Chapter 1 | What is Frequency Separation? 2 Videos (5:01m)
  • 01 - Introduction
    One of the most powerful tools for the professional retoucher, Frequency Separation is guaranteed to take your images to the next level.
  • 02 - Working with Iulia David
    Iulia David is a professional beauty photographer and retoucher. See how she photographed the images that we'll be working on in this tutorial.
Chapter 2 | Tools & Techniques 7 Videos (1:49h)
  • 01 - Manual Frequency Separation
    Learn how to separate high and low frequencies from scratch! Get a thorough understanding of what's happening under the hood in Photoshop before we start using our custom action that automates all the tedious parts of the process.
  • 02 - The Frequency Separation Action
    In this section, we show you how to install and use the custom frequency separation action that's included with this tutorial. This action gives you all of the power and flexibility of manual frequency separation in a fraction of the time.
  • 03 - Brush Tool
    The Brush Tool is one of the primary tools that we will explore in frequency separation retouching. Learn how to adjust brush settings, get the most out of the tool with a pressure-sensitive tablet or mouse, and use the Brush Tool to retouch the color and tone in a photo.
  • 04 - Healing Brush Tool
    In this section, you will learn how the Healing Brush Tool uses color and texture to pain an area. Then see how to use it to retouch the color and tone of a photo.
  • 05 - Blur Technique
    Aaron demonstrates how to use Apply Image, Selections, and Gaussian Blurs to quickly smooth out areas of color and tone in a photo.
  • 06 - Clone Stamp Tool
    Our previous tools and techniques focused on retouching the color and tone. The Clone Stamp Tool is our go-to for retouching the high frequencies, or the fine details, in a photo.
  • 07 - Small Scale & Large Scale Retouching
    See all of the tools and techniques in action as Aaron performs a quick frequency separation retouch of an image using a combination of our action with the tools from the rest of Chapter 2.
Chapter 3 | Beauty Portrait 1 5 Videos (1:49h)
  • 01 - Small Details
    Follow along as we tackle the fine details of a portrait, removing small blemishes and hairs on our subject's skin and clothing.
  • 02 - Large Details
    Smooth out the color and tone in our image using Frequency Separation.
  • 03 - Dodge & Burn
    Learn how to use a Curves Adjustment Layer to enhance the highlights the shadows of our image, creating more shape and definition in the eyes, cheeks, and around the lips.
  • 04 - Color Correction
    Aaron offers on advice on what areas to look for when correcting colors on the body and skin. Then he uses a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to precisely target the areas of skin that he wants to correct.
  • 05 - Sharpening & Saving Out Multiple Versions
    Learn how to resize and save out multiple version of your images for your portfolio and the web. Also learn how to apply high-pass sharpening to each version, custom fit to each size.
Chapter 4 | Beauty Portrait 2 6 Videos (1:25h)
  • 01 - Small Details
    We repeat our workflow from the previous example in our first. Begin by opening and making adjustments to a RAW file in Photoshop and then use Frequency Separation retouching to work on the small details in the image.
  • 02 - Large Details
    Edit the low frequencies in the image, smoothing out inconsistencies in color and tone.
  • 03 - Additional Retouch & Clean Up
    Some images have high contrast areas, like areas around the subject's lips, where frequency separation retouching is a little more difficult. In this section, learn how Aaron approaches more complicated areas using frequency separation and the Clone Stamp Tool.
  • 04 - Dodge & Burn
    Using another round of frequency separation, learn to dodge and burn to enhance the shape and dimension of the subject's face.
  • 05 - Color Correction & Enhancement
    Make minor corrections for more natural color in the skin and teeth. Then enhance the colors in the eyes and makeup.
  • 06 - Finishing Touches & Sharpening
    Learn to use the Brush Tool to create eyelashes from scratch. Then prepare the image for export by resizing and applying high-pass sharpening.
Chapter 5 | Beauty Portrait 3 6 Videos (1:37h)
  • 01 - Small Details
    We start our last example by retouching the fine details using our Frequency Separation action.
  • 02 - Large Details
    Aaron retouches the larger details, focusing on areas of highlight and shadow to smooth out the skin.
  • 03 - Additional Retouch & Cleanup
    With the majority of our Frequency Separation retouching complete, it's time to check our work and clean up some areas that need extra attention.
  • 04 - Dodge & Burn
    It's time to apply some dodging and burning to enhance shape and add dimension.
  • 05 - Color Correction
    Learn to adjust and enhance colors as Aaron works to match some of the natural skin tones in the subject's neck to the skin tones in the face that have makeup applied.
  • 06 - Finishing Touches & Sharpening
    You've made it to the final section! Let's finish up our final example by resizing and applying some high-pass sharpening to prepare it for sharing on the web.
Catalog  >  PRO Tutorials  >  Retouching Tutorials  >  How to Master Frequency Separation Retouching in Photoshop

