This editing tutorial was written by Angela of Polished Picture. You can find more helpful editing information, tips + tricks and tutorials on the Polished Picture site. Thank you Angela, for sharing your knowledge with us here.
Newborn skin can be tricky to tackle in the editing process. It is not uncommon to deal with flakiness, blemishes, jaundice, birthmarks, and scratches. Fortunately you can do ANYTHING with Photoshop (okay, probably an exaggeration… but pretty close to anything!). I’m going to show you some helpful tools when dealing with newborn skin.
Here is the before and after:
And up close…
Okay, here we go! First I did a curves layer and pulled up the midtones to brighten the skin:
Next I am going to fix the blemishes/problem areas. This baby actually had really nice skin, but there are still a few areas to address. On babies with not-so-nice skin, just apply these techniques to all the problem areas.
I merged the layers together, then duplicated the background layer. We will work on the duplicate layer. That way if we mess up, we can just delete the layer and start over. We will address the blemishes first with the Spot Healing Brush Tool.
After selecting the tool, simply resize the brush, and click all the blemishes you want to heal. It heals the skin like magic. ☺
Next I addressed the birthmarks with the Patch tool…
To use the Patch tool, draw a selection around the area you want to heal.
Then drag it to an area of skin with the texture you would like to duplicate (i.e. an area of smooth skin).
The Patch tool is useful for birthmarks, scratches, flaky patches, and any other irregularly-shaped areas you want to heal.
After I was done healing, I merged all the layers together. The next thing I did was to reduce the orange and magenta tones in the skin.
To reduce the orange tones, I ran Michelle Kane’s Anti-Fake n’ Bake action. I used a soft brush at 10% opacity and painted over the skin until it wasn’t quite so orange.
To reduce the magenta tones, I ran Michelle Kane’s Anti-Lobster Skin action. Again, I used a soft brush at 10% opacity and painted over the areas of the skin that were too magenta (a few sweeps over all the skin, a few extra sweeps over his little pink eyelids!)
Here’s how it looks after reducing orange and magenta:
I want to add a little more contrast in, so I did a levels layer next and adjusted the shadows and midpoint.
Next, I sharpened the photo. I used Michelle Kane’s Dazzling Details action with the Dazzling Light layer turned off. I like to preserve some of the texture before I smooth the skin.
My next step was to smooth the skin. I clicked back on the background layer (under the ‘Dazzling Details’ layer) and ran Michelle Kane’s Flawless Face action. I painted the skin with a soft brush at 20% opacity. I went back and painted over the eyelashes with a 100% opacity black brush to make sure the lashes weren’t softened. On the Flawless Face layer, I also painted over the sheet behind him in the background at 100% to smooth it out.
Here is how my layers palette looked at this point:
And that’s it! Again, here is the close-up before and after:
You can obviously adjust the brightness of the skin and the amount of orange and magenta in the skin to your liking. I would sum up editing newborn skin in the following steps:
1. Adjust brightness if necessary.
2. Address blemishes, birthmarks, scratches, etc.
3. Tone down the orange and/or magenta tones that are almost always present in babies!
4. Smooth skin and sharpen lashes.
Of course after you finish your clean edit, you can play around a bit. ☺
After running Michelle Kane’s Kiwi action:
After running Michelle Kane’s Ice with the Darken layer turned down to 18%: