Sweet Soul Hand Edit

Hey guys!


I edited this traditional image with a bit of compositing. It did end up being a little dramatic, but I intended it to. It was mostly a hand edit, and if you sign up for my premium membership, you can watch the full tutorial.


I shot the image with a Nikon D750 and an 85 mm lens. This was shot in the studio, and there was a little bit of natural light coming in from the top, and I used a monolight on the side.


I started by bringing up the shadows because, as you may already know, I don’t like to have true blacks in the image and lose any details. Next, I brought up the oranges in the image to brighten it up slightly. Next, I did some cropping to the image, but if you’re doing this for a client, keep in mind the size you’re printing before cropping in an image.


I used one of my frequency separation actions to soften the skin. If you’re not familiar with frequency separation, you can download The Ultimate Photoshop Workflow or watch my free tutorial that includes some sharpening actions.


After softening the skin, I brought some color back to the face. Then, I grabbed curved layers to even the skin out. Also, I added a dodge and burn layer to bring out the shadow areas.


When I’m doing a hand edit, I like to bring the opacity up and bring it back down is just nothing more than the amount of highlight or shadow.

If you want to learn how I did this, sign up for a premium membership to watch the tutorial step-by-step.


I added a texture layer on top of the image. I wasn’t a big fan of it, so I blurred it a little and lowered the opacity. It’s always good to blur it out, especially if it is very prominent; it helps it look a little bit more realistic.


I added some butterflies from PixelSquid and a vignette with some cool-toned colors to finish the edit. If you want more of a painted look, you can go in with the dodge and burn and build it up more and more.


Become a premium member to watch the full tutorial and access over 500 more!

Happy Editing!

Tara Lesher