Retouching a portait

Sometimes I go through old photographs in my archive, as I keep them all of course! and stumbled across this picture below, which is one of my favourite portraits to date. I shot this a little while back with a one light setup - kept it nice and simple. 

Rather than just throw some colours over it or just adjust them for that matter, I wanted to use various techniques I've picked up over the years to really make the final image as clean and cinematic as possible. As you can see, the image still has that realism to it and not overly retouched, as I just cleaned up the skin using various retouching techniques. However its very important that whilst doing this, you do not blur the skin to make it appear smooth and keep all the pores intact. As obvious as it sounds, believe me when I say that I see far too many photographers who blur the skin, oppose to use the proper techniques that are out there to achieve this. I also tend not to remove certain features of a person i.e. moles, scars etc as they can be the most distinctive things about that particular person (unless it is what they want of course).

Also, I  must add that I have tried various different plugins that are out there in the past, but however found that they were blurring the skin rather than smoothening out the skins transitions. One of the better plugins for skin which I have the chance to try is a plugin for photoshop called 'Portraiture' by Imagenomic. It gave me really great results, however, I reverted back to the traditional manual techniques of retouching, as it gave me more control and a better final result, in my opinion.

Believe me when I say that retouching is not a quick job and can sometimes take me anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on the image of course and also what is required. I don't tend to retouch my images and will only retouch an image if that is what the client wants or if its commercial work I am doing.

Now that I have told you this, I guarantee it will be noticed now and some of you may even be pressed right up the against the screen to verify if the pores are still there.....and guess what...they are ;)

Thanks for reading!