Photoshop Before and After: Little Miss Innocent

Hello again!  I just love the expression on her little face in this photo, hair-in-the-eye and all!  Here is where we are starting and ending up in our Before and After:

before and after

Okay, here we go!  Normally I aim to expose properly for the subject, but in this case, if I would have exposed perfectly for her face, I would have blown out the entire background.  I still wanted some of the color around her, so I underexposed for her face to retain some of the color in the background.

We are starting here:



The first thing I did was a curves layer.  I brought the midtones up to brighten her skin and pulled some of the shadows back down.  Then I masked out the background so I didn’t lighten it further.  Here is what my Curves adjustment layer and the layer mask look like:

curves and masking1

Our photo now looks like this…

after curves and masking1


I still want to bring some lightness to her face, so I created another Curves layer and changed the Blending Mode to Screen (Note: The type of layer in this case is actually arbitrary since we are just using it to modify the Blending Mode; any adjustment layer will work).  I inverted the layer mask and painted in the light effect on her face with a 10% soft white brush until her face was lightened to my liking.  Here is my layers palette…

curves screen layer2


… and here is what she looks like now…

after curves screen layer2


Now I think she looks a little pale, so I’m going to warm her up with levels, masking out her eyes to keep them nice and bright (not warm!).  I adjusted the opacity of the Warmer layer to 50%.

Here is my layers palette now…



… and the photo…

after warmer3 and masking eyes


Next I merged all the layers.  Then I ran my free Silky Punch action.  Once again, I painted in the effect on her face and hair with a soft white brush at about 20%.  Here is what she looks like…

after silky pop


I merged the layers again.  Then I ran Bring On the Eyes!, from one of the free action sets by Pioneer Woman.  I painted the eyes with a 20% soft brush to make them pop a bit more.

Next I merged the layers again and ran Portraiture on it’s own layer to smooth out her skin.  I reduced the opacity of the Portraiture layer to about 60%.

The last thing I did was to darken some of the background a bit by adding depth with a multiply layer.  I created a curves layer, set the blending mode to Multiply, and inverted the layer mask.  Then I painted over the lighter areas of the background with a soft brush to darken them.

The last thing I did was to sharpen a bit with the Unsharp Mask filter.  My settings were the following:

Amount : 200, Radius : 0.6, Threshold : 0.

That’s it!  Here is the finished product:



Such a sweet little face.  Smile  I hope this was helpful!  If you enjoyed this, I’d love for you to drop me a comment or share this tutorial!  Thanks for reading!

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4 Responses to Photoshop Before and After: Little Miss Innocent

  1. Kayte says:

    Fantastic! Clear easy to understand. Totally my favorite new photo resource.

  2. Caili says:

    You are amazing. I am officially obsessed with your blog! Hope you don’t mind. :)

  3. Angie says:

    Thank you so much, Caili! :)

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