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Advanced Photo Retouching Techniques

Lesson 5 of 6

Face and Body Contouring

Lindsay Adler

Advanced Photo Retouching Techniques

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

5. Face and Body Contouring


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:03:47
2 Basic Blemish Removal Duration:27:47
3 Frequency Separation Duration:23:17
4 Dodge And Burn Duration:09:55
5 Face and Body Contouring Duration:15:48
6 Enhance Hair in Photoshop Duration:03:41

Lesson Info

Face and Body Contouring

Alright, so I wanna make sure that I get to one of my favorite things in the whole world, which is contouring. Contouring is what we know for makeup. So, what I would do, is I would do blemish removal, get rid of the big blemishes using spot healing, healing brush, maybe a little bit of patch tool. I would do frequency separation, if it's not going to be a super closeup beauty retouch. And if it's going to be super closeup beauty retouch, it's going to be a lot of dodging and burning. Therefore, watching a little bit more of dodging and burning, just, really? If it's too dark, you lighten it up. If it's too light, you darken it down. And you do that all over. Like that, and you vary the zoom. Okay, when I'm done with that, and once I've evened out tonalities and transitions, that's when I do contouring. And contouring is something you probably heard of, or are relatively familiar with from makeup. So, you see it online everywhere. Have you seen the clown contouring? If you watch stuff ...

