How to Make a High-Impact Fashion Poster in Photoshop


This is what we’ll be creating in this tutorial. Click on the image below to view the full size.



Step 1: Prepare your Photoshop canvas

Open the image of the model (Female Stock 6 in the Resources listing) in Photoshop.

Duplicate the layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and delete the original. Make a layer beneath it and fill (G) it with white (#ffffff).

Prepare your Photoshop canvas

Step 2: Enhance the lips

Let’s first enhance the lips a bit. Make a new layer, take out a soft brush (B) with a dark pink color (#951943) and brush over the lips of our subject.

Next, take the Smudge Tool (S) and smudge the brush strokes with a default brush as shown below. Set the layer’s blend mode to Overlay.

Do the exact same thing on a new layer, but this time, set the layer’s blend mode to Multiply and at 50% opacity.

Enhance the lips

Step 3: Work on the subject’s eyes

Now take the Lasso Tool (L) and trace around our model’s left eye. Place it on a new layer by copying (Ctrl/Cmd + C) the area under the Lasso Tool, creating a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J), and then pasting the copied selection into it (Ctrl/Cmd + V).

Unfortunately, hair covers the eye, so duplicate (Ctrl Cmd + J) the eye layer and then choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Try to locate it on the other side of the eye in such a way that it remains symmetrical, and then erase the bits of hair with the Eraser Tool (E).

Work on the subject's eyes

Duplicate (Ctrl/Cmd + J) the eye several times and resize some of them with the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T). You can place them anywhere you want—I decided to put them on her arm.

Select all the duplicated eye layers and merge them into one layer afterwards (Ctrl/Cmd + E).

Create a new layer and make a clipping mask (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + G).

Take a soft brush (B) and brush with black (#000000) on the edges of the eyes. Set the opacity of the brush to around 50%.

Next, brush with the same brush tip on a new layer around the eyes. Apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) on these brush strokes with a radius of 6px.

Erase (E) all parts of the Gaussian Blur that spill over her arm or over the eyes. Set the opacity of this layer to around 50%.

Work on the subject's eyes

Step 4: Add the first shape

Open the first shape image (011.png from the 130 Surprise Pack). Copy and paste it into your canvas, resize it (Ctrl/Cmd + T), place it anywhere you want and set its layer’s blend mode to Multiply.

Add the first shape

Step 5: Add more shapes

Paste the next shape image (014.png from the 130 Surprise Pack) in your canvas. As before, erase (E) all parts which you do not like with a soft brush.

Make this layer invisible by clicking on the little eye icon right next to the layer and click Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + Shift + E to merge all layers on a new layer.

Make the layer with the shape visible again and apply a clipping mask with the merged layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + G).

Move the layer around until you think it fits and duplicate it if necessary.

Add more shapes

Duplicate the shape you just used (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and in the menu bar choose Filter > Liquify. Play around with the settings until you get something that you like. Then, place this layer beneath the layer with the original shape.

Add more shapes

Next, paste more shapes to the poster composition. I used the images 08.png, 16.png from the 130 Surprise Pack and 19.png from the C4D pack. See below for the placement and color modes I used.

As always, erase (E) any parts of the shape that you do not like.

Add more shapes

Step 6: Adjust the color of the tree element

The tree’s color does not fit in, so we need to create a new layer and make a clipping mask (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt + G).

Take your Eyedropper Tool (I) and take a color from the picture. I picked a random color from the handbags on the upper part of the image, #b20307.

Take your Brush (B) and brush with a big, soft brush on the new layer. Change the color mode to Color.

Step 7: Erase the arm

Take the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and erase (E) the part of the arm as shown in the following figure. Also, erase all other parts except the ones that go over the pants with a hard brush.

Take the Lasso Tool (L) and select parts of the right side of the pants.

Copy and paste it into a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + C, then Ctrl/Cmd + V).

Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and place it over the other side. Afterwards, resize the element using the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) if needed.

Select the edges of the pants with the Lasso Tool (L) and delete the selected area. Take the Eraser Tool (E) and erase the lower parts of the copied pants with a soft brush.

Erase the arm

Step 8: Smudge paint

Next, take out the Brush Tool (B) and brush around the subject’s pants with 4 different colors (#013f45, #013f45, #01e1f7, #ffffff), each on its own layer.

After that, take the Smudge Tool (S) and smudge the paint strokes around, using different layer blend modes for each layer.

Merge these layers and give it a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer with a clipping mask (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + G), with Contrast set to 100.

Smudge paint

Step 9: Final adjustments

Merge all visible layers on a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Opt + Shift + E).

