Sure Shot: Skin So Soft

Molly Newman

3. Working on duplicate layer, select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Move Radius slider to the right until skin has a soft-focused appearance. Don't worry about blurred details, such as eyes and hair; you'll fix them later. Tip: Photos of kids and teens will usually need a smaller Radius setting than those of older subjects will.

4. At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add layer mask button.

5. In Layers palette, click on layer mask thumbnail to select it. Press D to set colors to default black foreground and white background. Press Alt-Delete (Option-Delete on Mac) to fill it with black. It will look as though the softened layer has disappeared.

6. In Toolbox palette, select the Brush tool. In Brush Options toolbar at top of screen, choose a large, soft-edged brush. Press X to switch to white foreground and black background colors. Begin painting over subject's skin, staying away from eyes, lips and other areas that should remain sharp. As you paint, the softened layer will reappear.

7. If you make a mistake, press X again to switch colors, brush over your mistake, then press X once more to continue painting. As needed, switch to a smaller brush to go along nostrils, jawline, edges of eyes and lips.

8. When you're finished painting over skin, the overall softening effect may be too strong. If so, reduce duplicate layer's opacity to restore a more natural appearance.

The result: a picture-perfect image with a warm, natural look. Hungry for more portrait-fixing tips? Stay tuned! In future newsletter issues, we'll show you how to fix yellow or crooked teeth, tame stray hairs and even peel off extra pounds. All digitally, of course!

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