Summer’s here, and with it comes sunburn and redness. This redness becomes particularly obvious in photographs. Sometimes, if it’s photographs of our friends, we’ll leave them looking like a lobster so we can make fun of them. But often it’s a client, or other subject that we actually want to be pleased with the way they look in the photograph.
Nathaniel Dodson of Tutvid is here with a very quick technique to help reduce or even completely remove the redness from such photographs. You might have to get a little tricky with multiple layers and masking for severely patchy sunburn. But, it’s a good and fast technique to start you off.
Nathaniel’s method is based on the Camera Raw filter within Photoshop. Specifically the Hue, Saturation and Luminance sliders. You can also use this technique for raw files with Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw before the image even enters Photoshop, too.
The first step is to adjust the hue. Camera Raw provides us with 8 different sliders that allow us to adjust the hue of different chunks of colour. In this case, we want to shift the red more towards a natural, more orange, skin tone.
Once the colour more closely resembles the subject’s natural skin tone, it’s time to brighten it up. The Luminance slider will let you raise the originally red areas up to match the surrounding skin.
Finally, a reduction to the saturation helps to bring it back to a more natural skin tone level.
Assuming your original layer is a Smart Object, once you hit OK and get back to Photoshop, the camera raw filter has a mask applied. By default, this mask reveals the entire effect. This may end up doing things to other parts of the image that you don’t want it to affect. If you invert the mask to hide the camera raw effect, then you can paint back specific areas you wish to alter.
You’ll want to use a soft-edged brush to mask out the areas to make the transitions between normal skin and your adjustments as smooth as possible.
It’s a great quick method for helping to minimise sunburn. If you have multiple sunburned people in your photograph, it might be more tricky. You may have to duplicate the original layer and run the camera raw filter at different settings for each. Then, just mask each one onto their own layer to get a good final result.
It’s nice to see that the summer’s finally here again. But, remember. Winter is coming…