Google+ Retouching Community

Google+ Retouching Community
If you’re on Google+ and reading this blog, you’ll probably want to become a member of the Google+ Retouching Community!

There didn’t seem to be a great deal around in terms of commercial retouching news, articles and discussion, so for photographers and retouchers of all levels we now now have a home on Google+. Click here to view and join us.


“Save the Future” Climate Week T-Shirt 2012 for EJF

Vaccines - Save the Future - Katharine Hamnett

The Vaccines


Hi all, last weekend I was asked to contribute to some of the shots for designer Katharine Hamnett’s Climate Week t-shirt for 2012, so I wanted to let you know a little bit about what’s happening with that. I’ve had little chance to blog much recently but it seemed a worthy cause to get behind and use my keyboard for something more useful than the shortcut keys I bore it with daily.

The Environmental Justice Foundation have partnered with Climate Week to produce this limited edition “Save the Future” design that’s available throughout Climate Week (12th-18th March 2012) at selected H&M UK stores for just £9.99. 25% of the sales price of the t-shirts support EJF’s No Place Like Home campaign to secure a better future for climate refugees.

Laura Jackson Roisin Murphy

Laura Jackson and Roisin Murphy


You can find out more about the Environmental Justice Foundation at and please do check out the other fantastic work of photographer Stephanie Sian Smith at

Save The Future! from Environmental Justice Foundation on Vimeo.

Please do take a moment to use the share links below to help raise awareness.


Dodge and Burn Tips

In the Dodge and Burn tutorial I covered the basics of D&B, using the curves and soft light methods, pixel level and carving. In this article I’ll cover a few extra tips that’ll help your eye make the right decisions and to avoid any unwanted colour shifts.

Enhancing the Problem (temporarily)

There are a couple of good ways to temporarily alter the image to show up the problem areas and help you dodge and burn what you otherwise might miss. The first is simple, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and pull the saturation slider to -100. After all, we’re dealing solely with luminosity, colour can be an unwanted distraction.

Secondly, you can use a curve to increase contrast to the areas you’re working on. The steepest part of a curve is the area of highest contrast, and we can manipulate this to help us work on problem areas. With this sample image I’m lucky enough to be able to significantly increase the steepness of the curve without losing much detail at either end;

This brings out a lot of detail that might otherwise be difficult to spot. To increase contrast in a specific area, such as the highlights in this collarbone, shift the curve so that the steepest part of the curve lies in the lightest part of the histogram;

Be aware that by doing this you’re decreasing contrast in the shadows and in danger of plugging the blacks, so you may need to steepen the curve there later to check you haven’t missed anything.

Group your desaturation and contrast curve layers together and simply switch them off when you’re done.

Combating Colour Shifts

The problem with dodge and burn is that areas of shadow are more saturated than midtones, and a lot more saturated than highlights. As we’re dealing solely with luminosity, those hues won’t change, meaning an area you’ve significantly lightened can appear oversaturated and a darkened highlight can look ashy and dull.

To remedy this open two new Hue/Sat adjustment layers, one above each of your Dodge and Burn curves;

Alt/Opt click between layers to clip a layer to the layer beneath. This means the effect of the clipped layer will only affect the appearance of the layer it’s clipped to. It will recognise masks, so clipping a Hue/Sat layer to your Dodge curve will affect only the dodged areas;

As we know that dark areas are likely to become (or rather remain) oversaturated when lightened, drop the saturation slider on your Burn adjustment. And as lighter areas are less saturated, and will remain so when darkened, raise the saturation slider for your Dodge adjustment. You can set the saturation slider according to how much of a shift you see in colour, frequently anywhere between no shift at all to plus or minus 20pts depending on the image. Zoom in and check closely while you choose your slider setting, and don’t forget you can adjust the hue in the same dialog if you find it necessary.

Please feel free to share the article, and if you have any questions please post them below.


Dodge and Burn Tutorial

Dodging and Burning is a method of lightening and darkening specific areas of an image, regulating local exposure to even out texture and contours. It digitally acheives (and with much more control) an old darkroom technique of witholding light (dodging) to keep an area light, or increasing the exposure to darken (burn) areas.
You’ll find the dodge and burn tools on the toolbar to the left of the default Photoshop setup, or by pressing ‘O‘.
The problem with using the standard tools is that they work destructively, they won’t operate on a blank layer so you’ll be making permanent changes to your working layer. This would be fine if none of us ever made an error or changed our minds, but to give us the option, we have a couple of methods available. [Read more...]

