Guest Post: Photoshop Tutorial by Nicole

If you know me (or if you read my blog regularly) you will know that I have a beloved sister. You can find previous posts about Nicole here, here, and here. I think she’s pretty cool so I asked her to share some of her photoshop tips with you today (but secretly it’s really so that I can learn how to use photoshop – and I want you to learn with me).

I hope you enjoy her post on a few of the basic photoshop retouching tricks she has up her sleeve. If you have any questions, shoot them my way and I’ll redirect them to Nicole. She’s the first person to tell you she’s still learning it all herself, but she knows more than me, so here goes.


Hey ya’ll. So my name is Nicole, Haidy’s sister and before you start getting really excited I’m just a young girl learning the ways of Photoshop and I’m super excited to be here sharing what little knowledge I’ve accumulated over the couple of years I’ve been playing around with this. Now that I’ve sorted that out, let me begin.

Some basic dos and don’ts of Photoshop:

This needs to be said, DO NOT abuse Photoshop; you can only use Photoshop if you know what you’re doing. And every time you finish editing an image, take a long hard look at the image and say: Does this image look real? Am I pushing the boundaries a little too far? Does this look absolutely ridiculous?!?!?! If the answer to ANY of these questions is ‘yes’ then you should probably think about if your picture should ever be published anywhere else apart from your computer trashcan. But really, it’s up to you…

Here are some examples of some people who should’ve kept their Photoshop fun to themselves.

This poor guy should’ve thought twice before posting that on good ol’ facebook…

In this one, not only is she missing a finger in each hand, she is in no way holding that computer – she’s clawing it.

Now before I go on, I must admit that my first tries at Photoshop weren’t too brilliant either. But, unlike you lucky folk, I wasn’t told the dos and don’ts of Photoshop and felt like posting them on Facebook was the best idea in the world. Why don’t you just see for your self:

You might be able to recognise this young lady underneath my terrible Photoshop work. If your guess was death itself, I don’t blame you. It is, in fact, my big sis, Haidy the photographer. I bet you’re wondering, “What happened?!” Yes, it looks like a day at the tanning salon had gone very VERY wrong. I try not to look back on those dark, dark days; the early stages of my love with Photoshop.

This was abuse of the Photoshop program. This was my poor attempt of retouching an already perfectly good picture of a very attractive person. I used the brush tool to colour in her entire face, I darkened her lips to a terrible shade of red, and even tried my hand at electronic makeup. That’s right I used a burnt orange colour to contour her face, a pink for blush, and some black to line the eyes and extend the lashes.

Only recently have I discovered how to do retouch an image properly and this is what I’m going to show you today.

How To Retouch An Image:

When retouching an image you should go through a small process before hand. You should always have a goal in mind when editing. Just think about how you want the photo to look. Retro? Modern? Like it’s from a magazine? Or maybe, like a picture in an old newspaper article? Just remember to have a goal in mind. Another thing is to make sure your image is of good quality. Photos that aren’t good quality aren’t going to turn out well no matter how hard you might try. A good camera means good photos.

What I’m going to do is go through how I edited this picture of myself. My aim for this picture was to make myself look clear skinned, flawless and bright, but also natural. And just so you know, I’m using Adobe Photoshop CS3. Let me know what you think.

Step One:
Get your picture and open it in Photoshop. Easy :)

I’m not entirely sure what kind of face I was trying to pull in this one but it’s a good one to use as an example. As you can probably see I am not wearing make up so this is going to be fun to use.

Step Two:
Duplicate your background layer twice. Rename one of them to say, ‘Texture’, and the other, ‘Tones’.

Step Three:
Turn off your Texture layer (you do this by pressing the eye next to the layer). Then go to the Filter menu and select Blur>Gaussian Blur… Choose a number that smooths out the texture and brings out the tones and make sure you don’t choose something too blurry or you’ll end up with an image that is very fake.

Step Four:
Turn your Texture layer back on and select it. This bit can get a little confusing so I hope you’re paying attention! What you have to do is go to the ‘Image’ menu then go to ‘Mode’. This will tell you whether your image is an 8 bits/channel or 16 bits/channel.

Now, make sure your Texture layer is selected then go to the Image menu again and select Apply Image…

If your image is 8 bits/channel select: Layer: Tones, Channel: RGB, Blending: Subtract, Scale: 2, and Offset: 128.

If your image is 16 bits/channel select: Layer: Tones, Channel: RGB, Blending: Add, Scale: 2, and Offset: 0. Also, check the box that says Invert.

Your image is going to look like this. But don’t worry because now what you have to do is select the Texture layer and then change the blending mode to Linear Light.

Step Five:
What you have to do now is do all the major retouching. Select the Texture layer and then select the healing brush.

Press the option button on your keyboard to select a spot near a blemish then heal away! When using the healing brush, try not to fix any light that might be on the face. Only use the healing brush for small blemishes that will make your skin appear clearer.

^Before Healing

^After Healing

Step Six:
Still on the Texture layer, select the clone stamp.

Keep your hardness around 25% and your opacity at 20% or under (going over 20% might be over doing it and will give less of a natural effect).

This tool is going to help you smooth out the face. So just follow that natural curves of the face and the natural lighting and smooth it out, a bit like an airbrush.

Step Seven:
Go to the Layer menu then New>Layer… Change the Mode to Overlay and check the box below (Fill with Overlay-neutral colour (50% gray)) and click ok.

In this layer we’re going to play with lighting to sculpt the face a little more. Try to keep the opacity around 4% so that you have more control and so that you don’t over do it.

Select the Dodge tool from the side panel and go over light areas to enhance them.

Use the Burn tool to enhance darker areas, especially around the eyes for a nice dark effect.

You won’t notice a huge difference at first but it pays off in the end giving the face shape and luminosity. Lightening up spots of light in the eyes will also great a nice effect. You can also complement this by darkening the area around the iris with the Burn tool as well.

^Before Dodging and Burning

^After Dodging and Burning

Step Eight:
Go back and analyse your work. Ask yourself if you’ve over done it. With this technique it’s hard to over do it, but not impossible. You should be careful any time that you use Photoshop. If you like your result then share it with everyone you know! If not, you can go back and edit again (in case you missed getting rid of a blemish or something like that).

Here’s my ‘Before’ and ‘After.’


^ After

I quite liked the way it turned out, given that I was rushing the process, and that it doesn’t stray too much from the original. A key part of doing anything in Photoshop is to take as much time as possible and to try not to do things half heartedly (I am SO guilty of doing this). BE A PERFECTIONIST, and the results you get could astound you!

Also, this is only a part of fully editing an image, this is only retouching. After this feel free to colourise or do whatever. Here is what I did to mine.

But always remember not to over do it! Feel free to go all out, but know that your editing might not be socially acceptable :/ haha!

Thanks for reading this, I know it was EXTREMELY wordy, but I hope it was worth reading. Happy Photoshopping! And have a great week :D



Thank you so much for sharing with us Niciccino (pronounced like cappuccino of course).

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