How To Tan Skin In Photoshop: A Comprehensive Tutorial

Are you looking to add a sun-kissed glow to your photos? With Photoshop, it’s easy to achieve a natural-looking tan that will make your subjects look like they just returned from a tropical vacation. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to tan skin in Photoshop using simple techniques.

Step 1: Select the Skin Tone

The first step in tanning skin in Photoshop is to select the skin tone you want to modify. Start by creating a new layer and selecting the brush tool. Choose a soft brush and set the opacity to 50%. Then, use the brush to paint over the skin area you want to tan.

Step 2: Adjust the Hue/Saturation

Next, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Use the sliders to adjust the hue and saturation of the selected skin area. Increase the saturation to make the skin appear more vibrant, and adjust the hue to create a warm, golden tone.

Step 3: Add a Gradient Map

To add more depth and dimension to the tanned skin, create a new Gradient Map layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Choose a warm-toned gradient and adjust the opacity to your liking. This will give the skin a more natural-looking tan.

Step 4: Refine the Selection

To ensure that the tan appears seamless and natural, refine the selection using the lasso tool. This will help blend any harsh edges or lines.

Step 5: Add Highlights and Shadows

To add more dimension to the tanned skin, create a new layer and use the brush tool to add highlights and shadows. Use a soft brush and adjust the opacity to create a subtle effect.

Step 6: Final Touches

Once you’ve completed the tanning process, make any final adjustments to the overall image. This may include tweaking the brightness and contrast, or adjusting the color balance.


  • Is it possible to over-tan skin in Photoshop?

    Yes, it’s possible to overdo the tanning effect in Photoshop. Be sure to use subtle adjustments and refine your selections to avoid a fake or unnatural-looking tan.

  • What tools do I need to tan skin in Photoshop?

    To tan skin in Photoshop, you’ll need the brush tool, selection tools (such as the lasso tool), and adjustment layers (such as hue/saturation and gradient map).

  • Can I use this technique on any skin tone?

    Yes, this technique can be used on any skin tone. However, the adjustments may need to be tweaked based on the starting skin tone to achieve a natural-looking tan.


With these simple techniques, you can easily tan skin in Photoshop and give your photos a warm, sun-kissed glow. Remember to use subtle adjustments and refine your selections to ensure a natural-looking effect. Happy editing!

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