Apply Filter > Other > High Pass. Set it to about 7px and change the blending mode to Overlay.

After that, mak Gradient Adjustment layers, set them as shown below.

Final adjustments


Along with the great selection of shapes you downloaded and this tutorial, you can start to create your own unique designs. You now should have a great way to make your work more visually appealing.

I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and I’m looking forward to your comments and thoughts! If my tutorial inspired you in any way, please join the Design Instruct Flickr group pool as well as share your work there.


Download Source Files

Tags: adwords, content network, internet advertising, pay per click, ppc

  • uzma

    wow. I love it! Could start a new trend in photoshopping fashion shoots.

  • arnold

    Me too. I really like it. I see this kind of effect in some fashion magazines. one of the best tut here, I think. thanks

  • Mark R.

    This is a design disaster of epic proportions

  • I agree, I’m not really getting/appreciating the aesthetic happening here.

  • John

    This is a design disaster of epic proportions…. bad bad bad tutorial! So ugly

  • @VetaE

    yea….it’s crossing alot of design boundaries that should not be crossed…but keep working on it! it’s clear you are creative and give yourself freedom to explore.

  • Alexander Durchschlag

    Awesome man, really good work. I’m really looking forward to try this out.

  • My opinion is that the main function of a tutorial is to show you different techniques. Whether or not the finished design is aesthetically pleasing is inconsequential.

    Good tut!!

  • raven

    Ewww. definitely not agreeing at all. photo manipulation such as this does not = fashion

  • aniss

    This is awesome man. great work.

  • James

    Lousy artwork, have some quality control in this area please.

  • not the most aesthetically pleasing artwork imho – although not terrible. did learn some nice ps techniques though. good job and nice tut!

  • Emilia

    I’ve been trying to design a poster incorporating elements somewhat like this for a mini project I’m doing and I can’t manage to get it looking as cool as this. It was a little bit off somehow, perspective-wise. In the end, I decided to use the professional services of an online design site instead ( and got the poster I wanted at an affordable price and fast too, within 24 hours. I did provide this link for reference and inspiration to my designer as I liked how yours look. I’m not going to design anything without any professional help anytime soon although it’s fun designing it or trying to at least. Thanks for the tutorial though. It’s done really well.

  • Keep trying and learning, don’t give up if graphic design is really what you want to do. It takes practice.

    With that said, if it’s really not what you want to do, I encourage those just needing a quick design made to hire professional designers (our contributors and community of readers is a great place to start!)

  • Pretty nice tut! Enjoyed reading it.

  • I agree as well. Not a good outcome!

  • This is somewhat creative. The final image is not actually all that appealing.

  • Great tutorial. Result I thinks is to much creative 🙂

  • Great tutorial, thanks for sharing.

  • Ed

    WTf were you thinking?

  • Daniel

    WTF – why erase the arm and keep the fingers? And why erase when a mask will do? The model pic is really nice and so much could have been done with it. A lot more tools could have been used to create a great tut and a nice design but this fails so badly on both counts.

  • mike

    For those commentators criticizing, posting how this breaks rules, or should have been done a different way, please back that up.

    Tell us the right way, why its wrong, and in what applications would this be wrong/right/somewhat acceptable.

    You would help the author and the reader by pointing out these flaws or methods that could be improved, not just beating him down with your ‘experience’ stick, if you have any.

    If you do, then you would understand thi, and want to help, because you were there once, you know.. learning? learning what you know now, to put yourself above and feel you can cast judgment bolts on fragile novices.

    Hurting his self esteem will not help. Just make it worse.

  • Mike

    In case you have not heard, art is in the eye of its creator, if a person creates something and is happy with it then its there art.
    And there is almost always someone else who sees there creation the way they do and enjoys it just as much.
    How its created dont matter as they could have farted on the canvas and created a master piece!
    the point is it was created and is one persons art vision.
    good work!

  • Emma

    Wow thanks for sharing this tutorial, you have helped clarify a few techniques. To those who were critical, mind your manners, rude gits. Your holier than thou attitude is a disgrace and is not appreciated by those who share information in a kind and supportive way.

  • This is a really helpful tutorial. Thanks for this Michael!
    I would like you to know that I’ve included this tutorial on a compilation of great poster tutorials. You can check it out here: CLICK!
    Thanks again!

  • awesome tutorial thank you.

  • tom b.

    I agree with you Nick defending this tutorial. It’s for for “like it” but to show something. This poster is not for aesthetic competition but for help some of us to learn basics and see how things work.

  • tom b.

    It’s not for “like it”. Sorry.

  • ??????