Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Thought I'd do a post about retouching as I'm not sure I have before, and it's something I feel quite passionate about. I'm a total photoshop retouching geek, I raise my hand loud and proud.

The secret for me is editing an image so it looks perfect, but so that the image doesn't look that edited. I prefer that the end result has a natural feel to it. One of the comments I tend to get on my work is that my images look "clean", which is probably because I edit out all imperfections, and tend to leave some natural elements.

I recently did a beauty set, so thought I'd share some of the editing on one of those images.


This is the process I went through for this image:
  • Removed unwanted hairs sticking out from head
  • Re-adjusted hairline, so the shape looked more even
  • Slightly lifted the right eye
  • Removed unwanted blemishes
  • Went through with healing brush to reduce poors (not remove!). Varying zoom level from 100%-800%. This is the time consuming bit........
  • Removed red lines in white in eyes and sharpened the eyes slightly
  • Reduced lines in lips
  • Brought in a curve level to give a slight contrast
  • Brought in another curve layer to even out a few unwanted shadows
  • Dodge & Burn layer to lighten a few areas (under eyes, next to nose)
  • Added a slight skin smoothing technique. This is very subtle and keeps all poors
This next images goes a little closer, so you can see more of the skin detail:


As you can see, Martina already has really good skin. It still took me 3 hours to retouch this image so I got a beauty image I was happy with. Doing beauty with someone with bad skin would potentially take much more time using the techniques I do.

Every photographer retouches differently and find a technique that works for them, and also helps give a stamp on their work. Some images you can tell is a specific photographer just by the way it has been retouched. I find that quite fascinating, so thought I'd share at least how I go about it with you :)

Model: Martina
Hair & make-up: Elbie Van Eeden


Some Style... said...

wow, no wonder most of us feel so insecure sometimes at looking at those ads or fashion magazines, hehe! great job at retouching!

check out my first ever giveaway if you haven't already!

lovely Greets!


Sylvia said...

I retouch my photos exactly the same way. It has to look perfect/flawless and natural.
This is one of the photos I retouched http://www.sylviadeboer.com/Afbeeldingen/DESIGN/Other%20design/Otherdesign03.jpg

lillian_cheryl said...

Wow! Amazing... I love the overall look especially the color tones. How I wish I can edit pictures like you do!

RVDS said...

Nice and subtle just how it should be! As always great work...

I still find it funny that some people are surprised to see we edit photos!

Martine said...

Nice post! I really got something to learn! :)

Drea said...

Det var omtrent slik jeg lærte å retusjere på workshop med Patrik Amidani også. :) Utrolig morsomt! Kjempefint bilde også! Vakker modell. :)

De småhårene på modellens venstreside syns jeg kanskje ble litt forstyrrende. Jeg plages lett av småhår! :b Hehe!

Cecilie Harris said...

Some-kind-of-style: Thanks! And I'll check out your give-away for sure, sounds excising :)

Ruan: But if we didn't, the same people would definitely notice. That's the secret of good editing :)

Drea: Takk for hyggelig kommentar. Jeg tenkte veldig paa de haarene om de skulle faa bli eller blitt tatt bort. Tror slikt er en smak sak. Jeg var litt paa gjerdet selv, men valgte aa beholde paa dette bildet som et naturlig element, saa det ikke ble for perfekt. Men veldig spennende aa hoere hva andre fotografer syns!

Karen. said...

Thanks Cecilie, a great insight.

Cecilie Harris said...

welcome :)

Ask for Answers said...

Oi, wow! For en enorm forskjell! På det første bildet ble oppmerksomheten dratt mot posene under øynene. De ble på en måte et litt forstyrrende element. På det andre bildet derimot, fikk hele ansiktet oppmerksomhet.

SV: Gleder meg også masse til den nye filmen! :D

Cecilie Harris said...

Smaa subtle forandringer gjoer ofte stor forskjell. Er ikke alltid folk vet hvor mye arbeid gaar inn i aa retouche et bilde, saa tenkte jeg skulle blogge litt om det :)