Skip to main content

Photographing Challenging Features

Lesson 33 of 39

Retouching: Wrinkles

Lindsay Adler

Photographing Challenging Features

Lindsay Adler

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

33. Retouching: Wrinkles

Lesson Info

Retouching: Wrinkles

So guys, this is not intended to be a how to retouch or learn Photoshop class, just so you know. So a lot of this I'm not going to much of a build up to some of the essential tools, but a little bit more about the techniques to take the photographs and all the things we've already covered. But just add the finishing, improving touches on them. So what we're gonna start with is I'm going to start with a little bit about the softening the defined wrinkles. I'm going to give little bit of a shortcut and then point you to the direction of some more advanced technique. So I'm going to open up this photograph and talk about the extent that we're going to retouch. I am not in any way, shape or form try to actually remove her wrinkles, it's part of her character. I just want to tone them down a little bit and it will make her look a little bit fresher, but not younger. That's what I'm going for, fresh not younger. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you my favorite shortcut. I'm going...

to duplicate my background and I am going to clone those wrinkles, but I'm not cloning them out. What I'm going to do is I'm gonna think about it like this, remember how one of our tips for wrinkles is that you can put a fill card or a reflector in to bounce some light in so they're not so dark? Well you can also put light in them to fill them in as well, but in Photoshop. And there's two ways to do that. So first way that I'm going to do is I'm going to be using my clone stamp. I have a class, one of the classes I taught here in CreativeLive, was I called it I think Blend Modes Will Change Your Life, and they will. So if you don't know about blend modes, learn about blend modes, add that to your list. But blend modes change either the way a layer interacts with the layers below it or it changes how a brush or tool behaves. So it's kind of a very broad thing, but it's changing the way it's targeting pixels. And the clone stamp, this is very powerful. Because by default, if you look here I'm selecting my clone, the rubber stamp the clone tool, and I'm going up here to mode. This is where our blend modes are for tools. If we're talking about layers, it's actually over here on the right hand side in the layers palette. But for this demonstration, for this, we're using the blend mode for our tools, for our clone stamp. There are many different options here, but the ones that we're going to use for the wrinkles would be lighten, the lighten blend mode. I'll use another one later on, but lighten blend mode. Here's why, normally if I just clone over her wrinkles what usually happens is it looks a little bit blurry. It looks hazy, yeah hazy I think is a good term. And everything just looks smudged over. However, when you change your blend mode to lighten this is what happens. When I clone, instead of just cloning over everything and it being a haze, it only lightens dark areas. It only lightens up some of those darker shadows in the wrinkles. But it doesn't touch any of the highlights or anything around it, so it doesn't look like that haze or overdone. So if you want to lighten a shadow change your blend mode to lighten. So in this instance, what I'm going to do is I'm going to clone and I'm going to keep it at, I don't have time to go into flow versus opacity, it's not a big deal, let's just say for this sake it's gonna be about 14% flow, it could be opacity but flow is what I work with. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna clone. And clone is like a cut and paste. A cute and paste, but then how much are you cutting and pasting would be the transparency? In this case opacity or flow. So watch what happens when I just clone. I'm copying from below the eye, and I'm pasting in here, see how it didn't mess up the highlights? Like it's keeping the highlights. So let me try this. I'm gonna tone it down even more and I'm gonna do this for about 30 seconds. I'm gonna click around and all I'm doing is I'm gonna change the blend mode to lighten. If you keep going, it gets rid of the wrinkle. Because I've done so heavy on it. If I just fill in the shadows just a bit, just brings up the shadows. that's what it's doing, it's filling it in. So you want to change your blend mode to lighten. By default, it's going to be on normal. But if you wanna fill in the shadow change it to lighten. So I'm just gonna click around and do that. So we're going to cut from here, paste into there, just filling in those shadows just a bit. And it actually will also work on some of the darker spots that she's got on her face, some of the darker skin tones, so I can also lighten those up. And right now I'm on a 12% flow. So I'm just going click and drag. Just gonna do it a little bit over here, some of this texture. And this is created by my lighting, because the light is off to the left. So it is raking across the face just a little bit. So I'm just correcting the effect of the light there. I'm filling in some of the darkness next to her eye, it's a little bit purple, there's ways to fix that as well. Alright. So that was 20, 30 seconds, whatever it may be, so I'm gonna show you the before and after. So all I did was I took the edge off the shadows, didn't get rid of them. Next thing for her is she doesn't have it very severe, but can you see how right around her eyes it's purple? A lot of people when they're older it'll be purple or magenta, like they'll just have this tone around the eyes. And sometimes I think that that's not the most flattering. Of course there's no way to fix that in camera, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to fix the color in post. We're going to create a new layer, an empty layer. And I'm going to grab my eye dropper. My sample eye dropper here and I'm going to select a color close to where the purple is, somewhere close to the eye. So if I grab the eye dropper, you can see when I click and hold it's showing me what it's selecting, so it's selecting that skin tone. Now by default, if I just paint this tone around the eye and the areas where it's purple, this is what it does. (audience laughs) So yeah, not super awesome. Same thing over here, I'm gonna hold the Alt+Option key. That's what I'm doing in this case and that is my shortcut to the color picker. If you don't wanna go up and select it every time, you're Alt+Option will allow you to do that as a shortcut. So I'm selecting it, great. And I'm drawing it over here, can draw in there. And so I'm just selecting right next to those tones. So I could click all the way around and do this. Okay, don't look so good. (audience laughs quietly) However, we are going to play with blend modes again. Blend mode are super powerful. So what I wanna do is I don't wanna change the lightness or darkness of that area. If I just back off the opacity, it looks drawn on, like it's not interacting with the layers below. And that's what I said blend modes do, blend mode change how a layer interacts with those below it. So in this case what I'm try to do is I'm trying to change the color. So the blend mode that I'm going to try, I click right here where it says normal, all the way down at the bottom is hue saturation and color. So I'm gonna try, the two that I try usually is hue and color just to see which one works better. So if you can see here what I'll get, see how it's changing the color of it? I'm gonna try hue, let's see. Nope, I like color better. It actually looks like a color on the skin, it's just not necessarily the right one and it's kind of drawn on. