Understanding Skin and The Process of Aging


Hello Scrapaneers readers and welcome to my first blog post.  I will be posting a series of articles on portrait editing to take a beautiful photo to one with WOW factor that will be perfect for printing.  Today’s post is more of an information style post where I will list the various editing processes I will cover in the future.


Understanding Skin


Each year our phones and tablets become stronger and better and we have the added benefit of always having a camera at hand for those perfect “opportunity” shots, but once we download them for printing, they have tiny flaws that could make a photo so much better.  Like the shadow of a leaf that is sitting smack bang in the middle of your cheek or your beautiful teenager had an outbreak of spots and will kill you if you print that photo.


In comes the beauty filter built in under the camera apps.  PLEASE, please don’t use that!!!  As an editor I’ve been given images that had the beauty filter applied and there was a pretty girl with soft wispy bangs growing in and out of her forehead.  There is just no way to fix something like that.


Skin has beautiful texture and that particular app applies a blur filter over the skin, thus removing the texture of the skin.  When editing, we want to preserve the texture and remove non permanent blemishes like acne, bruises, scratches and noise created by the camera’s flash.  The camera is also very harsh and will pick up if your make up hasn’t been applied smoothly, but that is an easy fix if you’re prepared to spend some time and loving on a photo.


The Process of Aging


I like to compare the aging process to a burning candle.  Once lit, there isn’t a stage in its lifespan that it’s not beautiful.  And like the candle, we are born to this pretty shining light and as the candle burns down, it keeps its brightness and all the wax drips create more interest and beauty.


Little babies are born with smooth skin, but are unable to regulate their body heat and that translates to a baby with several skin tones in a photo.  Toddlers are always covered in scrapes and bruises and they always have amazing skin.

Then we get to our teen years and it’s the dreaded acne outbreaks and then we hit that burning candle stage where everything starts to drag down to the bottom and the wrinkles start to appear around the eyes and mouth.



The final stage being really, really old with too many wrinkles, but have you noticed how marvelous the patterns in those wrinkles are?  Aged Ethnic skin really has the most amazing texture and I would be a very happy editor if I could edit a photo of Morgan Freeman.


In my coming posts I will be showing you how to:


  • Remove blemishes like acne, remove stray hairs from inside the face and eyes
  • Smooth skin tones
  • Refine chapped lips
  • Tone down the red veins in eyes
  • Fine tune the image that it really pops.


Thank you for reading and see you in the next installment where I will show you how I got to the results in the bottom image.



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One comment

  • Chris February 16, 2018   Reply →

    Thank you Renee for all the effort to put this together so clearly. I am often conflicted with whether to alter a photo. i like the photos I see that have been subtly ‘popped’ but my family prefers to do natural. It is difficult to know how much and make those decisions. I am off to practice making those choices and ue these 3 tutorials to help.

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