advanced photoshop

Photoshop tip: How to get rid of shiny areas on a portrait photo

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

We show you how to correct blown-out skin in a portrait photo, removing areas of shine from the face in Photoshop

There are several ways to rectify what retouch artists would call ‘blown-out skin’, though some are certainly quicker to execute than others. This disturbance occurs to different degrees, but a common effect should rectify, if not at least minimise, this destructive photo defect. Begin by opening your photo and duplicating your image, before creating a new layer called ‘Skin paint’. Use the Color Picker tool (holding Opt/Alt with the Brush tool active), at around 80%, to select corresponding neutral skin tones from your model’s face – where the blown-out skin has not occurred.

With this established, select a soft-edged brush and paint over your model’s defected blown-out skin areas, not being too meticulous, but always staying within the borders of the skin in general. You can use the Smudge tool to slightly blend hard edges where Skin paint layer tones meet.

Once satisfied with your brushwork, set the blending mode to Color. What? The blown effect still exists? Well that’s because it’s your earlier duplicated model layer that’s so essential to delivering the full potential of the intended effect. Now simply select the Burn tool, setting it to Highlights at 10% Opacity, and apply to the blown-out skin areas. Effects are noticeable instantly. You can of course alter the opacity of this duplicate layer accordingly.

In general this effect can be complemented further still with retouch effects such as skin softening and colour adjustments, using the Hue/Saturation options accessed in the Layers palette.

Blown skin tip

  • Kaycee

    It seems like 9 out of the 10 photos I get have at least some areas that are blown out. This is an easy and quality way to take care of it, thank you.

  • Scott

    It works for me right up to the burn tool; where the skin starts going toward grey instead of the flesh tone. Any suggestions? What layer to apply the burn tool –the duplicated layer or “skin paint” layer?

  • Ben

    informative and really working thanks for sharing this .

  • I get the same gray result from the burn step as reported by Scott. But I’m also finding that the burn step isn’t necessarily needed, if I’ve been careful with the preceding actions, so this technique is still helpful. Thanks.

  • That is absolutely good work.

  • sara epstein

    I can’t read on the screenshot what the middle layer is. It doesnt look like a duplicate layer as there is no image.