Retouching is camouflage.
You don't have to achieve perfection, especially the further away your efforts are from the eyes, and to a lesser extent, the mouth.
People will be looking at the photograph, not examining it, as you do.
They won't be looking at it up close, at a magnification of 200%.
Be sensitive to over-retouching.
If Uncle Moe has had a mole on his cheek for seventy years—and you remove it—his family may wonder where the mole went.
Ask the subject of the portrait before you do major surgery.
Ask: "What are your good features?"
The person may then list what's wrong, if something is of concern.
You may be surprised.
What you think should be done, is not wanted.
What you don't think needs doing, is wanted by the person.
Retouching is guided by the following.
What are you trying to communicate to the viewer of the photograph?
A portrait of the captain of a lobster boat, at the helm, will be retouched one way.
When she's getting married, the retouching will be done differently.
How much time are you going to spend on retouching?
The first five minutes of work may create a 75% improvement.
Do you want to spend thirty or more minutes to bring the photograph up to a 95% improvement level?
The amount of time beyond five minutes is often determined by:
• Your relationship to the person in the photograph
• How much the person is paying you.
Your retouching may vary depending on the age and sex of the person.
Use the Navigator panel to enlarge areas that you're retouching.
It's a lot easier to see what you're doing.
Remember, if your brush strays a little too far, the mistake probably won't be apparent when viewing the photograph at smaller magnifications.
Occasionally, when retouching at high magnifications, the retouching won't look good when viewed with the rest of the photograph.
Let's say you magnify the eyes on a portrait.
You lighten them.
Isolated from the rest of the face, the lighter eyes look good.
But, when you reduce the magnification to see the entire face, the eyes are now too light in relation to the face.
So, go back-and-forth with the magnification to check your retouching.
Do the following to move the magnified photograph.
If the cursor is a hand, click on the screen, hold, and drag.
If you're using a brush, press and hold the space bar to change to the hand cursor.
In the Navigator panel, click and hold on the white box, and drag.
Edit the entire portrait as you would any photograph.
However, portraits often have less contrast and less saturated color than other subjects.
Next, you'll work locally with the Spot Removal brush and the Adjustment Brush.
In the Develop module, click the Spot Removal icon.
Use Spot Removal to remove blemishes, wrinkles, and the like.
In the Develop module, click the Adjustment Brush icon.
Click the Adjustment Brush preset menu icon.
You may see another preset instead of Exposure.
Here's the menu of the presets for the Adjustment Brush.
After you click one of the presets, you can modify it by moving the sliders.
The five presets at the bottom have default values.
The default values for the presets are below.
To restore the default values, do the following.
1) Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).
2) Click Restore all default Develop settings.
You can change the brush settings.
You'll probably want to:
• Use feathering.
• Reduce the effect by lowering Density.
For example, use 50 where less editing is needed, and 75, when a stronger effect is required.
• Select Auto Mask to keep the brushing within bounds.
If the skin tones vary too much, deselect Auto Mask to prevent uneven retouching.
You can save the above settings as an A brush and a B brush.
If you need to erase some retouching, click Erase and brush.
The eyes are the most important part of a portrait.
They're often poorly lighted.
Use the Dodge preset, if needed.
Use the Iris Enhance preset to add color to the eyes.
Use the Sharpen preset to make the eyes stand out more.
Use the Clarity and Soften Skin presets to blur the skin.
Avoid blurring the eyes, tip of the nose, and mouth.
Lines and wrinkles with shadows can be improved by lightening the shadows with the Dodge preset.
Discolorations include bags under the eyes, large liver spots, rosacea, and the like.
Slight color changes may be hard to see.
Press y to see a before-and-after view.
There are three tactics.
Hide discolorations by lightening them with the Dodge preset.
Click the Saturation preset.
Then, drag the Saturation slider to a minus value.
Brush the discolored area.
This tactic is good for too-rosy cheeks, rosacea, and the like.
Green cancels magenta (pink).
You'll brush green on the magenta areas to reduce their color.
Do the following.
1) Click the Color preset.
2) Click the color box.
3) Click in the green area of the "spectrum."
4) Click and hold on the tiny white box, and drag it it to this position: H 120% and S 50%.
H is hue, and S is saturation.
Also try cyan, which reduces red.
For cyan, set the hue to 180%, and the saturation to 50%.
5) Click the x to close the window.
6) Change the brush settings.
a) Set both the Flow and Density to 25.
You'll vary the Density value often if the discoloration isn't evenly colored.
b) Deselect Auto Mask.
7) Below your photograph, deselect Show Selected Mask Overlay.
If you don't, you'll see the orange mask color as you brush.
8) Brush the magenta areas with green, or brush the red areas if you're using cyan.
9) Because the effect is subtle, click the Turn off brush adjustments icon in the lower-left corner of the panel.
Toggle it repeatedly to evaluate.
Or, as mentioned, press y to see a before-and-after view.
The skin tone corrections below are guidelines only.
Within a race or ethnicity, there are large variations in skin tone.
For example, go to Color terminology for race.
Parts of this section were adapted from Correcting Skin Color / Skin Tones in Lightroom.
Also go to the Photoshop Elements tutorials on skin tone:
Lightroom uses percentages to describe color values.
Photoshop Elements uses a scale of 0 to 255.
When color correcting skin, follow the guideline below.
Red > Green > Blue
You can use the White Balance Selector to see if Red > Green > Blue.
Do the following.
1) In the Library module, select a portrait with a Caucasian skin tone.
2) Go to the Develop module.
3) Click the White Balance Selector in the Basic panel.
4) Move the tool around the portrait to look at the RGB values.
The RGB values appear as percentages at the bottom of the loupe window.
The RGB values are the average of the twenty-five pixels that appear in the window.
Judge the color on areas of the face that are "in between."
That is, avoid shadows, highlights, and cheeks.
5) Apply the Red > Green > Blue guideline.
The green percentage should be about midway between the red and blue percentages.
The red percentage should be higher than green.
The blue percentage should be lower than green.
6) Open a portrait with an Asian, Hispanic, or Black skin tone.
Asian or Hispanic skin tones may have less blue, as these skin tones are often more yellow.
Black skin tones are often:
• Darker, so the red values may be lower to add cyan (blue/green).
• More magenta, so the green values may be lower.
7) When using the White Balance Selector, you can change the Temp and Tint sliders.
The up-and-down arrow keys on your keyboard change the Temp.
The left-right arrow keys on your keyboard change the Tint.
When you press one of the arrow keys, the slider moves five points.
To change by increments of 1 point, press Alt + arrow key.
To change by increments of 10 points, press Shift + arrow key.
Note how the percentages for each color change as you move the tool around.
If you haven't already, go to Presets & Plug-ins.
You can download retouching-related presets.
Here's the Google search for Lightroom + Retouching + presets.
Download a preset and go to Install.
Plug-ins are available for retouching.
A plug-in is a program that works along side of Lightroom.
The program gets the photograph from Lightroom, processes it, and then sends it back to Lightroom.
Download a plug-in and go to Install.