Chapter 1 | Introduction 1 Videos (1:43m)
  • 01 - What You'll Learn
    Aaron breaks down everything you will learn in Intro to Retouching in Photoshop.
Chapter 2 | Tools & Techniques 6 Videos (1:16h)
  • 01 - Lightroom
    Learn how to import images into Lightroom, make simple adjustments using the Develop Tab, and then send the images over to Photoshop for more detailed work.
  • 02 - Adobe Camera RAW
    The best tool for making exposure adjustments to any image, Adobe Camera RAW is a powerful tool that can be used in both Lightroom and in Photoshop.
  • 03 - Cloning & Healing
    A retoucher's best friends, the Spot Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp Tool can help you quickly and easily remove distractions and blemishes. See how each of them work and how best to use them.
  • 04 - Dodging & Burning
    Dodging and burning is a key technique that can be used to make an image better. Learn how to use Curves Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks to add shape, definition, and contrast to a photo.
  • 05 - Hue & Saturation
    Perfect for fixing issues like skin redness, Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers can target specific colors and shift them to match surrounding areas.
  • 06 - Exposure Blending
    Blending exposures is a great way to create a more balanced image. But what if you only have one exposure of a photo? Learn how to create multiple exposures using the Adobe Camera RAW filter and blend them together in Photoshop.
Chapter 3 | Retouching Skin & Facial Features 14 Videos (5:35h)
  • 01 - Remove Blemishes
    The first thing people think about when they hear retouching? Getting rid of blemishes like small pimples and skin redness. Follow along as Aaron uses some of the Healing Tools as well as a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to remove distractions.
  • 02 - Enhance Eyes
    One of the most important areas of a portrait, the eyes often tell the story of a photo. Learn how to retouch any set of eyes by adding details and by using common makeup techniques to enhance highlight and shadow areas.
  • 03 - Flyaway Hairs & Skin Texture Actions
    Cleaning up a lot of stray hair can be a tricky job. Learn how to remove strands of hair from a subject's face and then recreate the skin texture underneath using a custom Photoshop action.
  • 04 - Smooth Skin
    Learn to smooth out transitions between highlights, shadows, and colors for a more balanced portrait.
  • 05 - Cleanup & Add Volume to Hair
    Follow along as Aaron uses the Liquify Tool to shape the subject's hair, adding length and volume. Then enhance highlights and shadows with some dodging and burning.
  • 06 - Wrinkles
    The older and wiser a person is, the more pesky wrinkles they're likely to have. Learn how to make subtle reductions of distracting wrinkles and precisely fade your edits for a natural look.
  • 07 - Remove Glare in Glasses
    Glare is a common issue in photographs of people wearing glasses. Learn how to completely remove the any glare and restore the color and texture of the skin underneath.
  • 08 - Dark Under Eyes
    It happens to us all; a late night leads to some dark circles under our eyes the next morning. Fortunately, Photoshop makes it easy to reduce or remove evidence of any darkness or shadows in the skin.
  • 09 - Color Correction
    Color correction is all about starting with a realistic foundation that you can stylistically color later on. Aaron uses a combination of Adjustment Layers and the Adobe Camera RAW filter to restore natural skin tones to a subject.
  • 10 - Skin Coloring
    Learn how to use a variety of Adjustment Layers to help skin look warmer and more natural.
  • 11 - Correct Exposure
    Like any type of photography, an even exposure can make or break a portrait. Aaron breaks down his new favorite workflow to fix exposure using Smart Objects and the Adobe Camera RAW filter.
  • 12 - Highlight & Shadow
    Learn how to correct highlights and shadows, reveal lost detail, and draw more attention to the subject.
  • 13 - Background Retouching (Part 1)
    If you're taking someone's portrait, they should be the star of the show. Aaron walks us through his approach for cleaning up a messy background that can distract from the subject.
  • 14 - Background Retouching (Part 2)
    Aaron finishes up the retouch of a messy background.
Chapter 4 | Complete Retouching Example 6 Videos (1:46h)
  • 01 - Liquify & Shaping
    We start off our complete retouch by making a plan and then we remove some of the distracting wrinkles and folds in the subject's clothing with the Liquify Tool.
  • 02 - Object Removal
    Remove a pillow from the background and reconstruct part of the subject's sleeve using a variety of Brush, Healing, and Cloning tools.
  • 03 - Exposure Adjustments
    Using the Adobe Camera RAW Filter and Layer Masks, Aaron brightens up the subject's face to draw more attention and reveals more details in the shadows of her hair.
  • 04 - Skin Smoothing
    Remove minor blemishes and smooth out skin tones with the Brush Tool and Healing Tools. Learn how to protect skin texture using our custom Photoshop Action.
  • 05 - Dodging & Burning
    Aaron adds definition and draws more attention to the subject's face using dodging and burning.
  • 06 - Sharpening & Finishing
    We finish up our complete example with some finishing touches. Learn how to apply professional sharpening to specific areas of an image.
Catalog  >  PRO Tutorials  >  Retouching Tutorials  >  Intro to Retouching in Photoshop

Intro to Retouching in Photoshop

Learn how to remove minor skin blemishes, smooth out skin tones, fix distracting backgrounds, clean up and shape hair, dodge and burn, and nail the perfect exposure in any portrait – all while enhancing the subject’s natural features and beauty.

27 Video Tutorials|21 Sample Images|Included PSD|Instructor: Aaron Nace

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



Improve any Portrait

Fix exposure, remove distractions, and enhance details to help subjects look their best.

Keep it Natural.



What is Retouching?

Retouching is a subtle and delicate process. Help people look their very best in any photo by enhancing their natural beauty and by removing distractions. We show you everything you need to know to make your subjects look great and with realistic results.

