Welcome to my first tutorial in the form of a blog!

I’ve been asked numerous times to do some online tutorials so I thought I’d start by producing some blog posts around how I’ve edited specific pictures. I like the idea of producing blog posts about editing because I think its a really effective way to show a step by step of the process that you can come back to later on and have another read over if you need to! I also love these type of tutorials because it’s one of those things that you can print out if you need to and study hard. So I’ve taken it upon myself to produce some for you all! This post will be quite chatty and informal, I’ll try my best to explain things clearly and easily!

I’m currently part of a group called ‘Lets Get Creative 2015’ on Facebook which is a group of creative photographers who are all undertaking the 52 week project. I wanted to start by showing week 3, from way back in January when I produce this image:

3/52 – Put down your phone and see the world


The process of shooting self-portraits differs from idea to idea. I will be doing a video very soon on my top ten tips for shooting self portraits so look out for that, but for now I’m just going to explain briefly how I shot the images and include some examples.

1 .To start off I set up my camera facing my bed/pillow and shot landscape. At this point I used only my timer and manual focus. After a few test shots I decided I wasn’t happy with the focus point and the composition so I changed it to shooting portrait. I’ve included the landscape images to show you exactly how I created the illumination on my face in the final shot. I have an iPhone and as iPhone users will know there is a torch which can be used and is located next to the camera on the back of the phone. I turned the torch on and held my phone so the torch was facing down towards my face. It was VERY bright so I had to close my eyes, wait for the timer and then open them just before the shutter released on my camera. (As you can see in the first image it failed a few times!! haha)


2. After changing the composition I repeated the process of holding my phone with the torch facing down and took around 20-30 shots. I also took some images with the phone facing the correct way so that I could use this for the final image.


I chose the below image as the base image and you can JUST see here the torch facing down. But I also highlighted the top images because I want to use the hand in the final image too.



After I had chose the base image and the images that I wanted to use for the hand, I opened them up into Photoshop and began editing.

  1. Firstly I retouched the image by using the frequency separation technique. I mainly used youtube to gain all my knowledge on retouching, in particular this amazing youtube tutorial by Sara Kiesling. I won’t go into too much depth as it can be a lengthy process but here’s a GIF on some of the corrections I made. I brightened my face and balanced the skin tone, then brighter the eyes and changed the colours of my lips, and then burned and dodged both my hair and shadows including the eyebrows and eyelashes.

2. I also removed the torch/iPhone from the top of the image by using the clone tool. I took the clone tool and pressed Alt, selected a similar section colour at 100% opcaity and covered over the light with the existing section.


3. I then warmed up my skin tone by adding a solid colour layer and a ‘layer mask’ to select just my face. The layer mask essentially masks out only the areas in which you want the colour to enhance. (See below and where to find the layer mask!) The black area on this mask is the ‘negative’ area. This area is blocked out and not in use. The white area is the ‘positive’ area and this area is in use and can be seen on the image. You can add and subtract from the mask by choosing the paint brush tool and colouring the mask in black or white.

(WARNING: Not always the case!! The layer can be inverted to have the opposite effect so please be aware which colour is adding and which is subtracting, you’ll know through trial and error!)

Using the blend modes (make sure you are highlighting the solid colour area) I changed the solid colour layer to Overlay with an opacity of 24%. Along with this I took some of the yellows out of the hair and made it a more warmer yellowy/orange as the hair was beginning to look ashy and green. The layers below show the properties that I used.


4. Adding the arm! – Using the Lasso tool on the tool bar I changed the feather to 30 px and selected the area which I wanted to take from the image to the base image. I copied and pasted from this image and placed it onto the base image.




On the base image I selected the hand/arm layer and created a ‘layer mask’ (similar to earlier, see STEP 3). As you can see I took away the areas that over lapped or didn’t look natural by using a black paint brush tool on a large feather to blend in seamlessly.

5. ADDING THE SPARKLE! With a 600 px, 100% opacity & flow paint brush, using an off-white colour I added a bold light coming from the phone.


I added a layer mask and slowly erased the light which was on and behind the phone.


6. Once I added the initial glow I then added the sparkle using a freebie sparkle brush that I had found on deviant art. Alternatively you can use small and large brushes to map in the sparkle yourself, changing the opacity and the hardness of the brush. I then added more glow by using different opacity brushes (See below!)


7. The final step in Photoshop is to sharpen the whole image. I sharpen by using the High Pass filter (it’s my fave!) – The first step is to group all your image manipulations and layers, make a copy of the group and merge the copied group down so that it becomes a flat image. Remember to keep the original group the same.


When the high pass box opens, change the radius to around 1.5/2 pixels depending on how sharp you want the image!


8. To colour correct and create the dreamy effect I then saved the image in photoshop and opened up into Lightroom. I then applied a variation of VSCO presets and played around with them until I was happy with the outcome!



I hope you liked this mini tutorial! – Watch out for more tutorials in the future, but in the mean time if you create anything using this tutorial, then please please please give credit where credit is due (it is all I ask!!) and also use the hashtag #HOLLYROSETUTORIALS on all social medias!! 😀