How to Retouch Skin in Lightroom – Portrait Retouching

Lightroom gives you the ability to beautifully retouch a portrait. You can remove blemishes, smooth skin, soften wrinkles and reduce dark circles all without making your subject look fake or “Photoshopped”.

I’m going to walk you through a portrait editing session using an unprocessed photo.

How to Retouch Skin in Lightroom

Here is the before photo. She is a beautiful model, but there are some skin imperfections such as blemishes, a scar and enlarged pores.

We are going to enhance her skin and give her a polished, but not fake, look. This means we are going to leave subtle hints of imperfections. you might prefer to go further and trade realism for perfection. This makes sense in some cases but is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

The first thing we are going to do is go the adjustment brush (upper right) and set the exposure and other settings as shown in the following screenshot. We are going to brush this over her skin and eyes only to brighten the skin without changing the entire photo.

Next, go to the spot removal brush and set it to Heal. Make sure that the brush size is only slightly bigger than each blemish and click once over each one. We aren’t trying to remove every pore or freckle here. Just the actual imperfections such as blemishes and scars.

Now go back to the adjustment brush. We are going to lessen the circles under her eyes. Use the settings in the following screenshot and brush over the under eye area.

Now we will smooth the skin with the adjustment brush. Use the following settings and then brush over large areas of the face to smooth the skin. Avoid the eyes and lips. You want these to stay sharp. Set the size of the brush to whatever you need and the flow somewhere between 15 and 50. I’m using 40 for this photo.

The final result looks very natural.

The final result is very natural.