How to Fix Red Skin Tone in Photoshop

Whether you are an amateur or a professional photographer, red skin tone is a problem that you’ll see in your photos quite often. Thanks to Photoshop, however, getting that perfect skin tone is just a few mouse-clicks away. In this tutorial, Aaron Nace shows us how to easily remove the dreaded red tone using Photoshop:

This before image shows the clearly visible redness around the nose area.

how to correct red skin tone in photos

Before Adjusting Skin Tone

Steps to Correct Red Skin Tone

Most Photoshop users would be too happy to create an adjustment layer and then drag the hue/saturation slider around. This is not recommended as it can affect the entire image. If you change the hue/saturation you will affect the red that is present in other areas of the image besides the skin. As such, to correct the image (and to remove red tones around the nose, etc.) you will need to figure out a way to select only the areas that you wish to change:

  • Create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.
  • In the layer properties, Select Master and select Red.
  • Drag the saturation slider all the way to the right to get an indication of the areas that are most affected.
how to highlight red skin tone using saturation in photoshop

Highlighted Area of the Face with Saturation Maximized

  • Select the slider at the bottom of the Hue/Saturation dialogue and slide it left or right to zero in on the area that you need to work on. There are two sliders that basically work in tandem. Adjust the selection so that you can narrow it to the area that is most affected.
  • Dragging the slider left or right will reveal the area that is most affected. This is your target area for correction.
  • Bring the saturation back down to zero. You only boosted it to highlight the affected area.
  • Now slide the Hue slider left or right to adjust the color. Keep adjusting till you see the affected areas beginning to match the skin tone of the rest of the face.
red skin tone correction in photoshop

Before/After Skin Tone Adjustment

That’s it! Using this technique, skin tone adjustment is quick and simple.

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2 Comments

  1. While I agree with your methodology to accomplish the task, I’m disappointed in the selection of the subject. I look at this photo and see a hard working man, maybe of European or Eastern European decent, working in the open air. Maybe a farm or some physical outdoor labor. He is exposed to the elements and his reddish complexion and skin tone is a direct result of that labor. I wouldn’t be surprised if a little Schnapps or a beer after work adds to that character. My point is that the photo was perfect before the adjustments. Reminds me of photos of my grandfather, always smiling with his eyes. Adjusting skin tone is not always necessary.

  2. chris dowd says:

    Great video Aaron! Short and sweet and I will definitely use this technique, thanks for sharing.

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