Before And After: Retouching Darker Skin Tones
As a retoucher, I work with a wide range of skin tones and I love it. It seems that people have a hard time processing darker skin tones as the texture of the skin is often seemingly different. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hard!
This image was provided by John Schell, who has recently been shooting a lot more studio work (and owning it!) so I wanted to show him how I would retouch it. He was really gracious in providing the image as educational material for people to take a look into. After working on it, he agreed that I could share the before and after. Although it’s not 100% perfect, you can learn a lot from seeing the progress.
It's not 100% perfect and I am aware everyone would do things differently, but hopefully you get the main idea...
As you can see from the before and after transition, the mindset is keeping the elements that can be minimized, while keeping her natural texture. Another thing to pay attention to is just how far I went and what parts I left intact.
I also ensured that the consistency with color was applied so there were no overly saturated areas to bring together a uniformity in color, on top of the texture and transitions.
If you’re familiar with my process, the healing and cloning is how I always start off, removing some of the bumps that are most prominent. I may gently clone a few partially to pull back on how intense some areas are without removing them completely. Next, I always follow it up by dodging and burning to even out transitions with the skin. And lastly, the (optional) step of balancing out the colors really bring it home.
I hope this has been an educational insight into the before/after process of darker skin tones. Breaking it down into manageable steps is key.
If you’d like to see an in depth tutorial about the techniques, be sure to check out my video (link) as I go through the steps in detail.
Model: Adeng @official adeng
Makeup: Crystal Liz @crystallize
Hair: Travissean @travisean
Photog: John Schell @johnschell
Lighting: James Clark @jamesclarkcreative