How to Master Frequency Separation Retouching in Photoshop

Learn from YouTube’s #1 Photoshop instructor Aaron Nace to enhance any image with Frequency Separation in Photoshop. Download RAW Images by beauty photographer Iulia David. Learn professional skin retouching and download the included Photoshop Action to make frequency separation easier than ever.

25 Video Tutorials | 7 Sample RAW Images | Frequency Separation & Sharpen Actions

Starting at $8.25/month – Unlimited Streaming
$49.99/once – Instant Download



Enhance Natural Texture & Detail

Remove small distractions while highlighting the natural details that make your subject unique.

Beautiful Color, Perfect Detail



What is Frequency Separation?

Retouching has come a long way in the digital age. Frequency separation is a modern process that gives you complete control over the delicate textures and color in your images. Using the power of Photoshop, we can separate the fine details from the color information and then edit them independently.

Step-by-step Guide

Not only do we take you through the process of frequency separation step-by-step, you can follow along as we go through several examples of complete portrait retouching using 16-bit RAW images.

Frequency Separation Action

Your time is valuable. The faster you can finish an edit, the faster you can get on to your next project or photoshoot. Our included Photoshop action will automatically separate the high and low frequencies in any image, saving you time and getting you right into retouching.



High Frequency vs. Low Frequency

High frequencies are the smaller details in your images. Think skin texture, hair, or the stitching in fabric. Low frequencies include all of the color information in a photo like the transitions from highlight to shadow. Frequency separation is the process of dividing these two elements into separate layers which can each be adjusted without affecting the other.

Remove Blemishes

We all have them; small wrinkles, pimples, stray hairs–the tiny blemishes that easily show up on today’s high resolution cameras. Learn the proper methods for removing and reducing little distractions while keeping all the important details that make a person unique.

Smooth Skin in Photoshop

Dark shadows, uneven highlights, and skin redness will never be a problem again. Learn how to analyze and edit low frequency layers to smooth out color and areas of light and dark, creating perfect skin tone to highlight your subject’s natural beauty.



Tools & Techniques

Using a combination of layers, brushes, blurs, and our powerful Photoshop Action, by the end of this tutorial, you’ll be fully equipped with every tool and technique you’ll need to master frequency separation. We start with the basics and then show you in-depth application using high-end, professional images from photographer Iulia David.

Professional Skin Retouching

We don’t just show you the power of Frequency Separation. We take you through a complete professional retouching workflow, including steps like dodging and burning, color correction, and sharpening.

Manual Frequency Separation

Learn how to separate the high and low frequencies of any image from scratch to soften skin, remove wrinkles, and professionally retouch beauty portraits. Once you’ve mastered all of the steps for Frequency Separation, load up our custom action to save valuable time with impressive results.

Learn Professional Retouching



Unbelievable Results

From the smallest details like pores and hairs, to the large details like colors and tone, learn how to retouch every part of an image.



Small Scale Retouching

Follow along as we dive in to the details of an image, focusing on the high frequencies and retouching tiny blemishes and distractions. The small scale elements in a photo can make a huge difference to an image overall, at any scale, and are essential for creating larger prints.

Large Scale Details

Seeing large scale details means you can identify how and where light falls on a surface and how it affects the overall color and tone. We zoom way out, demonstrating how you can smooth out shapes and color, creating flawless transitions between light, shadow, and color while preserving all of the original texture.


Whether you’re working with RAW or JPEGs, you can utilize the power of frequency separation to improve your photos. We show you proper workflow with both file-types using our custom frequency separation action.



The Brush Tool

Like most techniques in Photoshop, the Brush Tool will do most of the heavy lifting. Learn to adjust color, fix exposure, and take care of blemishes with some professional techniques and a few brushstrokes.

Blur Technique

Blurs may seem like one of the last tools you would turn to when doing detailed photo retouching, but they are a key tool in frequency separation. Learn how to use Gaussian blurs in Photoshop to isolate the color information of an image so you can smooth out skin and easily adjust highlights and shadows.

