Creating a Soft Glow Effect in Photoshop

Hi there I am Sian an amateur photography and fashion blogger here to share some simple techniques I use to enhance my photos. This tutorial is about turning a shadowed image into a soft glow portrait.

The post Creating a Soft Glow Effect in Photoshop appeared first on TipSquirrel.

Hi there I am Sian an amateur photography and fashion blogger here to share some simple techniques I use to enhance my photos. This tutorial is about turning a shadowed image into a soft glow portrait.

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I always start by opening the image I want to to edit in photoshop raw as it is a great place to do some simple edits. I  begun by using the adjustment tool to reduce some of the shadows on Gus’s face. I started with the exposure on plus 50, brushed around his shadowed eye and mouth and then upped the exposure a little more until I was happy. I did not want to get rid of the shadows just soften them a bit so I upped the exposure just a little bit more.

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I then went into split toning to add a warm glow onto the image before I opened it into photoshop. I choose a warm colour and just added it on the highlights of the image. This also made Gus’s coat look very golden. Once I was happy with the colour I then opened the image up into photoshop.

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In photoshop I duplicated the layer and turned the bottom layers eye off to save incase I make any changes I am not happy with. If you look closer at the original image there is a thumb in the right hand corner I am not happy with, this is really easily removed by using the clone stamp tool. As I am going to be blurring this section slightly more later on I did not need to be perfect with this. I aimed to run the clone stamp along the grass strands though, I did this by holding the alt key and selecting the grass strands just above the thumb and then moving the brush down towards Gus’s hair.

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I also want to remove the shadows in the bottom left of the image, for this I used the patch tool drawing around the shadows. I did not get very close to Gus’s hair on the shadow nearest to him. This was because once I moved the patch tool out to a grass selection with no shadow it blends in to create a slight shadow that looks like it belongs to Gus instead of someone standing over him.

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Now I have removed the shadows and thumb I can start creating that softer glow look. First I added a curve adjustment layer and just pulled the curve up towards the highlights so the image is quite bright all over. Gus now however looks too bright and I need to tone his exposure down. I first made sure I had the mask layer selected in the curves adjustment layer, then choose the brush tool, setting the foreground colour to black. I made sure the brush had a low hardness and low exposure (was set to 55%) and I started to paint Gus back in by running the brush over him, you should start seeing the exposure drop slowly and his fur going back to looking richer in colour.

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Once I was happy with how Gus’s fur was looking I duplicated the layer and titled it blur. As Gus looks very sharp compared to the background I wanted to soften his edges a bit. Still selecting the top layer I went into filters, blur and gaussian blur. I set the pixels to 24.7 as I wanted it to be very soft. Now the whole of Gus is completely blurred which is not what my intentions were. So instead of adding a normal mask I add a hidden mask (hold alt down as you add a new mask layer) and changed my brush colour to white. Keeping the brush on the same opacity and hardness as previous I painted just around the edges of Gus with a small brush size. I then made the brush size slightly bigger to blend out the blur. I still felt the blur was a bit too intense so I turned down the layers opacity.

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Finally cropped the image so Gus still has some looking space but I felt the original had a bit too much. Once I was happy with the crop I selected my layers and converted them to a smart object. Once they were converted I went back into camera raw through filters adding a radial filter, but instead of a dark vignette I upped the exposure so the image was brighter round the edges. I then went back to my split tone as I felt Gus’s fur was not as golden as I would like it to be. To change this I changed the hue on the shadows this time instead of the highlights to a golden colour and slightly upped the saturation. This just added a golden touch to Gus’s hair that I felt finished the edit for me.

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