May 26, 2010
Before & After: Bubbles
A lot of people prefer Wordless Wednesdays, but by Wednesday, I’m always looking for a photo challenge. That’s where Nicolas comes in to save the day. Isn’t this kid a cutie?! And, I just realized he and his family live in North Carolina – why haven’t we gotten together already?!

Anyways, Natalia loves this shot…and you can see why. His expression is priceless and the bubbles look like so much fun! But, she doesn’t care for it’s soft focus.
Bubbles Before and After
Since I now know that I can open all my photos with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), I started there by adjusting the white balance, upping the exposure just a little and adding a little bit of fill flash. Once done, I opened the photo in Photoshop Elements. 

I applied my typical workflow…which is now Amy McMaster’s Squeaky Clean since it has all my work steps. I also cropped it to remove whatever was on the left side. I cleaned up his face a little with the spot healing tool (I also used a blank layer, used the eye dropper to select an area of his forehead and gently painted over that space and lowered the opacity so it would blend in). 

Next, I decided since the background was already blurred, that I would have a little fun with it. I selected the background, leaving his face and the bubbles untouched, and created a new layer. I added a radial blur filter to that layer and lowered the opacity to 50% (it’s a little heavy otherwise). I merged those layers and created a duplicate layer and set the blending mode to soft light at 50% opacity. 

From there, I used the sponge tool (grouped with the dodge and burn tools) and decided I wanted to saturate the bubbles so all the color would POP. I used the sharpen tool to sharpen the eye area (no longer a soft focus). 

Finally, I applied Amy McMaster’s Berries N’ Cream action to give the photo a soft, clean and warm finish. I lowered the berry light layer to 2% and the raw sugar layer to 15%. This photo now looks like it was meant to be a candid portrait moment instead of a snapshot. Love it!