Tools & Techniques

We walk you through every tool and technique you’ll need to master the art of retouching in Photoshop. Smooth skin with the Brush Tool, remove distractions with the Spot Healing Brush Tool, fix exposure with the Adobe Camera RAW filter, and blend it all together with Layer Masks, Clipping Masks, and Adjustment Layers.

Clean Up Backgrounds

A messy background can be one of the most distracting elements in a photo. We show you how to remove distracting objects and smooth out colors so that the viewer’s eyes stay locked on the subject.



Retouching People

People are by far the most challenging thing to work with in Photoshop. From skin texture to hair, there are countless features that are delicate and need to be treated carefully to avoid an unnatural, ‘Photoshopped’ look. We show you proper methods to smooth skin, enhance features, and highlight a subject’s natural beauty.

Smooth Skin Tones

We all deal with skin blemishes on a daily basis. Whether it’s a surprise pimple, skin redness, or some unwieldy hairs, we’ll show you how to remove and reduce distractions so the best parts stand out.

Fix Exposure

Most techniques in retouching come down to light and shadow. Where do the highlights and shadows fall? Are there any areas that are too bright, too dark, or missing detail? We show you how to smooth out light transitions so that a subject’s face, hair, and features for a perfect exposure.



Professional Results

Retouching is in high demand. From billboards to magazine covers, client headshots to creative portraits, the skills you learn in this tutorial can help you achieve your image-making goals. Learn a professional workflow that will help you to work faster and smarter, so you can create the photos you, your clients, and subjects will love.

Dodging & Burning

If you have a portrait that’s feeling a little flat, dodging and burning can help! Add shape, structure, and definition to any photo by enhancing the highlights and shadows in Photoshop.

Clean Up & Shape Hair

Whether you’re dealing with some stray flyaway hairs or a righteous bout of bedhead, we show you how to cleanup hair, add volume, and enhance textures. Learn how to give hair the perfect, shape, color, and definition in Photoshop.

Photoshop PSD

Learn to retouch a portrait from start to finish in chapter 4, then check your work with the included layered Photoshop file.

Picture Perfect Eyes, Hair & Skin



Smooth Skin Tones

Learn how to remove skin redness and minor blemishes with natural-looking results!



Complete Portrait Retouch

We take you through an entire portrait retouch, from beginning to end. See how a professional retoucher plans their edit, works non-destructively, and solves a wide-variety of common problems that pop up during post-production.

Remove Blemishes

As retouchers, we should always aim for subtle changes that reduce distractions while respecting the unique features of the subject. Aaron shares his personal philosophy and professional experiences, discussing what temporary features to reduce or remove, and what permanent features to enhance and highlight.

Clothing & Wardrobe

Hair and skin maybe be the most difficult areas to retouch, but clothing is no walk in the park. Often full of loose strands, awkward folds, and unwanted wrinkles, wardrobe retouching is full of its own unique challenges. Learn how to smooth out clothing, remove distracting elements, and even recreate clothing and fabric from scratch.





Fix Common Problems

We teach you how to overcome a variety of problems that can pop up during an edit. From removing an excessive amount of hair in a subject’s face to removing lights and glare from eye glasses, we’ll show you some powerful tricks to get you through.

Natural Beauty

When it comes to retouching in Photoshop, less is more. Learn how to make subtle changes that won’t result in a person looking like they’re made of plastic. Remove distractions and enhance a subject’s natural beauty.

Enhance Eyes

Eyes are arguably the most important feature in any portrait–so much so that you can sometimes only retouch the eyes and still see a massive improvement in the photo. We show you how to analyze light as it hits the eye, enhance the highlights and shadows using professional makeup techniques, and add details and color to help eyes pop off the page (or screen).





Skills for any Skin Type

Whether the subject has a few extra wrinkles due to age and wisdom, or they have the minor pimples and skin redness that we all deal with, we show you techniques for skin types of all kinds. Learn what blemishes to remove, what features should stay, and how to precisely blend your edits for a natural look.

Skin Texture Action

Preserving natural skin texture can be one of the most challenging parts of retouching people. Fortunately, we make that process a whole lot easier with a custom Photoshop action that allows you to separate skin texture and place it over any edits you make.

Smooth Skin

We all deal with skin blemishes on a daily basis. Whether it’s a surprise pimple, skin redness, or some unwieldy hairs, we’ll show you how to remove and reduce distractions so the best parts stand out.





Color Correction

Unnatural skin tones can ruin an otherwise great photo. Before any stylistic coloring, it’s important to get skin looking as natural as possible. Whether the camera’s white balance was off, or there was a color cast from lights in the environment, you’ll learn how to get skin tones back to normal in any situation.

Lightroom & Adobe Camera RAW

Photoshop might be our home base, but Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW are powerful tools that can be very helpful throughout the retouching process. We break down some useful features in Lightroom that can help get your edits started on the right foot. Then we break down how to use Adobe Camera RAW to get the most out of your RAW files.

Exposure Blending

Sometimes it takes multiple images to nail the perfect exposure. We show you how to blend multiple images together and even create alternate exposures using the Adobe Camera RAW filter in Photoshop.

Class Instructor

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.

View More Classes by Aaron Nace


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Perfect video! It’s cool for beginners and for refreshing the skills. Thanks Aaron and your team for the high quality work. 🙂

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    This group of tutorials is incredibly helpful and clear. They break down a few techniques that can be used very easily at a beginner or intermediate level.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Aaron, you are just so talented and generous with your know-how. Every time I re-run one of your tuts I learn a new thing. Thanks, Charles Day


This tutorial includes 21 Sample Images, Photoshop Action for skin retouching and a .PSD file. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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