Today’s Before & After photo editing tutorial was written by Liz Labianca, one of our newest contributors here at I Heart Faces. She will be sharing her basic photo editing workflow using Lightroom and Photoshop.
We scheduled our shoot to be a sunset session but as the day went on – the sun disappeared behind the clouds. So last minute, in true Liz form, I changed the location to a place that had more to offer since I knew that the light was not going to be a factor in our shoot. UNFORTUNATELY, the bugs were out in full force and this little guy smiled right through the gnats that landed in his eyes and mouth. For this image I used my 70 -200 mm lens. Shot at F 2.8, shutter speed 1/250 and ISO: 400. (Whenever I do my sunrise and sunset shoots I always leave my ISO at 400, since I know my settings will be changing as the sun changes its position and I don’t want to risk my shutter speed going to low.)
I knew I wanted to go for a dreamier, creamier edit so here are the photo editing steps that I go through to get my clean edit and at the end I add my dreamy touch.
After culling my images from the shoot, I make very minor corrections in Lightroom. For this image, I straightened out the photo and brought down the exposure (-30) since I knew that my later adjustments in Photoshop would brighten up the photo.
Opening the photo in Photoshop, I make a curves adjustment layer and lift the midtones up just a touch by clicking on the middle of the diagonal line and dragging it upwards and to the left just slightly. [To create a curves adjustment layer, click on the black/white circle at the bottom of the layers palette and select "Curves." ]
I create another curve adjustment layer and with the gray Dropper tool, I select the whites of this sweet little guys eyes. This will start the process of warming up my photo. I adjust the opacity to a level that I feel is in line with his skin tone.
Click that black & white circle at the bottom of your layers palette again and select “Brightness/Contrast.” For this photo, I bump up the contrast slider just a touch (+8).
I want to add a little more color – so I create a vibrance layer [click the black & white circle again and select "Vibrance"] and move the saturation slider (+11). With a Black brush I paint it off the little boys skin.
Since I know I like a little more of a dreamy edit – I now create a Levels adjustment layer [click the black & white circle and select "Levels"] slide the Offset slider over to the right. This will add some haze to your image. I will then paint it off the face of the little boy .. since I don’t want to loose the detail in his face. [Use a soft brush and make sure it is set to black to hide the effects of the layer.]
Now I want to pull out the Richness and Texture of the Wagon – So I create a new layer (command J) and at the top I change the blending mode to Soft Light. Ok.. WHOOOAAA Contrast – Don’t freak out!! Create a layer mask by clicking the square with the white circle inside at the bottom of your layers palette. Now press Command I [Ctrl +i on a PC]. This will hide the effect of the adjustment layer completely. Then with a soft white brush paint onto the Red Wagon to reveal the effect of the adjustment layer.
At this Point I create a folder for my adjustments that I have done thus far. I grab all of my adjustments and place them in the folder and I then turn the folder eyeball on and off so that I can see my before and after. I like doing this because then If I feel like the adjustments need a little Fixing – I can adjust the opacity on all of the adjustments.
Now comes fixing the skin tone – Using the Info Tab, I check where his numbers fall by grabbing my eye dropper tool from the tools palette (keyboard shortcut= letter “i”). Make sure the sample size is set to 5 by 5 and sample ALL LAYERS is selected. I test his forehead or his chin. A rule of thumb is that the Cyan be 1/3 – 1/2 the value of Magenta. Magenta is to fall between 1 -4% of Yellow.
I create a color balance layer [Click the B &W circle again and select "Color Balance."] Choose Highlights. Based on his numbers I can tell that he needs more red and yellow. I start making my adjustments and then retest his skin.
Once I get his numbers to where I feel like resembles his true skin tone, I press Command I [Ctrl +i] to invert the layer mask and paint it onto his skin with a soft white brush, adjusting the opacity if need be.
Now I zoom in and remove the drool on his chin by using the patch tool. I remove the thing in his mouth and on his chin by using the clone tool and the I do some spot removal on the rest of the image.
I create a new layer (command J or Ctrl +J) and run Imagenomics Portraiture (a plug-in I have purchased for Photoshop).
I then invert the mask and paint it on the babies face and on the blanket at 35%. Always make sure that you avoid painting on the eyes, mouth and nostril.
And FINALLY because I wanted a little more creaminess to the image.
I create a new color fill layer and choose a light pink for my color. I set my blending options to Soft light and reduce the opacity to 25%.
I create a curves layer and increase just a little more contrast.
I group the two new adjustments into another folder and reduce the opacity to my liking.
VOILA – Now mom has a beautiful image that will remind her of how incredibly cute and sweet her little boy was at 6 months old.
Before & After
Liz Labianca is a North Dallas photographer specializing in lifestyle photography.Inspired by her own children, her photography is fresh, whimsical, and gives a look into the soul of her subjects. Visit her blog for more inspiration or follow her on Facebook.
Now it’s your turn!
Join us in our free Photography Community for Fix-it Friday (you can download the high-res image and participate here.) Download a high-res version of Liz’s adorable photo, edit it in your own style, and share your results with the other members in our forum. Not a member of our I Heart Faces Community? Click here to join!
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