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Head Games: retouching portraits > Removing Hot Spots

Removing Hot Spots

If you’ve ever had to deal with hot spots (shiny areas on your subject’s face caused by uneven lighting or the flash reflecting off shiny surfaces, making your subject look as if he or she is sweating), you know they can be pretty tough to correct. That is, unless you know this trick.

Step One.
Open the photo that has hot spots that need to be toned down.


Step Two.
Select the Clone Stamp tool in the Toolbox. Up in the Options bar, change the Blend Mode from Normal to Darken, and lower the Opacity to 50%. By changing the Blend Mode to Darken, we only affect pixels that are lighter than the area we’re sampling, and those lighter pixels are the hot spots.

Step Three.
Make sure you have a large, soft-edged brush; then hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and click once in a clean area of skin (an area with no hot spots) as shown here, on his forehead. This will be your sample area, or reference point, so Photoshop knows to affect only pixels that are lighter than this.

Step Four.
Start gently painting over the hot spot areas with the Clone Stamp tool, and as you do, the hot spots fade away. As you work on different hot spots, you have to resample (Option-/Alt-click) on nearby areas of skin so the skin tone matches. For example, when you work on the hot spots on his nose, sample an area of skin from the bridge of his nose (or even his forehead) where no hot spots exist. Below is the result after about 60 seconds of hot-spot retouching using this technique.





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