I try really hard to get all of my images as perfect as can be SOOC (that's Straight Out Of Camera for those unaware) because who wants to spend their entire day editing? Not me, but let's face it... sometimes we do mess up and the image is not as great as we had envisioned or there are factors out of our control that need a little touching up - Photoshop to the rescue! Follow along as I edit an image from a recent newborn session. I do all of my work with Photoshop CS6 and I do use a few actions and a plug-in.
Here is the before and after:
Big difference between the before and after! First take a look at the top image which is SOOC. What is the first thing you see? The first thing I see is that my white balance is WAY off. I use a grey card to set my white balance in camera but I had moved my set up and failed to set the white balance again (mistake!). So the first thing I do with all images is fix the white balance when needed. I shoot in RAW and find it helpful if you have major fixes.
1. Open the image in PS6 camera raw. If your image is already open in Photoshop you can always use CTRL+SHIFT+A to open in camera RAW. To fix my white balance I slid the temperature slider to -17 and slid the tint slider to +17. Sometimes I use the little white balance dropper to help me go in the general direction of where I need to be. You can also do this step in Lightroom if that is what you have. Look at the big difference the change in white balance made:
ahhhh... I feel much better already!
2. While I'm still in Camera RAW in Photoshop I will adjust exposure, and color. (You can also do all of these steps in Lightroom) For this image (and all images vary) I bumped the exposure slider up +.10, bumped highlight slider up +16, slid the shadows to -21, bumped the whites slider to +11 and the blacks slider to -10.
Babies are usually a little reddish and yellow in hue so I like to take care of some of that using saturation and luminance. While still in Camera RAW I clicked on the HSL/Greyscale button and clicked on saturation. I slid the orange down to -7 and yellow to -8. I then clicked on Luminance and slid the orange +7 and the yellow to +6. As you can see these changes are very subtle and not as dramatic as the previous changes:
3. This beautiful girl was almost 4 weeks old for her newborn session. A little older than my usual but she did fantastic! I like to photograph newborns between 5 - 12 days because they are sleepier and curlier and also they haven't been hit with newborn acne yet. Since she was a little older she was in the height of the newborn blemish stage that most newborns get. Not to worry! There's always the patch tool! My next step was to go over blemishes with the patch tool, trying to get as much as possible. You can use the band-aid tool in Photoshop but I think patch does a better job. Lightroom does have something similar but I've never been able to work with it as well as in Photoshop. After Patch tool:
4. Looking good! Now what I see is some uneven skin tones. Particularly red. I've just started using this method to help even things out:
You may need to copy and paste that link. Sorry! Here is the before and after -
5. Now here's the fun part! Running Imagenomic Portraiture! Yes, this makes my life SO much easier It makes a huge difference and you can control the strength of the skin smoothing. I simply run Portraiture and then paint off the areas that I want to remain tack sharp such as the eyes (or eyelids), lips, nose and hair. Love the soft, natural looking skin.
Before and after Portraiture -
6. ALMOST done!! She's still appearing a bit on the red side to me and this is where I cheat and use some wonderful actions from Kelly Brown. I painted on the 'Lighten Skin Reds' on her face, head and her little feet at a low opacity making sure to avoid her lips. After that I used Kelly Brown's 'sharpen' and the 'clarify' actions to go over her eyes and lips and tip of nose. Then I finished it off by using her 'haze' action at a low opacity.
I am done with her skin!! Most of the time I add a slight vignette and blur the edges, again using actions from Kelly Brown. I hope that you have found this newborn photography skin tone editing tutorial helpful! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment!