How to Edit a Headshot Photo


Basic touch-ups are now expected for most headshots. Making your own edits to a photo you took is a lot cheaper than hiring out and can be done quickly and well with various image-editing software. Because of the accessibility of programs like Adobe Photoshop, if you try printing a headshot or any other photographic work without any edits, you may find your work lagging behind standards.

  • Open your image-editing software and load the photo you want to work on. Crop the photo using the cropping tool to get the borders you want. Cropping before instead of after editing makes processing faster because the image file size will be reduced.

  • Zoom in. Select the clone tool and choose a small feathered brush. Set an opacity of about 25%. Use the clone tool to erase any problem areas like pimples, red marks or unwanted freckles. Alt-click on a clean area of skin that has the same tone and color that surrounds the unwanted mark. Click and drag the mouse over the area you want to erase, and the problem area will be replaced with the sample of unblemished skin you just selected.

  • Open the "Levels" dialogue box. Most programs allow for an automatic levels adjustment that is quite efficient. If yours does, you can perform the automatic function and simply tweak the levels as you wish. Adjusting levels ensures that your whitest parts are white and your blackest parts are black.

  • Adjust saturation and contrast as required. These adjustments can usually be made in a dialogue box under the "Image" option. Saturation makes your colors appear stronger, and contrast helps to eliminate unwanted grey or dull areas. Be careful not to over-process however, as a heavily adjusted image is usually quite obvious and not necessarily attractive.

  • Open the layer panel and click on the circle-shaped drop-down box on the top right of the panel. Select "Duplicate layer." This creates a second layer that stacks on top of the first. Select the new layer and reduce its opacity to about 25%. With the new layer still selected, choose "Gaussian Blur" from the "Filters" menu and set it to anywhere from 3 to 10 pixels depending on the original file size. This will soften and "perfect" skin. To get some varying effects, play with the layer opacity and the blending mode.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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