Portrait Retouching – Frequency Separation Techniques

Portrait Retouching – Frequency Separation Techniques


If you want your images to be really polished I would suggest you learn some retouching techniques. Using Photoshop, you can take your photos to the next level in just a few minutes. Portrait retouching uses a few techniques, mainly looking at getting a good skin texture and removing blemishes. Frequency Separation is commonly used to enable retouchers to work on aspects of a portrait separately and non-destructively. This video gives you a brief introduction to using frequency separation for portrait retouching. We cover a couple of different techniques that you can use and see how they can be combined.

The idea behind frequency separation is to separate the colour data from the texture data when processing the skin. You create one layer that enables you to deal with any texture problems such as spots or scars, for example. Then you have another layer that enables you to sort out any colour problems such as redness or dark patches. The advantage of doing it this way instead of just using the healing brush or clone stamp tool is that you don’t have to copy both colour and texture each time. Your editing can be more precise and achieve better results. You may not use it for every single portrait you do, but it is definitely worth it for those key images you want to be really polished.


This video is the first part of a portrait retouching tutorial. The second part will be released in a future post. In the second video we look at using dodging and burning to contour the face and brighten up the eyes. We will also cover sharpening using the high pass filter and a couple of other finishing techniques. The model featured is Naomi Chapman and the photo was taken in Norwich city centre.

© Joe Lenton, December 2016

2 thoughts on “Portrait Retouching – Frequency Separation Techniques”

  1. Pingback: Portrait Retouching in Photoshop - Dodge & Burn techniques

  2. Pingback: Skin Retouching - Remove Sunburn using Photoshop

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