June 18, 2010
Before & After
I normally live for Fridays so I can rush over to I Heart Faces and submit my “fix” for Fix-It Friday. But lately, I haven’t been inspired…and I have several photos submitted by my followers/readers/e-friends that need to be “fixed” first. So, I’m taking a week off from Fix-It Friday (I might take 2 or 3 even – although if I’m honest with you, I’ll probably still go back and do Fix-It Friday because I have a mild obsession), and will instead share another Before and After.

Larissa sent me the photo below almost a week ago after I posted this Before & After. After following my steps, she was still having trouble with removing the background and asked if I would mind giving it a try. She loves the look on her daughter’s face while playing with the plastic bottle – I swear, kids don’t need expensive toys. I asked if I should continue with the edit from there and she gave me the green light!
IMG 8179 Before and After
You know the drill…I started by bringing the photo into Adobe Camera Raw by adjusting the white balance, exposure, brightness and contrast. I then opened the photo in Photoshop Elements 7 to remove and replace the background. 

I should warn you that when you start removing the background, it doesn’t always come out perfect to start with. I used the quick selection tool to select the background, refine the edge (experiment with this one), and then clicked control J to move that selection into it’s own layer. I then used the eye dropper to select the color of the background, created a blank layer and filled that layer using the paint bucket (with the color I selected earlier). I clicked control G to group those 2 layers. I think for this one, I even created another layer where I painted around the edges of her arm with that background color and then used a layer mask to erase any of that color from her arm. Again…experiment – it takes practice. 
Next, I removed the color cast from the overhead light. In PSE, you’ll want to go to enhance, color, remove color cast. Select the white bow (the idea is to select an item that should be white, black or gray) from her shirt and it should automatically adjust. 

Next, I adjusted the saturation – there was entirely too much red and yellow going on. I used a layer mask to keep the pink in her shirt and I think I added just a hint of saturation (and sharpening) to her eyes. I then dodged her face to lighten some of the shadows around her face. I also used a couple of blank layers with a soft paint brush on 30% opacity to even out her skin tone (just use the eye dropper to select a clean area of her skin and gently paint over) as well as remove the drool marks on her shirt (I assume it was drool). To soften her face, I ran a high pass filter, inversed it, set it to a soft light blending mode (if that was foreign, let me know) and used a layer mask to paint on the effect. 

Finally, I added a little bit of texture to the background. I used heaven’s blush, set to overlay at 35% and a cloth texture, set to soft light at 20%. I used a layer mask to remove the texture from her face and body. If you want to do this quickly without painting over her face (on the layer mask of course)…go back to your background copy and use your quick selection tool to select as much or little as you want (I select anything that isn’t background). Now click on the layer mask of the texture you’re working with. Use a black paint bucket (paint bucket filled with black paint) and fill that layer mask. You should see her body filled with black on the layer mask (again, let me know if that doesn’t make sense). 

So that’s my before and after for today. You may see at least one more blog post today (I think I want to do a Flash Back Friday for Father’s Day), otherwise have a great weekend!
6 COMMENTS

    this is a great edit! Sometimes getting stuff out of the background is really tough!

    I have so much to learn! I am amazed how you changed the background.

    wow, awesome!
    i get so scared trying to remove stuff like that. i have so much to learn too!

    Thank you so much Ashley, it looks amazing…I love it…Her eyes popped so much…I love it….Thank you again!…I am going to keep trying to work with my other pictures to perfect them like you have done!

    I so totally wish I understood what you said in this post. I love the work you do with pictures. Hopefully one of these days I will get around to learning how to do this stuff, but for now I’ll just sit back and admire what you do! (I love the motorcycle post a few posts down!!!)

    Just want to say thanks for the tutorials! I used your replacing the background technique on some wedding photos for a friend of mine and they turned out beautifully (I think so anyway!) My website is http://www.justme-photography.com if you’d like to check them out. (I apologize if I’m supposed to link this in some other way. I’m new to this blogging stuff and still don’t understand it all). Thanks again!!


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