Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques – A Book Review

MikaI’ll be the first to admit, Photoshop and I don’t get along as well as I wish we had. And it’s not because I’m a purist or anything. If possible, I’d try to get the good stuff SOOC (Strait Out Of Camera), but the truth is, almost all my pictures go through some level of retouching. Near the end of the post you can see how this portrait of Mika looked before applying some retouching. (Click for larger view)

Recently I got a copy of Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques (long name, I know). And While I don’t usually review books, let alone Photoshop books, the book helped me make a huge jump in my post-processing, I hope that by sharing my thoughts on it can help others too.

The Good News

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop You can read the book in small doses. Each chapter has “a thing ” that you can do to a portrait. Enhance the eyes, smooth the skin, shape the face (oh yea) and a bunch of other enhancements that you can make.

You can read the book in any order you’d like. if you are focusing on enhancing eyes, go to the eyes chapter, if it’s lips go to the lips chapter, and so on.

The intro is great, and it has some great tips right there. (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E to create a merged layers is my new way of going)

There is an sweet (SWEET!!) check list at the end of the book. Great if you don’t have a work-flow yet, and is looking to build one. I photocopied it and posted next to my screen.

Some Things You Need To Know

You need some previous Photoshop experience to be using the book. There’s some intro, but really if you don’t know what layers are, it would be better to grab a Photoshop beginners book first.

This book will not make you a great retoucher. It will help you get way more out of your portraits though. Scott describes it as retouching for photographers and I could not agree more.

Why Retouch?

Mika looks great without any retouching at all. She is what you call the inner glow type. Just as a reference I am including her non retouched portrait. Any faults are 100% my own.




Take pictures with great lighting and great makeup so you can go easy on the book.

Consider starting from the end, the check list.

For the weird price of $29.31 you can get your copy here . Definitely worth it.