3 Retouching PITAs to Prevent in Pre-Capture

A great advantage of being the shooter of the images you retouch is that you can prevent a lot of mistakes while shooting to avoid paying for them with your time and energy in post-production. Professional retouchers often don’t have that luxury, and that’s the beauty of doing both – photography and retouching.

Here are some of the tricks I have learned through out my career being a beauty and portrait photographer and retoucher:


I cannot tell you how much I dislike fixing chapped lips in post-production, and I bet you feel the same if you have ever had to deal with them before. Of course, I have figured out the most effective ways to do it by now, but: a) it’s time-consuming, b) it will still look much better if the lipstick is applied on smooth lips, not over skin flakes, obviously.

So, this is what my very first super talented MUA Mikala Vandenbroucke taught me.

You will need:

  1. Disposable mascara wands
  2. Any oil – a multipurpose oil or even olive oil, whatever you have available at your studio

Before your MUA starts applying any makeup, take a look at your model’s face to see if her lips are nice and moisturized. If you notice that her lips are dry and chapped, dip a disposable mascara wand into oil and let your model gently rub the mascara brush on her lips.

The idea is to exfoliate the skin on the lips and remove any dry skin flakes leaving the lips soft and smooth.

Carolina Urrea, Miss Santa Monica 2016 by Julia Kuzmenko

Carolina Urrea, Miss Santa Monica 2016 by Julia Kuzmenko


This is perfectly normal for lean human beings to have their veins visible on the back of their hands, but we are often asked to remove them in post. There’s a way to actually “fix” them even before you capture the images.

Before you take the shots where the hands (with bulging veins) are visible, ask your model or client to raise her hands and shake them loose for 5 seconds.

The blood will rush back from the hands and the skin will appear nice and even.


It’s faster to avoid capturing the bulging veins on hands then fixing them in post-production.


If you’re shooting beauty where your model’s or client’s bare shoulders will be visible, ask her to take off her bra before she sits down for her makeup and hair. That way the lines on her skin from tight bra straps will disappear by the time you are ready to shoot.

It’s a good idea to have a nice dressing gown in the studio for your clients and models to throw on while they are getting their hair and makeup done. And, of course, a little private changing area, so they feel comfortable changing after you bring up losing their bra 🙂

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  • Dawid

    I will need to let my MUA know about that lips trick! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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