How To Edit Photos | Soft Skin, Bright Eyes

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The holidays are a wonderful time to capture timeless moments with family.  There is nothing more priceless than the pure joy on the faces of children on Christmas morning as they open the presents they have been dreaming about all year long.  The first step is taking the time to take out the camera and document those days.  Days later once all of the excitement has worn off there will finally be time to look through all of the photographs and pick out the best ones.  There are a few things that you can do to put the finishing touches on photos of babies or children.  Knowing how to edit photos, especially of children can be very rewarding and create beautiful images and memories.  Using Adobe Photoshop and a few quick tricks a picture can go from cute to precious.

Here is the original version of a photo from Christmas morning 2012

Editing Baby Photos 1 | KSAVAGER

Open the image in Photoshop and do any touching up of minor blemishes or discoloration.  (This can be done easily with the spot healing brush tool, blur tool, and the eyedropper and brush tools).  Next let’s brighten those baby blues!  This step is quite simple but it can take a few tries to get exactly what you want.  Select the lasso tool and zoom in very close around the eyes to get a better look at the shape.  Click and hold the lasso tool and carefully outline the iris of the eye.  Be careful not to select any of the whites of the eye or leave out large sections of the iris or it will be obvious in the end.  Once you have gotten a clean selection, copy and paste it to a new layer. Repeat this step with the other eye and paste in the same layer as the other one. Select both iris copies and open up the brightness/contrast panel.  This part depends on the image you are starting with, different lighting situations or colored eyes will need different adjustments to get the look you want.  Once you’ve got the right balance, remember to blur the edges slightly with the blur tool to avoid the edges looking choppy.  It is important to select, copy and paste the iris portion now before our next step or you will lose much of the eye’s detail.

Bright Eyes

 

Selecting The Iris | Editing Baby Photos   Brightness & Contrast for the Iris | Editing Baby Photos
For now, hide the iris layer and go forward working with the rest of the image.  The next step to make the skin look baby soft is using the Surface Blur Filter.  Use a small radius and threshold to create a subtle blurred softness to the overall image.  Depending on the image it may require more or less blur, here the radius was 5 pixels and the threshold was 15 pixels.

Soft Skin

 

Photoshop | Editing Baby Photos | KSAVAGERSurface Blur | Editing Baby Photos | KSAVAGER
The holidays are typically quite chaotic and the background can be filled with distracting images like wrapping paper or coffee cups.  Allow the subject to shine through and be the focal point by darkening the background using a mask layer and the lens correction filter>vignette settings to darken the image from the outside edges towards the center without effecting the child.  The difference is subtle but it can be adjusted in the vignette menu or by decreasing the opacity of the mask layer.

Mask Layer

 

Mask Layer | Editing Baby Photos | KSAVAGER  Darken Background | Editing Baby Photos | KSAVAGER
Now go ahead and all of your layers viewable and see what you have!  The great thing about this process is that mistakes are easily forgiven.  If the eyes look too bright and colorful they may not look natural, but since you made the changes to another layer you are safe to try again, or try playing with the layers’ opacity. My advice is to always save your work! Keep a copy of the photoshop file with the layers intact so you can go back and change things slightly if after a while you realize one of the effects is too strong or too weak, then you don’t have to start from scratch!  Here’s the finished product!