Photo retouching and editing are carried out by expert professionals to highlight a photo and bring out its prime highlights. If you are a photo editing enthusiast and want to learn more about the headshot retouching techniques, stick with us until the end.

Why do headshots photo need retouching?

All kinds of photos, be it corporate images, individual portraits, magazine covers, or fashion photo shoots – any image that needs to be showcased in front of a wide range of target audiences to achieve the desired objective, require some sort of photo retouching or removing any imperfections.

8 Steps headshot retouching in Adobe Photoshop

Thankfully, Adobe Photoshop comes with numerous comprehensive tools, brushes, and filters that an image editor can leverage in their post-processing workflow.

Edits such as fixing bumps, specs, and blemishes, smoothing frizzy hairs, popping the color of the eyes, whitening the teeth, color grading, adjusting hue and saturation, fixing brightness and contrast, fine-tuning contours and highlights, etc.

Let’s look at the top eight practical techniques with step-by-step instructions for creating the best, most natural-looking headshot photos.

  1. Rev up the subject’s eyes

    Eyes are the most prominent feature of a subject that onlookers notice first. Hence, the eyes should look perfect and strikingly bright without looking unnatural. Start by brightening the eye iris.retouching headshot eye iris

    1. Draw an ellipse over the subject’s eye iris.draw an ellipse on eye iris
    2. Boost the contrast and the color with the “Radial Filter”. This will give an added impact to the eyes.boost the contrast and the color
    3. Select the “Camera Raw” filter and click the “Radial Filter” in the toolbar.Camera Raw filter and click the Radial Filter
    4. Select the “Brush” tool and omit the outer Brush tool and omit the outer parts
    5. To make the iris appear darker, reduce the “Exposure” on the “Radial Filter” menu.
    6. For an added accentuation of the iris, you may darken the edges slightly; this will give the appearance of depth. Then remove the center of the circle with the “Brush” tool.For an added accentuation of the iris
  2. Eliminate the highlights or hotspots

    Too many highlights can make a headshot look unappealing, making the subject look sweaty and greasy. To fix this issue, use the “Patch” tool. This is one of the most useful tools for retouching headshot in Photoshop and is widely used by retouchers for removing unwanted hotspots.

    1. Roughly select the area surrounding the highlighting area.Roughly select the area surrounding the highlighting area
    2. Drag the selected area towards a relatively clear part.Drag the selected area towards a relatively clear part
    3. Create a separate new layer and then adjust the “Patch” tool to “Content-Aware Fill” and click the “Sample All Layers” button on the right from the tool menu.adjust the Patch tool to Content-Aware Fill
    4. Reduce the opacity slightly for a shiny illusion instead of a blinding highlight on the subject’s nose, chin, or forehead.Reduce the opacity slightly for a shiny illusion
  3. Removal of blemishes from the skin, making it flawless

    Photographers wish to make their photos look professional and appealing. However, sometimes the subject’s skin does not appear as flawless as it should be. Fret not. Photoshop has a quick and easy fix for this, frequency separation can be used for skin softening and make it free from any blemishes without making the image appear unreal.

    1. Erase any kind of spots, specs, blemishes, pimple marks, or other imperfections from the subject’s face, with the “Spot Healing” and “Clone Stamp” tools.Erase any kind of spots, specs, blemishes, pimple marks
    2. Replicate this layer and then invert it. Bring the opacity level to 50% and then change the “Blend Mode” to “Linear Light”.Replicate this layer and then invert it
    3. On this layer, right-click and select “Convert” to “Smart Object”. right-click and select Convert to Smart Object
    4. Next, on the Filter tab section, click on “Other” while selecting the “High Pass” filter to sharpen the image. Set the blurry effect to 9 pixels.sharpen the image
    5. Next, click on “Filter” and select the “Gaussian Blur” from the “Blur” option. Set the value to 3 pixels (a third of the “High Pass Filter” value). This trick will bring back the natural texture to the gaussian blurSet the value to 3 pixels
    6. Once the “Gaussian blur” effect is added, make sure to add a “Layer Mask” while clicking on the “Alt” button; this will hide the effect with a brush tool in white.add a Layer Mask