April 21, 2010
Before & After: She Did It!
Last night, I came home…checked my email…signed on the Bump Photography Board…and there it was, an editing challenge. I’m like pavlov’s dog when it comes to editing challenges, so I had to jump in. Unfortunately, a few of the other girls had already mastered the edit using Lightroom, Photoshop (using Portraiture) and Noiseware. I thought that I’d try to reproduce the edit in Photoshop Elements, but I felt that my initial edit came up short. Let me tell you, I was discouraged! 

FYI: My goal with “before and after” challenges is to demonstrate that Photoshop Elements can be an incredibly useful tool for hobby photographers, like me. I hope that I have proven that you can do most of what you need to do (from a post-processing/editing perspective) for under $100.  

With that said, I put on my big girl britches and decided to try again. Needless to say, I am pleased with the results.

  1. I started by opening the RAW file in Camera Raw (a plug-in for PSE) – I did have to update my .8bi file to support the file, but that only took a couple of minutes. 
  2. In Camera Raw, I adjusted the white balance and exposure, and added fill light. I also cropped and straightened the file. 
  3. I then opened it up in PSE. 
  4. I ran Squeaky Clean just to clean it up a little more before running any actions (I really didn’t have to do much tweaking). 
  5. Then, I ran Coffeeshop’s Baby Powder Room to clean up their little faces a bit (I ran each layer at a really low opacity, but did not use the eye bright layers). 
  6. I used Pioneer Woman’s Bring Out the Eyes action on their eyes (I just like this action a little better). 
  7. I then used Pioneer Woman’s Slight Light (lowered to about 50%) to brighten up the picture a little more. 
  8. I did a combination of cloning and healing to get rid of the plexiglass line. 
  9. I then used the quick selection tool to select the girls – then selected the inverse. I created a duplicate layer. 
  10. On that duplicate layer, I did a gaussian blur filter. I added a layer mask and used a soft black brush at 40% opacity to paint around the edges of the girls bodies so that they weren’t blurry. Why did I do this? – because I don’t have noiseware and this made the picture less grainy. 
  11. Finally, before posting to my blog, I ran a resize and sharpen action.  
Is my edit as good as the ones I saw last night…maybe not, but I think this is a huge improvement and again proves how much can be accomplished with Photoshop Elements. By the way, I think this picture is super duper adorable.