How to Retouch Photos in 5 Steps

How to Retouch Photos in 5 Steps
September 5, 2017 Gary Smith

Your coworker, your aunt, your roommate’s dog—everyone deserves to look their best in photos. But sometimes the camera has other ideas, and that’s where photo retouching comes in.

Retouching photos isn’t about looking perfect. It’s about bringing out the best in your photos, and putting back what the camera can take away (thanks to harsh lighting, etc.) So how do you get a fresh faced, natural look while touching up your pics? Focus on small, subtle edits. Here, we’ll show you how to resist the urge to airbrush your face into a state of obviously fake, angelic perfection, and keep it real.

How to touch up a picture in PicMonkey

To touch up a picture, hover over Touch Up at the top of the PicMonkey homepage. Photo location options (your computer, Hub, Facebook, and more) will appear below in a grey bar. Click one of the options, select your photo, and it’ll open in the PicMonkey Editor with the Touch Up tab open. You’ll notice that PicMonkey has a touch up tool for everything from removing a blemish to adding makeup. Here, we’ll show you how to use a few of them and retouch your photos in five simple steps.

1. Ditch Blemishes

Before and after picture of retouching a photo with blemish fix

So you had some bad luck with acne the ONE day everybody decided to take pictures. Thankfully, with the modern advances in PicMonkey technology, this isn’t a problem. Click Blemish Fix and adjust the brush size until it’s slightly larger than the blemish itself. Then click the blemish to make it disappear. When you’re done blasting blemishes, click Apply. Went a lil’ too crazy with Blemish Fix? Click the Undo arrow in the bottom toolbar to undo your last action.

2. Whiten your smile

Before and after of touching up a picture using Teeth Whiten.

Subtly brightening a smile can seriously up the wow factor of any pic. To snazzify a smile in PicMonkey, click Teeth Whiten and zoom in on the mouth. Adjust the brush size, then apply until the teeth sparkle. If they’re looking a little too bright, try adjusting the Fade slider, or click Cancel and try again. You can also use the Eraser to fix any mistakes.

3. Rewind the wrinkles

Before and after picture of using the wrinkle remover touch up effect

Worrying about that one little wrinkle that wasn’t there last year? Don’t sweat it, edit! Click Wrinkle Remover and adjust the brush size to the size of the wrinkle. Click and drag your cursor over the wrinkle to remove it. Use the Fade slider to get a natural look, then click Apply.

4. Sparkle-ize your eyes

Before and after of a photo using PicMonkey's Eye Brighten touch up effect.

Sometimes your sparkling eyes can lose a bit of their luster when the shutter snaps. To put it back, try Eye Brighten. First, adjust the brush size to fit your eyes, then click to apply the effect. Next, adjust the Lighten and Fade sliders until your eyes glimmer.

5. Enliven your lips

Before and after picture of a picture usingPicMonkey's Lip Tint effect.

PicMonkey’s makeup tools make it easy to add a hint of color, or go full-on glam. For this pic, we brightened this smile with Teeth Whiten (which we talked about above), then added some digital lip color with Lip Tint. Ready to try it out? Adjust the Brush size slider in Lip Tint and carefully apply. Once you’ve applied Lip Tint, you can preview different color options without having to scribble over your lips again (which is way easier than trying out different lip colors IRL). Give our preset colors a whirl, or click the rainbow box to explore even more options. And use the Hardness, Intensity, and Tone sliders until you find the perfect hue for your lips.

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Gary writes for PicMonkey as the illustrious and ever-resourceful copywriter intern. When he’s not drafting and publishing, Gary enjoys sailing on Lake Washington, and making artisanal soap.