Before and After: a photoshop edit


One of our wonderful members, Mara, posted this in picture play, looking for some help on the skintones. So I asked her if I could use it for a Photoshop Friday tutorial and she said yes. It’s a really lovely sooc image and doesn’t need much. The main issue is that mom and baby both have excess magenta on their faces and are a bit underexposed as well. To fix this, I used 4 adjustment layers.

This was our starting image. You can see where I chose to drop my color sample points. I was looking for diffused highlights. We don’t want our magenta higher than our yellow so a quick check of my CMYK values confirmed that the magenta was high as well as the cyan. But I knew the cyan would come down once I raised the midtones a bit.

First I added a curves adjustment layer and boosted the midtones and then I went to the green channel and pulled up on it to remove some magenta. I masked this adjustment so it was only on mom and babies face and chest.

Next I added another curves adjustment layer and this time I masked it so it only effected the babies face. I boosted the midtones even further and pulled up on the green channel to remove some more magenta and the red channel to remove some cyan. A check of the info panel told me the yellow to magenta ratio was looking better and we had brought the cyan in line too.

I added a multiply layer at 36% to darken the background up, masking mom and the baby off from it.

The last thing I did was open a selective color adjustment and went to yellows and pulled the yellow slider to -47 and selectively masked it off the shadow areas that seemed to have an excess of yellow.



Lisa HarrisonLisa Harrison, Vermont
Click Photo School Instructor
As CM’s Photoshop expert, it’s only fitting that Lisa is the instructor for the Intro to Natural Light and Photoshop Fundamentals for Photographers workshops. With her Canon 5d mark III and various lenses, mostly primes, she enjoys lifestyle photography with bright clean processing and natural skin tones but equally loves black and whites. Living in Vermont with her husband, two children, and black lab Lucy, Lisa loves skiing and boating.

Read all photography tutorials by Lisa Harrison.

Interested in learning more from Lisa? Registration is currently open for her Photoshop workshop so grab a seat while there’s still some left!

photoshop fundamentals for photographers online workshop with Lisa Harrison for Clickin Moms


  • Erin Mendez says:

    Are there certain #'s/recipes to follow for different ethnic skintones? See, I NEED your class!!!!!

  • Danielle says:

    What is the best way to remove hot spots on the cheeks and forehead? And what is the best way to fix bloodshot eyes? Thanks for the give away!!

  • Amy Flemming says:

    What is the best/easiest way to make those eyes pop? And to remove splotches from the face and to remove/reduce bags under the eyes? Currently I use a soft brush, but it somehow looks "painted". I would LOVE to take a class, but can't afford it!

  • jodi says:

    lovely edit, lisa! and so simple too! what a beautiful subtle difference these adjustments made to this image. you are the photoshop diva… thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Amanda Bruce says:

    Great tutorial! And thank you for the opportunity to win a seat! I'm curious about the various layer options (soft light, screen, multiply, luminance, etc). Although I can visually note the changes they produce, I would love to have a true understanding of what they're actually doing to an image and how to use them to my advantage.

  • Tanya M. says:

    I would love to win a seat to this class! I'm curious about the CMYK ratios and if there are a different numbers based on the person?

  • Breanna says:

    What's your preferred way for removing blemishes, random objects, etc. I find myself using the patch tool a lot, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it. Great tutorial, thanks!

  • Havilah says:

    What is the difference between Curves and Levels – and when should one be used vs. the other?

  • Victoria Dosch says:

    This is a great tutorial. Thanks! I've been wondering about setting white balance for midday sun and isolating shadows and light for standout black and whites. Also wondered how you recommend dealing with wispy hairs over eyes. Thanks so much!!

  • Katie W. says:

    How do you get consistent results when editing a group of images? Like a really cohesive look? Like no…too pink here, a bit too yellow here? Thanks for sharing your knowledge here with us!

  • Ashley Brooke says:

    Love this tutorial! I have been trying to edit skin tones by numbers for the first time and I never could get it right. I followed the "rules" (I think) but when I would fix one color another color would be to low or high. Which colors to you start with and end with and stay consistent throughout your images?

  • Roxann Brister says:

    This is a great tutorial.I would love to win a seat to this class.. I would love to get skin color right.

  • Roxann Brister says:

    How do you get that bright clean processing and natural skin tones???

  • Jody Wiger says:

    I had an image yesterday and I didn't have any of the three RGB values to post processor the WB.

    For finding the WB, Do you need to find a RGB value for white and black and neutral grey or is just one reading enough? or finding the closet match in RGB, work if there are no true matches?

    I would love, love to be a part of your class I just joined clickinmom and I'm so impressed.

  • andrea says:

    When you have multiple people in your shot what is the easiest wsy to fix all the different shade of skin? I finished your 101 and would love to seat in your 201 class!

  • Anna says:

    Thank you SO much, I am super excited about this class!!!

  • Katie W says:

    Congrats Anna!!

  • Erik Comiso says:

    You made some good points there. I checked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

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