Adobe Photoshop: Quick Portrait Retouching


In this tutorial, you will learn how to quickly retouch a portrait, getting rid of any blemishes and wrinkles you may not want in your final edit. Adobe Photoshop is a very flexible and versatile program as it allows you to complete a single task in many various ways. Although there are many different methods and techniques you could go about retouching your portrait, this tutorial will focus on the Spot Healing Brush Tool.

File > Open… > (Locate your photo file)

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Duplicate the original layer

In the Layers panel, right click the layer that contains the photo you want to work with. A menu option will pop up; click “Duplicate Layer…” and hit OK.

If the Layers panel cannot be found, go to your menu options on the top toolbar: Window > Layers

We will be doing all our work on this second layer. This should be a good force of habit, so you never distort the original layer.


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Using the Spot Healing Brush Tool

The spot healing brush tool takes in content samples from around the targeted area and blends them into the targeted area.

Click the Spot Healing Brush Tool in the Tools Panel or use the shortcut key (J).

Now we will change the brush settings. The greater the hardness, the sharper the edges of your brush show when you hit the targeted area. The lesser the hardness, the softer the brush edges will be. For portraits, I have found that the magic number for hardness to be around 15-25%. I do not want the targeted area to be blurred nor do I want the targeted area to have hard edges indicating it is the target area.

The brush size will vary as you retouch your photo, so I normally use shortcut keys to change the brush size as I move along the photo. The keyboard keys ( [ ) and ( ] ) help you decrease and increase the brush size, respectively. I normally like to change the brush size to be a few pixels larger than the blemish you are trying to cover.


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Get rid of the blemishes!

Adjust your brush size accordingly to the size of the blemish you want to get rid of. Change the hardness to your preference (if you want a sharper or duller edge). Click on the targeted area as well as around it to smoothly blend the new patch of skin. You can even use a finer brush size to hide wrinkles.

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Final Result