Retouching With Viktor Fejes

In this retouching demonstration, recorded LIVE, professional retoucher Viktor Fejes is given free rein to get as creative as he likes as he works on an image submitted by one of our Visual Education subscribers. 

The techniques covered in this class will be familiar to those already comfortable working with Photoshop. It includes an overview of skin retouching, burning and dodging and healing, as well as a more detailed demonstration of colour correction and how to guide the eye using colour and contrast.

You’ll discover how a professional retoucher works and gain valuable insight into the tools, techniques and thought processes he uses to reach the final image.

As Viktor works through the image, he fields questions from members, addressing issues such as how to start learning Photoshop, pricing your work and how to submit images for retouching. He also touches on more technical elements such as the best monitors for retouching, calibrating your monitor and the importance of color theory.

In this class:

  • How to retouch like a professional
  • Professional photo editing workflow
  • Guiding the eye using color and contrast
  • The importance of color theory
  • Skin retouching in Photoshop
  • Burning and dodging and alternative techniques
  • Color grading in Photoshop

If you missed Viktor’s live talk show, you can watch it on replay here.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.



    At 19:54 while retouching the nose I didn’t quite understood what he did? Why not using a brush with exposure setting ⅓ less exposure and just brush the tip of the nose instead of doing what he did??

    1. Hi, a little earlier in the class I noticed he accessed the RAW file to reduce the highlights on the nose with the ‘highlight’ control command in the RAW editor and then I think he either linked that as a smart object or just dragged a new layer in of that nose area and then applied a mask to hide the whole layer and then just brushed in to reveal the areas he needed.

  2. Hello Karl !

    I’ve changed my computer since the last one died. I used to work with Viktor’s action for photoshop i got on your website back then. I can’t find it anymore? Do you know where i can find it may be ?

    Best regars Karl!


    1. Well don’t bother, as usual i start wrinting before i search enough. Got it, in the download section. Tanks karl 😉

  3. Hi Karl… great chat about what retouching really is, beside the tech things. I was wondering, as a pure exercise of thought, if photos in which retouching is crucial for the final outcome of the photograph could be entirely considered the work of the photographer. Of course, all the reasoning and work that led to the shot are important, but perhaps, even if we deliver an excellent raw to the retoucher and thinking about the final result, that photo is no longer so much, or only, ours. Thanks a lot. Have a good week. Roberto

    1. Hi Roberto, it’s a good point but many photographers such as myself and others like Tim Flach who are very definitive with their retouching, we do it ourselves. Other photographers who outsource their retouching still are expected to give very clear instructions of what they want so in essence it’s a bit like a film director. The director can’t do everything but he knows exactly what he wants the end result to be so he gives clear instruction to make the creation become reality.

      1. yes, true… you’re right. I take care of most of the retouching too, but on certain projects I prefer a pro touch. Even though I provide all the details to the retoucher to get the photo that I have in mind, in the end, I feel it’s a little less mine. But obviously, this is my problem. Thank you very much for your reply, Karl. Have a great day. Ciao from Italy.

  4. Hi Karl,
    What is your experience with Apple monitors compared with the one that you use? You mentioned (alongside with Viktor) that it is much glossier etc, but what would you recommend to pay attention to, editing on an apple screen, as currently I can’t afford an Eizo one for instance? I guess it’s not like the images are gonna end up rubbish edited on an apple, but I’m afraid that what looks exactly how I want on mine, it is going to be different on my clients side.
    Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Tamas, you can certainly edit but just be aware that the image you’re looking at is likely going to be a bit brighter and bit more contrasty and colourful than it would on an Eizo or in print. The Apple retina screens on Imacs and Macbooks give you great detail though.

      1. Thank you for the fast and detailed response! For some reason I thought you meant apple products in general, however as I work on a retina MacBook Pro, I’ll worry less about it 🙂 thanks again 👍🏻

  5. I’m sorry but was there an answer on how Karl made the stream come out of the ears? I heard what was said but I didn’t hear how the steam was actually made. The steps to it.

    1. Hi Gina, I shot the steam from a kettle on a solid black background. Then I took that shot and put it into the man shot and set the blend mode to ‘lighten’ on the layer and then did a bit of contrast and burn and dodge work.

  6. Hi in response to the question about books for colour theory,the one i found was “Colour and Light” by James Gurney,it is essentially for painters but it really explains everything about colour and how colours interact with others and how light effects colours,hope this helps. Regards Rob

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