Photo fix: holiday card edition

So I sure had a lot of fun with these images from H & W readers, and I hope what I did makes their photos just a little bit better. I’ve been mostly editing photos in Lightroom this fall, so it was fun to get back into Photoshop and work on an image individually!

Reader Jyl at Moore Love Than Ever sent this photo of her  little two-year-old loves. They are almost twins, just a month apart.


It is slightly soft, so I used curves, levels and a soft light layer blended together to increase contrast, then sharpened.


Here we have the lovely Kate from Walking Kateastrophe.

The first image is her original. Kate and Matt are shown kicking up their heels in China (those are Chinese military hats). The fog made for a tough shooting environment, and the image was underexposed for the people, but lovely for the scene.



Looking at my edits, I’m glad to see their faces, but I think I pushed the exposure too far, bringing in too much grain and losing the lovely detail in the background. Kate, since you are a PS user, try opening your original in Adobe Camera Raw, and using the sliders to adjust exposure and fill light. I like seeing your faces and the beautiful red of your jackets, but it I had five more minutes to call my own I would strike a happy medium with less exposure adjustment. See if you like your edits better!

Fabulous quilter/crafter Molly at AppleCyder sent this charming photo of her little fella. It didn’t need much to enhance those beautiful blue eyes, but it looks like the flash fired, blowing out (overexposing) some of the detail in his face, so I wanted to bring that back a bit. Also, Mama requested “crud removal” on the side of his face which was an easy fix with the clone tool in PhotoShop.


I used a multiply layer blend in PhotoShop at about 30% to try and expose the face properly, and then boosted color and contrast with curves, levels and a soft light layer for this color boost option. Also sharpened.


I also tried a brown-tone color action I am currently loving, by photographer Brenda Acuncious.


Hard to pick isn’t it?!

I have one more to share, but my own active photo subjects are calling. And are probably wondering when I’m going to make my Christmas card.


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15 Responses to “Photo fix: holiday card edition”

  1. Christina Says:

    Terrific fixes, Anna!

  2. Sara Says:

    It is amazing to see what you can do with a photo! How much do you charge????

  3. applecyder Says:

    Thanks Anna. I am so pleased! You are wonderful and generous to do this. I just put my order in. And have entered your address into the ole label spreadsheet….. Happy Holidays!

  4. B. Says:

    way to go!

  5. Maria Says:

    Great FIXES!

  6. thelandofka Says:

    Good job on the edits! You know for the fog one, you could have just made a copy of the background layer, did the edits on that for them and then erased out the areas that had the fog and brought that back from the original. Love the foggy look!

    Thanks for sharing your steps!

  7. Kateastrophe Says:

    I think you overestimate my PS skillz! I love the color in the pic you did for us. So much better! Thank you thank you!

  8. Shelly Says:

    What beautiful editing work – they look great!

  9. katherine Says:

    W O W ! nice work!

    pls send me your mailing address offline and I will stick our card in the mail to you. 🙂

  10. kayris Says:

    Is it too late to send you a photo? I have a lovely close up of my daughter, but the lighting isn’t right and there’s the corner of a picture frame too close to her head. I know zero about photo editing.

  11. katy Says:

    I don’t really understand anything about what has happened with these photos–on any level–at all, but now I sort of understand why my photos are so cruddy. It’s the E for EFFORT. And the K for KNOWLEDGE!!! can not BELIEVE you could make those fog people’s faces visible! You are AMAZING.

  12. Chelle Says:

    Loving the brown-tone curve. It just adds that elusive quality that makes the little guy look heaven sent. And amazing job with the foggy photo…

    You rock…

  13. Jyl Says:

    Thank you again for the fix! I have ordered MULTIPLE copies and they will make great Christmas gifts. (Don’t be surprised if I come “knocking” at your door again!! 😉
    You are fantastic!

  14. Maya Says:

    Love that you’re sharing your PS knowledge! You really made those blue eyes pop!

  15. The Hank & Willie Annual Holiday Photo Fix « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] (See last year’s call for photos.  And the results.) […]

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