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Head Games: retouching portraits > De-Emphasizing Nostrils

De-Emphasizing Nostrils

Don’t ask me how Kevin Ames came up with this one, but as soon as he showed it to me, I knew I had to include it in the book. It’s the easiest, most direct, and most effective way that I’ve seen of reducing the intensity of nostrils.

Step One.
Open a photo where you want to de-emphasize the subject’s nostrils.


Step Two.
Choose the Healing Brush tool from the Toolbox.

Step Three.
Option-click (PC: Alt-click) the Healing Brush in a clean area of skin on the cheek or general face area (as shown).

Step Four.
Paint with the Healing Brush over one of the nostrils (as shown). As you paint, the bright skin area appears over the nostril.

Step Five.
When you release the mouse button, the texture of the area you sampled appears in the nostril. It appears darker than it did in Step Four (as the Healing Brush does its “thing”), but it will most likely be too light and look a bit milky.

Step Six.
Go under the Edit menu and choose Fade Healing Brush. When the Fade dialog appears (shown here), lower the Opacity slider until the nostril looks more natural—lighter and less distracting because of your retouch with the Healing Brush. Repeat Steps Three through Six for the second nostril. Below is the final photo with the Healing Brush faded to 32%. The retouch should be somewhat subtle, but compare the captures shown below and you can see how the emphasis is taken off the nostrils by lightening them.





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