Retouching an image to a high quality standard requires time, patience and a methodical approach. In this video I show you my image retouching workflow using Photoshop, focusing on essential tools and techniques only.

The Internet is full of “techniques” and short cuts that are shared by people who do NOT actually know how to create a high-end result. How many of the so called experts that you are learning from, actually have published work in high-end fashion magazines?

Stop Using Frequency Separation as a Sledgehammer Approach

News flash, professional high-end retouchers do not use techniques such as Frequency Separation in order to achieve a High-End result. That’s not to say that it is impossible to get a “good enough” result from using FS however the vast majority of people that use the technique do not truly understand how it actually works and thus how to use it in the most minimally destructive fashion (and rest assured it is destructive, you are destroying texture and image detail when you use it, thereby lowering the quality of the final image).

Whilst we’re at it, you don’t need any of those gimmicky plugins or off the shelf skin actions either. If achieving the highest quality result is what is most important to you, then my advice is take your time and use controlled application of the fundamental techniques. Truly master the fundamentals, rather than looking for quick-fixes and short-cuts.

Photoshop Workflow Overview

Coming from a technology background my approach to retouching an image is structured and precise, meaning that for the most part I perform my steps in a deliberate and ordered fashion.

A typical retouching workflow will included:

  • General cleaning – Using the Spot Healing Brush
  • General cloning – Using the Clone Stamp Tool
  • Hair work – clean up and more – Using a variety of tools
  • Dodge and Burn – a broad level application using curves. I may perform a further low-level D & B dependant on the image.
  • Contouring
  • Colour Grading
  • Selective Sharpening
  • Output Sharpening

Time-lapse Video – Beauty Image Retouching Workflow

Your Questions

Need help with image retouching? If you have a question about image retouching, let me know by sending me a message and I’ll do what I can to help.