The Clone Stamp Tool

When retouching the fine details and textures in a photo, the Clone Stamp Tool should be your go-to. Learn how to use it to make changes to only the high frequency layer, sampling areas of texture you want and painting over textures you want to remove.

Instructor & Featured Artist

Aaron Nace

PHLEARN Founder – Class Instructor

Aaron Nace is a photographer, Photoshop artist and founder of PHLEARN. He is the #1 Photoshop instructor in the world with millions of YouTube subscribers.

Iulia David

Beauty Photographer & Retoucher – Featured Artist

I am a London based photographer specializing in editorial, commercial and beauty portrait photography. Born in a family of artists I have always been surrounded by art and curious in knowing the latest trends. My style is simple and clean with an edge. I think it is all about a collaborative synergy, bringing the most out of my team to create beautiful, compelling photographs.

View Iulia’s Portfolio


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent tutorial, explicative on every single aspect and very professional. Fantastic!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    If you want finally put every pieces together what you have learned on Frequency Separation, Dodge and Burn, Color Corrections and everything this is the best tutorial I have ever seen. This is exactly the right tract not so short and also not too long. You are never board watching it. If you want to learn retouch skin perfectly w/o using just blur technique this it just the video course right for you! Thanks Aaron!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial, tons of info. I started to take some notes and by the end I had 6 pages!!! Thank you guys, it will be very veyr useful!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Helped me get over some rough spots that I’ve struggled with. Super course.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    This tutorial is brilliant , the best so far I have ever seen on Frequency Separation . I have learned so much, I have tried all the free stuff on You Tube and other places but this is something else. Anyone doing portrait or wedding work really needs to look at this one. Aron really pulls all the stops out on this and and I never knew there was so much with in Frequency Separation. Gets all 5 Stars from me , and please keep up the good work.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I use Photoshop not as a professional, but for fun, as Iron said in one of the lessons. This is a fantastic course, I learned a lot and I’m eager to try to apply. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us. Regards, Aleks

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    awesome! I had a few false starts with the final image, but I eventually got it and am so stoked on how they all turned out! These tutorials are so much better than anything else out there. Great job!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent tutorial as always. Always used the patch tool but no more. I always have trouble with the texture layer before but following you has straightened me out looking forward to your next tutorial!

  9. Rated 3 out of 5

    I have tried and tried and on the blur layer, the colours seem to get duller when I add gaussian blur and on the texture layer, I am effecting the tones as well as the textures and I can’t for the life of me figure out what I’m doing wrong. I downloaded the action, but it didn’t work so I had to make the action manually, following step by step instructions and I can’t see where I’ve gone wrong.

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, I am sorry the technique is not working. Please contact us and we will walk you through the process with one of our Photoshop Experts.
  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Again, an excellent tutorial. I’ve done frequency seperation from your other tutorials,. yet this one just blows them away. I love your teaching technique as you explain everything so simply yet cover every detail. Keep up the great work!!!!

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic tutorial. Love how its broken down into very clear steps and how different options for the LF retouching.

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial – as always -. It just feels like every time I got a question in my mind you’re about to answer it a couple minuets later. Skin tone and structure is one of the most difficult parts of editing images, but this tutorial makes it way easier! Keep up the good work

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great as always but on working in tandem with you but using my own image, when trying to get rid of skin imperfections using the clone stamp tool, all of a sudden, nothing happens when I sample with ALT and then over the area that I want to smoothen out. All my settings are the same as you and I double checked that only current layer is selected. The cloning does not work on the HF layer. What am I doing wrong Aaron?

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another winning tutorial from Aaron! Detailed and effective. Nice and slow pace loaded with technique and expert preferences. I appreciate the shortcuts and exploring numerous tools – always pick up something new. A perfect example of why I became a subscriber. Thanks Aaron and Phlearn.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    I watched so may free videos on youtube and I learned some cool things but I knew if I wanted to take my photography to the next level I needed to know how to edit. I signed up without hesitation and it was truly worth it. The way break things down and make ot easy to understand is truly amazing. I actually can’t wait to start editing more photos and learn more.

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is a 5 star tutorial on FS. Full of knowledge. I will recommend this class for anyone that wants to take his or her retouching skill to another level.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another outstanding tutorial from Phlearn. Just the quality I’ve come to expect from the Premier Photoshop learning resource around. Keep up the excellent work!!!

