A Complete Walkthrough Tutorial of Retouching and Color Correction Basics

Retouching is a daunting prospect to anyone who has yet to try it and even more daunting for those who have just started. In this video, you'll learn about the basics of retouching and color correction while an instructor edits a portrait.

My first ever attempt at retouching a portrait was an unprecedented disaster. It was of my girlfriend, who I had lit with a lamp as I didn't own any dedicated lights or flashguns, and let me tell you, I went to town on this photography. I vaguely remember thinking that I was going too far even as I was editing it, but onwards I went. The final image was like one of those dreadful, '80s or '90s beauty portraits with soft focus. I had blurred all the detail out of the skin, the eyes were radioactive, and the final result was so overcooked it was jarring. But that's really what you have to do, isn't it?

If you look at some of the best retouchers in the world, a few will show you their very earliest work and it's a disaster too. You just have wade through the river of dreadful retouches, picking up knowledge as you go. However, we also live in a time where a lot of the wading you needed to do in the past can be circumnavigated thanks to fantastic tutorials. This particular tutorial, by celebrity portrait photographer, Mark Mann, is my favorite style of tutorial: not only does it teach you the techniques, but the techniques are performed in real-time for you as you learn.

So, if you're looking at trying retouching for the first time, or you're interested in improving, give this video a watch!

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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1 Comment

Decent video. There's not really anything related to "color correction" though. For him it consists of using curves to bump up contrast with the good 'ol S curve, then desaturating with a Hue/Saturation.