It’s senior photo day at your high school. You just had a great portrait taken for the yearbook. Unfortunately, that morning when you looked in the mirror before leaving for school, you saw that overnight you developed a rather large zit, right on the tip of your nose. Naturally it had to happen on picture day. You tried all the usual remedies, and even tried to use some sort of make-up cover to hide it, but it still shows.
You were born with a rather large mole right next to your lip, that to you, seems really ugly. You would if your parents would let you have plastic surgery to get it removed. You don’t want to have your picture taken for the yearbook with that hideous brown spot staring at everyone in every picture someone takes. It’s for that reason, you hate to have your picture taken and try to avoid it at any length. But today if you don’t get your picture taken, you won’t be in the yearbook.
What is there to do?
It used to be much more difficult to remove or diffuse a blemish a mole or even a scar, in a photograph. It was time consuming, and tedious work that had to be done by a darkroom printing artist. Someone who was very good in a darkroom, and able to diffuse that blob, without damaging the picture. Or the picture had to have the negative or print retouched with paints to hide the blemish.
Now, with the advent of digital photography it has become so much more simple and much faster. It still takes someone with some artistic ability to do it with finesse, but if they are reasonably familiar with a computer program, such as Photoshop, it is so much easier and faster and can be done without changing the image, or damaging the photo. Nowadays, even if the image was shot on film, it can still be Photoshopped.
If you are aware of the problem going into the shoot, you should ask the photographer to remove the blemish prior to printing the photo. Most will comply, and have on staff at their studio someone who is Photoshop proficient. It most likely will only take a few minutes to remove the blemish, or artifact as it may be referred to.
If it is a digital image, uploading the image to a computer is a pretty typical thing to do in the digital age. In most cases it must be done to print the image anyway. If the photo was shot on film, it will need to be scanned into the computer as a digital file. Once it is in the computer, manipulating the image in Photoshop is very simple if you have the knowledge as to how to do it.
What I would most likely do for a skin blemish of almost any type, such as a zit, or a mole, that detracts from the picture, is to use the clone tool. Selecting a brush size that is appropriate, and cloned from the area around the blemish, so as to keep the color and texture as close to possible to the original area around it and just blot the artifact out until it matches the surrounding area. It is very simple after you’ve done it a few times, and will be virtually invisible.
This is true for many type of artifacts, including , but not limited to blemishes of all types, flash flare reflections from glasses, jewelry, or windows, dust spots, or stray hairs that may affect the image. The clone tool is probably the most used tool for this type of application, in Photoshop.
In severe cases, where larger areas are affected, cutting an area from a similar photograph, and implanting it or pasting it over the damaged image may be necessary, but the clone tool will still be used to blend the implanted portion of the image into the damaged picture to make it appear as part of the original image.
If you use Photoshop, you will become very familiar with the clone tool, as it will become your go to tool for most corrections.