Editing a pic of a 1-month-old baby

There are numerous challenges in photographing a 5 weeks old baby: baby’s skin tends to have impurities, baby is still so small that too low room temperature might cause unpleasant patterns on skin, baby propably don’t sleep that tight anymore, yet baby is too small to hold his head… Well nonetheless I gave it a try last winter.

In my example I have a picture that was taken at home, in front of the living rooms wall. I had two studio lights in front, one as main and the other as fill light. Nothing complicated in that.

I had an assistant making sure that baby doesn’t fall off from the stacked crates. We were not able to make him feel that comfortable so 4 or 5 shots was all I got before he started to cry and feel anxious.

The result (SOOC) was not as cute and good as I had hoped it would be. Here is the before picture SOOC ISO125 1/125 f7.1 130mm Canon eos MKIII + 70-200mm 2.8L IS II USM


And here it is after Lightroom (MCP Quick Clicks – Sweet Dreams /modified)


Editing in Photoshop

First I wanted to correct the line of his back in liquify. So I made the small corrections with liquify forward Warp tool (brush size approximately 800-1000). After that I took away the catchlight of the fill light from baby’s upper eye.

After doing these corrections. I ran MCP Color Fusion Mix and Match. In One Click Color I took edge and spotlight off. After mixing and matching different layers I finally selected: Rustic @17%, Peachy @20% and Dreamy @15%. I had the color sampler on 3-4 spots on medium skintones (results in info-box rgb>>>cmyk*). I usually aim at c=5-10 m=30 y=30+ k=0. when the numbers are off I just “brush black” and bring down layers that affect the skintone too much and to wrong direction. I also click layers on and off, change opacities and see how it affects on skin (also in info-box cmyk-numbers). *) See the image below under headline “Small things 2”


Then I focused on skin. I “selected all” and “copy merged”, opened “new” and pasted the image there. First I used the patch tool to get rid of the spots and spot healing brush tool as well for the smaller impurities. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)


Patch tool – spots

Then I used the same patch tool to get the dark circles around the eyes a little less visible,  notice that I used “edit” > “fade patch selection” > 45% to bring the dark back a little.
(Left-click to see the picture in actual size)

Patch tool - circles under eyes

Patch tool – circles under eyes

After those manual edits I flattened the image, it got named ‘Background’ and the Magic Skin -action could be ran. I painted the skin area white (on mask) with 100% brush and then reduced the opacity to 65% and painted some shades back (with black brush that is). The marbelled skin was away and the skin appeared to be smooth and soft. I selected all, copy merged it and brought back to my original psd document and named the layer “skinedits_magicskin_patch”. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)


Small things
matter I used clone tool to get rid of the green area in knitted fabric just in front of his face. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)


Some light and dark onto face

I did my copy merged again and opened a new document, pasted the image and ran the Magic Light and Dark (MCP Bag of Tricks). Then I added some light onto his eyes and dark in eyebrows and hair. Selected all, copymerged it all and pasted into my base-psd again. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)


Small things 2

I wanted to fix the light area from the lower left corner and I used the clone tool to do so. On separate layer, of course; I clicked the clone source from the last layer and added new layer where I cloned the cloth. By changing the mode to Darken I didn’t need to worry about the edges as it was the light area I wanted to darken with cloned cloth. Result is shown here. Here you can also see the color sampler spots and the info box. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)



The image seemed to be pretty OK, but I thought I’d try some texture on top. I made that in new document. I used an old texture I had in store, pasted it on top of the 1st layer in new document, changed the blend mode to soft light, selected an oval shape area around the baby, selected “refine edge”, and added maximum feather. Then I inverted the selection and added a layer mask and so the texture affected only the corner areas. I reduced opacity near 50% and selected all copymerged it all and brought it back to my psd. (Left-click to see the picture in actual size)


Adding texture (blend mode soft light)

Adding texture (blend mode soft light)

For a brief moment I thought the image was done. BUT: The skintone was too similar to backgrounds colors so I changed the tone more to yellow. And after I was told how the text looked akward and disturbing being upside down, it started to look disturbing to me too. So I flipped the text by copying
the whole board and flipped it vertically + horizontally, then made a layer mask and masked off some of the edges, used clone and patch tool to make it more convincing. Now the image seemed ready. At least for the time being.


After I have changed the image size to desired, I sharpen the image using high pass –filter. I duplicate the layer of the finished image, run the high pass -filter (filter > other > high pass) radius usually 0,5-1,5 depending on the imagesize in pixels. Then I change the high pass filter –layers blend mode to overlay. With layer mask I can reduce the effect from the areas I don’t want that sharp. Usually I sharpen only the eyes (and mouth).

Here is the result:





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