How to Do High End Retouching for Fashion and Beauty Photos

Fashion model posing for a photo shoot

In the world of fashion and beauty photography, high end retouching is an essential skill that can make all the difference in the final result. whether it's for a magazine cover or a high-profile ad campaign, professional-level retouching can elevate your images and make them stand out from the crowd.

In this post, we'll explore the techniques and tools you need to master high end skin retouching, high end photo retouching, and make up retouching.

makeup artist applying lipstick to model

High end retouching is more than just removing blemishes and smoothing out wrinkles. it's about enhancing the natural beauty of the subject and bringing out the best in the photograph. this can be achieved through a combination of techniques, including color correction, skin smoothing, and make up retouching.

When done right, high end photo retouching can create a sense of depth and realism that's difficult to achieve through basic editing techniques. it's also an essential skill for photographers working in the fashion and beauty industries, where flawless images are often the standard.

There are several tools available to help you achieve high end retouching results. the most common and widely used software is adobe photoshop, which offers a plethora of tools and features to help you create stunning images.

Other options include capture one, gimp, and affinity photo. regardless of the software you choose, it's essential to familiarize yourself with its capabilities and develop a strong understanding of its tools.

Frequency separation

Frequency separation is a powerful technique for high end skin retouching. it allows you to separate the texture and color elements of an image, making it easier to retouch without affecting the overall quality. this technique can be used to smooth out skin tones, remove blemishes, and even out texture.

To perform frequency separation in photoshop, follow these steps:

1. duplicate your background layer twice.

2. name the first duplicate "low frequency" and the second "high frequency."

3. select the "low frequency" layer and apply a gaussian blur with a radius that blurs out the skin texture but retains the overall shape.

4. Select the "high frequency" layer, set the blending mode to linear light, and apply the "image > apply image" command with the "low frequency" layer as the source.

5. retouch the skin on the "low frequency" layer using tools like the clone stamp and healing brush.

6. Retouch the texture on the "high frequency" layer using the same tools, but with a more subtle approach.

Dodge and burn

Dodge and burn is another essential technique for high end skin retouching. this method involves lightening and darkening specific areas of an image to create depth and dimension. it's often used to contour the face, enhance features, and create a more flattering appearance.

To dodge and burn in photoshop, use the following steps:

1. create a new layer and fill it with 50% gray. set the blending mode to soft light or overlay.

2. select the dodge tool (o) and set the range to midtones and exposure to a low value (around 5-10%).

3. Begin to slowly build up highlights on the areas of the face you want to emphasize.

4. switch to the burn tool (o) and set the same settings as the dodge tool.

5. begin to slowly build up shadows in the areas you want to define or recede.

Color grading

Color grading is an essential part of high end photo retouching, as it can significantly impact the mood and atmosphere of an image. experiment with different color adjustments, including curves, selective color, and hue/saturation, to create the desired look for your fashion and beauty photos.


Sharpening is vital for achieving a polished, professional look in your images. be cautious not to over-sharpen, as this can create an unnatural appearance. use tools like unsharp mask or smart sharpen in photoshop to subtly enhance the details in your image.

Make up retouching is a crucial part of fashion and beauty photography, as it can enhance the overall appearance of your subject. some common make up retouching techniques include:

  • Removing makeup smudges and imperfections using the healing brush or clone stamp tools.
  • Enhancing the color and intensity of lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush using the brush tool set to the color blending mode.
  • Defining eyebrows and eyelashes with the brush tool set to the darken blending mode.


High end retouching is an essential skill for photographers in the fashion and beauty industries. by mastering techniques such as frequency separation, dodge and burn, color grading, and make up retouching, you can create stunningimages that stand out from the competition.

Practice and patience are key when it comes to refining your retouching skills, so don't be discouraged by initial challenges. with time and dedication, you'll be well on your way to producing high-quality, professional-looking fashion and beauty photos.

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