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to back off the opacity a little bit, I don't need it this strong. Let's see the before and after so far. Better, right? It's getting closer. But also, I just drew it. So what I'm going to is I'm going to blur it. I'm gonna soften it a little bit. And so there's a couple ways I can do it, but I can just go to filter, blur, gauge and blur. It's gonna blur it so these edges aren't as sharp. I'm not blurring the whole photo, I'm on that blank layer where I just painted that color so it'll be fine. And I can just soften the edges a bit. So that looks pretty good. So see how it's getting rid of some of that purple? But let's say that you're color isn't quite right, like you picked the color there but it's not quite blending in, we have a way to change this. And this is something called clipping masks. I love doing this, because let's say I'm looking at this and I'm like ah the color isn't quite right, so I am going to try to change the hue saturation just of what I painted until it matches the rest of the skin. I'm going to shift the hue saturation. If I come down to my right hand corner of my layers palette, I'm gonna grab my little half moon cookie. My little half moon there is my adjustment layers and layer masks. I don't for the sake of this class have time to get into what those are and how to use them. If you don't know them, learn them. Right away, first thing you're going to do after this class is go learn adjustment layers and layer masks. Ideally from me, but however you wanna do it. (audience laughs) so anyway, what we're gonna do is go to adjustment layers and layers masks and basically whatever effect that I have, whatever I pick, if change the whole thing to black and white it affects everything underneath it to be black and white. But it's non-destructive, it didn't actually. I can turn it off, I can delete it. It's unlike converting it to black and white, it's non-destructive. So I think of it as a black and white gel that I put on top and everything below it will look black and white. Well in this case what we're trying to do, we're trying to change the color of what we painted around the eye. So I'm gonna grab my half moon cookie again and I'm going to go to hue saturation, 'cause I wanna change the hue, I wanna shift that around so it matches better. The problem is, is if I change the hue, everything's affected. So the tool that I use over and over again to give me control is in the bottom left hand corner of this pop-out dialogue which is a little square with a downward angle and that is a clip to layer. This adjustment layer affects all layers below, click to clip to layer. So what that means is now that change, when I clicked that, only affected what I drew around the eye. It only affects immediately below it. Which is fantastic, because then I can kinda drag this around and get it closer, right? Right there, something right there. I can kinda shift it around. Which is great, because it's non-destructive and it gives me that control. But it's only affecting what's below it. So anytime you've got a layer where you've done a little adjustment or you've cut something and you just want it to affect that, make sure you clip to layer, clipping mask. So that's what I've done in this example. So it's quickly able to soften wrinkles and then improve the color around the eyes. She had it very, very subtle, but a lot of people have it a little bit more dramatic. One more thing with her, one of the things I teach in my retouching class is about frequency separation. That's another way that I might retouch skin, but I use it more often when people have uneven tonalities throughout the skin that might be for the redness or there's just different colors and tones around and I'm trying to smooth that out. You could do that for her, but the other thing I wanted to show you is I am going to talk about, this is my two minute description of this, is talking about localized burning and dodging. Which is basically you selectively lighten and darken things. That's all it means. You're selectively lightening and darkening things. And so how you do this is you can use curves. You create one curves that's lighter and one curve that's darker. So let's just do that. I did my adjustment layer, I grabbed curves, I make one a little bit lighter. And just so you know by default here it's applying it. I don't want it to apply, I wanna paint this on selectively. So I'm going to hit Command+I, my shortcut to invert that so it hides it until I'm ready. If you don't know adjustment layers and layer masks, anywhere that you see black, the effect next to it's hidden. And then I can selectively paint white to bring it out. Like I said, if you're like holy crap I have no idea what she's talking about, this is not 101, you'll have to go back and check this out. So this is going to be to paint in highlights or lighten things up. So another trick that you can do or another technique that you might consider, is instead of cloning in some of these wrinkles, you can actually just go in and paint a little bit lighter. So what I did is lightened up with this adjustment layer and got my brush and I'm going to go to a really low flow or opacity, like a really low amount. so I can just paint in just a tiny bit at a time. And I'm talking about like 2, 3%, maximum five. Like just real low amount. And I can come in and I can go to this wrinkle and I can just trace over it and it will lighten it up. When professional retouchers actually go in and retouch out wrinkles, for the most part this is what they would be doing. Because the wrinkle stays there, it just doesn't look as deep. So you've got all that beautiful texture. And so when you see those celebrities that you see like the fine lines, but man they look so subtle and pretty, this is what they did. They went in. So they went in and lightened and darkened it. So if you wanna see, that's basically what you're doing. Takes forever, but it's non-destructive. So what I instead do is kinda what I did before and maybe a combination of the two. 'cause here was the retouch I did before with the clone stamp. And then this is if had the lightening on top of it. So you can mix and match, figure out what's appropriate. And this would also be good for some of these age spots in here, some of these darker spots on the skin. I can also go in and just lighten those up a little bit instead of cloning them out completely. So for her, this is a quick retouch. I would go a little bit further and what I would go further in would be those dark spots and the uneven colors in her skin. But we're gonna go back and I'm gonna visit another example to show you how to smooth out some of these tones.

