Blueprint: Taking Your Old Images and Making Them New Again

Do you ever look back at your images from years ago and think, “wow, I have improved.” Or “I was not as good as I thought…”

Well I accidentally went into a folder of images from 4 years ago while looking for something, and I found a photo I remember loving.  I thought this was the top of my career.  I could not get better.  At this time my daughters did modeling for some eBay designers.  They too thought this photo was incredible.

Anyway, I decided to play around with it in Photoshop to see if I could make it better. Here is what I did:

  1. I started by duplicating the background layer.  I used the patch tool and the clone tool – back and forth to get rid of stay hairs on the eye and crossing over the face.
  2. I used the patch tool and the clone tool to get rid of that double catch light on the left eye of the photo. It would not have bothered me if both eyes had two, but the one eye did.
  3. I then flattened and duplicated again.  This time I patched the heavy under eye shadows.  I brought the layer opacity to 45% so some of the original eye creases showed lightly.
  4. Next I flattened and worked on exposure. I ran MCP Peek-a-Boo from the Complete Workflow Action Set.
  5. I then wanted more definition in the midtones so I ran MCP Crackle from the Quickie Collection Actions.
  6. After this I wanted to make the tee she had on a touch more vivid, so I used MCP Finger Paint from the Quickie Collection.
  7. I decided though I like contrast that for this shot a flatter lighting may look good.  After all she was a little girl here, just turned 4 I think.  So I used MCP Touch of Light and with a 30% opacity brush selectively lightened some of the shadows on her face.  I also added some highlights in her hair using this same layer.
  8. Lastly I used a “Skin Trick” to get rid of the blown red channel on the left side of her face on the photo.  I set the brush opacity to 15% and sampled a skin color.  Then I made a new blank layer and painted on those areas.  I added a layer mask to clean any over spill.


I would love to hear your questions or thoughts.  I am ready to take a few more customer blueprints for future weeks too.  So if you have a before and after with step by step directions using MCP Actions and you think it is amazing, I would love to see it and consider featuring you.  Thanks! Jodi

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. 4

    Sarah Blair says

    I definitely need skin help. Seems like there is a million ways to do it, but I can’t seem to get it right. Which actions of yours do you recommend for skin, or should I wait for your new actions to come out?

  2. 6

    Heather Price........vanilla moon says

    amazing what 4 years of knowledge can do,your first shot was pretty fabulous anyway, your actions are so awesome,im saving for them.Thankyou for all the fantastic things you post on your blog,you are a star.

  3. 7

    Janie Pearson says

    I really like your new and improved shot. I am amazed myself by how dark some of my old photos look when I go back to them now. They could probably all benefit from your peek-a-boo action, which I find myself using often. I find it very helpful when you show your process step by step. Thanks so much!

  4. 8


    Your site has been invaluable to me, since i determined to greatly improve my photography this year- thank you for taking the time to create these wonderful, step by step posts- you don’t have to share any of your knowledge, but you do- so thank you.


  5. 9

    Ashley Larsen says

    You definitely have an eye for perfection. The double catchlight would have never bothered me… but did enhance the eyes. I am learning so much from you. Thank you for sharing.

  6. 10


    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I have yours touch of light/dark action – fantastic, I’m still need to learn so much, but I have your actions on the top of my christmas wish list.

  7. 11


    Thanks, Jodi. That was so helpful. I am having so much fun with your actions that I purchased. I want them all!!! :) Love Magic Skin/Eye Doctor and use almost everything in the Quickie Collection…Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness is such a valuable tool. I use it on almost every edit. Do you have a tutorial on the patch tool? I have the clone tool down, but can’t get a grasp on the patch tool. Thank you, Photoshop Goddess! Your girls are a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e!! xo

  8. 12


    Hi Jodi-Thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge! I have such a hard time with the patch tool I really need to practice more with it! I’d love a tutorial on that if you have one posted! I am requesting your actions for Christmas! Thanks again!

  9. 13

    Nancy says

    Where can I find the action “skin trick”? Is this part of your new action set that you are working on? I couldn’t find it on your website…

  10. 16


    This has been one of the most useful blueprints for me by far! I just finished up a baby set with your little trick of the sample/paint and what a difference it made!
    Thanks so much for sharing all of this info.
    Is Peek-a-boo on the new action set? I don’t have that one yet…..

  11. 19


    I think I would like something between the old and the new version. I love your actions but the new version looks a little over processed to me, skin a little plastic looking and under the eye with absolutely no dark circles also looks a bit fake. Anyway, I hate to be the negative one but those are my true thoughts.


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