May 25, 2010
Anatomy of an Edit
Last week, Mrs. G left me a comment on my blog with a request to try my hands at one of her favorite photos. If she can be sweet enough to leave me a little love, then I’m more than happy to play with one of her photos. I also thought I’d share my typical workflow. Here’s the before: 
This is really a cute shot, so I saved the file and opened Photoshop Elements (PSE). I recently learned (yeah yeah…I’m slow) that I can open all of my photos (including JPGs) in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) first. Just go to File>Open As>select your file and choose to Open As Camera Raw file – your file will immediately open in ACR. In ACR, you can adjust the white balance, exposure, fill light, brightness, contrast, etc. Once you’re done there, click open image to open the file in PSE.

Generally speaking, if the photo is properly exposed and in focus, I try to keep it simple. I’ll often choose to use Amy McMaster’s Squeaky Clean to do a nice clean edit. In particular, in this shot, I wanted to bring out the blue of the ocean by adjusting the blue levels. I used the burn tool to darken the spot on her little head too. [I just noticed that Squeaky Clean is now an action for purchase. If you did not take advantage of Amy McMaster’s Squeaky Clean when it was still free…but you want a “free” action, check out Texas Chick’s Perfect Workflow. I used to use this action to process my photos and it essentially packages the same steps I use in Squeaky Clean – so grab it while it’s still free!]

Also, I did adjust the crop on this photo. I went to Image>Resize>Canvas and then added some space on the right side of the photo. I used the marquee tool to select just a little bit of the right side of the photo, clicked ctrl T and then stretched the canvas. Once I filled in the space, I used the crop tool to create a 4×6 crop. 
Mrs G After RS
From there, I like to add just a hint of color…but keep it clean. Right now, I’m really enjoying Amy McMaster’s Berries’n Cream action to do just that. I turn off the berries layer unless I feel that the photo needs a little pink. I also store a vintage color set in my texture folder – I’ll pull this out if I want to add a color overlay. 
Mrs G After 2 RS
Finally, if the photo calls for it, I’ll add a series of textures. I’ve been asked if I use a specific formula – no. Most times, I’ll go into my texture folder and select a few that “speak” to me. I then experiment with blending modes and opacities. For this photo, I used the following textures, blending modes and opacities. You can pick up most of these textures at Shadowhouse Creations
  • Poster 2 – Overlay – 100% opacity
  • Painterly Effect2 – Multiply – 18% opacity
  • Poster 1 – Multiply – 22% opacity
  • Background copy – Hard Light – 30% opacity
  • RVT Blue – Soft Light – 68% opacity
  • Retrobreeze – Screen – 12% opacity
Mrs G After 3 RS

So, Mrs. G…what do you think? I’ve saved the larger files in case you want any or all of them. Just shoot me a message. Have a great night!