Blueprint – close-up of a cute little girl, a natural looking Photoshop edit

Sometimes when I make the blueprints, I tend to go overboard and almost exaggerate the edits so you can see what I did. For this one I wanted to do a super realistic, natural edit.  Thank you to Jill Ellison for this adorable picture.

This little girl looks so cute with her sweet curls.  Here is what I did to give her a little glow, slightly better coloring and a sparkle to her eyes using a few Photoshop actions and a few manual adjustment layers.

Step 1 – Ran MCP Color Burst from the Complete Workflow.

Step 2 – Did a manual Hue/Saturation Layer – selected Blue channel – and then Cyan channel,  Took opacity of each down to about –65% to reduce colors in the whites of her eyes.  Inverted mask. Painted back on the mask with a white brush on the eyes to get rid of the cast.

Step 3 – Ran MCP Magic Powder from the Magic Skin action set – set opacity to 36% (just wanted a light smoothing).

Step 4 – her skin had a touch too much blue and magenta – so I ran Magic Skin’s Skin Cast Blast – activated the Bye Bye Blueberry layer at 100%.  Masked back the shadow area with a 30% brush as the shadows did not need that much of a correction.

Step 5 – Ran MCP Crackle from the Quickie Collection action set.

Step 6 – at this point I noticed that the shadow areas were getting lost on her shirt and hair.  So I did a levels layer and adjusted the output slider to 25.  This was a tad too much so I lowered the opacity of that layer to 85%.

Step 7 – cropped.

If I had more time, I may have extracted the tree and replaced it with the background.  I would have preferred that over the tree behind her.  But at least the drop got rid of the hand and arm coming at her head.

jill ellison bp

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. 3


    Diana – I have thought about doing a tutorial on it but it can be a complicated process depending on the background and contrasting with the subject.

    It is something I avoid at almost all costs due to time. The best thing to do is plan ahead in camera. Extractions take a LOT of time unless against a simple backdrop of green screen.

    There are 3rd party software to help aide in extraction too. But for photoshop, it is a combination of the selection tools to isolate the subject from the background.


  2. 4

    Francisco Leal says

    Wow, how could you mess up with a pic of that little cutie pie? Seriously tho, thanks for sharing your workflow.

  3. 8


    WOW! Jodi that sure made a big difference. I love your actions and use them a lot of the time. I think I need to get more LOL….

  4. 10


    I LOVE that! I’ve been trying to get that glow look but just didn’t know how to get that. I had a hard time following what you did. Do you happen to have an action that does that?

  5. 12


    Cathy – when I run and do not say a % – I run the default – so not 100% unless that was the default.

    Missy – the steps are listed with the blueprint – most of it was using actions. But a combination of things lead to the outcome – not just one step.

  6. 16


    Thanks, Jodi for answering my comment. I guess I’m a little slow. :)
    I’m a visual learner, so maybe you could do a tutorial about “the glow” sometime? That is, if you run out of things to teach! Thanks for all your help!

  7. 17

    Michele Abel says

    The blueprints are my favorite……I love to know how to work on a picture using actions, and curves, etc. It also makes me want all the actions you have!!
    I, too, would love a tutorial on removing the background.
    Thanks for everything.

  8. 19


    This blueprint actually helped with with some proofing I was working on today. Thanks for sharing Jodi. I have your Quickie Collection. Is the Quickie Color comparable to the Colorburst in your Workflow? If not, what is the difference?

  9. 20

    honey says

    Amazing as usual! Love to see what you use & try it on my own. I would have never thought to run crackle after running colorburst … I usually choose one or the other … you results make me want to try them together! I’m with Diana … would love to see you change the background on video … I learn so much from those tutorials! Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. 23


    Hi Jodi,
    I’ve been dying for this tutorial! I followed until I got to: “Inverted mask. Painted back on the mask with a white brush on the eyes to get rid of the cast.” When I try it on my own photo, nothing happens, but then again I don’t really understand how the mask removes the cast. What causes that hazy cast to begin with? I would looooove one of your videos that shows you actually doing this.

    PS. Your site is the A #1 site for learning how to improve one’s photos. Thank you!

  11. 25

    Ashley Larsen says

    I second the background extraction tutorial. Maybe something simple for the tutorial that you could easily do?

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