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Skin Retouching

wjtonisswjtoniss Member
edited December 2013 in home
I was wondering what people do when it comes to skin retouching in portraits with both men and women? I usually retouch and soften women's skin, but really don't know what to do about men. I would love to hear what people do.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    with men, unless they have really bad scarring, I generally leave alone, only fixing the small blemishes which may happen to be there on the day but you know are not normally, like little pimples, etc.

    or if they have been out in the sun too much and got sunburnt, I will remove some of the redness judiciously, not aggressively since it would look too fake.
  • Pretty much leave the guys alone. For women, I remove all blemishes, pimples, etc. with spot healing brush. I only remove "temporary" facial flaws but generally never remove permanent features like moles, scars, etc. Then, like Neil, I use a third party software package called Portraiture on a separate layer at about 40% opacity. I do use Shine Off on occassion as well when needed.
  • I love Portraiture and use it with almost all women under the age of about 50. I find using it at any strength for older women doesn't look natural. (Although if her skin at, say, 60, is still nice, I will enhance it, it's all about looking natural but flattering.) It may be that I don't know how to use it well but that's been my experience. For women more or less under 50 I use a conservative strength as needed. I am more heavy-handed with teens (seniors) as it gives them the magazine-cover that they love and that's appropriate for their age. For girls, not for boys. I also use it to mask acne after first using healing brush and clone stamp on low level. For teen girls with freckles I don't use it much as it wrecks the freckles. Some teens don't need it at all.

    For boys and young men it's tough. I usually do nothing or very little, like others, zapping out temporary blemishes (cuts and acne) or softening some permanent ones. I rarely use Portraiture for men -- a bit more often for boys -- and when I do it's at a very low level. I don't use at all on men middle age or older as it gives them, I think, an unnatural look. Some photographers give teen boys the same magazine-cover look they give the girls. So there's no hard and fast rule. I don't think this looks right and no boy has asked me for it. Face it, men are as vain as women and also want to look great. But what looks great on a man isn't the same.

    I once did a business headshot for a 30-something women. I zapped out a lot of moles on her face that I thought were not attractive. I should have asked her as she was pretty angry and insulted. So I will just often ask if I have any question.

    I think a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution for all, don't overdo it.
  • Ditto what Skipperlange said. Next to no skin fixing on men. But I photograph high school seniors, and teen boys do have acne and they do want it removed. Unless I am doing a sports shot, then I will run it through topaz and accentuate textures.
  • Just read Neil's great article -- completely forgot about ShineOff -- I used to use it on my PC but when I switched to MAC I didn't bring the software over....license key is still good -- that will definitely come in handy!!
  • ShineOff doesn't work with my ancient version of PS 6.0. Is there a preset or technique to achieve a similar result with LR5?
  • Denied. They still ask for a license key when I try to install.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited January 2014
    hoyaterp said: Denied. They still ask for a license key when I try to install.
    CS2 install you mean?

    did you copy the Serial number when downloading, it's there, copy and use that from the link Sovaphotos kindly posted.


    image shows Win PC obviously, it's different from a Mac, so if Mac use the number beside the Mac download

  • Pilot error on my part. Works now. Thanks a ton. :)
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Been a learning curve for you today hoyaterp.


  • As with everything worthwhile, the learning never ends. :-)
  • I tried to use the free trial of ShineOff, but it does not seem to work with Photoshop CC. I sent them an email, so We will see what they say. It did work with CS6, and I tried to copy over the plugins, but it did not work either.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Just as a side note and to anyone else reading re plug-ins, you could copy plug-ins from early versions of CS up the chain, but once you got to CC, it does not work at all, different kettle of fish, and you have to re-install them and in a lot of cases get copies to suit CC unfortunately.

  • Yeah, I happen to have both CS6 and CC on my computer and figured this plugin would not work on CC. I just hope they provide an update soon!
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Funny thing about retouching in general: Someone on FB asked me if I had used Gaussian Blur with these images to get that soft look around her face:


    And nope, no Gaussian Blur. It's just the f/1.4 goodness.
    (I did do some very light skin retouching, and run my usual combination of plug-ins to smooth the skin a little bit.)
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