Beginners to Photoshop: Photo Editing is Easier Than You Think!

Today’s before and after Photoshop Blueprint was sent in by Erin Niehenke Photography – she has only been using Photoshop for a few months.

Along with sending me her images she wrote, “I have been working hard at learning how to edit pictures, and your actions have made it so so so much easier and way better than I could have ever learned to do myself. I cannot thank you enough.  It also gives me a great deal of confidence to know that this edit was a good one!  Again, thank you!”

Below is her edit, and a list step-by-step of what she did. This is impressive work from someone so new to Photoshop!

before and after using photoshop actions

Before and After Blueprint for this edit:

  • Opened image in Photoshop’s RAW editor (Adobe Camera Raw) – increased exposure slightly, as well as blacks, fill light, and clarity.
  • After creating a duplicate background layer, used the patch tool to remove the white speck under her left eye, a stray hair under her right eye, and the horizontal hair under her left eye.
  • Used a brush at 15% opacity, colored matched to her skin, to smooth out her skin a small amount.
  • Used the patch tool  at a low opacity brush set to “Lighten” mode to remove some of the yellow tone the sun caused in her ears.
  • Flattened the two layers.
  • Ran the Color Fusion Mix and Match Photoshop action (MCP Fusion Set), using Desire at 39% and Lemonade Stand at 25%. Increased the “Brighten It” layer  inside One Click Color to 68% to brighten up to underexposed image.
  • Ran Exact-o-Sharp, (MCP Fusion Set) and painted it on with a 50% opacity brush on her eyes and mouth.
  • Ran Dodge Ball (MCP Fusion Set) and painted it on with a 10% opacity brush on the light parts of her eyes.

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


    This is beautiful. I have just started using Photoshop and it confuses me so much I get frustrated and quite, then I go back to my online editing software which I love. I would like to learn more about Photoshop but some of the turorials are confusing to me… Thanks for sharing!

  2. 11


    Wow! Erin did a great job! I love that she documented her steps.

    Thank you for sharing! I will be doing some editing today and will be opening some older shots using ACR.

    And Tessa, all this stuff can be accomplished with Elements. :)

  3. 13

    kristin t says

    Very cool! I would love to see Eye Doctor run on this pic, too! The day I bought Eye Doctor my life changed forEVER! 😉 (okay, maybe not that much, but it was a HUGE time/lifesaver!)

    @Tessa you can use Fusion (and Eye Doctor!) with Elements 9. If you visit the “actions” page you can get all the details and little tutorials, too. They are the BEST!

  4. 17

    Cynthia says

    I still have difficulty deciding what to do with the different layers of the actions and I’ve been using them for almost a year.

  5. 22


    Wow, it is much easier than one would think for such fabulous results. I am going to have to play around with my fusion a lot more than I have been.

  6. 23


    Wow! What an incredible editing job! I am fairly familiar with photoshop, but I don’t understand what an “action” is and how to use it. Well, I suppose I do understand that an action is just a preset series of steps that you can automatically run. However, if I download an “action” I have no idea how to download and use the action. I am sure you have probably explained this somewhere, but is there any chance you can point me in the right direction? THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  7. 24


    LOVE this!

    I need advice… I have been doing photography for fun for awhile now, but am ready to get serious. So far I have been using online editing sites. Now I’m wondering what I need to do more advanced editing… Photoshop (which one), Elements, Lightroom? I would love some advice.

  8. 27

    jenlou says

    its a lovely looking photo, but its such a shame that she felt the need to “smooth out her skin” – she’s little more than a baby!

  9. 29

    Jaimie says

    To the one who was asking about Camera Raw….open up Bridge, find the picture that you want to use, right click on it, and choose “Open in Camera Raw”


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