How to Make Complexions Flawless in Wedding Photos - dummies

How to Make Complexions Flawless in Wedding Photos

By Amber Murphy

You should be sure to smooth the skin of your subjects in your digital wedding photography editing, especially if the photo is a close-up. You can smooth skin a gazillion different ways, but here is a quick and painless method:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop and create a duplicate layer by hitting Command+J (Mac) or Control+J (Windows).

    A duplicate layer is an exact copy of your original image that lays on top of the original. Your new layer is automatically named Layer 1, but you can change the name of the layer if you wish by clicking on the Layer 1 text and typing in the new name.

  2. With your duplicate layer selected, apply a Gaussian Blur Filter by going to Filter →Blur →Gaussian Blur.

    A dialog box pops up with the option to change the Radius amount.


  3. Move the slider until you see the skin imperfections fade and click OK.

    Note that the entire image will blur, but that’s ok! You’ll fix that in a second.

  4. Apply a layer mask to your image by navigating to Layer →Layer Mask →Hide All.

    This step applies a mask that hides the Gaussian Blur.


  5. Use a brush with the foreground color set to white to paint back over the skin to reveal the Gaussian Blur on the skin only, leaving the rest of the image sharp.

    Select a brush by clicking on the Brush Tool icon on the left-hand sidebar or by hitting the B key. Then navigate to the dropdown brush menu at the top left-hand side of your screen.


    Photoshop has a ton of different brush types to choose from, but one of the best is the Soft Round Brush, and you can adjust the size according to your needs by using the left and right bracket keys, or moving the brush size slider.

    To change the foreground color of your brush, look to the bottom of your toolbar on the left-hand side of your screen. Two little boxes partially overlap, one black and one white. The box on the top is your foreground color; the one on the bottom is your background color. To switch your foreground and background colors, click on the arrows directly above the icon, or hit the X key.

  6. If your subject’s skin looks perfect, you’re done! If, however, the skin looks a little too smooth, you can adjust the opacity of the layer by clicking on Opacity on the layers palette menu on the left-hand side of your screen and moving the slider to the left.

    The opacity of a layer refers to how strong or weak an effect is on your layer.