- Mrs. Mary Jane
- 9 years ago
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
I’ve mentioned a few times that photography is one of my hobbies. I’m not a professional by any means, but I do enjoy taking pictures and learning new techniques. One of the techniques shared by most (if not all) photographers who shoot digitally is post-processing. They use photo editing programs (commonly Photoshop) to enhance, touch up, and play with images. I’ve been tinkering with photo editing since before I even became interested in photography.
What does this have to do with makeup? Well, stick with me and you’ll find out.
I’m terrible at putting on makeup. For one thing, I only use oil-free makeup. And while it’s better for my very sensitive skin, it is not known for the smooth coverage or all-day wear that “normal” makeup can give. For another thing, I just suck at it. I missed out on the makeup-putting-on gene that some girls are born with. I’m bad with eye makeup and foundation, my concealer is always splotchy, and I rarely ever wear mascara (it flakes off) or gloss/lipstick (it gets on my coffee cup). I also touch my face a lot, which smears whatever makeup I do wear.
So basically, I fail at makeup. Which would be OK if I were one of those lucky women who is blessed with perfect, creamy skin. But I’m not. Remember my acne issue? It’s better than it used to be, but I’m still scarred and uneven, and I usually have at least one problem zone.
“But Miss Mary Jane,” you’re saying right about now, “You’ve shown us photos of your face, and you look just fine!” Haha! That, my friends, is where my opening paragraph ties in. Throughout years of photo manipulation, I’ve learned a few tips that have helped me to feel much more comfortable about having my own picture taken. I’d like to share a few of them with you. For ALL of these tips, do the following:
- In the brush options, select your “hardness” to zero. Hardness is how “fuzzy” the edges of your editing will be. You’ll want them fuzzy, otherwise you’ll end up looking like a polka-dot head.
- Whatever tool you’re using, lightly “dab”. (Give it one click, see how it looks, then give it another click – don’t hold your mouse down and heavily draw.)
- Always edit a photo at a zoomed in level. Zoom out to see how it’ll look when resized or printed, but when you’re actually editing, zoom in. You can do more detail work that way.
1. Reducing shine.
Use the eyedropper to sample the color of the area right next to the shiny area. Then take your paintbrush with a low opacity (20% or so). Select an appropriate size for your paintbrush and “dab” the color on to the shiny area. It’s not going to go away completely in most cases; you’re blending.
(I can’t believe I’m about to show you a big, zoomed in picture of my shiny, unretouched face. I must really love you guys.)
Doesn’t that look better?
2. Hiding zits, scars and other yuckies.
Use the clone stamp tool with a medium opacity (40-70%), with an appropriate size (you’ll want your brush to be about the size of the blemish). What clone stamp does is it captures texture and color of a “source point” and copies it to areas of your choosing. So if you’re covering a long scar, it’s not going to look like a long scar with a somewhat skin-colored paintbrush mark over it. It’s going to blend in because we used a skin texture to cover it up. So, Alt+click (option+click on Mac) to define your “source point”. This is the area you’re going to copy from. The source point will follow your mouse around – experiment and you’ll figure out what I mean. Now that you have a source point, click on the blemish. You might only have to give it one click, or it might take a little finesse. Cloning takes some practice, but after you do a few times, it becomes second nature. I can de-zitify my own face in less than a minute in a lot of cases (depending on my complexion that day)!
3. Brighter lips, eyes and teeth.
Polygonal Lasso tool is your friend. Give it a feather of 1-4, depending on how big your original is. (The bigger your original, the more you should feather. If it’s only 600 px wide, use a 1 px feather. If it’s 3000 px wide, use 3 or so.) Select the area you want to enhance. (Basically you click along the area you’re selecting and it connects the dots of your clicks.) Some people use the “magic wand” selection tool for this, but I have had better accuracy by doing it with the Polygonal Lasso. Anyway, once it’s selected, Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, and play with the sliders until you like what you see. In the case of yellow teeth or eyes, try just lessening the saturation. For more vivid lips or eyes, try more saturation and play with the hue. You can experiment with other image adjustments too.
4. Adding eye makeup. This is by far the hardest to do realistically. Use the same tools as step 1, but use a very low opacity (10% or so). Select a color that is close to your skin color, but has the tint you’re looking for. (The swatch will be much more brownish grey looking than you expect!) Then, draw on the liner and shadow as best you can. This takes tons of practice, only works on some photos, and frustrates me to no end. But it can be done.
Voila. (Yeah, this last step did not come out so well. Like I said, this eye-editing stuff is really difficult for me. But you get the picture!)
Now remember that “before”? The “quick and dirty” job I did on the photo fixed a lot of the issues (though I over-did the eye makeup).
Because I know these tricks, I never worry about my skin anymore because I know I can fix it later. What I end up with are very acceptable and likable photos of myself. I don’t look airbrushed like a supermodel and my face isn’t entirely perfect, but that’s not the point. The point is to be confident with the changes in the photo. The trick of Photoshop is to go for subtle improvements. You don’t want people to look at your photos and say “Wow, that is SO Photoshopped!”
So even though I am the perfect candidate for a professional makeup artist, I’m not going to have one. Unlike many people’s weddings, there will be many more people who see our photos later on than who will actually see us in person on that day. The few people who will be attending our wedding have seen me at my worst, and they won’t notice if my chin has flared up or if my lips aren’t very vibrant. Lots of makeup isn’t my style, and it makes me uncomfortable. I’m glad to be able to skip it.
(To check out the original post, click here.)