Photo Editing

June 14, 2011

Today I’m putting up an outfit post and tutorial in one! Just a couple photos and some steps for coloring that I achieved using Photoshop (GIMP works similarly).

I wore this outfit to a friend’s baby shower. I’m unfortunately not digging the shoes– they’re very 10th grade and I’ve been over them for a while. I needed flat shoes, though, since I was the photographer for the event. My sister quickly shot these after I was done.

Bodysuit, lace top, skirt, and belt: American Apparel
Shoes: I don’t even know

Basic Photo Coloring Tutorial

Okayokayokay, so, lets say you have a less than par photo. Let us use the second photo here as an example, although it is already fairly decent. I paired it with the final photo so you can see the differences.

1. I started off by cropping the photo. It is a good idea to make sure your photo’s composition helps out the photo. Cropping the photo close to the subject is often successful, but even tighter crops can work as well. Just remember not to crop directly at the joints (i.e. the knees or ankles) because it is typically awkward and thus frowned upon.

2. In Photoshop, I did as follows: Layer>>Duplicate Layer. In the layers palette, I changed the blend mode (the drop down menu!) to screen. I then changed the opacity to 61%.

3. Next, I did Layer>>New Adjustment Layer>>Brightness/Contrast. Set Brightness to -4, Contrast to 10.

4. Then, I went to Layer>>New Adjustment Layer>>Curves. Under Red (the drop down menu): I set Output: 120, Input: 190; Output: 174, Input: 199. Under Green: Output: 114, Input: 127; Output: 158, Input: 169. Under Blue: Output: 102, Input: 105; Output: 141, Input: 176.

These are the steps I used to achieve this particular color, and I encourage you to adjust the numbers accordingly, as these settings are appropriate for a photo with the lighting that I have in this photo. This photo was taken at sunset, and has the warmth of the sun casting color on the foreground, but still has the cool blues in the background. If you have a photo with similar colors, you might be able to keep these numbers very close, if not the same.

As for other general photo tips, do whatever you can in the photo. Zoom before shooting if possible. Also, try not to use flash! I never use flash because natural lighting is beautiful! Use it to your advantage :)

Hope you all enjoyed this tutorial and are able to use it help out your photos!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Casee Marie June 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

Loved this tutorial! I completely agree about not using flash – can’t stand flash, personally. And I love the effect you got with the curves here. I’m never very good at working with them, so I’ll certainly have to try these sometime on the right photos!


Melanie June 16, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thanks! Flash is the worst. There are sometimes where I think it could be executed really tastefully, and if you have the right setup it can even be undetectable. Otherwise, natural or studio lights are the way to go! With curves, the best thing to do is experiment. So keep trying! You can always create actions that will make your coloring into presets once you find the curves you like :)


m June 16, 2011 at 11:06 am

I loooove the outfit! so amazing! :):)
great blog!


Melanie June 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!


Jenmarie June 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

You did a lovely job with this tutorial and you also look lovely (as always)!


Melanie June 22, 2011 at 2:44 am

Awww, you’re too nice Jen. Thank you!


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