I’m thrilled to have guest blogger, Tami Goeckeritz of Tami G. Photography located in California share this magical before and after photo editing blueprint with us. She was able to take a fairly standard straight out of camera photograph and transform it into a rich and colorful photo with magical light by using the HeARTy Photoshop Actions. What I love about this photo editing blueprint, is that Tami shows how she works a photo in sections by way of the layer masks that each action comes with. She doesn’t think globally when she edits, placing her effects over the entire image and hoping that they will work and look good everywhere. Instead, she considers each individual part of the image and what it needs, then adds treatments and effects via the actions to those areas selectively by painting the effects in or out using the layer masks. I believe working photos in sections is the only way to create a balanced, thoughtful and beautiful photo. A big thank you to Tami for sharing her editing secrets with us! Be sure to check out Tami’s Facebook page as well. You’ll want to see more of her beautiful photography.
Photo Editing Blueprint.
1. The first thing I always do is take my images into camera RAW. I take the blacks all the way to 0, the contrast down usually to 12 or 13 and then I make any other lighting adjustments that need to be made such as white balance, exposure and brightness. The reason I take out a lot of the contrast and all of the blacks is because I like to start with a very flat image so I can customize those things to my liking. (This is something I learned from Michelle!) Once those basic things are done in RAW, I open the image in Photoshop.
2. See Things Clearer. 100% to defog the image. (Give it an overall light clarity boost.)
3. Patch Tool. I then used the patch tool to minimize her under eye circles. When doing this I never go higher then 30% opacity.
4. Flawless Face. 40% opacity, brushed in via the layer mask onto the little girl’s skin as well as around the outer edge of the picture and most of the background to give it a very smooth, dreamy feel.
5. Sparkle. 85% opacity and brushed onto her eyes. Then I took the brush opacity down to about 55% and brushed over her eyebrows and lips. (Sharpening)
6. Blue Eyed Beauty. Brushed it once over her eyes with a 3-4% opacity brush. I also used Eyecitement and Glisten at 15% opacity to pop the eyes a little more.
7. Custom Curves adjustment layer. To bump up the lightness and boost contrast a little bit. (Ignite action will also accomplish this.)
8. Dark All Over. Changed the layer opacity to about 30%. This darkened the entire image. Using a black brush and the layer mask, I brushed the darkness OFF her face, her hair, her skin, the blanket, as I wanted to keep those areas bright. I made sure to also brush off the Dark All Over on that area of light coming from the back, thereby exaggerating that light a bit. I then repeated this step so I had a rich background giving the image depth. This to me is the most important step, adding the dark were it needs it and keeping it light in the areas that need to stay light. I added a little dark to her cheeks forehead, nose and arms with about 5% opacity to make sure the skin didn’t get too washed out.
9. Light Optimizer. 25-30% over the entire image to give a boost of light with slight contrast. I played Light Optimizer once again, inverted the layer mask to hide the effects and used a white brush to paint in the light to areas I wanted a more exaggerated highlight.
Selectively adding in highlights and shadows via painting with a layer mask can really help to add dimension and excitement to a photo, giving it drama and making it feel sharper and slightly hyper-dynamic.
10. Bland To Brilliant. Invert layer mask to black then brushed effects on the face and body at about 15% opacity—just enough to sharpen and pop things a little more.
At this point the image was starting to look good but the color tones to me didn’t look great, so I started to add a lot of warmth. Here’s how I toned the photo…
11. Rapture. Inverted layer mask to black, then brushed effect on mainly the highlight areas (blanket and the back light behind the girl) at about 20% opacity. I then did one general brushing sweep over the whole image.
12. Beautiful Warmth. Default Opacity. Using a black brush at about 20% opacity I brushed it OFF a bit of the highlighted areas, such as the blanket, the lighting in the back and a little bit off of her skin. Not too much off of the skin though, making sure to leave some on the cheeks, forehead, and arms.
13. Rosy Dusk. Invert layer mask to black and with 20% opacity brush, I added it to the areas in the background and foreground that are darker to give it a rosy warmth. Then with about a 7% opacity brush, I brushed it everywhere else especially her cheeks and lips to give them a healthy pink tone.
14. Brown Sugar. Invert layer mask to black. Mainly brushed onto the outer edges of the image at 15% opacity to richen the dark areas a little more. I may have use it a little on her eyebrows and eyelashes as well to darken them up a bit.
15. Daffodil. Over the entire image, but masking it off the girl and her blanket with a black brush. (Daffodil amps up the yellow tones and is great for greenery and grass.)
After all the color tones looked good….
16. Opulent Light. Brushed in at 20% opacity on the back light behind the girl and brought that light forward so it looks like a trail of beautiful light. (Creating new or embellishing existing light will create dimension and is a key element of making an okay photo a WOW photo.)
17. Flatten. Then used the dodge tool at 3% and just touched the brush a few times on the whole image giving it all a little boost then did the same thing using the sponge tool to amp up the saturation very slightly. (You can also use the action Light + Shade for non-destructive dodging and burning.)
“I have always had an interest in photography and always really wanted to learn how to take pictures better. When my little girl turned 1, I bought my first DSLR camera and the second I started using it I wanted to know all there was to know about how to use this amazing camera. I started taking online classes and reading all I could on everything about camera equipment and editing software, and then learning about light and all other aspects of photography. I fell in love with it all! My passion grew further when I took Michelle Kane’s 2 day workshop in Napa. That’s where my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of post processing and how you can transform the photos that you take into masterpieces. Through trial and error and with Michelle as my mentor I really found myself and my style. I love what I do! I love being able to see a person’s face light up when they are viewing the photos that I have spent so much time customizing to perfection for them. It is so awesome!