Removing skin blemishes is one of the most common editing procedures that portrait photographers do. There are a few different ways to do it and it's really useful to know all of them, since not every skin blemish can be fixed in the same way. Except if you work in the fashion industry or shoot magazine editorials, you shouldn't remove every single blemish on your model's face – there is usually no need for this kind of extreme approach. Start slowly by removing only the most visible blemishes and focus on small blemishes only when it's truly necessary.
Now we'll cover the three most common Photoshop tools used in skin editing – spot healing brush tool, healing brush tool, and patch tool. They can be used individually or combined, depending on the type of blemishes you want to fix. While the spot healing brush tool is perfect for small circular blemishes, you can use the patch tool to improve larger areas of uneven skin tone.
The Spot Healing Brush Tool
This is absolutely the best tool for removing small blemishes like pimples or moles. It's also the most straightforward healing tool since it's really easy to use it. Even if you're not experienced in editing, you'll find this tool quite user-friendly and reliable.
1. Open your portrait in Photoshop and select the Spot Healing Brush Tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side. Once you have selected this brush, you can change its hardness if you want and checkmark the “Sample All Layers” option. It's really important to checkmark this option since if you don't do it you won't be able to fix blemishes on a new layer.
2. You shouldn't work on your background layer! Whenever you work in Photoshop, try to do non-destructive editing. Before you start to fix blemishes, you should add a new transparent layer. In this way, you can easily go back to your original image or change the opacity of the edited layer. This will give you more control over the strength of your edits – even when you think you have overdone something, you can simply reduce the opacity of the edited layer.