We all want to put our best face forward and, with Shutterstock Create, it’s easy!
Thanks to Create’s face editor tools, professional creatives and family photo enthusiasts alike can make subtle adjustments that add up to sparkling, fresh-faced beauty—whatever beauty looks like to you.
Whiten teeth, smooth blemishes, remove red eye, erase flyaway hairs . . . with just a few clicks in Create. Learn how by following the quick guide to retouching photos below.
Image compare– original grey background on Left side “before”
colorful version on right side “after”
How to Retouch Photos in Create
Create’s photo retouching tools are available directly in the browser—no need for a separate face editing app or makeup editor.
Here’s how to retouch any photo:
- Open a new project, either from a template or blank canvas from the Create homepage.
- In the editor, click Images from the left menu and then click Upload. Select any image from your device to add to your canvas.
- Select the image on your canvas, and then click Adjust from the top menu.
- From the Adjust submenu at the left, scroll down to Touch Up. Then select any effect and adjust its strength, position, color, and other settings.
- Once you’re done, click Download to get your file or Publish to share it directly to social media.
Shutterstock Create has more than a dozen photo retouching tools available, all focused on subtly enhancing faces.
Here are five of the most popular—but we recommend jumping into Create for yourself to explore them all!
The Airbrush tool works to smooth out imperfections in the skin. By blurring adjacent pixels together, this tool de-emphasizes blemishes, acne, stretch marks, cellulite, and other small imperfections.
To use the Airbrush tool, simply paint over the areas you’d like to smooth out.
Keep in mind that too much airbrushing can result in a fake, doll-like appearance, so it’s best to use this tool selectively. Always aim for authentic beauty rather than perfection.
2. Eye Tint
With the Eye Tint tool, you can quickly change anyone’s eye color! Choose any hue from the color picker, adjust the brush size, and then carefully paint over the irises (the colored part of the eye).
Stick with a hue that’s similar to the subject’s natural eye color if you want to keep things understated, or switch to a completely new hue for a fresh look.
If you’d like to draw extra attention to the eyes without changing their color, try the Eye Brighten tool instead.
3. Teeth Whiten
Yellow teeth? Skip the teeth whitening app and make them pearly white in Create. Simply click the Teeth Whiten tool and then paint over the teeth you’d like to brighten up.
Adjust the Size and Hardness of the brush to help you paint into small crevices, and tweak the Strength to make the effect more or less obvious.
4. Blemish Fix
With the Blemish Fix tool, you can eliminate skin imperfections large and small.
In many cases, the effect will be similar to the Airbrush tool highlighted above; however, the key difference is in how the tool actually works.
Airbrushing blurs pixels together to create a smooth, uniform surface with even coloring; Blemish Fix, instead, takes the color and texture of the surrounding pixels and layers them on top of the blemished area.
With the Airbrush tool, you’ll achieve the best effect with a continuous painting motion and can use a brush of any size.
With Blemish Fix, you’ll get the best effect by sizing the brush to the size of the blemish and then repeatedly dabbing over it.
5. Lip Tint
The Lip Tint tool allows you to switch up the hue and saturation of lip color with just a few brush strokes. Simply paint over your subject’s lips using the color of your choice.
Other photo makeup options in Create include Blush Boost, Mascara, Eyeliner, Eye Shadow, and Eyebrow Pencil.
3 More Ways to Touch Up Portraits in Create
Create’s Touch Up menu gives you quick options for editing faces, but there are also many other tools outside of the dedicated photo retouching suite that can help you create more professional-looking images.
1. Enhance Any Photo Automatically
The Auto Adjust tool works similarly to a smartphone’s “auto enhance” feature and is perfect for any photo, including both portraits and landscapes.
Auto Adjust boosts the contrast, brightens it up, and adds just a little vibrance—all subtle changes, yet strong enough to make a difference.
Simply select your photo on the canvas, click Adjust from the top, and then click the Auto Adjust button from the left.
2. Fix Flyaway Hairs
Want to fix hair in a photo online? Then the Eraser tool is your best friend! Simply select your photo on your canvas and click Erase from the top menu. Adjust the hardness, size, and brush type, depending on the size of the hairs you need to remove.
Note that the Eraser tool will erase all pixels on your selected layer. After you’ve erased flyaway hairs from the photo, you’ll need to fill in the empty background space using a shape and/or paintbrush that matches the color of the photo’s original background.
If the background is too complex to fill in, then try replacing it altogether! More on that next.
3. Change the Background
Last but not least, try out Create’s Background Remover tool! In just a few clicks, you can transport the subject of your photo to any place in the world—be it a mock photo studio, a tropical beach, or a world-famous attraction.
Simply click your photo and click Remove bkgnd from the top menu. Then upload your own photo as a background or choose from Shutterstock’s unlimited stock assets.
For more detailed instructions, check out this quick how-to on Background Remover.
6 Best Practices and Tips for Retouching Photos
Unless you’re creating a highly stylized image for artistic effect, the best rule of thumb for retouching photos is a simple one: Less is more.
Subtle adjustments can make a significant difference, and the line between “just right” and “too much” is thinner than you might expect.
Follow these basic guidelines to help you achieve an attractive and natural-looking photo edit:
- Think about the end goal first. Are you trying to make a loved one happy through your photo edits? Or, are you trying to achieve a dramatic, artistic mood for a portfolio? The right tools to use will come down to the purpose of your edits.
- Always upload two copies of your image to your canvas, leaving one untouched as a background layer so that you can easily compare before and after.
- Avoid the temptation to over-edit. The subject should be recognizable and still feel like themselves—just a slightly more photogenic version.
- Don’t be afraid to combine photo retouching tools to get the best effect! For example, you may use Blemish Fix to eliminate a scar but then Airbrush to smooth out the final result.
- Consider cropping as a means of enhancing the photo, too! You may be able to draw attention to your desired trait simply by changing the photo’s composition.
- Before you call your photo edit done, take some time away and come back with fresh eyes. Even a short break can help you determine whether your edits look natural or too heavy.
Bonus Tip: How to Do a Face Swap Online
Wondering how to put a face on another body, a la Snapchat face swap? Well, it’s as simple as using a combination of the tools described above.
Try this method for a quick face swap online:
- Open a blank canvas from the Create homepage.
- Upload the photo with the faces you want to swap.
- Duplicate the layer two times so that you have three copies of the photo in total.
- Select one photo and click Remove bkgnd from the top menu. Then click Erase from the top menu to erase everything from the photo except one face.
- Repeat step 4 on the second copy of the photo, erasing everything except the other person’s face.
- With the original photo in the background, move each person’s face on top of the other’s. Resize the two faces and rotate their positions until they look natural on each other’s faces.
Pro tip: For the most realistic-looking results with face swapping, choose a photo in which both faces are oriented at a similar angle to the camera.
To find out which photo retouching tools will become your go-to, hop over to Create to give them a try for yourself! With just a little experimentation, you’ll become a face editing pro in no time.