For this tutorial I'm using Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, although the same techniques will work with versions CS1 and CS2 as well. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 has a similar tool called the Makeover Brush which is used in the same way.
It's often said that the camera never lies, and while this may be broadly true, sometimes the whole truth can be very unflattering. Modern high-resolution digital SLRs capture a huge amount of detail, including every pore, wrinkle, spot and blemish on the face of a portrait subject. While it's nice to think that these details add character to a face, most people are at least a little vain, and almost everyone over the age of 30 is sensitive about their age.
Fortunately Adobe Photoshop is an accomplished liar, and provides tools that can be used to hide the signs of aging as effectively as cosmetic surgery. If your subject's skin is showing a little more character than they're entirely happy with, subtle use of the Healing Brush and a couple of other simple techniques can take the years off in minutes.
As with most Photoshop techniques, the key is not to overdo it. I'm using as my starting point this portrait of an attractive mature woman. Like most people who spend a lot of time outdoors her skin has a few sun spots and freckles, as well as some small wrinkles.
Without changing too much of the original image, I have cleaned up her skin a little and made one or two other small adjustments. The cumulative effect of these is to make her look about ten years younger.
Can you tell what the other changes were? To find out how it's done, read on…