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Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits

Make your portraits perfect with the help of Photoshop.

| Portraits and People
Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Portrait start

Healing brush

First, remove any marks and spots with the Healing brush. To use it all you have to do is left-click on the area you want to correct then if by magic, the blemish is removed.

Dark circles

Next, select the Pipette tool and sample close to the dark circles under the eyes. This will change the colour of your foreground to something that matches your model's skin tone. We are going to use the Paintbrush tool to paint the colour in but before you start applying the colour, reduce the opacity and flow of the brush so when the colour's applied it's a little more subtle. Pick a suitable brush size then paint over the problem area in smooth strokes. You can also undo (Edit>Undo) if you think the changes are too obvious and re-paint.

Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Brush Skin Remove dark circles

AirbrushPhotoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Add Blur

When you've done removing dark circles duplicate your layer and make sure the layer under the top layer is selected as we are going to be blurring this layer. If you want to view the changes as they're made, click the eye icon next to the top layer to hide it so the one underneath becomes visible. Then go to Blur>Gaussian Blur to blur your subject's face slightly.
Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Layer Mask

Make sure the top layer is now visible, select it and create a layer mask by clicking the icon which looks like a circle sat in a rectangle at the bottom of the layers palette. With your foreground colour set to black and the Paintbrush tool selected, paint over the face to bring some of the blur back to create the airbrushed feel we are looking for. If you find the shot's a little too blurry, reducing the opacity of the brush will stop too much blur coming back through.

Brighten eyes

To find out how to brighten your subject's eyes take a look at our previous tutorial: brighten eyes.

Colour lips

If you want to add a little colour to your model's lips select the Pen tool and draw around their lips, adding anchor points until your selection is joined up. Right-click on the image, select 'make selection' and hit OK. Next, click on the adjustment layer icon (black & white circle) and select Hue/Saturation. When the new window opens adjust the sliders until you find a shade you're happy with.

Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Lip selection

Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits: Hue/Saturation

Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits:  

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Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits:

Photoshop tutorial: Improve your portraits:

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26 Oct 2011 2:22PM
There's no question that the finished picture in this "how-to" segment is better. The question is whether there was any need to manipulate this unattractive portrait at all. Better would have been to reshoot a picture of the model that showed some--any--attractive quality, or sympathy, or humanity. The picture shown doesn't have those qualities, and therefore does not rate any effort to fix it.

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