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:
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:
Our photo now looks like this…
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…
… and here is what she looks like now…
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…
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. 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!