First, I’d like to wish my sister Kirsten and my dad a happy birthday. Love you guys!
Okay… on to the topic at hand. It’s Fix-It Friday at iheartfaces. Have you ever taken a photo of a darling subject only to find that dull gray wash over it?
Look at this beautiful girl. Look at those eyes. Even the way she is framed in the photo is beautiful. The problem? Humans don’t have gray skin. That flat, washed-out look doesn’t bring out what we see with our eyes, or more.
When I do kids’ portraits, I like to focus on the eyes and remove as much of the distractions around it as possible. I also love bright whites – my own personal style. You can still breathe a lot of life into photos without stylizing them as much as I did in this fun, bright, high-contrast style.
So, how do you use Photoshop to make eyes pop, whites bright and remove distractions?
Well, here’s how I do it. If you’d like to play along, go to the iheartfaces flickr page and download the largest res size. I used Photoshop CS3 for this tutorial, but most of this can be accomplished even with Elements. (Side note – CS5 goes on preorder on 4/12/10!)
- With the photo opened in Photoshop. Hit command-L / ctrl-L or go to Image> Adjustments> Levels to open up the levels box. You’ll see a mountain shape – a black silhouette. Under it is 3 triangles. Black, gray and white.
– The black triangle will control the dark areas of the photo.
– The gray triangles controls the mid levels.
– The white triangle controls the light areas of the photo.
- Slide the triangles (levels) and watch the changes. For a more natural edit, line the dark and light levels with the “base” of each side of the mountain. For a more dramatic edit, keep sliding like I did. Already, you’ll see a dramatic difference.
- Next sharpen the photo. Filter> sharpen> unsharp mask. I used:
– amount 90%
– radius 1.0 px
– threshold 4 levels
But you should judge with your own eye the way you like it.
- Next, I ran an action called Martini & Olives from the Retro Actions from Red Leaf. I love what most of the action does as far as making the contrast and light nice. But I don’t love the olive green hue over it, so I remove that layer, by clicking on the eye icon next to that layer. (**UPDATE: Red Leaf Actions no longer sells Martini & Olives! )
If you don’t have this action, you can achieve a similar look by playing with the contrast by going to Image> Adjustments> Brightness/Contast and increasing the contrast. Going to curves and dragging up the mid-tones. Then lowering the saturation of the photo slightly, by clicking command-U / control U or going to Image> Adjuments> Hue Saturation. Drag down the saturation of the image a little.
- Flatten the layers by going to Image> Flatten (last choice on the menu).
- Find the patch tool on the Photoshop menu, and use it to patch out the blue vein between the girl’s eyes, and to reduce the dark circles under her eyes. Once you’ve drawn a circle around the part you want, drag the selection to a part of her face where there are no problem areas. I used her cheek.
- Next, run the action Color Flair from MCP’s Quickie Collection. If you don’t have this one, you could manually increase the saturations of the browns in the eyes, the pinks in the hood framing her face.
- Flatten the image. Run The Eye Doctor action from MCP Actions. I used only the layers to sharpen, and enhance catchlights. If you don’t own this action, you can acheive this look by sharpening only the eyes, and dodging the catch lights at a very low opacity.
- I added a bit more saturation to the hood, eyes and mouth by running MCP Action’s Color Finder Action from the Bag of Tricks action set.
- Lastly, crop slightly until you like the composition.
Your turn. You can edit and link up to iheartfaces to share your efforts.