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Had no idea I was doing Frequency Separation almost completely wrong for the past few years, this tut is incredible. Thanks guys!

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    Wow! Probably the most helpful tutorial I’ve done as a retoucher. If you want natural, but incredible looking retouches, these are the tutorials for you. Loved them, and I will be using these techniques on everything.

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is the first tutorial I am following in your pro section, and let me tell you, Aaron, that you are a fantastic teacher and your tutorial is so good in content, structure, examples, extra tips, quality of presentation, … I am used to follow photograph / retouching tutorials on the internet and frankly speaking you are one of the best. I was looking for such a tutorial about frequency separation, first to better understand the principle and then to learn how to use it efficiently. For me it is more in the domain of product photography, but what I learn here is directly applicable and will be a great help for me. Thank you.

  21. Rated 5 out of 5
  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    I just now got around to watching this awesome tutorial and enjoyed it very much. I do more compositing than retouching, but recently have been asked to “make some grandmas look good”. So, I have a couple of questions and a request. 1) When you make a merged image you always use image> apply image set to normal. Is this the same image I would get if I used CTRL + Shift + Alt + E or does the picture render different? I can’t see a difference, but I wondered if there was one. 2) I have tried lowering the opacity 50% like you suggested to someone else when retouching older skin, but the results are not satisfactory. Is there a way to merge the original somehow back in only at a lower opacity? Older people seem to lose structure in their lips and skin texture making it hard to not destroy more when you use HF. So just like some other comments below I would really love to see a tutorial on older ( above the age of 60) retouching. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Great questions Sherry. 1) Apply Image basically does the samoe thing as a Stamp Visible (CTRL + Shift + Alt + E), with the added bonus of changing blending mode, inverting, and applying other calculations. It is like an Stamp Visible on steroids. If all you are doing is making a visual copy, they work the same. 2) Retouching older skin can be tricky. In general I suggest using tools like the Patch Tool and then the Fade command (Edit – Fade) to reduce visibility of the changes. We have a Free Tutorial on Removing Wrinkles and I will take your suggestions in mind to make a longer, more in-depth PRO Tutorial on retouching older skin. Thanks!
  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    OUTSTANDING TUTORIAL! Retired and started a Portrait Photography Business. I have been working on my portraits with Lightroom and finding it very difficult. I found your youtube videos to be very helpful. After becoming a Pro subscriber you made the how’s and why’s of photoshop come together. Great Job Thank you so much. I Ray Climent p.s. You’re correct about driving a stick shift and being able to use the Wacom Tablet and I’ve been driving stick for 52 years. Wacom Tablet is a great tool, starting to feel more comfortable with it. Regards Ray

  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was great, finaly got a good understandig of how to use FS. Great tutorial 🙂

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial ! being a Phlearn pro subscriber, i have learnt a bunch of things in PS, and i already see a huge difference in my editing. Its all about fine tuning and attention to details, just a quick query, how important is to get the LF layer blur correct, if we overdo it say by +5 radius does it affect the color?

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Great question, using a larger radius won’t effect color, but it may make removing smaller details a little more difficult. If you find you are having trouble, you can always re-do the action and start again 🙂
  26. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just as I thought I had a firm grasp on FS… I love picking up little tidbits that help with my retouching! Thanks Aaron!

  27. Rated 5 out of 5

    the best frequency separation call i have ever come across. you made it so simple and user friendly. I have always seen it as a very difficult but after your class i got the boldness to jump into action. Thank you very much for such a class. you really are a talented teacher. Phlearn Pro tutorials !!!!! just the best!!!!!!

  28. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve been subscribed to you on YouTube for a few years now. Thank you for all the content you post. Definitely would reccomend to any and everyone.

  29. Rated 5 out of 5

    oh my god this has changed my life. Thank you so much! Thanks to this great step by step tutorial I have been able to master natural looking retouching in my family portraits and newborn colour tone and skin tone without looking unnatural or painted in. Wow this has really changed my photography, thanks so much! Now I can keep the natural texture of the skin but blur out the blemishes and you wouldn’t even know anything was there to begin with. perfect results every time

  30. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love this tutorial its helped me tremendously, however I am having a MAJOR problem, after a while of editing when I choose my clone stamp tool in the HF layer it does not allow me to make any changes, it doesn’t let me sample the skin texture either! HELP! I have it to current layer also.

