Jose Aguiar shows all steps in retouching a portrait of a young and beautiful model

A retouching workflow using Adobe Photoshop

In this time-lapse video, I am showing how I retouched a portrait of a young woman. It shows the sequence of actions and the results.

Every portrait requires a series of actions and adjustments based on the person photographed, lighting used, angle and finally the artistic interpretation.

While it is probably possible to do anything in photoshop if you know how I do not like to overdo it. I carefully instruct the person on poses that can hide or enhance their features.  The most common requests are to remove a few extra pounds and minimising the marks of time that we all carry.  Just after the end of a portrait session, the client and I select the photos to be retouched and talk about the retouching needs. In most cases, the client leaves it for me to decide and are happy with the results.

In this video, the model has a beautiful and near perfect skin but we still had a lot of very small dots to clean. Every small detail is captured by the super resolution of our cameras.

After many years of experience and study, this is the workflow I use:

1 – Remove spots and blemishes.

2 – Removal of unwanted items such as small damages in the clothes, background items, flyaway hair, dust particles in clothes or anything that does not look good or does not add value to the photo.

3 – Adust luminosity as it affects how saturated and contrasted the photo looks like. When you light a photo you feel a reduction of saturation.

4 – Reduction of wrinkles. I normally do not remove these marks of time but reduce their intensity.

5 – Light up eyes to bring attention to the eyes and expression. Sometimes, I have a boost of saturation and sharpness in the eyes. It is always a very small change produces the best results.

6 – Light up teeth if necessary. Sometimes we need to add a few small corrections.

7 – Skin softening is applied only in specific areas and in a very light way. I do not like “porcelain faces”.

8 – Only if really required and with the approval of the client, I work on parts of the body such as tummy, cheek and arms.

9 – Final very small adjustments for saturation, contrast and luminosity.

10 – It is time for any artistic changes if required such as black and white conversion, desaturation, vignette, grain effect, local contrast, tinting or anything else.

11 – Final file preparation with local sharpening as the amount of sharpness depend on the file resolution, the print size, distance to the print and where it will be displayed.

Our headshots and portraits are manually retouched.  As you can see on this video, it includes a good amount of specialised manual work.

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You can contact Jose directly by phone or email [email protected]

Phone: 0417509955