Before I get started I just want to say I'm self taught, and I probably don't do things by the rule books, this is what works for me and what I like doing to my photos. Editing styles and techniques vary per photographer and photograph so I'm not preaching the law here, this is just my personal style.
The photo I'm editing is of the beautiful and very talented Paige Joanna. I'm actually very happy with this, but I plan on making a few minor adjustments to make it even better.
A little bit of technical info: I shot with my Canon 5Dmkii, 50mm1.4 and set my iso speed to 100, aperture at f2.8 an shutter speed at 1/320.
Firstly I look at the photo and decide what adjustments need to be made to the skin, I always make skin adjustments first. Paige actually has the best skin ever, but just to make things a little more porcelain doll like I edited a few blemishes.
In this photo you can see the red circles that I have highlighted pointing to areas I want to edit. To do so I first duplicate my background layer. (A little tip, NEVER ever edit on the original layer. If you don't like what you've done and it's in a separate layer you can simply delete it without affecting the original image!)
Secondly I use a combination of the clone tool, the patch tool and the healing brush tool over the blemishes and lines I wish to remove.
After this if anything is appearing a little too fake I apply a mask layer to the photo, set my brush tool to an opacity of 10 and mask out sections so that they look more natural.
Here is the skin after retouching, as you can see it still has a natural texture, but any small imperfections are less visible.
I then apply another masked layer and de-saturate the skin tone slightly, this compliments the soft tones of the image well and as her hair is such a lovely shade of red contrasting with the water behind her, I personally prefer to have a soft delicate skin tone.
I then make subtle changes to the hair colour and background using different masked layers changing the curves, hue and saturation again. As you can see there begins to be a build up of various layers in my layer palette. I generally name these after each step so I know what layer they correspond with as it gets a bit confusing after a while!
Finally I apply a curve adjustment to the whole photo to add a little contrast and sharpen the image, and that's basically all I do! (you can see in the layer palette I named some layers after the last screen grab)
And there's the final photo! I hope this was useful/interesting at the least, and if you have any other questions/things you would like to see on the blog please drop me a comment or email!