My most downloaded actions are my retouching actions, so I am excited to offer a new version for baby portraits! CoffeeShop Baby Miracle (for Photoshop and PSE) automatically smooths and brightens skin, defines hair and eyes, has a "remove red" layer, and an optional blanket fade option. This one-stop action does not replace any of my original retouching actions but gives you an additional retouching tool.
In my "ad" above I used a beautiful SOOC image by Adia Speer Photography (Facebook). You can see how I edited this image at the end of this post.
If you have already edited your baby image and simply want a blanket fade, please visit my Blanket Blur post to download that action.
CoffeeShop Baby Miracle Action Tutorial:
1. Open your baby image. I am using this beautiful image from Kelly Morin Photography (Facebook) in this action tutorial. This action works with both light and dark backgrounds. I want to note that I always over-edit images in my editing tutorials so it is easier to see changes on low-resolution images on the screen.
I am going to brighten the baby's skin in the action, and I don't want to over-expose the white flower in her hair. I am going to show you a quick trick to darken it before running Baby Miracle.
2. Ctrl-J (duplicate the background) and put that layer in Multiply mode. This darkens the entire image and adds contrast to the flower.
3. Hold "alt" and click on the layer mask icon to add a layer mask. This step will add a black layer mask and removes all of the darkness from your image. Select a soft white brush, click on the layer mask, and paint over the flower in her hair.
This also works great on white outfits.
4. Contrast Adjustment: Start the action. The first prompt will allow you to make adjustments to the shadows, mid tones, and highlights using the sliders under the curves. I usually bring up the mid tones to slightly lighten/brighten the baby skin.
You can also use the pull-down menu at Channel to adjust the Red, Blue, and Green in the image.
5. Skin Smoothing: Adjust the Surface Blur Radius to smooth the skin. I usually over-smooth at this step as I can lower the opacity of that layer or paint on the layer mask after the action is finished. I am not a fan of plastic skin, but for this tutorial's purpose I am overdoing the edit. :-) NOTE: This action only runs in PSE7 and up as earlier versions don't have Surface Blur.
6. Selecting Skin: This step allows you to select the area you want to smooth (the skin). Use the eye dropper to select a clean area of the baby's skin and then adjust the fuzziness so that only the skin is selected. If you also select areas of the background/clothing don't worry, you can remove them later.
7. Blanket Fade: If you want to add some fade to your blanket, then drag the transform bars out to remove the baby from the fade area. If you don't want any fade, just click the check to accept the preset settings and turn off that layer after the action finishes running.
8. Feather the Blanket Fade: Adjust the feather radius on the blanket fade. A higher number is better with larger images.
9. Fade the Blanket: Adjust the Radius of the Gaussian blur to fade the blanket.
When the action finishes you will have eight layers.
In this edit I turned on the Blanket Fade Color layer and used the eye dropper to select the blue of the blanket and adjusted the opacity to taste. This adds solid color along the top and and bottom of the image.
I turned on Boost and adjusted it to 15%, adjusted Peachy Glow to 46%, and used a soft black brush on the Smooth Skin layer mask to remove blur from the flower.
I did not use the "Remove red from skin" layer, but if your baby has too much redness in the skin, click on the layer mask and paint on the baby with a soft white low opacity brush to remove the red.
My edit is finished! Want to see another one?
In the baby edit in the screenshot above I ran the Baby Miracle action on a SOOC (straight-out-of-the-camera) image to show you that it is a complete retouching action.
I brought up the Boost layer to brighten the whites but used a soft black brush on the layer mask to paint out the baby's skin. I made the Blanket Fade Color white and lowered the opacity to slightly brighten/whiten the edges. I also removed the Smooth Skin layer from her white dress by using a black soft brush on its layer mask.
As the holidays are approaching I know you are busy planning for your family celebrations. The holidays can be expensive, so I want to thank those readers who have sent their friends to my site, read my sponsor ads, and/or purchased my action download pack or blog/website design package.
This blog is a one-woman project (run by me!) and is operated on a shoe-string budget and supported by you, my faithful readers, and my talented ad sponsors. From the beginning I wanted to provide completely free actions, presets, tutorials, and design elements for photographers and designers that could be used in both personal AND commercial work (with no strings attached), and thanks to you it has been possible.
As a family we have struggled financially over the years, so I know how important it is to save money. Because of your generosity and support I can stay home and write actions like CoffeeShop Baby Miracle and post them for free download on this blog. I am honored to have such generous, wonderful readers. Thank you for keeping CoffeeShop in business!!!
I hope you enjoy using this action! Download the free CoffeeShop Miracle Baby Photoshop/PSE Action. You can also download it here.
Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions (including this one!) and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.
For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.