Learn how to create glossy fashion photography in this Photoshop tutorial – that also gives you tips for styling, lighting and what camera settings you should be using.
See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials
Inspired by the colour polaroids of
Helmut Newton’s later work, photographer Tigz Rice shows you how to set up your shoot before moving to Photoshop.
In Photoshop, she reveals how to get glossy skin – and how to use cross-processing effects with gradients to get the look: adding cooler tones to the shadows and warmer ones to the highlights.
First let's take a look at styling aspect of the shoot. Inspired by the women of Helmut Newton’s archives, Didi is wearing black lingerie with stockings and suspenders.
We also opted for a leopard wrap on her top half. A strong red lipstick completed the look.
Lets have a look at lighting set up. The 90’s look was often quite hard, resulting is lots of contrast. This look can be easily achieved with flash, but here I wanted to show in this example how a similar effect could be achieved with a natural light source.
Didi was sat near an undressed window, providing hard directional light from the right-hand-side of the image.
Once you’re happy with your light source, its time to shoot. Taking inspiration once again from Helmut Newton’s portfolio, we opted for a strong, angular pose that focused on Didi’s legs.
This image was shot at 1/160 of a second at F4, with an ISO of 200.
After the shoot, select your favourite image and open it in Photoshop. If you’ve shot as a RAW image, it should automatically open up Adobe Camera RAW. If not, go to
Filter > Camera Raw Filter to access the same panel.
In the Basic panel on the right, adjust your Exposure and White Balance to balance the colours to give a 'normal' look that we can apply our 90s Helmut Newton look to.
For this shot, I’ve also made a few changes to the Contrast, Highlights and Shadows.
When you’re happy, press Open Image or OK to bring everything into Photoshop.
Next, clean up your image as necessary, removing any spots, artefacts or stray hairs with the Spot Healing Brush.
At this point, I also did a little Liquify on the leg to fix where the leg had been squished against the body of the chair.
Next, we’ll focus on cleaning up the skin. The models in Helmut's 90s editorial work usually have flawless skin, so you can push it a little further than you would for a more authentic-looking shot (though you could tone down this fashion glamour to create your own variation of the style).
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to bring up the New Layer dialog. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and tick the Fill with Soft-Light-neutral color (50% grey) box underneath. Press OK to confirm the new Layer.
Select the Dodge tool, set it to Midtones in the Toolbar with an Exposure of around 5-10%. Go over any shadowy textures on the skin to create a nice even tone. You can also use the Dodge Tool to bring out the highlights of your image for extra contrast.
Once you’re happy with how your image is looking, lets go ahead and add a cross processing effect. In the Adjustments Panel, click on the Add Gradient Map icon.
In the Properties panel, click on the drop-down arrow next to the gradient. Click on the cog wheel that appears in that submenu. Choose Photographic Toning to bring up the Toning Gradients.
Let's bring some cooler tones into the shadows. Choose Cobalt-Iron1 from the gradient map list.
The effect will be quite strong to begin with, so change the blending mode to Overlay and reduce the opacity to 30%.
In contrast, let's add some warmth into the highlights.
Repeat Steps 8-10, choosing the Sepia 5 gradient instead.
Also, tick the Reverse box in the Gradient Map panel to apply it to the lighter parts of your image.
Finally, lets add some grain. To do this, first highlight everything in your Layers panel, right click and choose Convert To Smart Object to package everything into one Smart Layer.
Filter > Camera Raw and on the right hand side of the pop up window. Click on the Effects tab. The amount, size and roughness of your Grain will depend completely on the size of your image.
Once you’re happy with the results, press OK to come back into the main Photoshop window and save your file.