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Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait

Lesson 33 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait

Lesson 33 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

33. Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait

Starting with the newborn portrait, develop a workflow for editing stunning portraits. Work with tools to correct perspective, apply a crop, fix the background, adjust props, perfect the skin tone and more.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Power of Portrait Photography


Introduction to Newborn Portrait


Find Inspiration for Newborn Portrait


Create The Scene for Newborn Portrait


Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait


Shoot: Techniques for Photographing Newborn


Newborn Image Review


Introduction & Find Inspiration For Child Portrait


Create The Scene for Child Portrait


Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Shoot: Capture Child Portrait


Image Review for Child Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Teenager Portrait


Create The Scene for Teenager Portrait


Building Set for Teenager Portrait


Shoot: Portrait with Teenager


Shoot: Pose Teenager for Multiple Looks


Image Review for Teenage Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Adult Portrait


Creating The Scene for Adult Portrait


Lighting for Adult Portrait


Tell Your Subject's Story


Shoot: Lighting for Double Exposure


Introduction to Senior Portrait


Create Storyboard & The Scene For Senior Portrait


Connect With Client to Create Portrait


Shoot: Lighting for Senior Portrait


Shoot: Be Creative on Set


Image Review for Senior Portrait


Portrait Shoots Recap


Global Adjustments in Camera Raw®


Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Child Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Adult Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Teenager Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait


Introduction to Entering Print Competitions


Process of Print Competitions


What to Consider For Print Competitions


What Judges Look For Overview


Image Impact


Creativity, Style & Composition in Images


Entering Photography Competitions Q&A


Image Lighting


Image Color Balance


Technical Excellence in Images


Photographic Technique


Storytelling & Subject Matter


Lesson Info

Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait

Now we can go ahead and open all of these images in Photoshop. I'm not gonna make any other global adjustments. So when it comes to making global adjustments on a photograph, you really have to consider the overall look and feel of that. If I lighten an image just because some of those shadows are dark, I'm gonna lighten the highlights, whereas I want those highlights to stay exactly where they are. That's why I just come straight into Photoshop because I know that I can lighten certain areas and mask off other areas, using layers and masks. And that's where I can be a little bit more accurate and direct in terms of the results that I want to achieve. So I just change the background there to medium gray. And we'll bring her full screen there. So we'll start with our little baby. Where is she? There we go. Because she was our fist shoot of the day. I do work with a lot of actions. I'm not necessarily going to use those, but when it comes to speeding up your workflow, if you've got a way...

