Pressure (Pen pressure); Angle Jitter (Angle oscillation) and Roundness Jitter (Fluctuations of the circle) also need to be reduced to 0 and put a tick next to Brush Projection (Projection brush).

Create a new layer under the layer with the model and draw the hair with the brush we just created in the place where the hand goes behind the head. Create another layer above the model layer and draw the hair on the left.

Step 4. Skin retouching by frequency decomposition

Make a copy of all layers in one layer (Alt + Shift + Ctrl + E). Let’s call it Light. Then duplicate it and call the copy Texture. Remove the eye badge from the Texture layer and apply a filter to the Light layer. Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) with a radius of 9.7. Go to the texture layer and choose Image (Image) – Apply Image (Apply image) with settings: Layer (Layer) – Light; Channel (Channel) – RGB; Blending (Overlay Mode) – Subtract; Opacity (Opacity) – 100; Scale (Scale) – 2; Offset (Offset) – 128.

It’s time to smooth the skin of our model. From the Light layer, use the tool. Lasso (Lasso) and select a darkened area near the nose. The radius of the feather, for the tool, put 10 px (the author uses 21 px). Go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Blur according to Gauss) and blur the selected area with a radius of 20 px. Highlight areas in darkened / brightened areas to your taste, where the skin appears to be poorly smoothed and smooth it (for quick execution of the operation, it is recommended to use the key combination Ctrl + F. This will smooth the selected area much faster).

This method of photo retouching is very effective, so it is common among photographers and retouchers.

Step 5. Smooth skin in Photoshop

On the Texture layer, select the tool. Clone Stamp (Stamp) medium hard and section Sample change to Current Layer (Current layer). Let’s start to remove various defects on the skin (potholes, moles, overexposure), as well as hairs from different parts of the face.

Next, let’s duplicate the last 2 layers and merge them into one. Now convert it to Smart Object (Smart object).

Step 6. Color correction

Now it’s time for color correction. Let’s work with adjustment layers. We take advantage of the adjustment layer Selective Color (Selective color correction). In subsection Color (Colors) for black colors Yellow (Yellow) to -6, and Cyan (Blue) add up to + 15. For Neutrals (Neutral) turn down Yellow (Yellow) to -15, and Cyan (Blue) add on +10, Magenta (Purple) put on -5. Have finished! The background should be even more pleasant than it was before.

Add a new adjustment layer Color Balance (Color balance). For Midtones (Midtones) move up to -12 to the side Cyan (Blue) +21 to the side Green (Green) and + 25 aside Blue (Blue). Put a tick next to Preserve Luminocity (Keep glowing). Now move on to Highlights (Bright hues). Add + 9 for Red (Red) and remove -9 for Yellow (Yellow). Remove the tick from Preserve Luminocity (Keep glowing). For Shadows (Shadows) add + 11 to Blue (Blue) and Green (Green) lower to -10 Cyan (Blue).

Add another adjustment layer Gradient Map (Gradient map). Immediately choose a gradient from dark purple to orange (you can play with the settings to your taste). Change the blending mode, for a given adjustment layer, to Hard Light (Hard light) and lower the opacity to 20%.

Add an adjustment layer Curves (Curves). In different color modes, play with the curves to achieve the result that suits you.

Step 7. Eye Retouch

In the Fashion industry, eye retouching significantly improves the quality of the portrait. So let’s work with the eyes. Create a new layer and apply the blending mode to it immediately. Color Dodge (Lightening the basics). We will use a hard brush of blue color and a diameter of the size of a pupil and draw 2 blue circles on the eyes. Apply to this layer Layer Mask (Mask layer) and black hard brush, while on the mask, erase unnecessary parts from the eyes. Let’s create new adjustment layer Hue /Saturation (Hue / Saturation) and applicable Clipping Mask (Clipping mask) to the layer with painted eyes. Turn down Hue (Color tone) to -10, Saturation (Saturation) to -80 and Lightness (Brightness) to -50.

Above the layer Hue /Saturation (Hue / Saturation) create another adjustment layer Hue /Saturation (Hue / Saturation) with Layer Mask (Masked layer) black. Hue (Color tone) set to -10 and Lightness to -10, Saturation (Saturation) add up to +5. We use a white soft brush and, being on the mask layer, go through it on the lips. To adjust the brightness, you can remove a little (Opacity) Opacity, for example, up to 80.

Now create a new layer and use the tool Mixer Brush (Blending Brush) to smooth the skin. Values ​​of all indicators on the panel above, put on 20 and leave a tick next to Sample all Layers, and also disconnect Load brush after each Stroke (Fill the brush after each stroke). Carefully walk this tool on the skin of our model, to give the greatest effect (do not forget about the hand and neckline).

Create a new adjustment layer Vibrance (Vibration). Vibrance (Vibration) add up to + 33, and Saturation (Saturation) is reduced to -6.

Add new adjustment layer Levels (Levels). The rightmost slider is reduced to 242, and the average is changed to 1.08.

Now we remove the visibility of all layers, starting with the smart object we created. Being on the layer of texture click Select – All (Select-All) (Ctrl + A), then go to Edit – Copy Merged (Edit – Copy the selection), back to the top adjustment layer Levels (Levels) and press the Ctrl + D key combination. Move the mouse over the layer visibility icon and choose the right mouse button Show /Hide all other layers (Show / Hide all layers) 2 times, and then Ctrl + V and paste the photo with the model. Change the copy opacity to 30% and apply blending mode Soft Light (Soft light).

At the end of the work, play with the settings of the adjustment layers and with their opacity to achieve the result that you like. That’s all! We hope that you liked this lesson and you learned a lot of new knowledge from it.

Download the archive with materials for the lesson

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