Retouching Part 1

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo

Retouching. On this post we’re talking Retouching and how I do my retouching process.

I’m retouching this photo of one of the models from a shoot we did earlier this month of the beautiful Chloe. Chloe is just like any other person on the planet (with skin) that has a few blemishes. No big deal! But for the look I’m going for we’ll be retouching a few of those for the beauty/fashion look I want.

Shot with
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 85mm f/1.2
AlienBee 1600b
white beauty dish with sock

Software used
Adobe Photoshop CS6
Imagenomic Portraiture

Wacom Intuos5

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo

From Adobe Lightroom after I’ve flagged the which pictures are best to edit I cmd + E to edit in Photoshop. Before doing anything, I make a new layer cmd + shift + N and name that grey back for cleaning up the background sensor dust spots and light flyaway hairs.

I use my Wacom Intuos4 tablet, select healing tool or J, check sample all layers at the top and clean up the background.


donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo


Cmd + J to copy the background layer and open up Imagnomic Portraiture. This is a must-have plug-in for me any plug-in that makes photoshop life easier or faster I’m a fan of it.

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo

Left side under presets, set to default.
Right side set the output to a new layer, and check the create transparency mask box ( x )  hit ok and in photoshop make a layer mask *white* out of that.  I use the white cause it will pick up the grey background and smooth that out for me and I won’t have to.


Portraiture doesn’t get all of the skin smoothed out so new blank layer (cmd + shift + N) and label that skin. Why do I make all these new layers? Because I can always go back and erase.

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo

Switching from Heal tool (J) Clone (S) Clone mode: normal and opacity between 20-40 percent.
Zoomed at 100 percent and get all imperfections that I do not want. Don’t overdo it; you cause you still want that skin texture. Also, don’t overlook the shoulder and the hand.


New blank layer (cmd + shift + N) label it lips and Heal and clone any lipstick/make but leave the cracks. That’s part of the texture.

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo
The cover image is a little too dark for me, so I use curves to brighten it up just a little bit. Layer > New Adjustments Layer > Curves


donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouch photo

Eyes are a little dark, so I use Levels Layer > New Adjustments Layer > Levels to lighten them up some.  I hit (cmd + I) to invert the mask, select the brush tool (B) and paint white over the eyes, then bring down the opacity to about 70%



Highlights are the bright spots from the beauty dish, and I want to tone those down a little bit new blank layer (cmd + shift + N) Clone tool (S) set the blend mode to Darken and opacity to 40% and paint over the forehead and nose area and tone the highlights. Setting the brush to 40% means it’s just going to knock those down lightly.

Lastly, I’m going to go through the photos and do any final tweaks, hair, eyes, lashes, ect.. and I’m done getting this photo where I want it now time to make my color adjustments.

donte tidwell los angeles wedding retouching photo
Stay tuned for part 2 of retouching using two more Photoshop plug-ins.


Donte Tidwell Photography is a Los Angeles Photographer.

Donte Tidwell Photography specializes in boudoir, portrait, fashion and fine art pictures.  To see more work from Photographer Donte Tidwell, check out his website at or visit the facebook or instagram Contact Photographer Donte Tidwell

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