Daniel Meadows – High End Photo Retouching

Welcome to Daniel Meadows – High End Photo Retouching

Daniel Meadows is a British freelance retoucher with nine years of experience in digital retouching and has worked with award winning photographers and major fashion and cosmetics brands such as Chanel, L’Oreal Paris, Elle Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. Daniel uses high end retouching techniques to achieve a subtle perfection without relying on common ‘blurring’ skin retouching methods which destroy pore-detail and clarity; strictly using non-destructive retouching techniques that look perfect at any resolution.


Please feel free to view the retouching portfolio section for examples of retouched images.

Daniel Meadows

DM Retouching Site Relaunch

Welcome to the new and updated version of my retouching portfolio and blogging site. I hope you’ll forgive the mess as I work to bring the new site into 2011 with a new look and a new mission for quality new content for photographers and new retouchers. My thanks go to Ian Cylkowski for the rebranding and further help with design elements.

It’s been an interesting year since I focused D Meadows Design into a dedicated freelance retouching service and the response from everyone has been extraordinary. I’ve cleared a lot of dead wood from the blog pages and I’m ready to focus on providing more tips and advice for anyone pursuing photo perfection. It’s been a long year with 16-20 hour days not uncommon to establish the freshly rebranded Daniel Meadows – High End Photo Retouching but it’s been worth it, and my thanks go to my clients and friends on this site and the others I frequent and write for. [Read more...]

Top 5 Photoshop Retouching Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Welcome to my top five list of Photoshop Retouching Mistakes. Aimed at the beginner retoucher (if you’ve been around a while you know all this) I’ve compiled five retouching crimes I see frequently.

I’m not going to go into massive depth with step by step tutorials, as I don’t believe in them. My apologies for quickly glossing over techniques I don’t have the space to go into in depth here, if as a beginner you’ve never used luminosity masking for example, consult Adobe’s help file, then use your imagination to play with your new selections, using various fills and adjustment layers. If any technique is new to you, go straight to that help file and then experiment before looking at any top ten Google tutorials. The single worst way to learn how to retouch is by looking through the millions of tutorials search engines throw up, because they’re simply saturated with ‘quick-fix’ ten step promises of perfection in under ten minutes. The truth is, perfection isn’t that simple, and neither is good retouching. So if you decided to add something to your Photoshop skill set today, make it what you take from this article. [Read more...]

20 Years of Photoshop Welcome Screens

Here’s a look back over 20 years of Adobe Photoshop welcome screens, I’ve now updated the article with Photoshop CS5. Every release of Adobe’s industry standard photo editing software prior to 6.0 is alien to me, but perhaps those horrendous 90′s splash screens will bring back memories for some of you.

[Read more...]

Retouching In Photoshop 1 – The Basics Page 3

Now we have a more even skin tone cleared of major blemishes, we might look to adjustments and masks to complete our image. It strikes me that the lips need to draw the eye more, so we’re going to work on drawing the viewers attention to our intended point of focus.

Selections, masks and adjustments

I’m going to start with a couple of global adjustments, here are the first few changes I made; [Read more...]

Retouching In Photoshop 1 – The Basics Page 2

Once you’ve completed Retouching in Photoshop Page 1, you may have started to notice the next problem to tackle. We’ve softened and removed the main blemishes, but the skin tone is still blotchy and uneven. In this next step we’ll solve this problem using the dodge and burn tools.

Look at our image below (you will need flash player installed to view it) and roll your mouse cursor over the image. Highlighted in green are areas that are a little too dark, and highlighted in red are areas that are too light. Roll your cursor over a few times, allowing your eyes time to adjust to each image. Remember that too dark or light is hugely subjective, and the example given is one artist’s very rough 60-second appraisal of the skin tone variations at a macro level. It’s just a guide, but it should be enough to train your eye towards these variations. There are others I’ve missed out, and no doubt a few errors, so don’t follow it exact. It’s ultimately up to you how you interpret your image. [Read more...]