Category Archives: Before And Afters

Create a Dark, Cinematic Effect in Photoshop

Today’s before & after Photoshop tutorial comes to us from Marc Andre.  He will be showing us how to create a dark, cinematic effect.  Near the end of the tutorial, he provides the link to a free action you can download in order to apply this effect to your photos!

photoshop before and after

Photoshop allows you to create all kinds of different effects for your photos, and in this tutorial we’ll go through the process of creating a dark, cinema-inspired look. If you’re looking to add a dramatic touch to a photo, this approach can work quite well. We’ll use this photo as the starting point:


And here is a preview of how the photo will look at the end of this tutorial:



We’ll go through the process of creating this effect step-by-step. The specifics of some steps may vary depending on the photo that you are using as a starting point, so if you’re working with your own photo feel free to experiment a little and don’t feel like you need to stick to the exact details of each step. In each step we’ll create an adjustment layer. If you’re not familiar with adjustment layers in Photoshop they allow you to make non-destructive adjustments, meaning that your original photo layer will be untouched. To create an adjustment layer all you need to do is click on the circular icon at the bottom of the layers palette.


When you click on that icon it will open a list of the different types of adjustment layers that you can add.

Step 1: Create a Black & White Adjustment Layer

Click on the icon to create a new adjustment layer and select “Black & White” from the list. Select the black & white adjustment layer in the layer’s palette and adjust the opacity to 60%.


This adjustment will tone down the colors of the photo, but not to the point of making it black & white.

Step 2: Create a Curves Adjustment Layer

Next, we’ll make some adjustmes to the red, green, and blue curves, as well as the RGB curve. Click on the icon to create a new adjustment layer and select “curves”. The images below shows each of the curve adjustments that you will need to make. Use the dropdown to select RGB, red, green, or blue, and then make the adjustment to the curve.



After the curves adjustment the photo looks like this:

Step 3: Create Another Curves Adjustment Layer

Next, we’ll create a second curves adjustment layer, but this time we’re only going to edit the RGB curve, which will impact all colors in the photo. Drop the middle down a little bit and it will darken the mid tones of the photo.


After this adjustment the photo looks like this:

Step 4: Exposure Adjustment

Click the icon to create a new adjustment layer and select Exposure. We’ll adjust the exposure to +0.33. This step may or may not be neccesary depending on the photo that you are working with.

Step 5: Saturation Adjustment

Next, click the icon to create a new adjustment layer and select “vibrance”. You’ll now be able to adjust vibrance and saturation. We’ll actually leave the vibrance setting untouched, but change the saturation to “-15”.

Step 6: Contrast Adjustment

Now, for the last step. Click the icon to create a new adjustment layer and select “brightness/contrast”. We’ll leave the brightness setting untouched and change the contrast to “8”, giving it a slight contrast boost.

Final Results

Here is a look at the before and after images:


If you’re interested in adding the cinema-inspired effect to your photos without the need to go through all of these steps, a free Photoshop action is available that will complete the steps for you with one click.

About the Author:

Marc Andre is the editor of, a website that offers downloadable products like Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, photo overlays, textures, and print templates.

Photoshop Before and After: Audrey Hepburn Inspired Shoot

before and after

Today’s post is a guest post from my great friend, Alexis Albright! She recently did an Audrey Hepburn Inspired Shoot and is going to give us a peek into her editing process!

Audrey Hepburn Side by Side

But first, I have to give you this bit of history because it is amazing!  Alexis and I met during our first (horrible) semester in college.  We shared the exact same sentiments about living in a dorm with a bunch of strangers.  (Don’t get us started on wet shower shoes, right Lex?!  Haha!)  We just really clicked even though we were both having a rough time.  Unfortunately for me, she ended up moving back to Florida after that first awful semester, and we ended up losing touch.

Fast forward over TWELVE YEARS… my hubby and I were at Disney World for the first time with our kids, and guess who we literally almost ran right in to?!  Alexis!  And her husband and 3 kids, which I didn’t even know she had!  It was the craziest thing… who would have imagined we would both be at Disney World, in the same park, on the same day, at the same time, in the same exact place?!  And even so, we could have unknowingly walked right past each other, but we didn’t!  We basically headed right in to each other!  I think it was a divine appointment if I’ve ever seen one!

Long story short, after returning home we got back in touch on Facebook, and I learned that her aunt lives super close to me in Indiana… as a matter of fact, our kids go to the same preschool!  So crazy!  Anyways, we started catching up on the phone and over email, and we ended up seeing each other last summer when she was up visiting family.  It was then that we realized we have yet something else in common… photography!

I’m so grateful to have such a great friend back in my life.  God works in mysterious ways, yes?!  I just had to share the amazing way we reconnected after so much time had passed!

Back to the Post…

Here is a recent session Alexis did, I just love the creativity of this Audrey Hepburn inspired shoot!

This is from Alexis:

This client is a high school senior and totally adores Audrey Hepburn.  She had some “Audrey-esque” accessories she wanted to incorporate into the shoot, so I pulled a few of Audrey’s iconic photos for us to emulate.  This session was incredibly fun and creative.  My client and I were both thrilled with the final product.  Here is one of the photos from the shoot.

Polished picture original


These are the editing steps:

1.  Created a new Exposure Adjustment layer and increased Exposure to +.50.



2.  Used Polished Picture’s free Sparking Eyes action at 30%.

3.  Got rid of blemishes with the Spot Healing tool.

4.  Erased stray hairs with the Healing Brush tool.

5.  Created a new Black and White adjustment layer and bumped up yellows to 97.

Black and White


6.  Created a curves layer.  Used the hand icon to increase the overall brightness of her skin tone.

curves 1

7.  On another curves layer, I grabbed the bottom left corner and pulled it to the right until the input read: 21. The output should read: 0 since you aren’t taking it off the base line. This is to increase the depth of the picture.

curves 2

8.  Clicking back on the main background layer, I ran Portraiture on her face in a new layer and inverted the mask. I like to paint the portraiture on, so as not to cover up eyebrows, lips, nostrils, and lashes.

9.  Sharpen

Here is the final image:

polished picture edited


**I wanted to give my client another option with this same image. So I edited this image with one last touch of texture to give an old timey feel. You can do the same by going to Filter, Texture, Grain and then controlling the intensity of the grain

polished picture edited grain

Just for fun, here is another Audrey-inspired image from the shoot!


Alexis is a photographer in the Tampa area and the owner of Albright Five Photography.  She specializes in Senior photography.  To see more of Alexis’ work and more photos from this shoot, please visit her blog and head over to her Facebook page!

Video Before and After: Newborn Edit in Photoshop

Hello!!  I just finished editing a newborn session and thought maybe it would be helpful to post an example of a Before and After of a newborn.  This edit is very basic and simple, but I made a video for you.  :)

Full Before and After:


Here is the video:

Here are the steps I used:

1.  Cleaned up small blemishes with the Spot Healing Tool

2.  Evened out the skin a bit using Curves

3.  Reduced patches of red a little more with a Hue/Saturation layer and masking

4.  Ran Portraiture (a Photoshop plugin) on its own layer to smooth skin.  Reduced opacity and masked out hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and lips.  Portraiture is my favorite way to smooth skin because it is quick and effective!

5.  Sharpened using the High Pass filter.

I hope this was helpful, thank you so much for visiting!