Pretty straight-forward question: What's the best strategy to hide stretch marks?

I've noticed that during shooting, the angle of the light can severely impact their visibility. But I can't find a rhyme or reason so I can predictably reduce their appearance. Should I even bother, or just wait until the editing phase to work on them? Assume airbrushing/makeup are out of the question.

During editing (using PS CC) the healing brush is a simple way to mostly hide them. But in photographs where the skin is in very sharp focus and texture is important, like in macro shots, the healing brush set on content-aware can leave very easy-to-spot imperfections. What other techniques are there that might be more effective? I've tried the patch tool and clone stamp but they can muck up shading on curved surfaces or transitions from light to shadow.

Any tutorial pages or videos would be acceptable too, I haven't found any decent ones that work in this situation.

5 Answers 5


In addition to the angle of the light which I think you've already experimented with, try experimenting with the quality of the light, that is, how gentle / diffuse the light is.

Try putting something in front of the light to diffuse it and that will reduce the clarity of the stretch marks - not necessarily completely hide them. Something like thin, sheer translucent cloth or drafting/tracing paper. Of course, this will also reduce the strength of the light and will necessitate increasing the exposure.

  • I'm currently relying on LED light sources with warm filters on them. But I've been considering getting a set of softboxes and umbrellas. Would those fit your recommendations, or are they not diffuse enough?
    – thanby
    Apr 12, 2017 at 23:02
  • @thanby : Definitely better than bare light . Perhaps even sheet or 2 of kraft / tissue / tracing paper over the LED might do the trick. Experiment and see what works best. But there may still be some slight visibility. As yoiu mentioned to in your original question, the angle of the light will still play a part . Apr 12, 2017 at 23:46

Very nice question.

This question has some photographic components and some interpersonal components.

Photographic technique


  • @David Barry has the most viable option. Diffuse light.
  • Shadows, angle of ilumination


  • Interaction with hands, hair, lenses.
  • The angle of the face, or body

But this comes to my mind

Do we really want to hide them? Are they part of the personality of the subject?

Some google searches comes to my mind

What is the style of the photography? Documentary?

Trying to hide the imperfections during the shoot, could render the subject uncomfortable? Can you loose an excellent shoot, just because some imperfections on the skin?

Then the answer is

Do it in post

The main technique to correct skin flaws is Frequency separation.


As an editing tool you could try Wavelet Decompose as in Pat Davids tutorial for GIMP. This can produce excellent results.


You may also get good results from a very low power fill light placed so it is directly toward the stretch marks area. This flattens ...think drivers license face! ;) Care must be taken that the fill is just that and not so powerful as to appear to be a spot light. g'luk


Why not cover, makeup or push (overexpose). In my experience I would push the exposure a stop or two when shooting fashion anyway to get a higher contrast image. Always edit before you take the picture is best, hide the blemish in a shadow or behind clothing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.