How to edit headshots in Photoshop

Many corporate business and famous entrepreneurs or influencers and even actors or models use headshot photos to represent themselves to the community. Headshot photography has thus become quite popular and a professional kind of photography type in the Photography niche. But the raw photographs of the headshots have some amount of flaws in them. Like the subject in the headshot photo may have some skin problems like acnes, blemishes, etc. They might also have dark spots, Eye bags, etc. This is why a little bit headshot retouching may be necessary for photographers before they send the final headshot photo to their clients. This is why they do need headshot retouching service to the raw headshot photos before they send the files to their clients. Many photographers take headshot photo editing service from professional photo editing company. Some photographers like to edit these photos by themselves. Professional photographers can easily do this work by themselves but beginners may need some help from the internet to find out “how to edit headshots in Photoshop?”

So to help such photographers find out the best way on, “how to edit a headshot in Photoshop?” I have come up with this short tutorial to retouch headshot photos in Photoshop. Hopefully this tutorial will help you to learn the basic way of retouching headshots. All you need to do is follow the steps properly. So let’s jump off to the steps and learn how to retouch headshots in Photoshop like a Pro.

How to edit headshots in Photoshop
how to retouch headshots in photoshop

Why to edit headshots in Photoshop after headshot photography?

Headshot photos are generally the photos of the head and shoulders of the subject. The area of his body from head to shoulders gets captured by the photographer in this photo. So it is obvious that all the problems within the face of that person will get captured in details in the photo. These flaws can be acne, blemishes, red eye, eye bags, dark circles, etc. The skin texture might also be rough of some people. This is why it is important to edit headshots in Photoshop after headshot photography. It will fix all the flaws from the skin and will give the headshot a smooth texture.

Steps on - How to edit a headshot in Photoshop

Step 1 - Open image

Open image

The first step is simple. All you have to do is open the headshot photo in your Photoshop canvas. To do that you can either go to File > Open or you can simply drag and drop the image in the canvas. I always use the drag and drop feature it is easy.

Step 2 - Duplicate the background layer name it Retouch

After your photo gets opened by Photoshop you will see that the layer tab on the right will have a layer named background. You have to make a copy that layer from there. To copy the background layer make a right click on it. Then you will get few options choose “duplicate the layer” option from it. After you choose duplicate the layer, you will get a pop up tab where you can rename the layer you just copied. Edit that name and make it “Retouch”. We have duplicated the layer so that we can do a non destructive work and our main layer of the image will be safe.
Duplicate the background layer name it Retouch 1
Duplicate the background layer name it Retouch 2

Step 3 - Use healing brush tool to remove spots

Use healing brush tool to remove spots
Now choose the spot healing brush tool from the tool bar on the left. This healing brush tool will help us remove the spots from the skin and make it spotless. You can press “H” to activate the healing brush using your keyboard. Now after you take the tool, click on all the spots you can see on the face. This will automatically remove them from the skin of the headshot.

Step 4 - Duplicate the retouch layer name is “Blur”

Duplicate the retouch layer name is Blur
After you have retouched the skin of the headshot photo using the healing brush make another copy of the “Retouch layer” this time rename it to “Blur”. This is the layer that will help you to smooth the skin.

Step 5 - Apply Gaussian blur to the Blur layer

Apply gaussian blur to the Blur layer
Now choose the “Blur” layer and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Then you will get another tab on the screen from where you have to choose how much blur you want in the image. Make sure the blur level you choose evens the skin texture.

Step 6 - Duplicate the Retouch layer again and name it Texture

Duplicate the Retouch layer again and name it Texture
Now Duplicate the retouch layer again and rename the layer into “Texture”. This layer will be on top of all layers so drag in to the top of the “Blur” layer.

Step 7 - Use "Apply image" on the texture layer

Now choose the Texture layer and go to edit > Apply image. In the apply image choose the “blur layer” in the layers option and keep the blending to subtract. This layer will help you to bring out the textures properly.
Use Apply image on the texture layer
Use Apply image on the texture layer 2

Step 8 - Change the blending mode of the texture layer to Linear light

Change the blending mode of the texture layer to Linear light
Once you have applied image on the “texture” layer you will have to change the blending mode of the layer so that you can see how it has made an effect on the image. Change the blending mode to linear light and see how good the overall texture looks on the image.

Step 9 - Create a layer mask

Create a layer mask
Now simply take a layer mask on top of the “Texture” layer. This will help you to smooth the skin of the headshot photo.

Step 10 - Use a Soft Brush tool and draw on the face of the headshot

Use a Soft Brush tool and draw on the face of the headshot
Now take a brush tool and make it soft. Then reduce its opacity to 40%. Start drawing over the rough portions of the face of the subject and you will that those portions are becoming smooth. This technique is known as frequency separation. It is a great technique to edit headshots in Photoshop.

Final step - Use curves adjustment layer to fix the contrast

Now last but not the least is to take a curves adjustment layer on top of all layers. This will help you make the contrast of the image better and the headshot will look very good and beautiful. Take the curves adjustment layer and just drag the curve a little bit upwards from the middle point. This will create a great contrast in the headshot image. Then just save the image on your PC and you’re done with editing headshots.
Use curves adjustment layer to fix the contrast
Use curves adjustment layer to fix the contrast 2

Conclusion

So if you were searching for an answer to the question “how to retouch headshots in Photoshop?” then hopefully now you have your answer. Using the tutorial I have showed you above you can easily edit any headshot very easily in Photoshop. So best of luck and have a great day.