Photoshop Friday: Photoshop Hacks, Part 2

Hack # 3: Use the dodge and burn tool to get sparkling eyes.
Hack #4: Mattify shiny skin.
Hack #5: Use the Spot Healing Brush to remove blemishes.

A few weeks ago, I found this article and started doing some lessons with my high school kids at school from it. If you missed my last post on combining personal pictures with famous artwork to create different “filters”, check it out here. Super fun. My intention is to give those of you that do use Photoshop some tips and tricks, also to maybe inspire those of you who don’t to check it out (if you have access to it).

Today’s post is somewhat a controversial one. As long as you can remember that it’s all in good fun, well, it’s fun. I am not trying to offend anyone or encourage people to Photoshop themselves to “look better”. I think natural beauty is way more appealing than faking it. However, it is fun to pretend to be a model and play with some pictures in this powerful program. Also, please note that I’m certainly not a Photoshop (I’m self taught) genius by any standards – so yes, real graphic designers could blow my tips and tricks out of the water.

My husband is one of 10 brothers and sisters and every year my mother-in-law collects pictures of each of her kids to use for a Christmas card. I recently had to select a picture that I took over the past year of me and the hubs. I knew which one I wanted, but I found myself wishing it looked just a little more…fresh. This picture is going to be shrunk down to the size of a postage stamp. No one will notice any digital enhancements in the grand scheme of things, so really this was all in good fun. I also sort of used hack #20 in this picture for a cool lighting effect but I’m going to save that for another post because it’s a cool technique in itself (and much less controversial).

It’s controversial because I did what the magazines and photographers do that make people feel self-conscious and inadequate when they look at pictures of models. I did the opposite of what we all post about – instead of embracing our imperfections, I perfected them. Hack #3 gives you sparkley eyes. Follow the tutorial in the article and set the dodge and burn brushes to the suggested specs and VOILA. You look as fresh as Sleeping Beauty after her 100 year nap. In hack #4, grab a feathered brush, hold down ALT on your keyboard and sample a nice, non-shiny part of the skin. Change the brush opacity to 15%-ish (you can play with that) and “paint” over the shiny areas. Works wonders on oily or uneven skin. Or my personal favorite is the spot healing tool in hack #5. Gets rid of blemishes, but also things like crows feet and wrinkles.

It also makes me a liar, but whatever. It was fun to make us look glamorous…and we will look damn good on that postage stamp sized picture on our Fiorini Christmas card this year. Even if it is fake.

Before: Dull lighting, dull eyes, some skin shine and some blemishes. 


After: Sparkling eyes, flawless skin and punched up colors. I kept my husbands reddish face because that’s just him and he would look really fake if I brushed that away. He asked why I didn’t Photoshop more hair on his head, ha! Maybe he’s more self conscious than I am!Christmas

I haven’t taught this as a lesson to my high school students…yet. I actually think I might do it because it is such a hot topic and it’s a perfect place to talk about self image and being happy with the way you look in real life. Maybe you guys can give me your feedback/your opinion on this assignment:

  1. Have the kids read an article and respond to a writing prompt to help understand how magazines/graphic designers use Photoshop to digitally alter images…I’d need to locate something more current but an article like this from ABC. Follow it up with a little classroom discussion/debate on whether or not graphics should be digitally enhanced.
  2. Have the kids take a selfie, and then digitally enhance the selfie using the hacks in my post. I’d even give them my before and after that I have in this post as an example.
  3. If they want to present their pictures to the class and talk about their final opinion on this hot topic, they can. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to put their pictures up on the big screen if it makes them feel uncomfortable. To make sure I hear what everyone’s opinion is on this topic, I’d probably assign another quick writing prompt so if they don’t feel comfortable stating their opinion in front of the class, they can write it and submit to me.

What’s your opinion on Photoshopped pictures? I love me a little Instagram filter…Photoshop takes Instagram to new levels.

My idea for my lesson for the high school kiddos…yay or nay? I think if I present it in a way that they get to talk about self image and being real, it could be a good lesson and help them realize that what they see in pictures is not always reality. Am I wrong?


12 Replies to “Photoshop Friday: Photoshop Hacks, Part 2”

  1. I think presenting it that way is perfect! I’m not sure if I realized in HS that images in magazines were touched up. I realize it now, of course. I sometimes google “stars without makeup” so I feel better about myself. We all look the same when we wake up in the morning. 🙂

  2. YES absolutely teach them this. It’s the perfect way to teach them techy stuff with a nice little life lesson in the middle of it. Tell your husband I relate to his red cheeks, and it just makes us look sexier. 😉

  3. Ugh your posts make me want to go back to teaching. I think that’s a great lesson for HS kids. I know there’s a video out there where they fast forward how a model on a billboard or in a magazine was edited after showing the actual photo shoot, which might be kind of cool to tie into a future lesson with body image down the line. My middle school kids (totally different animal but still) were never focused enough to read and also respond with writing on anything so videos were always the way to go!

  4. I assume most pictures are retouched in one way or another, but I think something like this is really overdone. If you can tell it’s ‘shopped, you’ve missed the point, you know? But I totally agree that it’s a great way to start a discussion with students about why we feel the need to PS and why it’s sometimes useful (in magazines or for artistic purposes), and how to recognize it in media. Recognizing it is a big step toward empowerment, because once they can tell that the model (or person) is ‘shopped, they can feel more confident that no one really looks that perfect!

    1. Kids are so hard on themselves these days. It’s crazy how many struggle with things like anxiety and depression. I think as society changes and we have technology to do things like this, it should be addressed. I actually kicked off this lesson with a little video of the Photoshop process of a model and so many kids were like, “what?!” I think they are going to have fun with this lesson.

  5. This is such a great topic for high school kids! Self-love is such an important concept, and I don’t think it’s touched on enough when kids are young. That age is so tough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s