Mar 20, 2014

How to Correct Red Skin Color in Photoshop Quickly

It’s time to correct red skin captured in your images quickly.

One of the problems you will encounter when photographing people is Skin redness. It usually shows up around the nose, close to the eyes and on the cheeks. Skin that looks too red can make people look tired, sick, old, or just bad.

Thankfully there is a simple fix that will work every time.

Using a Hue/Saturation Layer
In this episode we show you how to use a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to pinpoint the redness and get rid of it for good.

We start by selecting REDS from the drop down menu that is on MASTER by default. After selecting the reds we bring up the Saturation as high as possible to see what Colors we are actually effecting. Then we use the slider on the bottom to narrow in the focus of Color and move it left and right until only the area we want to change becomes highlighted.

After the selection is bright red, bring the Saturation back down to 0 and adjust the Hue slider to the right. In this image we use a +25 Hue but that will change depending on the Colors in your image. Once you set the Hue correctly you are done!


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    Rob Murszewski

    Thanks so much for this. I had a photo I took as a Xmas present for my Mother In Law and the skin was very red and I couldn’t figure out a good way to get just that red out. Just tried this technique on the image and it worked great. Thanks!

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      Hi Rob! Thank you for the kind words and glad that everything worked out!

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    I saw this technique demonstrated by a pro retoucher a number of years ago, but could not remember exactly how it worked.. Ive been racking my brain trying to remember where I saw that tip, but never fear, Phlearn to the rescue. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 🙂

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    Tahir Register

    I’ve used a technique similar to this one, but i’m glad I watched the video because that exacting effect is much quicker. I often shoot Afrikan Americans and the camera often captures a redness that makes the brown skin look muddy, saturated, and unnatural. Most people cannot tell the difference, but I can. I wanted to share a photo with you so that you can see what I mean. Here’s a before and after, I shot, and edited. What’s interesting is that I don’t see the redness when I take the photo. I assume through a great custom balance, or a neutral balance that the photo will look how its suppose to once taken out of the SD card and placed on the computer. I see on my MAC that the CR2 is exactly the perfect color, but when I open it in ps5 the color is distorted and the lighting etc. Thus causing me to do more work. I don’t know how to fix that, but here is an example of what I did, as far as removing the redness.

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        Thanks! I would also love to see more of this.
        Often in for example Time Magazine portraits, or in a lot of commercial and fashion photography you see this certain brownish skin tone. I wonder if there is a way to measure this to get consistent results on several different portraits of people with different reds in their skin tones.

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    I’d love it you’d spend a whole week of tutorials discussing how to achieve/measure pleasing/realistic skin tones … as well as pleasing creative skin tones.

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    r grepo

    Aaron you’re the best! I’ve been struggling with red for sometime and I never knew how to isolate them. Awesome!

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        Pierre Vignau

        The simplest of tricks with the Hue Saturation Brightness dialog. I actually used it on an impromptu photo that my boss needed of himself today… pfew!

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    Phlearn has changed the way I work with my images in post. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

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      Wow, that’s what we love to hear! You’re very welcome Alexa. Do you have any suggestions for what you would like to see in future tutorials?

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    Unfortunately this would not work for me because my daughter has strawberry blonde hair and eyebrows. Plus, it wasn’t her nose that was red it was the chin and lower jaw on one side. She got very flushed during the photo shoot as just as she started warming up to being photographed.

    I tried it anyway but her skin redness went from red to orange to yellow. She has very porcelain white skin to go with her red hair so the red areas showed no matter what color adjustment I made.

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    Thanks for the great tutorial, I improve my work seriously with your help.
    Greetings from Austria

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    This is an amazing tutorial; however, my daughter is a redhead. I want to keep the vibrance of her red locks and just remove the redness from her face only. Any help, tips you can give would be greatly appreciated! PS: I have already used your tutorial on removing stray hairs on the above mentioned image with the patch tool and it worked wonders. Thank you!

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    Karen Engel

    Thanks this is the easiest fix ever. PEOPLE – to fix only certain areas – copy the original image and paste it above the adjustment layer – then erase away ONLY the selective areas you wish to get the red out of. You are just punching a little hole through to see the fixed area only. Erase 100% – or less for more subtle blending.

    I had a jewelry model whose ears were getting all red from putting on different earrings. With the “red fix”adjustment layer below – and this one above with the ear only erased – no other areas of the image are affected in the final result.

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      Thank you! Great suggestion! After a super fun day in the sun, and a bit of fruity rum drink, this is just what I needed!

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    Pixel Polisher Studios

    Thanks! I needed, and have needed, this knowledge for a long time. You just saved an assignment for me! Invaluable stuff, sir!


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    Amazing tutorial I get this redness a lot and sometime even mess up the picture trying to get rid of it

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    Dave Cruikshank

    Thank you so much, great explanation just when I needed it. I have 23 images to retouch of the same person. I may even be able to make an action for her.
    Keep up the good work, would definitely attend a live seminar of you teaching.

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    Great tutorial. But… The red is disappering on the cheeks, but also on the lips. In this image you can hardly see lips because of the mustache, but how to fix only the redness in the cheeks? Thanks!

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    I’m SOLD! This was fantastic! Thank you- looking forward to watching more soon!

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    please can someone help me to remove red blush in a photo…please help me because with this I can find who stoled my phone

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    Thanks! I had a toddler who got stung during our photoshoot and his cheek was red in one spot. I couldn’t get rid of the red and look natural, but this helped! A little bit of skin softening afterward and we were good to go!

    Note- The red also removed the red in his lips, so I did a layer mask and removed the adjustment layer from his lips, adding his red back in. It worked perfectly!

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    kanailal mandal

    always skin colour is showing red in photo what is the solution pl.advised me.

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    THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU. Seriously a million times, thank yoT. this is the best solution I have found for photos I am trying to edit where the models face is super red looking, super easy and quick. Got me the exact result I was looking for. Definitely going to be coming back for more tutorials from you!