How to Touchup Skin Using Lightroom Classic

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How to retouch skin in lightroom classic with these tools

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Lightroom Classic – How to Retouch Skin

Using Lightroom to Retouch and Perfect Portraits

To Retouch skin in Lightroom Classic, there is a specific and quick helpful method. 

If you can learn the different mask and healing tools available in Lightroom, you can learn to how to use them for skin specifically.

In this video tutorial, Mitch Lally shows you how to use Lightroom Classic to be able to retouch, smooth and perfect skin in photographs.

Softening and Retouching Skin using Lightroom Classic

Make sure you have the most recent version of Lightroom Classic downloaded or updated so you get the best features available.

Then, open Lightroom Classic and open a portrait file to get editing!

This tutorial won’t go through a lot of Lightroom in-depth, so if you want more full tutorials check out these:

Retouch Skin in Lightroom Step 1: Masks

Firstly, click on the top right mask icon to look at the masks.

This opens the mask settings and you can see that Lightroom has already detected a subject in the image.

You can then select specific masks, meaning a part of the image to work on, like the face, body, skin, eyebrows, etc.

Click on face skin and click create mask. The face will look red just because Lightroom is highlighting the part of the image that you are working on and what is the mask your changes will apply to.

You can change the color of this highlight at anytime if you wanted, but by default this is red.

Then you can use the tools to soften the skin. 

Set the skin face mask in lightroom first

Retouch Skin in Lightroom Step 2: Subtract from Mask

Hold space and then click on the face as your mouse becomes a magnifying glass. If you zoom in 50% that should make the face fill the screen so you aren’t seeing too much or not enough of the surface you want to work on.

Now you might notice that the current mask includes parts of the eyes, lips, and nose which are parts that you might not want to soften. Since you want to make the face look natural and soft, it’s important that you focus your edits to the skin only on what would look natural.

So to remove some parts from the mask you want to edit, click on mask again and then click Subtract.

You can then choose a brush, and adjust the size of the brush you use. Then just brush over the parts of the mask that you want to remove, such as nose edges, eyes, eyebrows, or lips.

You can be pretty rough here, and you can always add parts back in if you feel you removed too much.

Remove parts of the lightroom mask you don’t want to edit


Retouch Skin in Lightroom Step 3: Edit the Mask

Find the texture slider under the mask effects on the left panel to soften and adjust the skin mask. 

When you move the slider, the mask color will go away so you can see the effect of your adjustments but the mask area is only what is affected.

To get a subtle softening that looks nice and natural, you can move the slider down to -50 or -60. Any more than that will look too unnatural, but do what you think looks best.

You can also adjust the sharpness and clarity down as well, but be careful because these settings easily make the image look too softened. 

Use the blur brush to soften skin area in mask


Retouch Skin in Lightroom Step 4: Remove Blemishes

Using the spot healer tool, which is the little band-aid icon above the mask settings on the top right. Click on that, and choose from the three options. Try the content aware option with 100% opacity, and adjust the brush size how you want it. 

Then just click on the area on the face in the mask area that you want a blemish covered. Lightroom is super smart and will sample pixels from other areas in the mask to fill in that blemish you have identified.

You can also hold the command key and then click and drag a box to tell Lightroom what pixels you want it to use.

Using the blemish spot remover or healing tool to retouch skin


Then add your presets and final adjustments, and you’re done!

Portrait retouching can be as easy as that in Lightroom Classic. 

Try using the mask, subtraction and texture retouching tools the next time you have a portrait photo with a person in it. 


Which of these Lightroom Classic skin tools will you apply to your next portrait?

Comment below!

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