I decided to learn how to use Photoshop. As a photographer, my main photo development software was Lightroom with the aids of a couple of plugins (Nik Collection 3 and Topaz AI – De Noise, Gigapixel and Sharpen). As great as that combination is, it does not solve all of my photographic problems.

My first problem is looking at smoother skin. As much as I like to capture reality with my photos, sometimes you need to give the person being photographed a bit of a touch up. A scenario that it is relevant is fashion/lifestyle photography, where we are presenting a product and a less than perfect skin would divert the attention to the imperfections of the model on the photo.

Another problem that I sometimes encounter is a bit of blurriness on long exposures/HDR photos. Topaz Sharpen AI can remove some of the blurriness, but not always (especially without compromising the overall textures in the photo) – again, I might also need some help with Topaz Sharpen AI to be a better user.

Ghost edges is the third item I want to be able to get rid of. When stitching photos together for HDR, I sometimes get a ghost edge. Removing those with ease is one of my aims.

There are many other reasons why I may benefit from knowing how to use Photoshop, but those three are the main reasons and likely what I will use it for.

So, I started learning how to soften skin on people and have been exercising it a bit (improving the quality of the end result). Here are a couple of the photos I have done as exercise (only posting photos where I have a signed model release forms/TFP contract, or photos of myself).

The Photo Comparison

I have found two very similar methods to smoothing the skin. I have applied them in the images below.

Softened skin using “Method 2”
Softened Skin using Method 1
Softened Skin using Method 2
Method 1 (left), Method 2 (right)

I’ve tried both methods on a few photos and have come to the conclusion that neither method is better than the other. They both produce great results, but one method will be better with one photo, while the other will work better on the other. What is very important to remember is that both methods are practically the same, the variation between what to do in one or the other is an extra step and a few tweaks on radius sizes.

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