How to Fix Shiny Faces in Person and in Photoshop

Specular highlights on the face of a subject will be something every photographer encounters. So, you may as well know a few ways to deal with it.

If you’ve taken a portrait, you’ve seen shiny skin. It’s a natural part of human anatomy prevalent in all ages, genders, and races, but it can be annoying. The way people have been dealing with it predating the camera is makeup, which is indeed effective, but not everyone wears it, not everyone wants it, and the highlights can still penetrate.

During more focused and honed editorial shoots, I rarely run into this problem; the makeup artist will be more conscious of it than I possibly could be. However, with corporate headshots, you’ll run into it every few minutes. My go-to fix is to use the largest, double-diffused softbox I own so the light isn’t too intensive. If the problem persists — and particularly if the subject flags it up — I will fix in post with various action sets. David Bergman’s feathered patch tool is a useful technique which will work in many situations, though in certain situations it can make a bit of a mess.

How do you handle shine and specular highlights on skin? Share your method in the comment section below.


%d bloggers like this: