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Professional Beauty Retouch

In this tutorial I will show you how to enhance a beauty portrait to give your model a flawless appearance in three simple steps.

Below is the original photograph. As you can see there is very little work needed here, but there are a few steps that can be taken to achieve a more flawless result needed if the photo is to be used commercially, in publications or advertisements.
Step 1: Lightening the eyes
First we will lighten the eyes which is a step necessary for most, if not all portrait photographs.
On the original layer make a selection around the pupil/iris using the Quick Selection tool then add a Curves adjustment layer.
The adjustment layer will automatically use your selection as a layer mask, meaning when you make adjustments they will only affect the area you had selected.
Your adjustment layer will have brought up a box like the one below.
Create two points on the diagonal line in order to make adjustments. The top point will control the lightness of the lighter parts of the photo, and the lower point will control the lightness of the darker areas of the photo.
Both points will need to be brought upwards in order to brighten this area. You’ll notice the point controlling the lighter parts of the eye was brought up slightly more, this was give more brightness to the light blue of the iris. The point controlling the darker part of the eye was raised only slightly because the pupil needed to remain as dark as possible.
Using the same technique you can now adjust the whites of the eyes. Again, select the area you want to adjust the add a Curves adjustment layer.
Step 2: Removing blemishes
To remove blemishes we will use the Healing brush.
The healing tool is similar to the clone stamp tool, you will alt-click an area you want to sample, then painting over the area you want to smooth over.
We will do this on a new layer directly above the model layer.
Make sure your settings are as shown below. Having the Current and Below option selected means you will be able to sample the colours on the model layer whilst still working on your healing layer.
Now you can begin to remove any spots, blemishes, stray hairs etc.
Step 3: Skin tone
Finally we will smooth out the skin tone. To do this we will paint over the skin similar to how a model would apply foundation.
So select the Brush tool and choose the settings shown below.
By choosing the Lighten blend mode only areas darker than the colour we are painting with will be affected. And similarly if you choose the Darken blend mode, only areas lighter than the sample colour.
The opacity is set to just 15% so the effect isn’t too strong.
We will, again, be working on a new layer above the last one.
So alt-click an area of skin to find a suitable colour, then begin to paint over areas of the skin. Don’t worry if your strokes overlap any detail like the hair, afterwards you can add a layer mask to this layer and mask out any mistakes.
If once you have finished, you find the effect too strong, you can adjust the opacity of this layer to a level that looks more natural.
And thats all!
Your layers panel should look like the one below.
You’ll notice I also added another Curves adjustment layer to brighten the overall image slightly.
Final Result
Next time we will be looking at a photograph that requires a more extreme retouch, and you will see how a photograph that looks beyond repair can be transformed into something far more acceptable with the power of Photoshop cs5.