Class Description

Photographers are tasked with flattering every subject that steps in front of their lens. Typically, those subjects are everyday people, not professional models. This can mean working with some challenging features along with varying degrees of confidence. Canon Explorer of Light and well-known fashion photographer Lindsay Adler walks through understanding the face and body as well as the photographic tools available to you make your clients best side shine. These features could range from a pronounced nose, large forehead, glasses, asymmetrical features, or defined wrinkles. In this course Lindsay will walk you through: 

  • How to analyze a face and draw attention to the strengths within it 
  • Posing and lighting techniques for challenging facial features 
  • Posing and lighting techniques for the skin and body 
  • Retouching tips for skin, glasses or discolored teeth 
This course will cover many challenging features and show you how posing, camera angles, lens choice and lighting can work together to help you have confidence in every shoot.


Sharma Shari

This class was amazing! It was great seeing a demo class with real people. As a wedding photographer that specializes in offbeat/non traditional couples, it is always good to see how I can enhance all my clients beautiful features, and make them feel their best and confident when I am taking their photos!

a Creativelive Student

I was so excited to get the chance to learn from Lindsay live, and this course did not disappoint! The techniques she shared were insightful and straightforward. I felt like seeing them on different subjects throughout the day really helped to cement the concepts and grow my photography tools to bring out the best in those I'm photographing. I'm not a studio photographer, but the ideas apply in natural light as well.

maria manolaros

Great class! Impressive amount of tips on posing, lighting and photoshop techniques , a real good no nonsense approach by superb teacher. Numerous amounts of thumbs ups