{Before & After} Creating a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop

October 18, 2012

in Before & After, Fix-It Friday, Halloween Photography Tips & Ideas, Holiday Photography Tips, Photoshop

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

In this week’s “Before & After” photo editing tutorial, Wendy from Wendy VonSosen Photography demonstrates how to create a ghostly portrait with some creative Photoshop editing.

I love fall, especially Halloween! My kids love everything about it too, especially decorating the house with spider webs and skeletons, witches and jack-o-lanterns. My sister is the same way. She adores all things having to do with Halloween. Last year she created a family portrait gallery wall with images I took of her family when they were visiting for Thanksgiving. This year for her birthday, because she loves Halloween so much, we did a haunted family portrait session with them. For the month of October, her family portrait gallery wall has become haunted! I’m going to show you how quick and easy these images are to create in a few simple steps so that you can do in time for Halloween this year.

What You’ll Need:

  • Your camera and lens,
  • a “spooky” location (An old house, church, warehouse, hallway, or barn would work great), and
  • a tripod (this is a must! I did not have mine with me and I had a little bit of trouble in post-processing).

Before:

First you’ll set up your tripod. Get your ghosts together and take the shot. Without moving the tripod at all, have all of your ghosts move out of the frame. Take another shot of the same space without the ghosts. So, essentially you’re taking two photos for every shot. One with ghosts and one without.

Photoshop Steps:

1. Open both images in Photoshop and do the same basic edits on both of them.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

2. Next, drag and drop the image with the ghosts onto the background.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop - Tutorial via I Heart Faces

3. Change the opacity of the top layer to 50% so you can see both layers at the same time. Do your best to line up the top image with the background.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

4. Once both images are lined up, change the opacity of the top layer back to 100%.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

5. Add a layer mask by clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of your toolbar. Change the opacity of the layer to between 45-55% until the ghosts look semi-transparent. How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

6. Invert the layer mask and your top layer will disappear.  (Ctrl+ I on a PC)

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

7. With a soft white brush set at 100% opacity, start brushing your ghosts back onto the background. Be sure your mask is selected.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

8. Once my ghosts were visible, I merged the layers (Layer > Merge Visible), added a slight vignette, and warmed up the image with a warming action from Child’s Play Actions.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

9. As a finishing touch, I added a texture layer set as hard light at 24% opacity.

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

After:

Flatten and save and we’re DONE!

How to Create a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop via I Heart Faces

Please be sure to check out the other images from our Haunted Ghostly Session on my blog.

Now go and give it a try. Your kids, grandkids, sisters, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, clients will love it! Happy Halloween!

Wendy VonSosen, Natural Light PhotographerWendy VonSosen is a natural light photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in high school seniors, newborns,  and beauty portraiture. She’s also a wife and mother of four.  Check out her portfolio, visit her on Facebook and follow her on Pinterest.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine October 5, 2014

Thanks for the lesson!! I love the photos!
Is there another photo program other than photoshop? Something with a more reasonable price tag? Just wondering, sorry Photoshop can have a hefty cost.

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psdink April 12, 2013

simple idea but very useful 😀

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Stephanie D October 27, 2012

http://everythingunderthesunflowers.blogspot.com/2012/10/ghost-inspired.html

Here is mine. I know it’s late but I still wanted to post it.
Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

Reply

Stephanie D October 25, 2012

I won’t have mine in by tomorrow because I want to do it this weekend but thank you so much for inspiring me! :)

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Wendy October 21, 2012

Thanks so much for the inspiration!! Here’s what I came up with…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendy_thompson/8110671553/in/photostream

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TidyMom October 19, 2012

this is such a fun idea!!! thanks for sharing!

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artsbeat magazine October 19, 2012

RT {Before & After} Creating a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop Photography http://t.co/zPgWVCGL

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jen@tatertotsandjello October 19, 2012

Wendy did such a great job on the photos. We love seeing them hanging in our spooky gallery.

xox

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Angie October 18, 2012

I love this creepy, ghostly #Photoshop tutorial that Wendy is sharing on @iheartfaces: http://t.co/949lNH2E So cool! #halloween

Reply

Declan Mc Glone October 18, 2012

{Before & After} Creating a Ghostly Portrait in Photoshop #photography http://t.co/soUALj0k

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Dosha October 18, 2012

Very cool! Thank you for sharing. :)

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