of doing something, record those steps, create actions, that's gonna speed it up so much. I also work with a lot of shortcut keys. So you'll probably hear me say, you know, command this, command that. Obviously, I'm working on a Mac, but if you're working on PC, then it's control. So shortcut keys are my life savior. When it comes to looking at this image, and all of my images to begin with, I start to look at any structural changes that need to be made. Do I need to fill in background, do I need to crop this image, do I need to make any sort of changes like that? And with my original concept being that the cranes were more coming down in a sort of a tail-on effect, and then I, when I was doing it, I said, I went, ooo, I like how they're kinda sweeping around. So I'm gonna look at that and then possibly redirect those a little more. But I'm gonna look at, is my perspective correct, in terms of shooting directly from above, like is it, is that plane level? And I can sort of start to see here that the top part of the photograph is going down a little bit. It's only ever so slight, but I wanna bring that back up again in terms of that perspective. And there's a few different ways you can do it, but I'm gonna show you a really quick way. And then I'm gonna crop it. Once I've done that and I've got my background exactly where I need it to be, that's when I come in and I start working on the baby and the skin and all of those things. So I have a system with every image I open. I look for all the structural changes that I need to make in terms of fixing background, cropping, all of that kind of stuff, and then I come in and start to work on the actual subject. Okay, so, for this image, I really wanted to make this a more of an eight by 10 ratio, in terms of composition. I'm not going to crop it just yet because I do want to change that perspective. So I'm gonna create a copy layer, command J, and then I'm gonna take it into transform, command T. So we've got our little bars up here. Now, if I hold the shift key in, I can change the size of that frame. If I just move it without holding anything in, obviously it's gonna change it terribly. But if I hold the command key in, what I can do is slightly change the perspective. So what I'm gonna do is just bring up those top corners there. And then I'm going to push in the bottom corners down here. So that's just a really quick way of changing that perspective. So you can see, just bringing that baby up a little bit there. And I'm just gonna turn that background layer off and bring that layer down a little bit so it's all together there. So I don't need to work on that again. It's not a layer I need to keep open. So I'm gonna flatten that. I don't like to keep a million layers open. When I am working with highlights and shadows and things like that, I, and color tones, I will keep those layers open in case I need to go back and adjust them later on. But for something like this, this is my base image and I don't need to go back and adjust this. So I'm gonna flatten that, which is command, shift, E. Okay, so now when I start to look at the base down here and my potential crop, do I want to make this a portrait or a landscape? And you can see, with an eight by 10 ratio here, at a landscape I've still got a little bit of negative space over here and here. And the direction of this crane up here is flying off over there. So if we change it to a portrait, I'm gonna start to constrain that. So I'm gonna keep it as a landscape option. And you can see, this is where I'm starting to kind of see where that background needs to be adjusted. But what I want to do is, when I took this shot, I mentioned that that baby is going through the center of those top two thirds, in terms of composition. So that's exactly where I wanna keep it. And that was purposely shot like that in terms of creating the, that detail that's coming down underneath the baby. So I might just kinda come in here a little bit on the side. And you can see, I'm starting to bring the baby towards the center there. But I'm not gonna bring it exactly into the center because then I'm going to start to really kind of lose a lot of that distance around the bottom of the cranes there. Okay, so I'll crop that. Whenever you do crop an image, I try to get my crop as correct as possible in camera because when you are cropping an image, you're removing information. When I crop, I always go to the ratio crops. If you go to width, height, and resolution and you select how many pixels per inch you wanna crop that by, you're going to drastically reduce the amount of information that's in that file. So you always wanna work with the maximum amount of pixels. And so when you crop within this ratio over here, Photoshop is going to leave as many pixels as it possibly can inside that crop. It's probably the easiest way for me to explain it. Okay, so over here with the background, there's a few different ways I can do it. I'm not a fan of the clone tool when it comes to background, especially a background that has texture and detail. So I'm simply going to grab the square marquee tool here and just select as close as I possibly can to that little crane. And I'm gonna feather that selection by about 55 pixels and create a copy layer, command J, command T. So I can start to kind of stretch that area, I can bring it across even more, and cover that area. So we've got before and after. And when you're doing that, you wanna make sure that you are not creating any repetition in terms of the pattern. So I can start to kinda see a little bit there. Can see, that's, that there and that there. So that's that repetition that I'm talking about. So I wanna be really careful. Whenever I'm on a judging panel at a competition, I can guarantee you that if there is a, if there is cloning in there that has created repetition, there is a judge on that panel that will pick it up. It's really noticeable in print and under lighting conditions that judges look at. So I always wanna make sure, when I'm creating my photographs, that I'm not doing anything like that. Okay, so I'm happy with that. I'm gonna merge those two layers, command, shift, E. So now I wanna have a look at the placement of those