Airbrushing in fashion, glamour, and portrait photography has been around for quite some time. In this day and age of digital photography it has been made even easier. With this tutorial, you will learn how to soften skin by smoothing pores and getting rid of imperfections. After all, we can all use a little bit of vanity in our lives.
This tutorial assumes you have a basic knowledge of digital photography and the basic uses of photoshop. As a side note, RAW format should always be used to take your photographs if your camera has that capability.
Check over your image for any flaws that may have slipped your eye. If the image is slightly blurry, this would be the time to use the smart sharpen tool (Filter>Sharpen>Smart Sharpen). As a general rule, I use it with a radius of 4.0 pixels and an amount of 30%. You can go up to about 60% if you need to, however there is no way to make a completely out of focus image sharp.
Duplicate your original layer. You always want to duplicate your original before doing major modifications to it.
To repair blemishes, you have some options: the healing brush tool, the patch tool, and the clone stamp tool. I prefer to use the patch tool.
Using the patch tool, draw a selection around an area of “good” skin close to where the blemish is. The selection should be slightly larger than the blemish. Then, drag the selection of good skin ontop of the destination.
During this process, you should be zoomed it to 300%.
Using the pen tool, trace around every bit of skin. Once the face is outlined, go back in and trace around the eyes and lips so they will no be selected. Then, right-click with the pen tool and click “make selection.”
Right-click again and click “layer via copy.”
This is where a lot of people mess up. The idea is not to make the skin look like plastic. You still want it to look life-like.
On this new skin-only layer, go to Filter>Noise>Median. Click the radius to 7.0 pixels and then click okay.
Change the new layer’s opacity to 35%. This can be tweaked to your liking.
There you have it. A very simple, easy way to retouch your photos to give your subjects smoother and blemish-free skin.