Basic Portrait Photoshop Tutorial

Updated: Sep 21, 2017

I love editing portraits, but I rarely ever edit them in front of other people. I don't know what it is, but the average person does not enjoy seeing a human's face up close and personal. I guess that qualifies me as being weird because I love it! There has been some debate in the photography community in recent years over whether or not photoshop can degrade someone's self-esteem by changing the way they look with the software; however I think that the best part about photoshop is in fact that you have total control and manipulation of that subjects face, body, hair, etc. Although I am a strong advocate for natural beauty, I see nothing wrong with adding a few touch ups to an image; nonetheless, the editing of an image is left up to the discretion of the photographer.

The video that goes along with this blog is what I normally do to an image post-camera raw editing (I'll talk about that in another post), so not only will you learn information on photoshopping portraits, but you will also get a sneak peek into my workflow process.

This video contains an image from one of my recent shoots with a singer/songwriter from my hometown, Natalie Rix! You can check out her music here.

Throughout the tutorial I utilize photoshop shortcuts to decrease the amount time it takes for me to edit per image, I will list out the shortcuts, their actions, and the time segment that they are used in below.



:45 Command J = copy layer


1:14 Command J = copy layer


1:17 B = brush tool

left bracket = decrease brush size

right bracket = increase brush size


1:46 Command I = invert layer


2:39 Command I = invert layer


2:54 Shift, Command, Z = undo state change


4:18 Command G = group selected layers


4:27 Command I = invert layer


5:04 E = eraser tool


5:14 Command I = invert layer


5:47 Command I = invert layer


6:08 Command I = invert layer


6:14 Command G = group selected layers


6:27 Command J = copy layer


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