How to apply digital makeup to your portraits

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 12/06/2014 00:01am

    In this quick photo editing tutorial we show you how to be a digital makeup artist and use Photoshop to enhance your portraits.

    How to apply digital makeup to your portraits

    At the risk of stating the obvious, applying makeup is a job best done before you shoot a portrait.

    But if that’s not an option, or if you want to try out a different style after the photo has been taken, it is possible to make up your portraits in post-production with a few simple Photoshop skills.

    Take this image: we chanced across a colourful graffitied wall, which made a perfect backdrop for our portrait.

    We then added our digital makeup to complement the background colours.

    In this tutorial we’ll show you a host of digital makeover tricks. Using Layers, Blend Modes and Brushes, we’ll add eye shadow, blusher and lipstick to our portrait.

    We’ll also retouch the face by softening the skin and boosting the eyes.

    And while nothing beats the real thing, digital makeup has one advantage over the traditional method: it means we can change the colour or strength of the makeup whenever we like, simply by editing the layer. Here’s how it’s done…

    SEE MORE: 27 great photo effects you can create from just one Photoshop menu

    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: steps 1-3

    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: step 1

    01 Choose eye shadow
    Download our start file and follow along! Open makeup_before.jpg into Photoshop Elements. Go to the Layers Panel, click the Create Adjustment Layer icon and pick Hue/Saturation. Check Colorize, then use the Hue and Saturation sliders to choose a colour for your eye makeup. We’ve gone for a blue with Hue 205, Saturation 56.

     SEE MORE: 34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try

    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: step 2

    02 Paint a mask
    Hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the layer mask to black. Grab the Brush tool, set colour to black, and paint over the upper part of the eyes to reveal the blue. To fine-tune the shape, switch to the Smudge tool and push the colour around, then use the Blur tool to blur the edges so that it blends in.

     SEE MORE: Photo retouching – how to give your portraits a professional makeover

    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: step 3

    03 Add cheek blusher
    Lower the Hue/Saturation layer opacity to about 70%. Add a Solid Colour Adjustment Layer. Pick a colour for the blusher, hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the layer mask to black, and paint white over the cheeks to reveal the colour. Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and lower the opacity to 70%.

    SEE MORE: How to mimic studio lighting for stylish portraits

    Quick Tips

    • Each colour we’ve added has been done with separate Adjustment Layers. The beauty of using Adjustment Layers is that they give us all the advantages of working with a normal layer, so we can reduce layer opacity to tone the effect down, experiment with different Blend Modes, or use a mask to restrict it to certain areas. What’s more, we can change the colour or tonal settings at any time by double-clicking the layer thumbnail, so we’re free to choose new colours for our makeup even after we’ve applied it.
    • The Smudge and Blur tools are useful for subtly changing the softness of 
the mask.

    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: steps 1-3
    How to apply digital makeup in Photoshop: steps 4-6


    Shutter blending: how to combine images taken at different shutter speeds
    Double exposure portraits: a simple tutorial for making striking, surrealist images
    Multiple exposures in-camera – how to get long exposure effects in bright light
    How to replace a sky: Photoshop effects to make your landscapes more attractive
    How to blend two photos for perfect exposures

    Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2014 at 12:01 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

    Tags: , ,

    Share This Page