Photo retouching tips

15 Photo Retouching Tips for Fashion Pros

In Photography & Videoby Melissa Shea

Do you want to take photos that look like fashion magazine covers but don’t know how to do that right? Here you can find photo retouching tips and basic advice on fashion retouching. So, look through these 15 photo retouching tips on photo retouching in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Tip 1: Choose Proper Angles

Proper use of the Crop Tool during fashion retouching can improve not just the picture in general but also its composition by highlighted fragments that are meaningful. As well, you can easily remove needles/secondary objects.

  • Delete needless things
  • It is not obligatory to place the most important objects in the middle of the picture
  • If possible, crop the photo at an eye line
  • Limbs should not be cut off at the joint

Tip 2. Keep Skin Natural

When editing portraits, it is essential to keep the golden medium because too much smoothening or sharpness when every spot on the face is visible is not for fashion photography. Here comes the question: what should I do to make the skin look natural but without visible defects?

The answer is – you should really work hard on it. Speaking about professional photographers – it takes them a lot of time and effort to “brush” skin using Clone and Healing Instruments. But those who are not good at fashion photography retouching, spend less time on it. As a rule, they just smooth the skin so it looks over-photoshopped and almost doll-like.

One more note: make sure that you have retouched not just face or hands, but the whole body – it is also important to edit shapes and then go to body reshaping and skin retouching.

Tip 3. Correct Skin Tone

Do you know what distinguishes professional high end retouching from amateurish? The correct skin tone. That is why it is so important to pay more attention to it.

Like portrait artists, photographers step by step, with the help of image retouching tools create perfect and natural skin tone – range from light to dark hues, use different color combinations and mix them all together (brown, pink, yellow, orange, etc.).

Otherwise, the photo will be totally ruined – unrealistic and dull. That is why the colors are so important in fashion photography retouching, particularly high-resolution pictures that are used for advertising.

Tip 4. Try Frequency Separation Method

The Frequency Separation technique helps you build high and low-frequency layers in order to edit colors and objects separately. This technique is frequently-used in editorial photography.

Using this method, you can make skin color manipulations not affecting other colors and shades in the picture, which is an extremely convenient method when both layers are under your control and the manipulations done on one level don’t affect the whole picture.

There are also some negative issues concerning the Frequency Separation tool. Some photographers cannot strike the right medium and overdo with photo retouching, which creates the “fake” effect.

People don’t trust images where they see perfect skin, hair and bodies. They know what stands behind this “beauty”. So, remember the rule – the picture must look natural and then it will be beautiful.

Tip 5. Don’t Neglect Free Fashion Presets

Be sure to use free fashion Lightroom presets to make your photos look special. This method of photo color correction is one of the most convenient techniques of fast and quality portrait editing in Lightroom.

Give your studio or outdoor photos that popular Orange & Teal, Film, Cinematic, Matte, Pastel or Black & White effects in several clicks and much Lightroom editing experience.

Tip 6. Address Photo Retouching Services

Nowadays many photographers entrust portrait picture editing to various photo editing services. If they deal with clothes, shoes, cosmetics advertising, they address product retouching services.

Suchlike agencies always guarantee high-quality results in a short time period. Moreover, you can order to edit the photos in your peculiar style, if you have it or customize your photos to magazine’s standards.

Tip 7. Minimize Noise

Actually, noise is not the worst thing that can happen to the picture as it can be removed in no time. However, noise can cause difficulties if you edit pictures taken in low light conditions. In this case, you will spend much time editing the photo and making it look professional.

  • Use ISO 100, 200, 400 and 800 to get low Noise Levels
  • Try the Reduce Noise Filter
  • The Surface Blur will help you reduce noise
  • The RGB channels will help you measure Noise

Tip 8. Make Teeth Naturally White

One of the most important things in fashion portrait retouching is teeth enhancement. Photographers try to create a smile like the actors in all Hollywood movies have.

Unfortunately, not all people can demonstrate perfect, white teeth. But it is not a problem for the professionals who know all the aspects and secrets of the high-end photo retouching. All defects are easily removable but do not forget about the main rule – the smile must like natural, not too white.

Tip 9. Perfect Lips

Beautiful lips matter a lot in fashion pictures. Especially if you’re working with cosmetics photography. You may slightly change the form or add more natural glow.

Uneven lips lines can cause you some difficulties, and it is not about incorrect make up or wrong lipstick color. Take a note that bright colors are harder to work with because they are more visible in close-up portraits.

  • Smooth the 1st Layer to make a good basis  
  • To make the lips pop, use a warm setup and the Adjustment Brush Instrument
  • Lips will be more gentle if you decrease Clarity and Contrast
  • Do not use one brush inside the mouth

Tip 10. Enhance Eyes

Make eyes shine bright using the New Adjustment Layer > Exposure. Paint pupils with black and irises with white colors. Set the blending mode to “Luminosity”. You can also increase the exposure, using the gamma value, so the iris will become contrast. Additionally, you can use “Offset slider” for a better effect.

Tip 11. Experiment with Digital Make Up

A perfect make-up will make your studio photos cooler and more beautiful. Even a very professional make-up can be spoiled by studio light. Fortunately, you can use Photoshop Face Retouching techniques and apply digital make-up.

  • Radial Filter will help you improve irises
  • Spot Healing Brush and Clone Stamp Instruments will help you smooth wrinkles  
  • Sharpen portraits only on the red channel
  • Patch and Clone Stamp Instruments will help you with dark circles under eyes
  • The Foundation tone on the face must match the color of all body parts

Tip 12. Work with Hair

A lot of professional photographers will agree that one of the hardest photo retouching tips in high-end retouching is stray hair removal. To make the hair look brighter, healthier – add some volume, color, and shine. There are many issues that one needs to take care of when editing hair in the photo.

Tip 13. Remove Flyaway Hair

The hair will be in all directions, covering the face, eyes, etc. So, the only way out is to use high-end fashion Photoshop photo retouching tips.

Even if the model has a perfect hairdo, there are always several flyaway hairs that can easily spoil the photo. The worth thing is that the photograph cannot take it under control, even the hairspray will not give a constant effect.

  • Regulate Feathering and Contrast and you will have the selection edge as soft or sharp as you want
  • Not overdo with the Healing Brush Instrument

Tip 14. Retouch Clothes Using the Liquify Tool

The clothes must look natural and neat. The Liquify tool is the best Photoshop instrument to use for clothes smoothing. With its help, you can do almost everything with each area of the picture – push or pull, cut off or add, rotate, reflect and change the edges.

This instrument is really useful if you need to make some minor improvement, like changing the shape of the clothes or “iron” it. But be mindful and don’t overuse this tool, otherwise, you risk making the photo unnatural.

Tip 15. Get Rid of Unnecessary Objects

If there are many distracting things – remove them in Photoshop. You can easily get rid of these objects (things or even people) with no harm for the photo.  

  • Spot Healing Brush will help you to cut off tiny things
  • Content-Aware Fill, Content-Aware and Content-Aware Move Instruments are good for fast background improvement  
  • Extend Mode will help you cut off needless things without leaving a trace
  • Undo = Command + Z (Windows Undo = Control + Z)

We hope these tips have been useful! Keep an eye on our blog for more photo retouching tips. Be sure to explore the links in the article above for even more tips and inspiration.

About Melissa Shea

Melissa Shea is the co-founder of Fashion Mingle and has spent over 20 years in the creative industry fueled by a love of learning about the “next new thing”. Melissa has used her entrepreneurial passion and technology skills to develop an online platform for fashion professionals that will transform the future for local fashion communities.

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