Thursday, July 24

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: Baby Portrait Rescue!

Sometimes there will be a particular image in your photoshoot that you love, but unfortunately the lighting conditions or settings on your camera were not optimum.  However, you really want to save the image (because of course the baby's mother loved that image best; why oh why did you ever show her that one!) yet you are not sure how to go about the edit.

Today I want to show you how I would edit this adorable baby image with some lighting issues and make it photo-album worthy.

This is a SOOC image sent to me from Engelhart Photography.  I told her I would write a tutorial on editing this image and post it on my blog.  I love when readers send me images to "fix" and also suggestions for new posts!!!  I want to post things that interest you.

There are many ways to go about this edit, and I will show you one way I would approach it, this time without using any actions.  :-)  There is no particular order you have to do all of the steps, and I just captured screenshots as I edited.

Baby Portrait Rescue Retouch Tutorial for Photoshop/PSE:

1.  Add Peach Color:  I added a color fill layer of ivory peach (#f6e3d1) on top of the image.

Put this layer in Soft Light.  I clicked to select the layer mask and used a soft black brush to remove the color from her bow.

2.  Sharpen:  I wanted to sharpen her eyes and bow so I duplicated the background (Ctrl-J) and ran a Filter/High Pass filter on it.  Just dial up the Radius until you see her eyes outlined.

Put this sharpen layer in Overlay Blending mode and fill the layer mask with black.  Then use a soft white brush with the layer mask selected to add some sharpness to her eyes, bow/hair, nostrils, and lips.

3.  Smooth Skin:  I wanted to make her skin really pretty, so I added a blank layer above the Sharpen layer and used the eye dropper tool set at 3 by 3 and clicked on a section of clean bright skin.  Then I painted over her skin with a soft brush in this color.  Instead of messing with a low opacity brush, I set the brush to 100% and then lowered the opacity of the layer to taste (28% in this edit).  Keep the layer in Normal blending mode.

Use the erasure tool to remove skin paint off her eyes, lips, and nose.

This is one of the best ways to smooth skin when your portrait has reddish skin tones/imperfections.

5. Lighten the Image:  I wanted to brighten the midtones, so I added a Level's adjustment layer on top of everything and brought the middle gray slide to the left (1.24).

6.  Blanket Fade: I did a "quick and dirty" blanket fade.  Simply copy the background layer and run a gaussian blur over it and add a layer mask.

Then click to select the layer mask and use a soft white brush and remove the blur from your baby, leaving it on the top and bottom of the image.  You can use different opacities of the white brush to remove the blur in a gradient (more blur on edges).

7.  Flatten and sharpen your image for print or the web and you are done.

You can see the before and after in the images below. In just a few steps (and no actions!)  I was able to rescue this image.  Isn't this baby adorable?

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions 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.


  1. Just pinned this one for future reference! Thanks for your willingness to share your knowledge!

  2. I love your work, you are so creative!!

  3. Is there a link to download this one like the others? All I see is a link just for the package deal to purchase.


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