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, it sounds like all your settings are correct. Would you mind sending an email to [email protected]. We have Photoshop professionals who will help you get the problem solved!
  31. Rated 5 out of 5

    What a great work!!!! Thanks for this tutorial. I tried several tutorials about FS and i just cant fully understand! Now with this masterpiece i finally got it! Again, thank you!!!

  32. Rated 5 out of 5

    Really loved this! Very useful information, well structured and the actions are just great! Thank you!

  33. Rated 5 out of 5

    I hardly do retouching, but, based on previous tutorials, I knew I would learn a lot. I wasn’t wrong! This tutorial and the tips and additional information have made it one of my top favourites. The actions are a great bonus and it’s always good to be reminded about sharpening at the appropriate image size. Thanks so much.

  34. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love this tutorial, I have been following Aaron for several years and I use his techniques and his actions. Finally here this technique is explained in a complete and exhaustive way .. and I realized that up to now I have made a lot of mistakes 🙂

  35. Rated 5 out of 5

    This and all of the tutorials are the best I have ever watched. Phlearn is by far the number one best providers for learning how to use photoshop. I love how everything is available to download and follow right along. I reccomend phlearn to all of my friends and anyone who asks me how to use phototshop I tell them to go to phlearn. PLHEARN IS THE BEST.

  36. Rated 5 out of 5

    As someone with a fair bit of retouching it may not be as useful as for a beginner, but it’s always great to see different points of view on the technique you use, plus Aaron is always so insightful on why and how he does things! For a beginner, it’s an absolutely killer tutorial, really comprehensive.

  37. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great course. Thank you

  38. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial, learnt so much. One thing though: for retouching the HF layer Aaron says that you have to do this on the HF layer itself. But I found out that you can create a empty layer above the HF layer, set sample for Healing Brush and Clone Stamp on Current & Below. And then you can retouch the HF layer without funny artefacts and more importantly: non-destructive on the HF layer. I might be wrong but it seems to work. I will save the file with layers, should you be interested ;-)>> Kindest regards, Matthieu

  39. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial.

  40. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love the frequency separation, especially for 16bit, as I always shoot raw. I had been searching for some tutorials and finally found yours! One thing I couldn’t get was the H/S layer maneuvering. I didn’t get what you were seeing when you were moving the bottom row. Is there another place I can pick that up? Otherwise, excellent and thanks so much!!!

  41. Rated 5 out of 5

    When I downloaded the frequency separation, and use the HF layer with the clone tool, it makes dark spots instead. Not like dull skin but almost black spots. I think it is the tool or my version of Photoshop. How can I fix this? Thanks!

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, be sure to set the Sample to “Current Layer” in the tool settings at the top of the screen when using the clone stamp tool on the HF layer.
  42. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazing tutorial!! nothing more to say!!

  43. Rated 5 out of 5

    Frequency Separation finally understood. I’ve worked with FS several times in the past but this is the first time I feel I really understand it and am getting good, no great results. Thanks Aaron and the entire Phlearn team!

  44. Rated 5 out of 5

    Enjoying this tutorial, like all the others I’ve watched. Anyway, at the beginning of Chap 2, 06 Clone Stamp Tool video I see a dog behind you. What’s its name, and is it yours? 😉

  45. Rated 5 out of 5

    I am such a newbie with regard to Photoshop. This tutorial is super easy to follow and to understand. Thank you so much for this! I actually feel more confident in my ability to edit portraits.

  46. Rated 5 out of 5

    I thought I knew everything I needed to know about FS. Turns out I was only scratching the surface. The tutorial is chock full of info and extremely well detailed. Excellent! Thank you, Aaron!

  47. Rated 5 out of 5

    One-stop shopping for a Frequency Separation tutorial. Great instruction on techniques and other tips are valuable and appreciated. Thanks to Aaron and the PhLearn team for another truly wonderful tutorial.

  48. Rated 5 out of 5

    The tutorials as always are amazing. However, I would appreciate if you could go over some of the concepts like skin color codes and texture.

  49. Rated 5 out of 5

    I am a newbie to the PHLearn channel and this is the first tutorial that I commenced. Aaron Nace is absolutely amazing. The level of instructionis at the right speed with great little hints along the way. I have also broadened my knowledge of key Photoshop shortcuts along the way. I can’t wait to start the next tutorial that I have already added to my favourites list.

