Thursday, August 21

CoffeeShop Fantasy Portrait Photoshop/PSE Tutorial!

UPDATE!  To see how I edited this image above using this tutorial, above just visit my "Mary Poppins"-Inspired Painted Background Tutorial.  I show you how I not only add fantasy colors to my images but also add a beautiful painted background effect.

Today I wanted to post a Photoshop/PSE tutorial on one way I would do a "Fantasy Portrait" edit.

For most of my images I prefer simple, clean edits, but there are times I really want to go all out and create something amazing and unreal.  Today I wanted to show you how you can use Hue/Saturation layers to add brilliant fantasy color to your outdoor portraits.  Not only is it easy, but incredibly fun!

I used a beautiful image from Vanilla Tree Photography (Facebook) in this tutorial.  If there is interest I can put together an action.  :-)

CoffeeShop Fantasy Portrait Photoshop/PSE Tutorial:

I love this clean-edit image, but I wanted to take it to the next level and make it more dramatic by adding vivid color and additional light.

1.  I wanted the background to be a magenta-reddish color, so I added a Hue/Saturation layer and put the Hue at -73 and the Saturation at +6.  Yes, she is really scary looking, but we will fix that in the next step.

2.  I used a soft black brush, clicked on the layer mask, and carefully painted out the girl.  I also removed some of the color tint from the tree she is leaning against.

3.  I think she looked too yellow, so I added another Hue/Saturation layer over the background, selected Yellow, and moved the saturation down to -41.  I lost quite a bit of brilliant color in the background, so I used a soft black brush at approximately 50% and painted over the background to return some of its reddish color.

4. I wanted to add some additional light, so I created a new layer on top and used a soft white brush at 40% opacity and clicked on areas that would have light leak between the trees.

5.  I wanted to soften light effect a bit, so I added a motion blur to that layer (see settings above, adjust for your own image).

6.  Her face was a bit washed out from the extra light, so I added a layer mask to the top light layer and used a soft black brush at 80% and clicked on her face to remove some of the light.

7.  Finally, I wanted to add some contrast, so I added a Levels adjustment layer on top, put it in Soft Light, and then moved the Gamma (middle) slider to the left until I was pleased with the contrast "pop". This really brightened the image.

Here is my final image after cropping off some of the left side.  I know this type of edit is not for everyone, but I really love the fantasy aspect of this image and hope it inspires you to go and have fun creating your own art!

Questions?  Please leave a comment.  And I would love to see your Before/Afters on my Facebook page!!!

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. Very cool editing effect! Thanks for sharing your technique --- and thanks for all the others marvelous actions, tutorials, and materials you share!

  2. Love this, please make this an action!

  3. Wow! How Fun! Like you said, this is not something I would do all the time, but....along the way, I did learn some new techniques about using hue/saturation. Thanks so much for the time you take in your tutorials.

  4. I would love to have an action of this... :-)

  5. This is beautiful! I would love it if you made this an action! :-)

    1. I can try, but it might be difficult with this one, there is so much detail work. But worth a try!!!


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