Blueprint – From Snapshot to Portrait in 6 Steps

This boy is just adorable.  He is the “kid of the week” for the Fix It Friday edit at I Heart Faces.  I loved my edit of this one so I had to share my steps with all of you.  I would love to know what you think of the before and after photo edit I did below using a mix of manual editing and MCP Photoshop Actions.


Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 5


    Turned out GREAT! Totally took it from a snapshot to a portrait…what a cute boy and LOVE your b/w conversion….stunning. I use your actions quite often :)

  2. 7

    Katie Caress says

    I love tight crops and this one is great. It was also very interesting to read your technique for getting rid of a bland background. One question–did you consider removing the drop of water (spit?) on his cheek and if so, why did you decide to keep it in?

  3. 8


    Katie – funny you asked. Yes – I totally considered it. I went back and forth- but it makes the picture way more “real” with it – plus it was not a gross looking spit or whatever – so to me it added to the emotion.


  4. 9

    Janet says

    I LOVE it! When I first looked at the picture, I thought that it was a tear on his face. I like it left on!

    • 14


      As far as a tutorial on extraction – I may do one someday – but truthfully it is a huge mix of tools from lasso to magic wand to quick selection tool to painting on masks. There is not a one size fits all. How I would extract is totally picture dependent. The other thing is that I rarely do it because in most situations it is too time consuming to do it right. The best bet is to use a solid backdrop if you know you want to extract – way easier that way – especially if the background is not any color the subject is wearing.

    • 25


      Pamela – all different things from classes to books, to lots and lots and lots of practice. :) Practice is probably the biggest component.

  5. 26


    FANTASTIC! I need to learn more about “masking”. Do you have any tutorials to help with understanding this? I know layers, but not sure how/when to apply a mask.


  6. 29

    tracey Emmett says

    WOW is all i can say too! An every-day “snap shot” turned into a brilliant portrait! How much does the photographer charge?!?

  7. 33


    Wow Gorgeous, Beautiful child – now how about a tut on the process you used for extracting the background and filling in with black

  8. 35


    This is stunning, though for some reason I’m distracted by the tear. Not just in your pic, in all the Fix It Friday edits. Before I found I Heart Faces (and then your blog from that site! yay!) I thought I knew a fair amount about Photoshop, considering I’m all self taught. However, I have come to the sad realization that the more I read about how people edited their images, the more I realize that I know little to nothing about PS CS3 in comparison… and I have no idea when I’ll ever have the time to learn as much as I need or want to. *sigh*

    Again, just simply gorgeous!!!

  9. 36


    PS – ditto all on how incredible your actions are.. I have almost all of them and still haven’t figured out how to use them all… I can’t wait to finally figure them all out! lol!

  10. 37

    Amy Cameron says

    I love it! So impressive!!!

    (BTW…I assumed the drop of water was a tear and I think it adds so much…you know one of those tears that gets stuck on their face even when they are finished tearing up…so from a Mom who has a baby who cries a lot, I’m glad you left it.) :)

  11. 38


    Love it! The converted image is stunning – bw makes all the difference, no distraction from the color and your eyes go right to his adorable eyes. Beautiful work!

  12. 44


    I follow your blog, and iheartfaces… and when I saw this on their site earlier today, I meant to come right here and comment. This is by far, the best fix it I’ve ever seen on iheartfaces. L.O.V.E. IT!!!

  13. 46

    Barb Ray says

    Amazing! I’m in 100% agreement with Frank H. – you took a cute snapshot and made it an amazing portrait!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. 47


    GORGEOUS!!! What a dramatic photograph. Thanks for the tips Jody! I too vote for some background help. I’ve been playing with a few of my photographs today to extract the background like you have and so far…no dice.

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