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Enhancing the Lips

I debated whether or not I should call this tutorial “Luscious Lips,” but I thought better of it. This technique is great for giving the lips just a little extra punch. Here, we‘ll enhance the color of the lips. Often, you’ll find that the lip color is just too lifeless, but there’s an easy way to fix that.

  • Step 1. Open the photo where the subject’s lips look like they blend in with everything else on the face.
  • Step 2. Click on the Create Adjustment Layer icon at the top of the Layers palette and select Hue/Saturation. When the Hue/Saturation dialog opens, the Edit pop-up menu at the top should read Master. Go ahead and change this to Reds because we want to target the red tones directly here.
  • Step 3. Drag the Saturation slider over toward the right until you start to see the lips turn redder. Don’t go too far just yet because you don’t want that drastic of a change. Somewhere around +15–20 is good to start with. Click OK to close the dialog.
  • Step 4. In making this adjustment, you’ve really enhanced all of the reds in the photo which is not what we’re after. So, let’s restrict it to just the lips. Press D, then X to set your Foreground color to black, then click once on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer’s mask to select it, and fill it with black by pressing Alt-Backspace (Mac: Option-Delete). Doing this hides the red-enhancing effect we just created.
  • Step 5. Now press B to choose the Brush tool, press X to set your Foreground color to white, and start painting over the lips. You’ll start to see the red re-appear back in the lips but not the rest of the photo. If you mess up and paint too far, just press X again to switch your Foreground color back to black and paint it away. Now you can double-click on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to tweak the red color to make it stronger or weaker. This way you’ll only see it on the lips and not the rest of the photo.
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