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3 Photoshop Secrets for Getting Perfect Skin in Portraits

Skin tones can make or break a portrait. Here's how to get them right during post-processing
Photo of fixing skin tones in Photoshop

Skin tones can really make or break a portrait. If the skin tones of the person in your photo are shadowy and flat, you’ll likely have a dull portrait. But if the tones are too bright and appear oversaturated, you’ll lose detail, and the portrait will look unnatural.

Fortunately, there are ways to correct skin tones during post-processing in software such as Photoshop. Photoshop can be tricky for beginners though because it offers so many complex editing tools. That’s what it’s helpful to have a pro photographer/editor who is willing to share their secrets on how to get the looks they want in Photoshop.

Justin Laurens is just such as pro and in the below Photoshop tutorial, he shares his “three secrets to perfect skin tones” in Photoshop.

“Over the past three and a half years I’ve spent countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears trying to figure out the best and most efficient ways to create beautiful yet natural looking skin tones,” Laurens says. “And today I’m super excited to share all the Photoshop secrets and techniques that I personal use so that you can achieve perfect skin tones in your own work.”

Here are Laurens’ three insider tips on how to get the skin tones you want in Photoshop. Watch the video at the bottom of the post where he explains and demonstrates these easy techniques.

Secret #1: Shadow/Exposure Recovery

“The first secret to creating perfect skin tones is to begin by fixing any kind of unflattering shadows and underexposure on the skin,” he explains. “Thereby revealing more texture and detail in these areas and making it much easier to create perfect skin tones in later steps.”

Secret #2: Selective Coloring

“It’s time to follow up our shadow recovery process with a selective recoloring process. In doing so, we’re going to reintroduce some beautiful color back into the specific areas of our model’s skin that we have since brightened up.”

Secret #3: Enhance & Perfect

“Now that we’ve recovered the underexposure and colors on the shadowy side of Cynthia’s face, now it’s time to move on to Secret #3. This secret is all about perfecting and enhancing the skin tones on the entirety of Cynthia’s skin as a whole.”

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