Retouching Portraits

Retouching Portraits

Retouching Portraits

I have spent a bulk of my time behind a camera photographing sporting goods, nature and pets. when it came to photographing people I have always taken a candid approach. Take a lot of pictures, crop the best ones and be done with it. Recently though I had the pleasure of getting a visit from my beautiful niece. We were out driving around and decided to visit a local park nearby for some pictures. The conditions were bad. It was a bright noon summer sun. I had the Nikon D810 and no external flash. I had about a 20 minute window to work before our next engagement. I knew the pictures would be a challenge but had no choice. I don’t get an opportunity like this often. We hit two locations and took about 100 pictures and called it a day. Upon review I had mixed feelings with the results. We had some great pictures with a couple of repeating common flaws. The first being her eyes. Not that here eyes are a problem, quite the opposite, they are big brown and beautiful. The problem was without proper lighting they appear mostly black. The next problem was her iPhone. That little bugger found its way into several of the best pictures. I knew I could get rid of the iPhone and any other unwanted details with the Adobe Photoshop “Spot Healing Brush Tool”. The eyes though that was another story. I wasn’t really sure how to tackle those so I hit the internet. That search lead me to all kinds of multimedia tutorials, book and software suggestions for retouching portraits. This page will serve as an index for the information I have found. As I hone in on what works for me I will write separate posts.

Retouching Portraits
Erin on a Wall- iPhone Removed


If you do nothing else from this page check out this book from Scott Kelby Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop. It’s written by a photographer for photographers. I bought the Kindle Edition and am very pleased.


  • PortraitPro – This is the software that gives portraits that almost unreal, spray painted over look that’s all the rage today. It recognizes faces and automates a lot of the tasks but still requires some simple human intervention. Other software including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom will do the same thing with a lot more work. “PortraitPro is new portrait airbrushing software that has been “trained” in human beauty. Exceptionally fast and easy to use, and capable of the highest quality touch up, it lets you improve your photos instantly, just by moving sliders. With this easy photo editing software, it’s incredibly fast for any photographer to enhance the face and hair of the subject.”
  • Digital Anarchy Beauty Box – Apply Digital Makeup to your photos! Beauty Box Photo allows you to quickly and easily erase skin blemishes and wrinkles, even out skin tones, and reduce shine – achieving a consistently professional result. The plugin uses advanced skin smoothing techniques that enhance the work of photographers at all levels in Adobe Photoshop and Aperture.
  • One Software Perfect Photo Suite

Retouching Portraits Plugins

  • Auto FX Software
  • Perfectly Clear
  • Imagenomic Portraiture  -Portraiture is a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture plugin that eliminates the tedious manual labor of selective masking and pixel-by-pixel treatments to help you achieve excellence in portrait retouching. It intelligently smoothens and removes imperfections while preserving skin texture and other important portrait details such as hair, eyebrows, eyelashes etc. Portraiture features a powerful masking tool that enables selective smoothening only in the skin tone areas of the image. What makes Portraiture’s masking tool truly unique is its built-in Auto-Mask feature. It helps you quickly discover most of the skin tone range of the image automatically and, if preferred, you can manually fine-tune it to ensure optimal results, providing unmatched precision and productivity. For finer control, you can specify the smoothening degree for different detail sizes and adjust the sharpness, softness, warmth, brightness and contrast. Portraiture comes with pre-defined presets for one-click effects and, as with all Imagenomic plugins, you can capture your own signature workflow in a custom preset tailored to your specific requirements and photographic portfolio.
  • Topaz Labs
  • Alien Skin Exposure
  • Nik Collection

Retouching Portraits Tutorials

Eye Retouching Tutorials



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