little birds down here. And there's a few different ways you can do it. I'm gonna have a little bit of a play here with the warp tool. So I'm just going to come in and lasso around the bottom here, feather that, and create a copy layer, command J and command T. And then I'm going to right click and go down to warp. So what I'm going to do is just push them up a little bit and into that space so they're not so close to the edge there. So when you are using the warp tool, you do have to be careful because you are gonna change the shape of some of those so it's kind of a matter of going in, coming out, and having a look and seeing, oh, did I really distort that? Is it noticeable? So down and up. And it just kind of gives them a little bit more shape there. So what I need to do over here is kind of fix up that background. And you can see, where it's feathered, you can start to see underneath that top layer there. So what I've got to do is I want to lighten this area first to blend it, and then I'm just gonna use the patch tool to bring those two layers down. So I'm gonna create a copy layer of what I've just done. Command J. I'm gonna go up into curves. I'm going to use the little hand tool down here and just click where it's darker, where that lens vignette was, or that light falloff, and just bring it up a little bit to where it kind of matches there. So being able to use that hand tool means that I'm more accurately selecting the area that I'm working on. Okay, so I don't want it to lighten up here. You can see where it's changing closer up. So I wanna add a mask to that, a layer mask, and then invert that layer mask, command I, and now I'm gonna go to my brush tool and on the, on white, I'm gonna bring the opacity down to about 50%, nice big brush, right click, make sure the hardness of your brush is really soft for this kind of thing. And then I'm just going to lighten down lower here towards the edge where it is a little darker. And that's gonna make it easier for me to blend that area in. Much better? Okay, so now what I can do is, I can actually flatten that and then I can come in with the patch tool and correct it. But, yeah, which is what I'm gonna do. Command shift, command J. So I'm trying not to create any repetition here. Oops, oops. So a pretty quick way to kinda remove that. And you can see, as I'm using that patch tool, I'm kinda sampling different areas so that I'm not getting that repetition. And with a textured backdrop like this it's actually quite easy. So what I would do then is go around the image, having a look to see if there's any kind of lines, wrinkles that I need to fix elsewhere in that backdrop. Really quick. And obviously we don't have enough time for me to sort of edit these images from start to finish, but I wanna show you like in terms of that, those structural changes, how I get it into that shape. So I just go in quite close with all of my images and have a look at any areas that are a little more distracting than others. Up here where there's a shadow, I can even come in and I can select that shadow and go up and sort of spread it out a little further. I do love the patch tool. Okay. So now I've got that background where I want it to be, we'll flatten that. I'm gonna take a snapshot. I do this with all of my images so that I can go back to any step. And, obviously, making sure that you save on a regular basis and take those snapshots so that if you do get to a point and you go, you know what, I don't like that, but you've gone way further, you can come back at any time. So the next thing that I wanna do is go up into liquefy. When it comes to liquefy, I always wanna use this tool in a way that no one would probably know that I've used it. I do wanna bring this area here, but I'm gonna use the warp tool to do that. But before I do that, I actually wanna just tuck in the baby's bottom a little bit. See how it's just a little bit of too much white material there? So I'm gonna make my liquefy brush a little bigger. And I'm just going to, and you can see that I've got the cross over the middle of the area where I'm moving. I'm just gonna tuck in that bottom. And changing the size of your brush is really important so that it's appropriate for the area that you're moving. Okay, so giving that bottom a little tuck there. Okay, so not much of a tuck, but I've created now this really, really kind of bowl shape. And prior to not knowing the size of the baby, when you're making a prop like this, pretty hard to gauge how big to make that space or how small to make that space because you don't really know how big that baby's going to go. Or, when you're wrapping a baby, you also don't know how tight you can wrap that baby into a ball. Some, even big babies can wrap up into small balls, but some prefer to stretch out. So it all depends on that baby. So things like this, you kinda have to kind of work on. Right, so, like I mentioned, bringing this area here up. I'm gonna select quite a large area around this space. I'm gonna feather it. Maybe about at 22 pixels because it's a much smaller selection. Command J, command T. And I'm going to kind of turn it a little bit. I'm gonna bring the opacity of that layer down so I can see underneath. Start to line it up a little better. And now I'm gonna start to warp it and curl it around towards, now I can see where that baby's bottom is underneath. So the warp tool can take a little bit of practice. I mean, and I am still getting the hang of it. But it's all about playing and realizing that you can't break an image in Photoshop. And how I do it might not be how somebody else does it, but that's okay, I'm showing you how I would quickly kinda go in and do things like this. So now I've added a layer mask. And I've inverted it, command I, to take that layer off. And I'm going to paint that layer in where I need it to be. Bring that opacity up to 100%. So I'm painting it on zoomed out and this is where we can kinda come in now and be a bit more particular with the size of our brush, taking it off some areas. But you could spend quite a bit of time kind of perfecting these sort of things in terms of getting it perfectly shaped around the baby. I've kind of gone from out there to in there. So