online, you see it all over. This is fundamentally what contouring is, in makeup. It is how we use makeup to give better shape, and better definition, and better contours to the face. And so, makeup is used to paint highlights and shadows on the face. And so, typically whatever you want to be deeper set, would be done with darker foundation, and whatever you want to look closer to the camera, or pickup highlights, would be lighter foundation. So if you go ahead and you go online, and you go to Google, and you search makeup contouring, you'll see a whole different, tons of different maps that look like this. This is basically the idea. So highlights on the top of the cheekbones, on top of the nose, in the middle of the forehead. Sometimes in the middle of the chin, that's where the highlights would be. Shadows, underneath the cheekbones. Maybe a little bit on the jawline. Sometimes here, because it makes the forehead look smaller. And a makeup artist, for example if somebody has a wider nose, they paint darker on the side of the nose to narrow it. Or if someone has a narrow bridge of the nose, they paint a wider highlight, to make it look wider. So, it's basically tricking the eye with highlights and shadows. Now, as photographers, we try to do this with our lighting. We try to do it with lighting, and we also try to do it with makeup. First of all, I'm going to tell you, it is much better to actually do it with makeup and lighting, than it is to do it with Photoshop. Part of the reason why, is the texture, and the specularity of a highlight, done with lighting, looks different than done in Photoshop. It does, because there's just more contrast. There's more texture when it was done with light, versus if you just paint a highlight. It looks different. However, there is quite a bit that can be done at this point. So let me just give you, I'm gonna give you an extreme example to illustrate the point, and then we'll be a little bit more subtle in another example. So, this girl here ... I decided, we definitely did some contouring in her makeup. And, she's a beautiful girl, and the lighting that I chose to do on her was super duper flat. Actually what we did, and this is one of the tutorials I did here on CreativeLive, is I put a window behind her, and then you can actually see, there's me in a red dress. Can you see it? Standing in a V flat. So I have a V flat behind me, and so the window light comes in from behind her, bounces off that V flat, and then back towards her. And so, I couldn't really use lighting to shape her face, because it's flat light, and that's what I was going for. Now thankfully she has quite a nice shape to her face anyway. However, I want a little more pop. I want a little bit more contouring, a little bit more definition. So here's what we're gonna do. We are going to paint, as if it were makeup, to shape the face. So what I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna grab curves. And I'm going to do one with the preset of lighter, and call it highlights. And fill that in. And we're going to do one curves with a preset of darker. And we're gonna call it shadows. And we are going to paint on her face. Now, like I said, try to do it with lighting. Try to do it with makeup. We do have it a bit here. Now, you can follow the guides that I just showed you, like makeup contouring, but really what you're doing is you're really just enhancing the shadows and highlights that are already there. You're going over what's already there. So for example, I'm gonna take a brush, paint white, right, to reveal, to add the shadow. On a low flow. And I'm gonna trace shadows that already exist, but also keeping in mind what we just did with the makeup guide. So what I'm really doing is see the shadow here? I haven't painted yet. I'm just showing you. There's a shadow here, created by her cheekbone. So let's draw that in. Now, granted, I went super heavy so you can see. So what I'm actually gonna do, is I'm gonna go more towards two percent brush. And let's go for a really, really soft brush. And I'm just gonna, just get a little darker in there. So watch. So it's mimicking what it would be doing with contouring with makeup. Or, if her nose were wide, you could paint the shadows in more. And so watch how her nose will look a little narrower. I could go more severe, more drastic, for example. Or, one of the things I like to do to make lips look fuller, one way that a lip will look fuller, is if there were a shadow underneath it, right? Because it would be casting a shadow underneath. So I could darken down just a little bit underneath her lips. So watch her lips look a little darker, a little fuller. There's other places to do it. So generally, what I would do is, if somebody has a larger forehead, you do around the outside of the forehead. You do underneath the cheekbones. Sometimes right at the jawline. And just gives them a little bit more definition on the jaw. And then, you do the highlights where the guide was before. So, on the cheekbones. Just a little bit on the cheekbones here. Same thing, on the cheekbones. Sometimes people do it on the chin. I don't do too much on the chin. Sometimes I'll do it on top of the lip. Right? Because if it was sticking out more, if it were fuller, you'd have that highlight on the top of the lip, so you can go over that a few times. Sometimes down the bridge of the nose. So I did relatively subtle. Let me see if I can zoom out, so you can see this. Let's take a look there. So you can get like, just shape the face a little bit more. And you can enhance, but notice how I made her nose look narrower. It's the same thing a makeup artist does, where it makes her cheekbones look a little bit more defined. And, her jawline looks a little bit more defined from this. So that's what contouring is. Highlights where you would typically put makeup highlights, which would be cheekbones, bridge of the nose, sometimes a little here on the forehead, sometimes a little bit on the chin. And shadows, definitely underneath the cheekbones, and a little bit underneath the jawline. If you want the forehead to look narrower, you do it around there. And you can also narrow the bridge of the nose. I put a little bit under the lips to make them look fuller. Okay? So that's what contouring is. This is one example of contouring. And so if I go back over here to this example, let me go ahead and do my contouring action, which I have here. And I could go ahead and paint a tiny bit more highlight, and I'm gonna bump up the flow, just for speed. Okay, so let's paint a little bit more highlight here. I wanted to give you one perhaps word of warning. Okay, let's see if this is gone. Let's do shadows down. Let's make sure these are doing what they're supposed to do. Okay. So, highlights can go brighter. Shadows could go darker. Alright, here's what I want you to notice. First of all, you can go way too strong, where it clearly looks fake. But, for example, I might darken down a little bit up here. Just, make a little less attention to her forehead there. Okay, when you darken something, what ends up happening a lot of times, when you darken with a curve, is it increases the saturation. So I don't know if you've ever seen it where you select someone's face, and you darken it down, and then the face looks more red? Or it just looks more saturated? Because when you are shifting the luminosity, the brightness, it also has a little bit of effect on saturation. So I wanted to give you one tip. One way to help fix this is, I'm going dramatic on this, for the point of this tutorial, is I'm going over these shadows intensely, is they start to look a little red. Maybe right here, right? It starts to look a little bit red under the cheeks. Maybe you don't like that. What you can do is you can change your blend mode. And you can change the blend mode that changes how this curve behaves. So if you click on where it says normal, and you go to the bottom, and change it to luminosity, what it's saying is, all I want you to do, Photoshop, is darken this. Don't affect saturation. And so, I don't know how much you can really see it. Let's see if I can do a before/after here. Mm, let's go a little stronger. I'm gonna exaggerate it so you can see, okay? So here's when it's on luminosity, and then here is when it's on normal. So see how it's redder when it's in normal blend mode? And then when you change it to luminosity, it actually just darkened without increasing saturation. So, if you're ever doing dodging and burning, and by the way, there's tutorials that go way more in depth into localized dodging and burning, because you do have to deal with saturation shifts, but that's not in an hour and a half class. But if you ever are doing contouring like this, and you're seeing a color shift that you don't like, change your blend mode to luminosity, and it will help you out. So, I went more severe on these. No problem. I can always back off my opacity a little bit on both of these. And so see how it just kind of shapes her face a little bit more. And it's doing what makeup and lighting should be doing, but you can help yourself just a tiny bit. Okay. Running through a couple more things. I want to do one more thing with contouring. Contouring is not just for the face. It's also for the body. And, one of the things that I like to do, is, I would rather contour someone, than liquify somebody. I'd rather use highlights and shadows to give the illusion of someone being more slender, than actually changing the shape of their body. So for example, how liquify works. I'm gonna duplicate the background. I'm gonna go to filter, liquify. And, the tool that I'm using here, in the top left hand corner, is called the forward warp tool. And by the way, if you wanna see a lot more on this stuff, I have a three day class on retouching in Photoshop. I also have several other ... My Skin 101 class went into all of this more in depth. I basically just went, and squished everything. So I have a lot more tutorials on this. So if this is all new to you, know that that exists. Anyway, so on the top left hand corner here, we have the forward warp tool. And what it lets me do is it lets me shift and drag and move pixels, and I can change the shape of her body. I tend to do that with things like here, to pull in the waist just a little bit. But I don't really wanna shrink her thigh in half. And I don't really wanna give her a larger chest by stretching and moving things. I would rather do that with highlights and shadows, just to make it a little bit more subtle. So, for example, if I do curves again, right? One darker for shadows. And one lighter for highlights. I just wanna show you the power of this. I have lots of tutorials that go on this a lot more in depth. But let's look at her thigh here, okay? Notice, her thigh actually starts here, and ends here. But I've already, in the way that I've shot, used shadows to make it look more slender. Already in the way that I shot, having that light above, casts the lower half of her thigh in shadow, and so I'm using the amount of her leg lit, to actually be less, and it makes it look a little bit smaller. Well I can push that a little bit further in Photoshop techniques. So watch when I take a highlight. And I'm just gonna paint a highlight, and I'm gonna bump this up. I'm gonna just go a little bit stronger, so you can all see it. I'm gonna put a highlight down the middle of her leg here. And let's do a highlight on her leg here. Let's do one down the middle of her leg. Okay. And let's put a highlight on the top of her chest. Okay. And I'm gonna put a highlight down her arm. Lets' do a little bit of a highlight on her cheek. Alright, so, see? The highlights makes things pop out, right? So watch her leg. See how the highlight makes things pop out. So already, just with that highlight, I think her leg looks tighter. It looks a little bit smoother and tighter, just by adding that highlight. But now if I go the opposite direction and take a shadow, and I paint just a bit more shadow, let's do shadow underneath the bust. And let's paint more shadow here on the thigh. And on the top of the thigh. And let's do on either side of her leg here. And I'm just going super fast, obviously. And I could paint on the other side of the arm. And then I could go underneath her cheekbone here. So just watch her leg, and the apparent size as well as the bust. Look at how her leg looks like it got tighter and smaller, by painting highlights and shadows. So contouring is, again, for the face, what I'm doing with makeup, but enhancing it. And then for the body, it's what I'm doing with lighting, but taking it a little bit further, because maybe I couldn't use lighting to do this, because this was a mood that I needed. So it's taking it a little bit further. And look how much fuller her bust looks. Just from painting highlights and shadows. So that's why I love contouring. I contour every single photo I ever take, in some way. Whether it's just to pop the cheekbones out just a little bit, or to make the arm a little bit more slender, or something to that effect. So I absolutely love doing that.

