You know how it’s a running joke that you can just photoshop so-and-so in later or photoshop a smile on someone’s face? What if I told you that it’s completely possible, and you don’t have to be a professional photo editor or graphic artist to accomplish it. In fact, I think you can achieve the results you need without much experience at all. Of course, you will need photoshop, but in this tutorial I hope to show you simple editing tools you can use to produce the results you need. I’m a mother of two boys who can’t stand still if their life depended on it, so I take a lot of photos in hopes of getting a good one, and sometimes when that fails, I just merge a few kind of good ones together to make a great photo!
We will start with the photo on top and turn it into the one on the bottom by the end of this tutorial.
First we will load all the images we need to use and drag them all into layers in a single file. You may need to right-click and select “Layer from Background” on the main photo where you are dragging all the other photos. Now we need to order our layers. We want the main photo that we will be doing edits on at the top, then the photo that will be our next focus areas in the order you wish to focus on them.
Next we need to apply a layer mask to the top layer. Make sure your top layer is selected and click on the button at the bottom of the layer tab beside the “fx’ button, the one that looks like a circle in a square.
Once the layer mask is applied, we will use the brush tool, and we will need to make sure black is the foreground color.
We will need to change the brush size and type. Select “Soft Round” for the type and a brush size that is small enough to give you the detail you need when zoomed in on your image. The “Soft Round” brush type is good because it blurs at the edge so it’s less defined as the “Hard Round” and is better for blending.
While we are on the subject of Zooming in on your image, lets select “View” from the Photoshop menu and select “Actual Pixels”. I usually select “Zoom In” after “Actual Pixels” to get a little closer to the detail.
Now making sure the mask layer is selected and using the brush tool, brush over the area you would like to remove. You may need to move the file behind the masked layer so it shows through the brushed area. You can switch the brush color to white for the foreground color and brush over any areas you wish to return to the top layer. I usually brush over the whole area, move the layer behind, and the touch up by switching back and forth with the white and black brush.
Even after switching back and forth on your brush colors on the mask layer, you may still need to do some touch up. The background of the layer behind may not perfectly match up to the top layer background. Have no fear! Just get it as close as possible then we will come in with another magical tool called the Clone Stamp Tool. First lets merge our two layers. With the top layer selected, select “Layer” from the Photoshop menu and select “Merge Down”. Now these two layers should become one.
Now it is time for our magical “Clone Stamp Tool”. Select this tool in the left-hand toolbar and like the brush tool, we will need to select an appropriate size and type. Also, like the brush tool, I try to get the smallest size I can to get the detail and also select the “Soft Round” brush type. For this tool, I also change the opacity or the flow to 50% to make blending easier. To use this tool, you hold down the alt button and select the area you would like to copy over, an area from the main layer. Then you use it like the brush tool and paint the area you wish touch up with your sample point previously selected. The Clone Stamp Tool can also be useful for retouching other areas such as facial blemishes.
I love this tool so much, sometimes I even use just to extend or create things that would other wise not be a part of the image just to bring the image together.
And that is how I create a happy, perfect family portrait! I hope you have enjoyed my first photoshop tutorial.
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