How to Retouch a Photo in 5 Steps

How to Retouch a Photo in 5 Steps
November 28, 2018 PicMonkey

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 retouching photos 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.

Here are a few quick steps to get your started—but scroll down for more detailed examples.

Quick Steps for Photo Retouching

  1. Click Create new on the homepage to open an image in the editor.
  2. Click the Touch Up tab (the head icon) on the left-hand side of the editor.
  3. Pick the touch up tools you want to use.
  4. Adjust the tool’s settings to get the look you want.
  5. Click Apply to finalize the effect.

How to retouch a photo in PicMonkey

PicMonkey has a touch up tool for everything from removing a blemish to adding makeup. Read on to see just how these tools can bring out the best in your pics.

1. Ditch blemishes

Learn how to retouch a photo with picmonkey's blemish fix tool.

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. Blemish Fix is also available on the PicMonkey mobile app.

2. Whiten your smile

Learn how to retouch a photo with PicMonkey's teeth whitening tool.

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. This feature is also available on PicMonkey mobile.

3. Rewind the wrinkles

Learn how to retouch a photo with PicMonkey's wrinkle remover tool.

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

Learn how to retouch a photo with picmonkey's eye brighten tool.

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 over the area to apply the effect. Not hitting the right tone? Adjust the Lighten and Fade sliders until your eyes glimmer. You can access the Eye Brighten feature on the mobile app as well.

5. Enliven your lips


Learn how to retouch a photo with picmonkey's lip tint tool.

PicMonkey’s makeup tools make it easy to fix teeth in photos and 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 got your lips covered, 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 color wheel box to explore even more options. Plus, use the Hardness, Intensity, and Tone sliders until you find the perfect hue for your lips. Click Apply and your photo is ready for a night on the town.

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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make powerful images that level up your business.