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Retouching A Headshot- Part 1

Mar 30

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let’s Start off With Skin for Retouching

Yesterday we had a huge photoshoot here at the studio with 3 models and a few different backgrounds. For this episode I’ll start editing one of the headshots in an Erwin Olaf inspired style, by retouching her skin and brightening it up. We’ll also change the colors using adjustment layers, and choose them specifically for our highlights and shadows.


  • 0:20- What today’s all about
  • 1:50- Opening our image in Camera Raw
  • 2:00- Our lighting setup
  • 2:30- The feel we are aiming for
  • 4:30- Listing everything I want to fix
  •  5:20- Using the healing brush tool with skin
  • 8:00- Blending in makeup and skin tone variations
  • 12:00- Editing our colors different combinations of adjustment layers
  • 13:10- Blend if
  • 14:40- Making selections based on value

What Would You Like to See?

If there’s a technique you would like to see or have suggestions on what can be edited with this image please let us know in the comment box below!

  • Shahram Rad

    THX Aaron . 

  • Rafael Mayani

    I’ve watched Phlearn since day 1 and I can really tell that the episodes have been getting sooo much better!! 

  • Anonymous

    Can you perhaps write some notes about the lighting set up of that image?  An diagram would be awesome :)

  • ajp

    Excellent tutorial! keep em coming (and the funny banter) ;)

  • Tate

    I like the episodes idea of editing a photo from begining to end with a reference in mind. Like the recent 3 part series you did. Good stuff!, I learned how to do the big smokey light source effect with the gradient tool:

  • MK

    Yeah, Aaron is a top man, sharing his knowledge with such consistency.

    1. It is good quality stuff.2. Then as well… one can not stop wondering….. HOW does he find time energy to do this?
    I am not doing half as much as him and I still do not have enough hours in the day!!!

  • Kokocina

    I love these episodes.  Others keep this type of stuff a secret so thanks for sharing!

  • Arjun Thakrar

    Followed this tut and made this:

  • Simon Dein

    I love every tutorial you’ve made, and i definitely learn alot here – BUT. I would love to have a picture to play around with (for the tutorials), cause i do not have either equipment or time to take/find a picture to fit the tutorials. I say it again – I LOOOOOOOVE what you’re doing, and i’m just a greedy bastard – i want moooooore! :D

    And i would love to see some photo manipulation-tutorials. The only place to go right now is – and their photo manipulations are very unprofessional – compared to yours :)

    have a terrific day!

  • Lee Love

    Aaron thanks for NOT dumbing your tutorials and going over the same basics over and over. Please keep pushing and causing users to stretch their skills.

  •Артём-Аванесов/100001204449288 Артём Аванесов

    Класс!! Я просто до конца не понимал как же сделать кожу чуть мягче и сочнее!!! А тут всё понятно!! Безумно благодарю за такой урок)))

  • richard leach

    Fantastic lessons. Novice Photoshop user. I became aware of PHLEARN while watching a class Aaron presented during Photoshop week on creative live.

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Random Tips

One way to figure out the lighting in a photo besides looking at the direction of the shadows, is to look into the eyes and particularly the catch lights in the eyes can help you figure out the type of light used by its shape in the eye as well as the directions it was lit