Sunday, July 23, 2017

How to Quickly Fix Skin Tone with Too Much Shadow in Photoshop

When you’re in the printing business it’s necessary to be quick at editing graphics supplied by clients in order to keep up with their delivery time requirements. My best friend Rommel Hachero is a co-owner of Bimbox Advertising and is always on the forefront of editing such graphics. As an expert in Photoshop, Rommel showed me quite an easy way of editing photos that have low-quality skin tones or too much shadow.

Here are the procedures he told me to do. Please note that these procedures apply to CMYK mode files.

  1. Open the subject photo. As we can see in the sample, the skin tone looks somewhat okay but there seems to be too much shadow.
Shadow covered face

There’s too much shadow covering the skin areas.

  1. Duplicate the background photo by pressing Ctrl+j in PC. Create a blank layer that will be used as the color for the skin. You can name this layer if you want. I named mine skin color adjustment layer.
Procedure 2

You don’t actually need to duplicate the background layer, you can directly create the skin color adjustment layer if you wish. I just duplicate the background just in case I need to edit something to it.

  1. On the skin color adjustment layer, set Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All.
Procedure 3

Create Layer Mask.

  1. Using the eyedropper tool select a skin tone color in the photo that is just right for you. My friend suggested the skin tone color should have zero Cyan and zero Black. Fill the skin color adjustment layer with this skin tone.
Procedure 4

Fill Layer Mask with skin tone color.

  1. Set skin color adjustment layer to a blending mode of Screen and an opacity from 5%‒50%. I used 20%, but we can adjust this later if we like. Select the Layer Mask thumbnail then using Brush, start erasing the area that you want to fix the skin tone. Or you can use Path tool and Load path as selection, set a small amount of feather (1 px will do), then delete.
Procedure 5

Set blending mode to Screen, adjust opacity, then delete Layer Mask using either Brush or the Path tool.

  1. After noticing that the subject looked like a vampire due to the pale color, I adjusted the opacity of the Mask layer to 7%.
Procedure 6

Adjust opacity if necessary.

I’m not an expert at photo editing/manipulation yet. So the output of this procedure is not well done as you can see below.


Original (left) and edited (right) versions of the photo with too much shadow.

But this technique that my friend shared to me is a welcome procedure in Photography post processing.

Do you have your own way of editing skin tones with too much shadow using Photoshop? Feel free to share them too in the comments. Thanks.

Please do visit my Photography website at