  50. Rated 5 out of 5

    This tutorial is like Elon Musk´s Hyperloop for my PS skills. So many fantastic tips. I love it!

  51. Rated 5 out of 5

    After watching your free tutorials on YT I finally decided to subscribe and start going more in depth with all you techniques. AWESOME! Just one quick question: how do you keep file sizes small? I’ve found myself with 1+ Gb image file in PS and started to slow down my machine (late 2015 27″iMac with 32Gb RAM and 4Gb video card). In chapter 2 you create a new layer above BRUSH and CLONE layers and apply merged image, since the applied image includes the three layers beneath it (LF, BRUSH and CLONE), couldn’t I just go ahead and delete them? Al future retouches you do after that are all above the Applied image layer anyway, right? Thanks and Ciao from italy!

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, yes you can delete layers under any “Apply Image” merged layer without effecting the final look of your image. This will reduce your ability to make changes to earlier layers if you ever need to do so, but if you are concerned with file size, that is a good option. In general, I try not to delete any layers – giving me the ability to see my work and correct any issues later on. Converting your images from 16-bit to 8-bit will help reduce your file size. With cameras generating large images, it is common to work on .PSD files over 1GB. Thanks!
  52. Rated 5 out of 5

    As always an incredibly informative tutorial. I thought I had a pretty good handle on Frequency Separation, but you are guaranteed to find new techniques that can take your retouching to the next level. Thanks Aaron, I learned a lot. (Y)

  53. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is another wonderful course with clear explanations and lots of Raw practice images. As important as the technical skills Aaron teaches are his thought processes that helps me to know where corrections need to be made to an image. James Lesser

  54. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is great, I feel I’m actually starting to understand frequency separation at last. I can honestly say this is the best and most in depth tutorial on this subject I have seen, and I have seen a lot both free and ones I have purchased. Well done I’m so glad you have done this.

  55. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve used all these techniques for several years but I’m surprised how Aaron ALWAYS adds refinements or explains things in a way that makes things simple and lucid. Phlearn is the very best way to increase your skills in a way that’s fun and easy to remember. Other tutorial sites (ahem, Lynda) could learn from Aaron’s direct approach and easy going manner.

  56. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’m yet to watch a phlearn tutorial that I don’t learn from and enjoy. I just wish the tutorials could be downloaded so I could watch on my commute!

  57. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic course looked lots of times and tried on own photos, now when I see a photo of a person I look if they removed something 🙂 or if it’s original. This is something I’m gonna use often from now. Thanks for good tutorials. Micke, Sweden

  58. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Aaron, You’re a very knowledgeable person, generous with your knowledge and adept in dispensing your knowledge. I truly admire you. Your “Frequency Separation” lessons are so important for a photographer to know and as complicated they are, you’ve made them so easy to understand: Kudos! We know, the sample images you work with have typically smooth skins to begin with. As a matter of fact several times during the tutorial, you say so yourself. My problem is that my clients are the over-the-hill generation and I find it so hard to bring their portraits to a, not extreme, but a an acceptable, pleasantly retouched condition. I do cloning on the HF layer, paint and blur on layers below and yet the results are horrendous unless I spend I spend several hours on each picture. What do you suggest? Would you consider designing a new course “ Master Retouching Portraits of Older People?”

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your suggestion, I have found that it is best to “reduce” details like wrinkles rather than “removing” them completely. For this, I suggest retouching the wrinkles as you would any other detail, and then reducing the opacity of the retouched layer to 50%. That way you can still see the original form, but the wrinkles are less extreme. Thanks!
  59. Rated 5 out of 5

    Congratulations, Aaron! It is fantastic how Phlearn tutorials cover the main subject along with several other new brilliant guidances all together. For me, this is the most valuable asset of being a member and this is what makes Phlearn unique.

  60. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazing tutorial! I had no idea that the technique was different for 8-bit and 16-bit. I have been doing this wrong for almost a year on 16-bit images.

  61. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’ve watched many tutorials on Frequency Separation and this is by far the best. I’ve been a fan of Phlearn and Aaron for awhile now due to your teaching style and comprehensive tutorials. While I have the knowledge of the tools to use, I struggle with where in an image to use them. Specifically smoothing out transition areas. I know each image will be different, but I feel as if I struggle with looking at an image and determining where to start. Is there an action or “guide” you’d recommend to help me train my eye? I’ve seen “solar curves” in other tutorials as a guide but they never went over how to use it. Also…clone stamp section, very beginning, dog tail wag. There needs to be more dog tails in these videos 😉

  62. Rated 5 out of 5

    I really learned a shed load from this tutorial. You made Frequency separation less scary and the actions are a dream. A lot of my portraits are older women and men I would love to see a tutorial with Frequency separation done for the older woman an men not only young men but older men as well. I seem to have the problem of maybe going to far on an older person, it would be great to get some idea about good practice I guess on re-touching older skin type and not so perfect skin. Thanks once again Aaron your such a good teacher.

