Make me Look Skinny in Photoshop: A Tutorial

By Brittni • Updated on 08/15/2023

Today, we are finally getting back into the swing of Tutorial Tuesday, thanks to the work of Jen Kiaba.

Jen is an amazingly skilled photographer, and has kindly decided to share this photoshop tutorial with us for nipping and tucking that extra weight we might still be lugging around from after the holidays.

I’ll admit, I am no photoshop pro myself, so Jen’s expertise really comes in handy here.

I mean, who doesn’t want to look better in photographs, right?

Take it away Jen…

Before I grant you the power of the Photoshop Nip and Tuck, I must forewarn you: be wise with this power – it’s a slippery slope.

Longtime readers know how I feel about extremely manipulated bodies.

If you haven’t heard me on my soapbox, checkout “Photography, Identity and my belly.”

Alright *deep breath* here we go! Start out with the image you want to give a minor tuck to.

Notice there is no person in my picture? Pretty sly huh? Yeeah.

Now open the image in Photoshop.

I always like to create a Retouch layer, so we always keep the original in perspective.

This is helpful so that you can reference what the original looked like and if you have created a reasonable retouch, or if you have gone too far.

So go to Layer>>Duplicate Layer. Name that layer “Retouch” or something similar. 

On your new Retouch layer, take the Lasso Tool and select the part of your image that you are going to cinch in a little bit:

Next go to Filter>>Distort>>Shear. 

Notice is says Distort? Yup…just sayin’…

Ok so grab a point on the line and tug it in the direction that you would like to “shear.” (I always select “Repeat Edge Pixels”).

Notice that you can create several anchor points? This allows you to pull in two different directions or control how far one part of the image is being sheared.

Once you have your line tugged to your liking press Ok.

Now look at those pixels that have been repeated.

You can either erase them and reveal your Original background, or you can use the Clone Tool to touch up those funky pixels.

There is another way to manipulate your image, and that’s by using the Liquify Tool (or a combination of Shear and Liquify). 

We will take the image that we have already Sheared and go to Filter>>Liquify. 

Liquify is a pretty powerful tool – in fact it used to crash my old computer. So make sure your computer is running smoothly before attempting any major edits in Liquify.

I’m going to suggest that you start off with the Hand Tool, which is on the top of your Tool Palette.

Play around with different brush sizes. Generally I begin with 300 and either work up or down, depending on how much of the image I’m working with.

Drag the cursor in the direction that you want to shrink.

**Be aware of how this tool affects your background! If you have anything linear behind or around your subject, you may find you get some weird wobbly lines!

If you find that you have gone too far, simply click on Restore All.

Sometimes you want to find a happy medium between the lipo you’ve done and what you began with – just click on Reconstruct.

So here is an extreme example of what you can do with these two very powerful tools. (Left side is done with Shear – Right side is done with Liquify.)

Essentially we have given this poor gal a digital corset…and maybe removed some of her ribs. But you see the possibilities that are available with these tools.

And just for some perspective – here is After/Before.

Again, don’t get carried away. But if you need to do a quick tweak on the post-holiday belly, that’s pretty understandable.

Thanks again for this tutorial Jen.

Please visit Jen’s shop and website to view more of her work. AND if you are looking for more photo related tutorials, visit Jen’s blog for more.

8 comments | Click here to reply

Does anyone know how to do “distort” in Pixlr rather than photoshop? When I go to the Filter drop down distort isn’t an option on there…



Kara @ Bostonista

I’m so happy for this post! My mom turned 50, I wanted to make her a photo album, but every picture makes her soo unhappy. There are great pictures of the family that she doesn’t want included. “OH, I look AWEful!” with just a tiny bit of tweaking, she’ll feel so much better about the pictures, and be able to enjoy them with us instead of lamenting her lost figure. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!


Body shame = bad
Making a paying client happy and feeding your family = good

Thanks for the simple tutorial.

Nathaniel Johnston

I think that this is good. Some people want to make themselves look slimmer so that they can use it as motivation to lose weight I know I am. Thanks for the tutorial.


No one is encouraging body shame here Holly. This is a Photoshop tutorial that can be used in various ways. Of course men and women should be comfortable with their bodies no matter what they weigh. I think that goes without saying.


Um. So much body shaming that I’m rather speechless.


I was just thinking how much i love technology and the internet….it gives us access to so much goodinformation…just like this post..thanks will be back again A+

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