Soft, Hazy Edit from Start to Finish – Video

I love that you guys are telling me what you want to see on here!  I had a request for a soft, hazy edit, and since the response to my last video was positive, I decided to record another.  I’m sorry I say ‘um’ so much.  :(  I really don’t like listening to the videos I record, ha!


After the video, I will give a brief rundown of the steps, with links to the relevant tutorials.



Here is the Before:


And here are the steps I used:

  1. Soften the shadows under they eyes with the Clone Stamp Tool on Lighten mode.
  2. Use a curves layer to alter the tones, the goal being to brighten the photo and to even out the skin.
  3. Add some creamy warmth to the skin using a Color Balance layer and targeting the highlights.
  4. Add some sparkle to the eyes.
  5. Use a levels layer to create a hazy, soft effect.  Reduce the blacks using the output slider, bump the midtones, and play with the red channel.  (This tutorial shows a similar concept, but with a curves layer instead of levels.)  Read about color opposites to better understand how to tweak the colors.
  6. Create some midtone contrast for the face using the Defog method and masking.  (I will get a tut for this, but you basically use the Unsharp Mask filter.  You use a high Radius and low Threshold values.  Try 14% for the Amount, 40 for the Radius, and 0 for the Threshold)
  7. Finally, I used the High Pass filter for some final sharpening!

A couple of additional notes… I make reference to creating a ‘merged layer’ or a ‘composite layer’.  I’m not sure those are technical Photoshop terms, just my own!!  :)  What I mean is that I create one pixel layer that is the result of all the layers below it.  To do so, make sure your top-most layer is selected, and on your keyboard hit Cmd + Option + Shift + E (Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E on a PC).  If you’re not familiar with what a pixel layer is, you can read Adjustmet vs. Pixel Layers.  Many of the Photoshop filters need to be run on pixel layers (and any actions using filters), so that’s why I had to create a pixel layer.  :)


And, as always, this is just one way of doing things!


Here is the After (if you’re on a computer, rollover for a before/after comparison):


Thanks for coming by and watching!  Do you have a favorite method of creating a hazy look?  I’d love to hear!

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6 Responses to Soft, Hazy Edit from Start to Finish – Video

  1. skye says:

    Wow this is great – I have been trying to figure out how to create a haze other than adding a gradient layer or something like that. Pretty cool tutorial – I just found your blog and I Love it! Can’t wait to try this later on today!!

  2. Rebecca says:

    I just stumbled upon your site and I feel like I’ve found the best gold mine ever! I love the videos with the tutorials too and how concise you are when explaining everything. I’m studying graphic design at Parson’s right now and seriously, your site is much more clear and informative to me when it comes to photo editing. It’s finally clicking :) Thanks!

  3. Kaman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I just found your tutorial and I am in heaven!
    Please continue to update. I am following you on Bloglovin now :)

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