you could have a bit of a play with that and reshape it in a way. I'm trying to get through it quite quickly because we don't have all day to go through all of the images. But just to show you that I would sit and play with that and continually try to kind of mold those paper cranes around the baby and create some really pretty shapes there. So just bringing the opacity back there so I can see where I can have to take it off there. So I'm gonna bring the opacity of that black brush down to about 50%, bring that back, and just taking it off there. You can see that little crane guy coming through because I've used a big brush with a soft edge. So I can come back with a smaller brush now and come in over him. So we do have some shadows from all the different lights that were on yesterday. Which is fine, we can lighten those, but I'm okay with some shadows. But, obviously, when you are shooting this in your studio, you wanna be really precise with the direction of that light and make sure all of those shadows have a beautiful, soft falloff. Okay, so in terms of the rest of the background, I kinda wanna make that nice and even. I've got the light quite high coming down, so it's not low and coming across the baby, creating those shadows. If it was, then I'd stick with that. But what I wanna do is just kinda lighten up this side over here to match the other side. So I can do this in an adjustment layer. And I, you can use levels or curves. And I'm, bit of a habit here, using my curves. And again, you can use the hand tool or, knowing where that information sits within the file, you can kinda come in and just lift those shadows. So we've got our highlights and our shadows. So I can just lift that curve and invert that layer mask and now paint that on. And I always paint it on at a lower opacity with a nice big brush. So just lightening those shadows and evening that out. All right, so I'm gonna go back into liquefy very quickly, and that's probably the last thing I'm gonna do structurally. And with a big brush, I'm just gonna bring this out a little bit to match this curve over here. And then down at the bottom, I can just bring that down. Whenever you are using liquefy, it is stretching pixels and moving them so you gotta be careful that it's not noticeable. All right, so little kind of adjustments like that just creates that balance. All right, so to go from here, this is where I would start to look at the baby's face, the baby's skin tones, and start to draw my eye in to exactly where I want it to be, which is always going to be that baby's face. So again, I would lighten the baby's face and probably keep the arms and legs exactly where they are. Because if the legs and the arms were brighter than the face when I come up from, because if you zoom out, let me explain this a bit better, if we zoom out and look at that, the one thing that stands out in that image the most is those white cranes because it's the brightest part of the image. So then once we're, our eye is led up into that baby, we want it to go to the face first. So it needs to be brighter than the legs. So again, with an adjustment layer, we'll go straight into those curves. And they're a mid-tone, so we can lift those, invert that layer mask, and now paint that on to the baby's face. So the way that I paint that on, oh, she was so pretty, is following the highlights that are already there without over-exposing them. Usually the nose is, got like a, a nice bright spot there because it's higher. So I'm having a look at some of these little shadows here. Coming around, underneath the nose and around that chin. So now you can see the face is just that little bit brighter than the body. So I would go on then to do some skin softening. There's not a lot, really, I would do to this other than kind of going in and, you know, removing some of those sort of shadows that shouldn't be there, from the different light directions, from the video lights. But that's pretty much where I would kind of take it from, from there. In terms of the background, I'm really happy with that. I love the texture. I'm not gonna remove that from this image. But yeah, it's kind of exactly how I visualized it. So if we take another snapshot and we go back to our before, not a lot of changes, but now it's starting to really come to life. So there's, in terms of highlights and shadows, I'm not going to use them here like I would, say, with an adult or a senior, because the babies, like I mentioned when I was photographing them, I want the light to be beautiful and soft. There are already shadows there highlighting the features so they're perfect, I don't need to increase those at all and I certainly don't want to increase any of those highlights. If there were some really kind of distracting highlights down here, then I would come in, I would bring those highlights down, and I would just paint that into some of those areas to remove that distraction.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Mind Map & Prep Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Among a sea of wonderful teachers here at CL, Kelly is the cream of the crop. All of her classes are outstanding and this one is no exception. Amazing teacher. Amazing class. Amazing education. If you are hoping to stretch yourself to create deeper more meaningful stories in your images, or are feeling the pull of print competition but need some direction, this is definitely the class for you. Thank you Kelly!

Melissa Soto

Kelly Brown is a true inspiration. She has been my idol in this industry since I began. This class was amazing. I love how honest, authentic and genuine she was. But most importantly I loved her wise direction and teaching style. Kelly brown thank you for this gem. You helped light a fire in me. I’m so excited to start telling amazing stories with the skills I have learned from this class.

Marjorie Stevenson

Just loving this class! Kelly is one of my favorite instructors. She is very good at articulating her ideas and carrying them to an absolutely wonderful end product. Her images are always stunning. I love that she always puts safety first with her models. Thank you Kelly for sharing your creative visions with us.

Student Work