Portrait Editing Part IV: Frequency Separation

This week we’re covering a topic that is pretty popular in editing and has been for the last few years: Frequency Separation. Essentially frequency separation is a technique that is used to soften the skin without losing detail. For years, retouchers used the clone tool and other techniques to try and blend skin tones and get those beautiful. smooth images we see on the covers of magazines and in beauty photos. The issue that arises is when the skin starts to lose too much detail and turns to plastic. Frequency separation helped combat that issue by, basically, separating the skin tones from the detail in the skin so that we can edit one without losing the other. This gives us the ability to make small, subtle changes to tonality in the skin without losing the details such as pores and small creases.

Now, that’s not to say that FS is infallible and you can never create gross looking skin with it. You have to be careful with it and make sure you’re using a very light brush to make the adjustments needed as I speak to in the video. It also takes a little practice and patience to really figure out and get right. I still struggle with it when I’m editing skin sometimes. More so for female models rather than male models as I typically don’t use it much on men.

So, have a look at the video, take some notes, play with it on your own time with your own photos, and feel free to drop me a comment or shoot me a message if you have any questions at all! Next week we’re tackling Tone & Color grading our images to get that look you’re going for.

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