Softening Freckles

An important thing to remember when retouching photos is to exercise a little restraint because you don't want the end result to not resemble the person at all.

Open the photo you want to use for this exercise. I will be using the photo below:

Photo of Freckles

Duplicate the background layer by either pressing Ctrl + J or selecting Layer > Duplicate Background Layer.

Duplicate Layer

You should now have two layers that show the same photo. Make sure you are on the top layer, it will appear blue in the layers palette, and choose Filter > Blur > Guassian Blur.

Guassian Blur

Adjust the Radius slider until you get a pretty good blur going on. Make sure you set the blur level so you don't see the freckles. Don't worry if you start to lose detail; we'll fix that in a minute.

Gaussian Blur Settings

With the Background copy layer selected click on the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette.

Add Layer Mask.

Your background copy should now look like the graphic below:

Layer Mask

With the Background copy layer still selected, select the Brush Tool Brush Tool, and from the options bar at the top of your screen, make sure you have a soft brush selected and adjust the size according to your photo.

Brush Settings

Now we need to set the foreground color to black and the background color to white, Paint Colors making sure that black is on the top. Click the layer mask (Background copy) to select it (it will appear blue).

Layer Mask

Now you will paint out the areas that do not contain freckles. In this activity we will paint out everything but the cheeks and part of the nose. Here is my finished photo.

Freckles Be Gone

Photoshop CS5 Tutorials