Class Description

Join professional fashion photographer Lindsay Adler for an advanced primer on photo retouching in Adobe® Photoshop®. You'll learn how to use features like frequency separation, dodging and burning, and contouring as you follow Lindsay through the post-production work of a fashion shoot. Discover Lindsay's techniques that give your images that high-end look.  

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015, Adobe Lightroom CC 2015


CPR Photography

One of my favorite instructors. Lindsay Adler is an excellent instructor, great personality, incredibly talented. This edited-down video "Advanced Photo Retouching" (watched several times live and non-live), is great, because all the unnecessary pauses and down-time are edited out. Cutting down the time commitment to a more manageable block of time. It's hard to dedicate 9-5 online live classes without compromising your own work schedule. So, I appreciate very much being able to watch these edited videos. Thanks Lindsay and Creative Live!


This course has an abundance of extremely useful information. I learned so much. I do need to keep going over certain sections so it sinks in, but Lindsey does a wonderful job explaining in detail what all the important things are and leaves out what she knows just isn't necessary to get into. That leaves us with a very useful course that doesn't have drawn out parts that seem time wasting. Lindsey gets straight to the point. And I so appreciate that. She really is an amazing teacher.

Rachel Taylor

Well worth the price of the class! This course goes into more detail than her Advanced Beauty Retouching class. I would recommend a good working knowledge of layers & masks before doing this kind of retouching, but Lindsay makes it very easy to understand.