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Take 10 Years Off a Male Portrait Via Photo Retouching

Male Photo Retouching

Traditionally tutorials have always focused on how to retouch female photographs. This is linked with the traditional media conventions of women as sex symbols, who are regrettably objectified as part of daily media. Whilst these conventions are applying more and more to men (particularly celebrities), a man can show imperfections and get away with it far more. For example, wrinkles can ‘show character’, gray hair can look sexy – things that would be impossible for a woman to be perceived as.

Whilst I’m against retouching in general, it can be fun to play around with the techniques, as it’s a great way to practice up on your photo manipulation techniques. For the purpose of this tutorial I’m going to demonstrate how to take roughly 10 years off of a middle-aged male subject. I think that the fact I’m using a male subject rather than a female one means that I can expose a few different styles than are exposed by most Photoshop tutorials on the subject. Enjoy!

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Open up this image of a male photographic subject:

Man Photograph

Resize your canvas to 600px.

Step 2

This is perhaps the most crucial step of your retouch. Use your clone stamp tool and spot healing brush tool to cover up most of the wrinkles, spots and blemishes on your subjects face.

It’s important to keep this reasonably subtle, so keep your healing brushes as small as possible, rather than cloning huge areas. This can take a while, but take the time to go over the most prominent blemishes and lines of your face.

A step that most people often don’t consider is reducing the opacity of your clone stamp tool. If you want to keep a wrinkle in place, but reduce it’s intensity, then simply reduce the opacity of this tool, and you can partially conceal it.

Step 3

Now go to filter>liquify and use the ‘pucker tool’ in order to bring in areas of the face, head and neck. Continually adjust your brush size to what is most relevant. In this example I brought in the cheeks and neck of my subject in order to make him appear very slightly slimmer. I also used the pucker tool on his nose, to make it appear less hooked (it wasn’t overly hooked, but I performed a slight improvement).

Step 4

Zoom into your subjects teeth, and then use your clone stamp tool set to a very small size, and clone areas of your teeth, to make them rounder and fill in gaps where teeth appear jagged.

The below image shows the before and after images of the man’s teeth:

Step 5

Now use your dodge/burn tools to accentuate the shadows and highlights of your image. As well as giving more impact through this technique, you should also use your dodge/burn tools to give more definition to your man’s face.

This particular subject doesn’t have a very well defined jaw, so I used the burn tool to add definition to his jaw line. I also used the dodge tool to give more of a healthy glow to his cheeks, as well as reducing the darkness under his eyes:

Step 6

I now use my dodge tool on the subject’s eyes and teeth. Particularly on the eyes this tool should give them much more intensity.

Step 7

Now go to your adjustments window and apply a levels adjustment layer. Apply the settings shown below:

Step 8

Now apply a vibrance adjustment layer (settings below):

Step 9

Now apply a color balance adjustment layers (settings below):

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome:

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Melody says:

    Nice. Subtle retouching that allows for maintenance of texture. Well done!

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Melody. Although the outcome is quite different from the original photo I definitely wanted to avoid that fake-plastic look that many retouches have. Keeping texture of the face by avoiding techniques like blurring or over-airbrushing is crucial.

  3. great tutorial, very useful for retouching my photos

  4. BrainFreeze..! says:

    nice tutorial… very good … I kinda like it… I can apply it to one of my design ..!

    I think you are using CS5 …! goOd Chump..!

  5. azad dabirzadeh says:

    This is good, but I think on most species must be done to change is not obvious retouching work.

  6. San Budiawan says:

    Seems pretty cool if we could see ourselves as old. Just try, tom.

  7. Nicely done Tom, it’d good to see a tutorial site that knows what the Dodge and Burn tools are for. If you want to do it non-destructively, create a new layer filled with 50% grey and set the blend mode to overlay. Then just paint black and white onto it as you would burn or dodge ;)


  8. Tim says:

    Nice, he looks younger, but why make him look like Rudolf?
    I really would tame the red nose.

  9. Patrick says:

    Hey Tom,

    Nice work. I followed through and I was impressed by what I came out with. Though tough at first.

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