Well…I have had MANY questions emailed to me since my last blog tutorial.  I am in the process of working on a babies photo shoot and came across another perfect example.  I needed to post this as I was doing it so I remembered exactly what I did for this photo. This time I will be writing out the exact steps as to how I got to point A…to point B. The first photograph is SOOC.  No edits.  Did not touch a thing. Just sharpened for the blog. The second is my final, plus extra sharpening for the web/blog.  (Please note I have since tweaked my editing process.  Please see the updated tutorials for more information if you would like to see a different way to do things! 🙂 )


Lets just jump on in! I going to be VERY basic and to the point. 🙂

1.  I shot in RAW format and auto white balance.

2. This was shot on my Nikon D700 at: F-stop 1.8, SS 1/320, ISO 1250

3.  I used matrix metering but will commonly use spot.


This baby had lots of dry skin patches, bumps, etc. as she was right at that age when babies start to have some skin trouble.  In real life, you can’t notice it as much as my camera picked up on.  I did not over expose this image for skin softness as we had a ton of harsh light coming in.  I did not want to blow any highlights, which I accidentally did anyways as the light was just that harsh.  I had my frosted shower curtain up to diffuse the light…but it happened anyways.  Bummer.  But it happens to all of us sometimes.

So heres how I worked with this image.

1. I opened up in the RAW opener in Photo Shop (sorry elements users, as far as I know you have to have a separate RAW file reader.

2. I fixed my white balance by warming her up.  Thats all I touched in this one.  You will see why.  I didnt bump down the clarity or decrease the sharpness like I sometimes do and talked about in my first tutorial.  I have found another trick 🙂

3.  I opened in Photoshop.

4. First I made a background copy. I went to the bottom and clicked on the black and white circle.  Chose levels and dropped my midtones down a tad to decreased all of my hot spots (or blown out spots).  I then moved my background copy ABOVE my levels box to hide what I had just done to the mid tones.  I grabbed my eraser tool and erased on the background area the blown spots, to reveal the levels I had done previously.  Perfect!  No more hot spots.

5. Next I go back to by black and white circle and click color balance.  I move my sliders around until her skin looked the correct color.  I never touch magenta/green. Typically boost the yellow by maybe 2 points or the cyan by 2 points. Depends on the baby.  Poof.  Pretty colored skin.

7. Clicked on the background layer so Im doing this to my image, not the levels, etc. I used the healing brush tool to remove all the blemishes, rashes, etc.  This is located on your palate bar.  It looks like a bandaid.  You can google how to use the healing brush, I just wanted to state its how I remove blemishes.  It looks more natural than the clone tool.

8. Flattened the image again

9. Time for Gaussian Blur.  Don’t let this part scare you.  I will do ABC :).  (note: I now use the coffeshop blog skin action at a VERY low opacity as I was finding gaussian blur was making the babies skin too plastic.  You can still follow this if you like but do so at a very low opacity. My more recent tutorials have my updated editing techniques)

A. Go to Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur.  Set your pixel to 8 or 9

B.  Go to your HISTORY PALATE above your layers palate.  You see actions, history, etc. Go to history. Click on the words “flatten image” at the bottom of the row above the blur and the blur will disappear and take you back to where you were before you went to blur.

C. Click on the box to the LEFT of the Gaussian Blur in the History Palate. You will see the history brush show through now.  Don’t click directly on the word or it will bring you back to that point in history.  Still remain on your old flattened image.

D.  Click on your history brush in your tool box.  It looks like the brush with an arrow. Lower the opacity to about 25-30%. This one I did 26. Go paint on your babys skin!  Watch it transform.  Dont go to high in percentage or it will make the baby look fake.  Also dont do the eyes or smile lines or eyebrows etc. This is a pretty standard technique that most photographers I have talked to use.  Actually, I have had 3 in the past week tell me this is how they do it as well!  Glad we are all on the same page at least 🙂

10. Then I dodged the catch lights of the eyes.

11. Sharpen to you likening.  I use the unsharp mask.  You can google all of these for more information, or feel free to email me for details.


And there you go!


I made this short and to the point assuming you know how to use photo shop.  Please feel free to ask me questions over on my face book page!  We have a large group of photographers over there all sharing lots of tips!


I hope you learned something from this!  Please feel free to pass this link around and share with your photographer friends!


Happy clicking!