Photoshop Actions Blueprint: Snapshot to Portrait in a Few Clicks
All Photoshop actions shown in this Blueprint are from the MCP Fusion Photoshop action set
Question: I often get asked “Can I make a snapshot photograph into something worthy of hanging on my wall?”
My Answer: Yes, you can! Not all photos you hand on a wall have to be “portraits.” But sometimes, depending on the image, you can turn a snapshot into a portrait with a little vision and help from Photoshop actions. In a few clicks, I turned this image from the before to the afters shown.
Here is the starting photo, sent in by Jamie Handy. At 1st glance, I thought, “cute snapshot… nail polish peeling, composition is not great, boys legs are cut off, etc.” Then I looked closer at the expression on that little girl’s face and decided it was priceless. I went to work in Photoshop.
Here are the steps I took to turn the Before into the After. All actions used were from the MCP Fusion Photoshop actions set.
- Though often professionals will warn you to wait and crop, if the composition is totally apart from what you end up with, it can be hard to have a creative vision. In situations like this, I crop first. I chose a landscape/horizontal orientation for this image.
- Then I started edited using the Color Fusion Mix and Match action – as I wanted to play with a bunch of actions to find the right look. I used three folders/product-category/photoshop-actions/ within this one action: Lemonade at 31% opacity, Jenna’s Sweet Shop at 43% opacity, and Vanilla Cream at 34% opacity. This gave me the overall look I wanted – a fun vintage, postcard feel. It was definitely an “over-edit” and not completely natural, but I loved it.
- Next I used the Different Directions contrast action (opacity at 81%)
- Then finished with the Frosting action at 80% which adds a touch of haze.
I also decided I wanted to see a black and white version. I started with the same crop, but worked from the original, not the color edit.
- I started by running B&W Fusion Mix and Match. Then I chose to activate Reminisce (the black and white film action) at 67% opacity and Peaceful at 56% opacity.
- I wanted a light black and white conversion, nothing with heavy contrast. But it lacked a tonal range at this point. I ran Different Directions to add a bit of contrast and adjust the layer to 100%.
- Next I ran Frosting at 80% opacity to give it an overall light, airy finish.
This now reminds me of the black and whites when I was a kid. Super classic!