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Photoshop & Lightroom | Simple Portrait Retouching From Start To Finish With Julia Trotti

By Wendell Weithers on May 1st 2018

Great images don’t always require a marathon editing session. Sometimes, thoughtful and well-placed edits are all that’s needed to make a session’s photos magical. Julia Trotti has decided to pull back the curtain on her process to show us how she makes her images stand out and you’ll be happy to discover that it isn’t an overly complicated process. If you’d like a behind the scenes look at her workflow, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or egregiously early happy hour drink and check it out.


Step 1

Edit the Color and Sharpen the Image


For this image, she raises the exposure but brings down the highlights to save the detail.She sharpens the image with the sharpening slider. Hold “Alt” while dragging the slider to see how your edits impact your image.

Next, She decides to warm the image by raising the color temperature.
Next, she moves on to split toning where she uses it to adjust the highlights by adding a bit of yellow/orange. She balances it by adding a blue/purple color in the shadows.

[REWIND: Split Toning | The ‘Secret’ In The Recipes For Many Adored Images, & Totally Undervalued]

Step 2

Photoshop Tools & Techniques

Frequency Separation; if you’d like to see her video on that technique you can find it here.

Use the Healing Brush Tool to start editing the colors in the image.

With (CMD + Shift + N), create a New Layer and use the stamp tool to continue the retouching process.

[REWIND: Three Different Blend Modes to Use In Frequency Separation For Ease & Speed]

Step 3

Retouching the rest of the image.

As Julia states, it’s important to retouch more than just the face of your model. Create a new layer for your additional edits, select your brush tool ‘B’ and sample color from a warmer portion of your image and brush it onto the portion of the image that needs it. Finally, set the blending mode to “Color” and adjust the opacity of your layer as needed. Finally, Julia creates a warm light leak using the radial gradient to create a whimsical atmosphere.

If you’d like to find more tutorials from Julia, you can find them here.

If you’d like to get up to speed on Lightroom workflow or add Lightroom presets to your toolkit, check out the link below.

Lightroom 101: Lightroom CC Crash Course$99

Lightroom Presets CC V1.1 (For Lightroom 5, 6, & Classic)$149

Additional Retouching Articles

How To Fix Adobe Lightroom CC Preset Sort Order and B&W Bug With 7.3 Update

Free RGG EDU Beer Photography & Retouching Tutorial | Full Scale 9 Hour Course

Photos De-Stigmatizing Acne Show Us Where Photoshop Retouching Is Heading

Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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