I have two pictures of the same person. Pictures were taken at same place but slightly different light were used in each one. I would like to adjust the skin color in one picture to match the other so both have the same skin (background is not so important, it can be cropped in the final image containing just the entire head)

I attach the following image as an example: same picture

*Update: This is what I've tried so far (with poor results)

  1. Select the skin to change in a duplicate layer face selected
  2. Pick the color of the desired skin
  3. Bucket fill the selection of the target image with the source skin color enter image description here
  4. Mode "Overlay" between the duplicated layer and the other one. overlay
  5. Changed lightness and saturation lightness and saturation
  6. Final "akward" result: comparation

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Emmy_Rossum_2011.jpg licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

  • See also here and here. Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 22:05
  • Noooooo. Please. Do NOT mask the face. All the head was lit by a diferent angle of light or the camera settings were diferent, but that affects ALL the head, all the picture.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


I did this in photoshop but you can use the same technique in GIMP.

Directions are written for GIMP

Add a curves layer, In the image menu through Tools → Color Tools → Curves or Colors → Curves. You want to brighten up the dark areas without adjusting the shadows too much.

Change the adjustment layer blending mode to Color Mode (Suggestion made by Ryan, luminosity is a blending mode in photoshop).

curves layers

Note: I used a layer mask to hide the parts I didn't want affected by the adjustment layer.

I added a levels adjustment layer to fine-tune the contrast, In the image menu through Tools → Color Tools → Levels.

Result is a modified version of your top most image.

face retouch result

  • Change the blend mode to luminosity instead of adjusting the levels.
    – Ryan
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:51
  • 1
    Why not shift the curves? Instead of using curves and levels?
    – joojaa
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 1:32
  • @joojaa That works as well, just in my workflow I like using levels for global adjustment and then using curves to make local targeted adjustments. I don't think it is wrong to be using multiple adjustment layers. Maybe it is more time consuming but I am more comfortable doing it this way.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 14:11
  • Wrong is realative. But you certainly risk losing some of your color depth to rounding.
    – joojaa
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 14:14
  • @joojaa I now agree with you after talking with people in chat. I am not sure if I should change my answer only because this is written for GIMP and I don't know if you can move the black point slider in curves on GIMP.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 14:58

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