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How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop

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Published on Aug 7, 2014

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How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop

When photographing people, you will often notice the skin tone on their face is slightly different from the tone on their body. This color change happens for many reasons, including makeup, sun tan, blush, skin quality and light quality. If you have never noticed a difference in color, look again! It may surprise you.

Matching skin tone from one area to another can be rather tricky if you don't analyze color first. In this episode we show you how to analyze skin color from highlights through to shadows. Then we show you how to change mid-tone shadows and highlights to match face color to body color. You will be able to take these techniques with you for most portraits!

Tools for Matching Skin Tone

There are many ways to match skin tone in Photoshop, here is a quick guideline to what Phlearn uses.

Levels - Levels are more powerful than most people realize. Along with adjusting light and dark values they also adjust colors. Levels are our preferred method for matching skin tone in Photoshop.
Hue/saturation - It is common when adding color to skin that too much color is applied. This is not something that can be controlled thought the Levels Adjustment Layer. Instead it is better to use a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and bring the saturation down.
Group Layer Masking

If you plan on creating a few adjustment layers and want them all restricted to the same place on your image try grouping them together first. You can add a mask to a group just as you would a layer. Using a Group Mask allows you to control the visibility of all the layers in a group, saving time and making selections more accurate.

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