Here’s a shot from a Lucha Libre! shoot I did with make-up artist Nohelia Reyes and model Deirdre.
If you mouse over the image, you’ll see the untouched, straight out of the camera, before image. No enhancements, no smoothing, nothing. Read on below the image…
I see a lot of ads in fashion magazines that have been retouched and airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, and then retouched some more, just to make sure. Sometimes, they don’t even look like photos any more. So much smoothing that you can barely make out the model’s facial features. But, you know, I get it, you’re high end, it’s what people expect. It’s just my opinion, but I prefer a more natural end result, someone who still looks like a person. It’s a fact of life that you do have to do post-processing work, smooth the skin, removes blemishes, etc. But you can still do all these things and keep it real.
The retouching in this shot was all done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and I think it’s done the job pretty well. The exposure was pretty much spot on in-camera, so that just needed a slight tweak to increase, then a general saturation and contrast boost, applying a shallow S-curve to the Tone Curve tool. I used the targeted adjustment tool on the skin to slightly increase the red/orange saturation levels, to boost the skin tone slightly.
Most of the heavy work was done using the Clone/Heal tool, and the adjustment brushes. I used the clone tool to remove blemishes from the skin (and dust spots from the background – curse my old dusty sensor!), to give the skin a smoother appearance. To finish that off, I applied an adjustment brush to her skin on the face and neck, and reduced the clarity, therefore smoothing out any tiny lines and shadows. But, there’s still some texture in the skin, and it looks natural.
Next up was an adjustment brush over her left eye (your right as you view the photo), just to lighten it a little. Then the same with her right eye, although that was a two stage job. First, I applied the brush to the iris, to lighten it and increase the saturation a little, making it appear a similar brightness to the other eye. Then another brush onto the white of the eye, to clean it up and add whiteness.
The final touch was a small lighting correction. The main light for this shot was coming from camera right (as you can tell by looking at the reflection in her eyes). I thought her skin looked a little hot nearest the light, just a bit too much brightness. So, I applied the gradient tool just to tone it down on her neck and the right side of her face.