  63. Rated 5 out of 5

    Fantastic course … can’t praise it enough.

  64. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial, but how does it compare with the retouching 101-301 tutorials. There are differences in the actions and other works.

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Great question, the methods and included actions in this tutorial are the most up-to-date methods available for Frequency Separation, and I would recommend using this tutorial as a guide for all Frequency Separation. Retouching 101-301 is more of a general retouching tutorial that covers many different methods of retouching. Thanks!
  65. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great course (as always) . One remark on Chapter 3, section One: you definitely can open a photo directly from Lightroom in Photoshop as a smart object, by clicking with the rightmouse on the photo, choosing Edith in … and then Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. Greetings

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, you are totally right!
  66. Rated 5 out of 5

    I just love watching your art. Your work is beautiful and it certainly helps me to look at small details with a more critical eye.

  67. Rated 5 out of 5

    (In want for a better word) Cool.

  68. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hey, here from Argentina, I’m fan of your class, it would be great in the future if you can upload some screenshot or renders where we can see in high resoultion some of the textures of the photo that are lost with the 1080p on the video.

  69. Rated 5 out of 5

    I enjoyed this tutorial, I have other ones form Aaron. I have learned a lot of new techniques and appreciated his style of teaching. Can you do a tutorial on using frequency separation in landscape or nature photography?

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Great idea, thanks for the recommendation!
  70. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thank you for this amazing tutorial! The results are so professional.

  71. Rated 5 out of 5

    I am all over this like the lipstick on the lips like I said. Loving it and learning a lot. Taking notes so I can review and do it faster each time. Just finished the blur tool and have a question. At about 9 minutes you are making multiple selections with the lasso tool, applying the blur, and hitting ok. After each selection, are you using CTRL-D to deselect or CTRL-H to hide, or would that even make a diff?

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, you can simply make a new selection with the Lasso Tool and it will overwrite the last selection. You can Deselect by pressing CTRL/CMD+D, but it is an unnecessary step. Thanks!
  72. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another sensational tutorial! Exploring as comprehensively as possible a very important end-to-end theme! ongratulations, Aaron! I’ll Phearn you soon again!

  73. Rated 5 out of 5

    AMAZING AS ALWAYS .. this is actually a million dollar course for all the fashion photographers. I just want to add one more thing in my knowledge that Aaron sir usually / mostly prefer to work in ‘PRO PHOTO RGB’ color space but here he has used Adobe 1998. why is that ? i would love to add this new thing in my knowledge. Cheeers !!

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks for your comment, here is a free tutorial detailing different color spaces in Photoshop.
  74. Rated 5 out of 5

    Aaron Nace, you are a highly gifted teacher. I have watched practically every one (most) of your tutorials and have learned a ton. You’ve made it so easy. Thank you for your help and I hope you have more goodies in the pipeline. Your last one “Master Frequency Separation” is a gem. I have one small problems with it though. I don’t know why the 16 bit Action does not download for me. Charles Day

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Thanks Charles, The 8-bit and 16-bit Frequency Separation Actions are both in the same Action Set in Photoshop. Open the action folder in the Actions menu and you will see both actions! If you need further help, please contact [email protected]. Thanks
  75. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thanks for your response and I am still going through Freq Sep on e now The answer you sent me about 16 vs 8 bit was perfect the more specific question I have is this in 16 bit on HF layer you used the add image apply and on the 8 bit you used the subtract image apply this inquiring mind would like to know and still the tutorials with Aaron are totally illuminating.

    Aaron Nace – Class Instructor
    Dan, the calculations are a bit different because of the way 8-bit and 16-bit images are created. There is a bit of math involved which to be honest, I have never looked into. Thankfully we have the included Photoshop Action that does all of this for us 🙂


This tutorial includes 7 sample RAW images, 25 video tutorials, Frequency Separation & Sharpen Photoshop actions, and a custom Photoshop Brush. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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